Work Bag Essentials

How are your summers going, CWIB?! If you are working this summer, this post is for you! To make those nine-to-fives a little more bearable, it’s important to bring items to work with you that are essential to a great day. We asked Gigi Jones, Morgan Beavers, Heather Sangalang, and Pooja Devarakonda for some of their work bag must-haves and here is what they said:

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Water bottle: Bringing one every day helps your body and the environment. Heather Sangalang says, “It’s important to stay hydrated so I bring my [reusable] water bottle to work. My office has a water dispenser so [bringing my own water bottle] is better than using a bunch of plastic bottles.”

Notebook & pen: No matter what you’re doing at work, Heather thinks it’s always a good idea to keep a notebook and pen close by for jotting down notes and important details.  

Tide-To-Go: There’s nothing worse than a stain right on the front of your white button up. This stain remover pen is perfect for those “oops” moments, according to Heather Sangalang and Morgan Beavers.

Neutral lipstick: A good lipstick has Heather feeling confident in the office; her current favorite is Mac Whirl!

Snacks: Gigi Jones opts for “a granola bar or a piece of fruit, which can be great pick-me-ups during the day instead of coffee.”

Sandals: Walking around in heels all day can be exhausting– and painful! And for that, Pooja Devarakonda keeps an extra pair of sandals in her purse.

Band-Aids: After walking around in those painful heels a few band-aids might be needed. “Us working women walk a lot so you’ll never know when you or a friend might need them!” Gigi says.

Portable Charger: Both Gigi and Pooja agree that you wouldn’t want to run out of battery on a busy day.

Mirror + Backup Makeup: To make sure you’re still looking professional throughout the day, Pooja suggests carrying a mirror to keep an eye on those flyaways and extra makeup for a quick touch-up.

Business Cards: You never know who you’ll run into at lunch or in the office. For the sake of networking, Pooja always has a couple of business cards on hand.

If you haven’t considered tossing a few of these items in your work bag already, maybe it’s time to! It’s always a good idea to be prepared so you can keep calm and *carry* on. What are your work bag essentials?

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The Power in Being Proactive

Happy summer, CWIB!

Now that the school year has officially wrapped up, it’s time to start those summer internships, externships, study abroad programs, volunteer programs, and part-time jobs! Before you embark on your first day of whatever you’re up to this summer, I have some advice for all of you CWIB members: be proactive!

This was the most valuable lesson I learned in my summer internship last year. This habit will serve you well not just during the summer, but during the school year and eventually, your full-time jobs also.

During the first week, I was only given small assignments, but nothing of substance. The 8-hour days felt so long. I eventually realized that I had 12 weeks to learn and make a name for myself at this company. I knew that if I wanted to feel fulfilled at the end of this program, I had to do something.

First, I emailed this entry-level employee whom I had met at orientation asking if she wanted to grab coffee together. She was a friendly, bubbly person who had also interned with this company, so I thought she would be a great person to get advice from. We hit it off right away and she quickly became my “work BFF!” Throughout the summer, she invited me to meetings that she was involved in. If I didn’t take the initiative to reach out to her, I wouldn’t have been able to see this company from different perspectives or meet any of those amazing people, including her!

Another example is more work-related. Like I said before, I wasn’t doing anything at the beginning of my internship. I worked up the courage to talk to my manager and express my desire to do more. She listened to me and shortly after, I was invited to more meetings and assigned to more projects. I was even invited to go to business process alignment meetings with our vendor in Maryland! All of these were opportunities that I know I would not have been given had I not spoken up.

I hope these two examples showcase the value that being proactive can have. All of you CWIB members are capable, intelligent, and talented young women. If something isn’t going the way you envisioned, say something! Doing so will show your peers/managers what your interests are and what you can bring to the table. Do not think that all of your hopes and dreams are going to be delivered to you on a silver platter. Work hard, be proactive, and you will come back to Blacksburg in the fall feeling fulfilled, I promise!

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!

