CWIB Hokies on Wall Street

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CWIB members at Hokies on Wall Street. Photo credit: Pamplin College of Business

On April 4th, fifteen CWIB members headed to New York City to join Pamplin alumni for the annual Hokies on Wall Street event. Hokies on Wall Street is a networking event for Virginia Tech alumni and current students of all majors to come together and interact with each other about everything from their careers to their favorite memories in Blacksburg.

This year’s event was hosted by CitiGroup in their Midtown office. The event kicked off with a panel including Omar Asali, Chairman and CEO at One Madison Group, Tracy Castle-Newman, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and CEO of KPMG. Dean Sumichrast moderated the panel and asked them questions about their career journey.  When asked what one piece of advice she can give to people who want to grow their career, Tracy Castle-Newman emphasized the importance of commitment. She admitted, “Every time I got a promotion, I would stay at the office until 11 PM for a couple of weeks in order to learn the job and become good at it. I made that choice.” Omar Asali’s piece of advice was: be passionate about what you do. He explained that “if you do what you love, everything else falls into place.” The panel ended with the question: why is giving back important? Lynne Doughtie shared that she has been contributing money to Pamplin since she graduated. She went on to say, “When I got my first paycheck, I donated $15 to Pamplin. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Virginia Tech gave me so much and I have always believed that it was right to donate what I could.” The panelists did a great job inspiring the audience to work hard in their career to reach their goals and remember that Pamplin helped get them to where they are today, so there is value in giving back. After the panel, there was a networking reception where attendees chatted while munching on the delicious catered food. CWIB members thoroughly enjoyed interacting with many successful Hokie alumni.

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CWIB members with KPMG CEO, Lynne Doughtie. Photo credit: Pamplin College of Business

CWIB members also had the chance to visit a couple of the world’s most iconic companies. On Friday morning, trekees visited IBM. CWIB members sat down with three women in marketing who explained their paths to IBM and offered advice on reaching one’s full potential and becoming successful in business. Allison Wood, a sophomore majoring in Marketing and Management, shared that the IBM visit was one of her favorite parts of the trek because of the inspirational women she got to meet. “They are each so successful but are only a few years older than us. It really showed me what I can accomplish in just a few years if I put my mind to it,” she shared. In the afternoon, the CWIB members traveled to the New York Stock Exchange. The group was treated to a personal tour of the company from Laura Seamon, a Manager in Enforcement Counsel. Heather Sangalang, a senior majoring in BIT, shared that her favorite part of this visit was being on the trading floor. She admitted that “It was a surreal experience being on the famous trading floor that you see in movies. I found it really interesting to hear that the number of traders decreased from 5000 to 500 over the years due to the adoption of advanced computer programs and algorithms. It proved the significance of technology in business.” The visit ended with a panel featuring women who work in regulation. CWIB members asked them questions about their job roles, how they handle work in a male-dominated field, and why they think internships are important. After this visit, the group was free to roam New York City with each other, which allowed them to bond with new and old faces!

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CWIB members during their visit to IBM. Photo credit: Neha Shah

Emma Roby is a freshman studying Finance who participated in the trek to expand her network and connect with professionals from companies she’s interested in working for. When asked about her most memorable moment from the trek, she shared, “My most memorable part of the weekend was touring the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, getting to experience what goes on down on the floor in person was incredible.” Roby encourages other CWIB members to participate in treks because they offer the opportunity to meet professionals in different fields, which can be helpful in deciding which career path you want to pursue.

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CWIB members on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo credit: Gigi Jones

Lauren Carey, a senior studying Finance and Management, has attended Hokies on Wall Street for the past three years, explaining that it is her favorite event of the year. She enjoyed visiting the New York Stock Exchange for the opportunity to tour the trading floor and speak with a panel of women in the regulation sector. Lauren admits that her favorite part of the trek was bonding with other CWIB members. “I have made some of my best friends from CWIB and I cannot picture my college experience without it,” she says.

Kinsey Donovan, a senior studying BIT and Management Consulting, also considers Hokies on Wall Street her favorite event of the year and describes the trek as engaging, enlightening, and inspiring. It was her third and last year participating in the trek and explains that the Hokies on Wall Street networking event is what makes the NYC excursion worthwhile. “Being on the top floor of a New York skyscraper under the city lights talking to amazing people who love Virginia Tech and want to invest in the students makes the quick trip so worth it,” she explains. Her biggest takeaway from the trek was a piece of advice she received from an alum she talked to. He explained that the start of your career is a time to spend observing – observing managers, coworkers, and leaders in your company, so when you get to their level you’ll know how you want to interact with everyone.

