What I Learned From Studying Abroad

For many of us, studying abroad is an experience we hope to fit into our schedules at some point in our college careers. Knowing I had little room in my schedule to study abroad for an entire semester, I decided to take advantage of a summer study abroad program this summer! With six other Pamplin College of Business students and our advisor, I traveled to major cities in China this May and June, visiting businesses, universities, and cultural sites. Whether you are already planning to study abroad or are considering it, I’m here to offer three valuable benefits that I have taken away from my experience.

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1) Exposure to the business world of a foreign country

As future business professionals, working abroad or with international clients/customers is a strong possibility for many of us during our careers. Taking the opportunity to learn about the business world abroad is a great way to gain that international business exposure before graduating. Some things cannot be taught within the walls of a classroom, so think about traveling to a different country and learning in a real international setting. You may even form a connection that leads to an internship or full-time job opportunity!

2) Getting out of your comfort zone

College is a time to take risks and experience new things. Studying abroad can be a great way to do those things. During this unique experience, you get to immerse yourself in a completely different culture for an extended period of time, encouraging you to practice your independence and try new things. When you are in a different country, you are surrounded by places, people, and events foreign to the ones you have at home. You are bound to learn something new at every moment. Once you’ve conquered living and studying in a foreign country, taking risks back at home may seem less intimidating!

3) The opportunity to travel in an organized, group setting

Once we start full-time careers, fitting international travel into our schedules may not be the easiest or most realistic of tasks. Take advantage of semesters with fewer credits or vacations to do a study abroad program. Studying abroad in college allows us to travel with a group of people with similar interests and visit destinations on our bucket lists; it’s like an extravagant, prolonged field trip!
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Studying abroad isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do or are just now interested in, I would encourage you to research programs offered online, attend study abroad fairs, visit the Global Education office right off campus, and talk to your advisor about the best programs for your major and academic plan!

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Leaving Legacies: Class of 2018

In just eight short days, six of CWIB’s leadership seniors will be graduating! While all of their undergraduate activities and post-graduation plans differ, they all have something in common: they will be leaving legacies.

In CWIB’s final meeting of the school year, these seniors led an informative and inspirational panel for the attendees. Each of them spoke about special moments from their college career, the advice they want members to hear, and of course, what CWIB has done for them.

Cici Sobin, a future Federal Business Technology Analyst for Deloitte Consulting, opened up the panel by speaking to her saying, “prioritize yourself.” She learned this lesson after burning out from doing too much. Cici said that she would do things because they “looked good” or “to satisfy others” such as going out the night before a big exam. After that started to take a toll on her, she learned to say no to things if she did not see a true benefit to them. She admitted that “Learning to prioritize yourself will allow you to find your true passions.” After this turning point in her life, she switched majors to Business Information Technology because she looked at her friends’ textbooks and was intrigued by the material. She started to love what she was doing because she prioritized herself!

Muneeba Ahmed, a future Audit Rotation Program Associate for Capital One, talked about her motto, “be you, be confident.”  She advised CWIB members to “channel your passions into what you want to do.” Muneeba identified her passion as fashion. Whether it is at school or a professional event, she loves dressing up in cute outfits because doing so gives her confidence. She noted that the business world is “sometimes gray” and loves bringing some color into it with her wardrobe. Muneeba talked about how a work professional approached her at the Pamplin Leadership Conference and said that he/she noticed her because of her lace dress that stood out in the crowd.

Ashlin Webster, a future Marketing/Business Analyst in Economic Development at Duke Energy, advised the meeting’s attendees to “maximize your options.” Going into senior year, she had a full-time offer with the company that she interned with the prior summer. Although she was content with that offer, she wanted something more. Ashlin proceeded to search for more jobs and got a handful of different interviews. Then during the interview for the job position she ultimately decided to go with, Ashlin shared that she fell in love with it right then and there. She did not just want to settle for the offer she got from the company she interned with; she continued to search for something that made her happier. Ashlin learned that you never know what opportunities will arise for you until you keep working hard to find something greater. Her perseverance paid off!