5 Fast Tips for Finals

As the weather’s getting warmer here in Blacksburg (finally!), I bet all of you CWIB members are ready for summer! The thoughts of hanging out with your family, reuniting with high school friends, and going on fun vacations have probably been lingering in all of your heads lately, but there is one thing standing in the way: finals.

Reading Day is just two days away! I don’t know about all of you, but this semester has flown by for me. Life is going by fast, and we all need to get ready for the fast approach of final exams.

I know this next week or so may be stressful for a lot of you. These exams might determine your grades and they’re going to require a lot of studying, but it is important to remember to take care of yourself too.

Here are 5 tips to help you do well on your finals!

1. Schedule Your Time – Before you start studying, ask yourself what you need to look over. Then, plan when you’re going to study each thing. Saying something like “I will study math from 1 PM to 3 PM” is vague. Instead, say something more specific like “I will study lecture notes from 1:00-1:30 and do practice problems from 1:30-3:00.” This allows you to stay focused on what you need to do so your mind doesn’t wander off.  However, don’t stress over these time constraints. If it takes you 10 extra minutes to study exam 1, that’s okay! This method just helps you avoid turning 30 minutes of study time into 3 hours!

2. Take breaks – Your brain needs a break after studying for a good chunk of time! Stepping away from the books for awhile allows you to recharge and lowers your stress levels. Something I do that helps me is I treat breaks as a reward. For example, after learning chapters 1 and 2, I’ll allow myself to look at my phone for 15 minutes. This way, you work hard during a period of time so you can get to something more fun, such as checking Instagram!

3. Get up and go –  Checking your phone or eating a snack are a couple of ways to take a break from studying, but I have found that getting up and moving is my favorite! Whether you take a walk around the library or take a stroll around Duck Pond, getting some circulation in your body is a good thing! You’ll come back to your computer feeling invigorated!

4. Get enough sleep –  This may be one of the most important tips I can give you. Pulling an all-nighter or staying up hanging out with friends before a final exam are not the best things to do. Make the effort to study hard during the day so you can get a good night’s sleep. All of the information you studied the day before won’t be as accessible if you’re exhausted.

5. Be confident – I know without a doubt that all of you CWIB members are smart individuals! Trust in your abilities. You know more than you think you know. Study hard and take breaks, but try not to get too stressed. These exams won’t make or break your life, so don’t let the stress consume you! You got this, CWIB!

These were my 5 fast tips for studying for finals. I want to emphasize that different things work for different people. These are just things that work for me. Do what works best for you so you can ace those exams!

Good luck on your finals, CWIB! Have a great summer!

New York Trek Recap

The first event for the CWIB members was Hokies on Wall Street, which was hosted at the Citigroup Midtown building. Alumni and current students from Virginia Tech mingled as they chatted about experiences in the business world as well as their college days. A first-time attendee, Jennifer Lee, Consultant at Citigroup, said, “[Hokies on Wall Street] is such a large networking opportunity and when awesome [opportunities like this] come up, you just have to take [advantage of] it.” A group of CWIB members was fascinated by Jennifer’s story, amazed at how she achieved a position at Citigroup after graduating with a degree from the College of Science. She is a strong believer in “doing what you want to do as long as you work hard for it.”

Other alumni mentioned the reason they attended this event was that they could “really feel the Hokie Spirit.” Many women from CWIB would agree, there is just something special about going into the world and feeling at home with the people you’re around because they’re part of the Virginia Tech Community.

As the sun began to shine over the city that never sleeps, the group headed over to the Google Building, sporting blazers, and bright eyes.

After a tour of the 2.9 million-square-foot building (and plenty of pictures on the block-long balcony), CWIB members sat down in a room of the Summer section on the “Four Seasons” themed floor for a panel. The main topics of the Google panel were: finding mentors in college and the workforce, building a personal brand, and overcoming challenges of being a woman in the business world.

“Not all mentors are labeled,” said Ingrid Gonzalez, Head of Sales for Google Cloud. “They can be anyone who is there for you in doubt and gives you opportunities. You will have many challenges [in your career], so make sure you have the right people around you to help you through them.” Suzy Schumer, Strategy and Sales Operations Consultant, advised that “when it comes to building your personal brand, you want to make sure you leave an impact on your interviewer [or client]. Learn what makes you passionate and let them remember you.”