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CWIB seniors at their final Hokies on Wall Street. Photo credit: Lauren Carey

Abby Perkins, a sophomore studying Marketing, explains that she was pleasantly surprised by the trips to IBM and the New York Stock Exchange. Representatives at IBM focused on product marketing, while CWIB members got to learn more about the legal side of trading at the New York Stock Exchange. Abby appreciated that the company visits consisted of more than just finance and BIT-related topics. “This trek taught me that there are so many opportunities for all majors at companies you wouldn’t normally expect, so you just have to keep looking for the job you want in places you might not be expecting,” she explains. The IBM visit was the most memorable part of the trek for Abby and she enjoyed how relatable the women were. “The women we talked to were very down to earth and you could tell that they wanted us to succeed in our endeavors. We had a great discussion not just about business but life as well and how transitioning from college into a job was for them,” she shared.

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There are plenty of opportunities to bond with your CWIB friends and explore the city you’re in during treks!. Photo credit: Neha Shah

CWIB treks are a great opportunity to make connections with professionals, discover new companies, and get a feel for a city you may see yourself working in. They are also a chance to bond with your fellow CWIB members and grow a network of supportive friends who share similar aspirations to you. Freshmen and seniors alike take away something valuable from treks, whether that be learning about different career paths or making new connections at a fun, annual event!

 

By: Allison DeSantis

 

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Preparing the Way for More Women in Sports

Sports are a major way to connect people of differing backgrounds. They bring about intense emotions as athletes and coaches can inspire the everyday person to reach for greatness. However, more often than not the image that pops up in our heads is of a male athlete, coach, or sports announcer. Women continue to struggle for equal respect in their athletic abilities. While women do not receive the same attention as men do when it comes to sports, we are taking the steps in the right direction. This comes from the support of male-dominated organizations providing women with equal opportunities.

A recent ESPN article caught my attention as the headline stated, “Buccaneers hire 2 female assistant coaches.” Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar were hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as assistant defensive line coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach, respectively (Schefter). This accomplishment made these two women the first full-time female coaches in the Buccaneers’ franchise.  

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Locust (left) and Javadifar (right) were the first female assistant coaches hired in Buccaneers franchise history. Image via FOX.

Both women were extensively qualified for these positions as Locust has had coaching experience with the Baltimore Ravens as an intern and as defensive line coach for the Alliance of American Football’s Birmingham Iron. She has additional experience playing the sport herself at the semi-professional level (Schefter). Javadifar comes from an athletic background too as she played college basketball at Pace University. She furthered her education at New York Medical College where she received her doctorate in physical therapy; from there, she completed her sports physical therapy residency at Virginia Commonwealth University (Schefter). There was no question that Locust and Javadifar take their work seriously. Thanks to Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians, he took their accomplishments seriously too.

The National Football League (NFL) is predominantly composed of male athletes, coaches, and general managers, so women may often be overlooked when it comes to their inclusion within this organization. Tampa Bay Head Coach Bruce Arians stated, “I know how hard it can be to get that first opportunity to coach at the highest level of professional football. Sometimes, all you need is the right organization to offer up the opportunity.” While general NFL viewers would not initially picture women as a part of the team staff, Arians realized that it shouldn’t matter whether a man or a woman is a coach, as long as he or she knows how to coach. ” ‘I have known Lori going back to my days at Temple University, and I’ve seen firsthand just how knowledgeable and passionate she is about this game,’ Arians said. ‘I was equally impressed with Maral’s background in performance training and physical therapy, and I know she will be a valuable asset to our strength and conditioning program,’ ” (Schefter). Arians recognized the abilities of these women and that’s all he needed as confirmation they would be successful contributors to the team. Their gender was never a second thought.

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Bruce Arians is the head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and made the decision to add Locust and Javadifar to his staff. Image via INSCMagazine.

Arians is known for his support of female coaches as he previously hired Jen Welter as a training camp intern for the Arizona Cardinals in 2015, where he was previously the head coach. She is considered the first woman to hold a position with the NFL (Schefter). Hopefully, he can serve as an example to other coaches that hiring women to work in sports is not such a crazy thought after all.