Maddie Blevins, a future Risk & Compliance Consultant at Protiviti Consulting, shared that “it’s okay to break.” She started off her segment with talking about an internship that made her really unhappy. Maddie then came back in the fall and talked with one of her CWIB mentors to figure out how to handle this situation. She learned that it’s okay to break sometimes because you will learn what you don’t like and you will always have people to fall back on. After that summer, she attended a consulting dinner and networked with different professionals. That ultimately led to Maddie earning an internship with Protiviti, the company that eventually gave her a full-time offer! From that experience, she learned to “make opportunities for yourself and go for it.”

Ashley Roberts, a future Risk/ IT Advisory Consultant for Dixon Hughes Goodman, spoke to her motto: “do something scary.” She started out by talking about how she viewed herself as a “shy and awkward freshman.” She then talked about how getting involved in CWIB, studying abroad, and working with freshman orientation were all “terrifying things that shaped her into who she is today.” She’s proud of how far she has come and even joked that “if I told my freshman self that I can now talk in front of people, she would probably laugh.” Ashley will be sticking around Blacksburg next year to pursue her Master’s degree!

Last but not least, Annie Bokulic, a future Risk & Compliance Consultant at Protiviti Consulting, talked about how important it is to “go the extra mile.” At the beginning of her internship last summer, she asked herself, “How am I going to differentiate myself?” After careful consideration, Annie decided that her love of “going up to people and starting a conversation” was how she was going to stand out. She worked to accomplish this by introducing herself to all of the other interns, organizing a happy hour and even introducing herself to the partners of the firm! This all paid off because it was one of the partners that gave her a full-time offer. Annie ended her segment with three of her favorite pieces of advice: attitude is everything, don’t surround yourself with people who are the same as you, and believe that everything happens for a reason.

CWIB is so proud of the Class of 2018! These individuals have contributed so many things to our organization and they will be greatly missed next year. We cannot wait to see all of the amazing accomplishments you all are bound to have in the future. Please come back and speak at a meeting and we’ll see you all on our future treks!

Charlotte Trek: A Recap

A few weeks ago, Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) members trekked to Charlotte, North Carolina and visited three diverse companies, networked with Virginia Tech alum, and explored new and exciting career paths. Our outstanding peers represented CWIB on the Charlotte campuses of Red Ventures, Wells Fargo, and Dimensional Fund Advisors. Each company and its employees offered unique perspectives on business and professionalism. Read on to hear what CWIB members thought of their experience in “The Queen City!”

At Red Ventures, where intelligent innovators use data to bridge the gap between consumers and the services they need, members were immersed in a community-focused culture. On their growing campus, Virginia Tech alum introduced them to the work they do and offered valuable career advice. “The atmosphere was like no other to me,” says Sydney Woodward, “the company really embraced a ‘go-getter attitude.’ There was even a board that said, ‘Be Great People to Work With’ where employees are encouraged to take a piece of paper and do whatever it says – from grabbing lunch outside of the office to talking to someone they haven’t met before.”

 
During the CWIB visit to Wells Fargo, trek attendees spoke with more empowering professionals on careers in banking and the numerous paths within the industry. Their visit to Dimensional Fund Advisors expanded on their exposure to the finance industry – members heard from high-level employees and learned about the fast-paced world of investing. Tori Pollard, Sophomore CWIB member, and Business Information Technology (BIT) major found Dimensional Funds to be her favorite visit as it offered a company culture that seemed like an enjoyable place to work. Sydney Woodward found the visits to both companies highly informative since those are the types of firms she will be working with as a Financial Planning major!

Outside of the company visits, the trek attendees networked with other CWIB members. “It is always extremely empowering when you’re in this professional atmosphere and you are actively engaged,” says Woodward. Pollard, echoes her sentiments. “I had such a great time getting to bond with other CWIB members… this was my first trek and hopefully not my last.” Both women enjoyed exploring the city of Charlotte as well. Pollard states “Charlotte was never a place I had considered for an after-graduation job, but it is definitely on my radar now – it is an incredible up-and-coming city for young people entering the workforce.” Woodward even fell in love with the city and it is now her number one location to live after graduation!
 

Congrats to all Charlotte Trek attendees on seizing opportunities to expand your network and knowledge. Thank you to the companies who hosted CWIB and don’t forget to keep an eye out for these amazing opportunities throughout the following semesters!