In a lifetime career, we’re bound to run into many challenges. Suzy said, “It is okay to fail. It is okay to cry. Give yourself a moment in private, then gather yourself and get back out there.” As a woman in business, Suzy knows the importance of embracing who you are. “There will be times that you may find yourself as the only woman in the room. Embrace it and be comfortable with yourself.”

After the panel at Google, the women headed to the Citigroup building for a presentation of the early career opportunities at Citigroup and a panel that focused on the recruiting process. When preparing for recruiting, Panelist Nancy Song advises to “Be passionate! Have an open and adaptable mind. Understand what you are being interviewed for.” She also stressed that in your career, “stereotypical networking is not the only way! Build relationships that you already have, like with those you already work with every day. However, don’t be afraid to talk to people, be proactive and look for ways you can help and connect.”

When asked what the best decision they’ve made for their career was, Christina Capitelli responded by saying, “Taking opportunities as they come. Don’t stay static, use opportunities to grow and develop.” Jennifer Lee’s best decision was “Keeping an open mind, you never know until you try.”

Next stop was Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Capital Markets, “a global investment bank that provides focused expertise in banking, finance and capital markets to [clients] around the world.” At RBC, CWIB members and the speakers had an enriching conversation about women and their impact in the corporate world. “The way we [women] respond to situations is different from men, but that makes us no less legitimate: our brains work the same,” said Cara. “We have strengths and characteristics that make us great leaders. You can’t have the same exact people sitting at the table looking at a problem.”

To wrap up the visit, the group was given the privilege of going onto the trading floor for a better idea of what happens at a company such as RBC.

 If you haven’t been on a CWIB Trek yet, make a goal to attend next year! You won’t regret the invaluable experience and connections you build in CWIB as well as in the corporate world.

Summer Internships: How to Prepare for Your First Day

Summer is slowly approaching, which means so is the first day of that summer internship many of you were able to receive. It is very stressful and nerve-racking to think about the first day and what the entire summer will be like, but it is important to be ready. Keep reading to learn some tips on how to make sure you make great first impressions on that day!

1. Have an Open Mind

Since you got this job, you have most likely done some intense research on the company and the position, right?  When given your first task, you may find that it isn’t something you expected you would be doing. Be able to adapt to any situation and try your best.

2. Ask Questions

Do not hesitate to ask any questions! Don’t think that any question is a dumb one; someone probably asked it before.  Your manager will appreciate it if you ask thorough questions on your position; it will show that you’re interested and want to do the best you can. Also, your coworkers are in the same boat as you, so ask them anything and you may even make a new friend along the way.

3. Dress for Success

Go to the mall a few days before your first day, and stock up on clothing that satisfies your dress requirements. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have a blazer, some blouses, and dress pants – this will get you through the majority of the summer. Remember to take into account the conditions of your travel! For example, if you’re walking a few blocks to your office, make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes.

4. Get Organized

Load your Metro card, fill your gas tank up, prepare your bag/briefcase, and pack your lunch the night before! Also, look up directions to the building and leave about 20 minutes earlier to allow yourself more than enough time to get to work on time. Another important task you should do is familiarize yourself with the area so you can easily find the closest coffee shop!

5. Have Proper Etiquette

This is a little obvious, but still one of the most important concepts one needs to remember when in a professional environment. The first impression is typically how one is remembered, so make sure to smile, make eye contact, and have a firm handshake with everyone you meet. Introduce yourself properly and ask as many questions as needed.  Don’t be shy!

6. Be CONFIDENT

Everyone has their own unique strengths, personalities, and skills. Believing in yourself is the first step in showing the people at your company that you are an intelligent, capable intern. Make a lasting impression on everyone you meet, attend company events, never stop learning, and don’t hesitate to ask a question or pitch any idea. Confidence is the key to success!

 

These are all little tips that can lead to a great first day on the job and a great internship experience. Remember, you were hired for a reason. Show this company they were smart for hiring you. Good luck this summer, CWIB! We know you’ll make this organization proud!