Locust and Javadifar join a total of 55 women working for NFL teams in football operations (Marvez). With the increased number of women working in this field, many would assume there is added pressure on them to prove themselves worthy of the position. In an article from Sporting News, Samantha Rapoport, the NFL’s director of football development, states, “ ‘What we don’t want is the spotlight on one female and her feeling it rests on her shoulders for women to succeed or fail,’ ” (Marvez). One woman’s accomplishment should be something special to her; it should inspire others to do the same, not frighten them that they will not live up to their own potential. So far, this has not been a problem among employees within the NFL as Rapoport complements the organization as being “an absolutely incredibly open, welcoming place to work.”

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Samantha Rapoport is the NFL’s director of football development. She is “tasked with helping ensure females are afforded chances to prosper at all levels in a male-dominated league,” (Marvez). Image via McGill News.

Women who work in sports are becoming more and more common in the world we live in today where increased diversity is not only recommended but demanded by organizations. We can see this past the NFL as the National Basketball Association (NBA) has several women working for their teams, such as the San Antonio Spurs’ Becky Hammon, who became the first female assistant coach in NBA history. Sports reporters like Erin Andrews and Laura Rutledge are paving the way for women in sports media positions. We can see that the opportunities for females in the sports industry are ever increasing across several aspects of the field.

Women such as those mentioned above are role models for women and young girls everywhere that they can be just as successful as men in the sports field. In the future, we can expect to see more women in leadership roles within sports organizations, so if this is something that is of interest to you, don’t be afraid to apply for internships that show you possess these same qualities and skills to be successful in the world of sports!

There are numerous jobs in the sports business. Be sure to check out Teamwork Online at this link to find opportunities that match your strengths and passions, and how they can fit into the sports industry.

 

By: Emma Harwood 

 

Lynne Doughtie: Inspiring Women to Climb to the Top

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KPMG CEO and Chairwoman, Lynne Doughtie. Photo credit: KPMG Website

In a time of more women holding executive positions in companies such as International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and General Motors (GM), Virginia Tech alumna Lynne Doughtie serves as an inspiration for women with a goal to excel at their jobs and reach their goals. She is a huge believer in building confidence and taking risks in order to have a long-lasting and successful career.

Lynne Doughtie is currently the CEO and Chairman of KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms that offer financial audit, tax, and advisory services. In 2015, Doughtie became the first female CEO of KPMG and has also held multiple leadership positions during her time with the company. As the CEO, her goal is to foster an environment in which the next generations are nourished and can face challenges the right way.

Doughtie began her career with KPMG in the company’s audit practice after graduating from Virginia Tech in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She originally found her love for accounting when she helped with her family’s business growing up, and decided that this was what she was meant to do.

Staying involved in Virginia Tech has remained an important part of Doughtie’s fulfillment. She is a current Cabinet Member and has served as President and Cabinet Chair for the Pamplin Advisory Council. She has also served on the Pamplin Accounting and Information Systems Advisory Board. Doughtie received the Virginia Tech University Distinguished Achievement Award in May 2018 and the Pamplin College of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007 for her involvements and contributions to the university. Aside from her awards received at Virginia Tech, Doughtie has also been named one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business and Accounting and Today’s Magazine Top 100 Most Influential People.  

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Doughtie with Dean Sumichrest at the 2018 Pamplin Commencement Ceremony. Photo credit: Dean Sumichrest’s Twitter

Lynne Doughtie was invited to participate in a panel discussion at this year’s Hokies on Wall Street event that a handful of Collegiate Women in Business members were able to attend. During this event, she emphasized the importance of giving back to Pamplin. She said that she has been donating a part of her paycheck since she started her full-time career. Doughtie stated, “I only gave $15 and I was so proud of it. Virginia Tech did so much for me, so it has always been important for me to give back.” The CEO is a prime example of someone who lives out Ut Prosim in her life despite the fact that she graduated many years ago.

Doughtie is very involved not only in the Virginia Tech community but also on the Board of Directors of other organizations such as the National Academy Foundation (NAF), cancer-focused nonprofit LUNGevity and the Partnership for New York City.

Building confidence in your career is crucial if you want to reach your goals and have a fulfilling career. In an interview with Business Insider, Doughtie explains the way she thinks confidence is gained. She argues, “…it shouldn’t just come because you say: “I’m smart and I can do this,” I think it comes from action. It’s actually just — jump in, do it, impress the heck out of yourself, that’s how you get confidence. And then as each new challenge and opportunity comes, you jump in again.” This is a valuable point made by the CEO because no matter how well you do in your classes, it won’t matter if you don’t practice applying it somewhere. Therefore, it is a great idea to get involved in organizations on campus, do well on your projects at your part-time jobs, and/or get internships so you can apply what you learn in the classroom to these organizations. Just go out and do it.

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Doughtie’s interview with Business Insider. Photo credit: Business Insider

Like all of us, Doughtie has experienced many challenges and disappointments in her career but has kept going by learning in new positions and experiences. In the same interview with Business Insider, Doughtie stresses the importance of your professional growth of always raising your hand for new opportunities and being confident in your abilities when taking risks.  She says, “When you feel you’re most uncomfortable… that’s actually great because it means you’re growing.” In continuing on this theme, she attributes her ability to take risks as the reason why she got all of her promotions because it’s the driver for growth in your career. She explains, “Careers are really long. At 13 years it seemed, like, “If I don’t do this one thing, my career’s over.” No, it was just starting. And I think that my ability to rise through the ranks at KPMG, I was clearly benefited by having a variety of experiences.” While it may seem scary to take on a new role or ask for a promotion, Doughtie’s career showcases that it is one of the ways that new doors will open for you that can present you with new opportunities to learn and grow.

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Lynne Doughtie speaking at the Women’s Leadership Summit hosted by KPMG. Photo credit: Forbes

Becoming the first female CEO in KPMG’s history made headlines in 2015. Lynne Doughtie recognizes that this is a huge accomplishment and continually strives to empower women in the business world to help them know that success is attainable. She believes that her success is due to watching others. She explains, “I feel a sense of responsibility to reach in and encourage and sponsor and mentor, and to show women that they can do this, and that’s very powerful. It goes full circle to how we started the conversation about even just me seeing my mother and my father, and the things that they did…and you can see yourself doing that.” As women in the business world, we should empower other women and be good examples of what a successful woman looks like. Here in Collegiate Women in Business, we strive to create a supportive environment that makes our members feel ready to achieve anything they want to. Female support is a powerful thing!

Lynne Doughtie has and continues to encourage women to use their unique talents and abilities as they strive for success in their career. As she continues to pioneer the way for women in the business world through her past and current leading roles, she truly sparks inspiration for women to climb to the top.

Power Panel Recap

On Monday, March 25th, Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB)  hosted their biggest event of the year: the 2019 Power Panel. This is an annual event in which CWIB invites the entire Virginia Tech community to take part in a night filled with networking, panelist speakers, and empowering insights. The theme for this year’s Power Panel was Choose Courage: Unleash Your Full Potential. Our three panelists, Frances Reimers, Tricia Harper, and Allison Sitch (refer to the CWIB Chronicles’ article: Meet Your 2019 Power Panelists for more information), inspired attendees with their own courageous experiences of being a woman in business.

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Our three Power Panelists: Tricia Harper, Frances Reimers, and Allison Sitch. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians.

The night began with a catered networking session with the panelists for CWIB members only, giving our members a unique opportunity to speak one-on-one with these incredible women. After networking, students from all across Virginia Tech’s campus arrived eager to hear from the three leading industry professionals attending the panel. The panel was then moderated by CWIB’s Chief Communications Officer, Neha Shah. Shah asked prompting questions throughout the night, and the panelists were excited to share their life experiences with the room.

Frances Reimers as CEO of Firestarter Communications, Tricia Harper as Partner at KPMG, and Allison Sitch as a PR representative for Marriott Hotels collectively highlighted four main ideas to live by in the corporate world:

Interests and Passions:

In order to reach your full potential, it is crucial to discover and define what you are truly passionate about. This can be anything from your major to a small interest in your life, and it can occur at any time in your life, as we are always growing. Reimers revealed how her majors and personal interests were very different, but in order to excel in her industry, she combined her knowledge and passions for each. Reimers shared, “The bridge may be foggy at the beginning, but with every step, it gets clearer,” referring to one’s journey in finding themselves and what they choose to do with their life.

Harper was focused on sharing the importance of being open-minded in terms of your passions. She advised the room to be grounded in who you are as a person and ask yourself what excites you. Then, you must be open to where that will take you in life. If you think about what you love, you will find things that are uniquely you, and those qualities will take you far in life if you let them! Simply put, “Do something that you will love,” said Sitch, agreeing with Harper. Motivating factors are a big aspect of discovering what you are passionate about as well. Harper announced how she is motivated by having an impact, even if it is small, every single day. “Everyone wants to change the world but no one is willing to make an impact on the person next to you,” she proclaimed. No matter what gives you passion or feeds your interests, find those factors and incorporate them into your everyday life, both personal and professional.

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CWIB members bonding and networking. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians

Finding the Right Company:  

A big factor in determining your happiness while having a professional career is finding a company that fits you as a person. Knowing what qualities you hope to find in a company can go a long way in ensuring you have vast opportunities in the future. As an employee for Marriott Hotels, Sitch shared how important it is that a company recognizes the right that everyone has a future and potential. She finds joy in working for the family company, Marriott, because it is welcoming to all, not just to other companies, but to individual workers. In fact, the new president, David Marriott, has worked every role in the hotel. From making beds and checking people in, to handling the financial books, Marriott has developed a sense of gratitude for each and every employee, creating a work environment that benefits all who are involved.

Similarly, Harper wanted to find a company where she could have countless opportunities to further her career. KPMG allowed her to work with C-level executives directly out of college, and from there she began her journey to become a partner for the firm. Harper revealed that the people and values of KPMG are what has kept her at the company for nearly two decades. She noted the importance of finding a place to work where you will enjoy spending the entire day with the people, as your career is a big time commitment in your life. Reimers added how she always made sure to take part in nonprofits and give back to the community while she was working for other agencies, as well as in her own company. In starting her company, Reimers actually incorporated all of the aspects she desired to have in different companies into one single company. As she put it, she connected the dots!

Finally, finding a company that supports your goals as a woman is crucial. Marriott Hotels, Firestarter Communications, and KPMG all support women in the workplace, which is reassuring to hear. For example, KPMG has previously offered Harper sabbaticals, time off, and flexible work arrangements when her professional and personal goals were both prominent in her life. As a mother of three, and a successful partner at KPMG, Harper revealed her gratitude for the firm, as she did not have to choose between her career and her family. Harper proclaimed, “We always talk about work-life balance, but really it is all life,” and KMPG realizes that in its employees. Go out into the corporate world and believe that you can have both professional and personal ambitions!

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Our wonderful panelists pose with CWIB members, Neha Shah and Andra Scaliti. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians.

Risk Taking:

A common theme among the journeys of each of the three women on stage included the idea of taking risks. Being unsure about the future is one of the scariest feelings in the world, yet it can lead to some of the greatest results. With risk and courage, comes growth as well. Growth becomes an indefinite journey and a significant one in our transitions throughout the business world. Sitch stated how important it is to always be motivated to learn, transform, and “become better.” “Success is never really final,” she added. Each panelist has taken risks in their careers, and it has led to great success for each one of them.

Sitch shared that the biggest risk she took in her corporate career was moving to the United States. Encouraged multiple times, Sitch agreed to leave her position overseeing 94 hotels around the world and transition to overseeing 5,300 hotels in America alone. She revealed that a mentor of hers once said, “As best you can allow your career to unfold,” and she has lived by that ever since her transition. Although the transition was not easy, Sitch declared, “I had the ability. I had the company. I had the courage.” Change may not always come easy, but taking risks can lead to amazing benefits. You simply have to know and believe in your own abilities.

Reimers believed in her ability to part ways from the advertising agency she was with to form an agency of her own, grounded in her desired ideals. She had to create a company from scratch, funded by her own savings. She personally came up with the brand, social media, logo, and many more details concerning the blossoming company. “We as women often talk ourselves out of something, and we need to stop that,” she announced to the audience. Having the courage to know where she wanted to be and what she wanted to do was the foundation she built her company on.

Lastly, Harper decided the normal, linear path to partner was not one she desired. She decided to take a non-client-based path, despite people telling her she would not make partner with that course. She relied on her courage to persevere in her journey to make partner. “Courage is really about anchoring to your cores values,” Harper said. She did not let those around her who were discouraging affect her perseverance, and neither should you!

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Five of our CWIB members at the networking session prior to the panel. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians.

Relationships:

Building connections is an important aspect of developing your professional brand and your personal relationships. Harper advises that you begin with a network you are comfortable in, and expand from there. Sitch recommends that you go into every discussion with an open mind, believing that people are good, and genuinely talk with those around you. Reimers reassured the audience not to let what happens in the office impact the relationships that mean the most to you. In our strive for success, we may experience failure, but we cannot let those difficult times define us. “Know the difference between what you can control and what you cannot,” stated Reimers. Another key component Reimers highlighted in relation to building strong relationships is understanding that life is not a competition with your neighbor. “You are enough, so stop worrying about how you measure up to others,” Reimers revealed in an empowering statement. Be present, and your abilities will guide you to success!

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Present and upcoming members of the CWIB leadership team stand with the panelists. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians.

Overall, the night was filled with encouraging insight from our three panelists, Frances Reimers, Tricia Harper, and Allison Sitch. We hope you take the advice given by each of these women and use it to make strides in the business world. We at Collegiate Women in Business cannot wait to see all that you become!  

 

By: Allison Wood

 

How to Get Experience Outside of Internships

As business students, the pressure to find an internship that will lead to the perfect job is thrown upon us as mere freshmen with no knowledge of how to do so and why it is so important. Simply put, getting an internship is the most common way to get experience, and in the business field, gaining work experience is the most important precursor to getting a job. As a result, many students strive to land the perfect internship and spend much of the academic year either trying to get interviewed for them or preparing for them once they have received them.

However, many don’t realize that there are other alternatives to getting internships! These can be smaller, but they still build your resume and give you that experience, without the stress of spending a whole year looking for them. Although they are smaller, they can still make a huge difference, especially for students who can’t afford to work an unpaid internship for the whole summer or have struggled to get any interviews. Ultimately, getting an internship would be ideal, but if you don’t get the perfect internship, you can still build your resume in other ways!

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As a business student, one common misconception is that getting an internship is the only way to get a job! There are many other ways! Source: Capital Research 

 

1.Personal Projects

Starting a personal project is mostly about finding a way to display your abilities and build your experience in your career. For example, you can have a personal project in software development or code, and share this project with future employers during interviews! This definitely isn’t to be confused with any class project, as employers will immediately be able to tell if you show them something like that. Make it authentic and work hard on it for at least a few months to show your commitment to it. Also, more valuable lessons are bound to be learned if you spend more time on the project and you can share those lessons with your interviewer!

2. Externships

Although internships are the most common, externships are still out there and they can be very beneficial as well!  Externships are offered by many companies and are great opportunities to show your interest in a company! Although externships are unpaid and time-consuming, most of them don’t last as long as a regular internship. Times can range from a day to a month, but it all depends on what you get offered! Taking an externship gives you the opportunity to learn about your career through watching, but you will not get any hands-on experience from it. Many companies offer these as a precursor to actual internships! For example, Ernst & Young, one of CWIB’s sponsors, offers an externship targeted towards sophomores, with the purpose of it leading to an internship the following summer. This is also a great way to get ahead and get your internship planned out early!

3. Organizations

Whether you have realized it or not, the organizations that you are involved in have the potential to make a huge difference on your resume. Showing your commitment and growth in one area is extremely important. There are many organizations at Virginia Tech which can help you get experience in your field. For example, you can apply to SEED, a student-managed endowment fund to get real-life experience in investing and networking. If you are interested in gaining consulting experience, you can apply to join the Consulting Group at VT. The last example of organizations that provide amazing real-world experience is PRISM because they work heavily in marketing and advertising. You can even get these types of experiences in organizations that aren’t targeted towards business students by working hard and joining the leadership team! Do your research beforehand and be sure to find what works for you. These opportunities are the easiest to take advantage of because they are mostly free or highly-affordable, and much less time-consuming than summer internships.

4. Treks

Treks are something that only CWIB can give you and are so incredibly valuable in your resume building experience. On treks, you can travel to many different cities and visit many different firms. These are rare opportunities, and the costs are fairly-priced. Taking advantage of treks can give you connections with firms and people who you can reach out to in the future! On these short trips, you can learn about how each company runs and see first-hand what the job looks like. Needless to say, this is an extremely helpful experience to have before entering the workforce and all CWIB members should aim to go on at least one trek in their college career!

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CWIB girls got to meet with employees at SiriusXM in New York this past fall and this was a fantastic way for the trekees to gain industry exposure! Source: CWIB

Ultimately, it’s important to not get discouraged! Interviewers want to see that you are capable of learning and are passionate about your field. Even if getting an internship doesn’t work out, there are plenty of ways to get experience for your career and build your resume! As a CWIB member, you will be given many opportunities to meet with recruiters at workshops or get first-hand experience on treks. These opportunities are highly valuable to your resume and you should aim to actively learn from each one.

 

By: Lina al Taii 

How Entrepreneur, Komal Ahmad, is Fighting Hunger Through Technology

Komal Ahmad is a woman on a mission to solve what she believes is the world’s dumbest problem: hunger. Her start-up company, Copia, is a technology platform that connects businesses with excess food to nonprofits. The businesses schedule pickups of their excess food on the app, Copia Connect, and Copia drivers come to pick up the food and deliver it to nonprofits in need. Nonprofits create profiles on the app to indicate their food needs and constraints and request recurring or on-demand food donations so that they only receive food on days when they are able to accept it. Copia has recovered over 1 million pounds of food and delivered over 900,000 meals according to its website. The 29-year-old was featured on Forbes 30 under 30 and Copia is recognized as one of the top three startups run by a woman in the U.S. to name a few of the numerous awards and recognition Komal has received.

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Ahmad was featured on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 List. Photo credit: Forbes

Komal studied International Health and Global Development at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. She had no plans of becoming an entrepreneur and starting her own technology company, but rather was training to become an officer in the Navy upon graduation. Meeting impoverished and hungry veterans is what really made her start thinking about issues of poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity. In this Forbes article Komal explains how she encountered a homeless man who was begging for food one day and felt compelled to invite him to join her for lunch. He was a veteran who had just returned from Iraq and hadn’t eaten in three days. Ahmad explains that she thought, “This is a veteran, someone who made a selfless sacrifice for our country, only to come home to face yet another battle…to add insult to injury, right across the street Berkeley’s dining hall is throwing away thousands of pounds of perfectly edible food.” After her lunch with the veteran, Ahmad was determined to alleviate the hunger around her but was told by Berkeley’s dining hall that there was too much liability in donating unused food to the local homeless community. Unsatisfied with this answer, Komal did more research and eventually convinced her university to start a food recovery program. Starting this program, Komal saw firsthand how hard it was to match places with excess food to nonprofits. She would call nonprofits in the area and they wouldn’t be interested in the food she had recovered or would only be able to take a small portion of it.

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Komal allowed her passion to become her career. Photo credit: Experience Life 

Three years after graduating from UC Berkeley, Komal founded Copia in 2015 and experimented with various business models while she was starting out. First, she thought that Copia should be a non-profit, but found the time it took to apply for grant funding to be consuming all her time. So, she decided to see if the businesses she worked with would pay Copia a percentage of the tax deduction they receive from their donations in exchange for data about where their food surpluses are coming from. The businesses agreed to this arrangement. Copia quantifies the impact of the businesses that use its service, like how many people they feed by donating food and what their environmental impact is, so they can share that information with internal and external stakeholders. It’s really a win-win situation for businesses with excess food and communities with people in need.

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Copia has recovered over 1 million pounds of food! Photo credit: Millenial

Komal has hit rough patches in getting Copia to where it is today. She admits that there were times when she was sleeping on a blow-up mattress at a friend’s apartment and rationing out a pizza for a week because she didn’t have any money. Additionally, without a business background, Komal has had to surround herself with people who have expertise in areas that she does not. Despite the obstacles she’s faced, her mission to find a solution to the world’s dumbest problem has pushed her to keep going.

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Komal is solving the social problem of hunger through her business, Copia! Photo credit: Millenial 

In the future, Komal hopes that Copia can expand beyond food and redistribute items like clothes and books, understanding that many of the same logistics issues exist with the redistribution of these items. Her LinkedIn bio begins with “The reasonable woman adapts herself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to herself. All progress, therefore, depends on the unreasonable woman.” Komal has found success by believing that she is capable of solving a huge global problem through a simple yet well-thought-out solution. She has persisted through the trials of entrepreneurship and is on her way to growing Copia and recovering more food. Komal was once a student with a growing passion for a problem she saw in her community. She is proof of the fact that if you believe in yourself, you can turn your passions into a career and make a great impact on the world.

 

By: Allison Desantis 

Richmond Trek Recap

Taking part in treks with CWIB is a great opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn more about the business world in general. They always serve as a major source of encouragement for each trek attendee. Most recently, a group of CWIB members traveled to Richmond, Virginia in the hopes of learning more about the ins-and-outs of different companies and how to thrive as a woman in business.

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Trekees with their CarMax favors. Photo courtesy of Marissa Wharton

The trek began with a visit to the headquarters of CarMax, a Fortune 500 company. The company greeted our members with donuts and a friendly networking session, where trekees spoke with some highly successful employees. The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) /Chief Information Officer (CIO) even took time out of his busy schedules to meet the six members of CWIB who attended the trek! Junior member Emily Vang stated, “This trek experience definitely helped me practice my networking skills, particularly when we were at Carmax and I got to talk with the CTO about using virtual reality (VR) as a tool.” Networking is a significant aspect of treks in CWIB, as members meet countless business professionals who can provide insight for furthering our careers, collegiate and beyond. Vang added, “I will definitely apply these skills when it comes to communicating with others in a business setting.”

Our members proceeded to learn from the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) that CarMax is extremely supportive of women in business, reassuring the trekees that they truly can succeed as a woman in the corporate world. The CHRO highlighted the importance of working for a company that sincerely cares about its employees. A team leader and member of the growing robotics division of CarMax shared how they put their focus on giving employees more opportunities to improve their skills while growing the company overall. In order to focus on this constant development, the robotics division wants to eliminate, or at least lessen, the burden of mundane tasks in the workplace. Following this encouraging discussion, trekees attended a panel of three employees from the Accounting, Finance, and Cybersecurity Departments. CWIB members learned about their roles and career paths before receiving advice on how to advance into a career path as future professionals. Trekees enjoyed speaking with the CarMax employees so much that they did not have time to go on the planned tour afterward! In fact, at the monthly meeting that followed the trek, each member stated that Carmax was their favorite company that they visited! Our members left this company feeling excited about the future.

Attendees of the trek then traveled to the Martin Agency, a highly regarded company in the advertising industry. Known worldwide, the Martin Agency represents clients such as Geico, Oreo, Timberland, Land O’ Lakes, and many more major companies. The CWIB members were taken on a personal tour of the agency’s growing office. After seeing their modern workplace, trekees met with two Virginia Tech graduates who shared with them the agency reel, which is a highlight of their past work. You can find Hokies working for companies all over the world, and one day that will be you! The CWIB members even got a sneak peek of a commercial for the agency’s latest client, Buffalo Wild Wings.

The Virginia Tech alumni were transparent with the trekees about their journies to careers in business, the ups and downs of the advertising industry, and what they wished they would have known in their collegiate years. Junior and future CWIB CEO Ashton Hughes shared, “I learned that the career path you start on may not always be the one you end on and that there’s nothing wrong with that!” A journey to success is never perfectly linear, which every college student must remember. The obstacles and changes in your journies to success help develop the businessperson you will be in the future. Hughes continued, “It was so eye-opening for me because I feel as college students we feel so much pressure to decide what we want to do as quickly as possible when in reality, you have the freedom to explore and grow after school.”

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CWIB members pose in front of a mural at the Martin Agency that celebrates diversity in the advertising industry. Photo courtesy of Marissa Wharton

CWIB members finished the trek with a trip to Cary Street Partners, a financial planning firm. The visit was hosted by Virginia Tech alumna Christina Todd, a devoted supporter of CWIB and its mission. Trekees spoke with women from different fields in order to gain insight into different positions throughout the professional world. These women were from departments such as Human Resources, Legal, and Accounting. They highlighted how it is possible to take a career path in finance, even if it is not your major. It is important to always keep an open mind! The CWIB members heard from ladies who were just beginning their professional careers as well as those who have been working for decades. Hearing from women with varying degrees of experience taught the trekees how the business world used to be concerning for women and how much it has changed for the better. Junior CWIB member Delaney Russel revealed, “The most empowering part of the trip for me was listening to the testimonies of the women at Cary Street Partners. They reminded us that there’s never a direct path to life and you won’t always be doing what you thought you would be.” As women, we must have the strength to persevere through the ups and downs of our future career paths in order to become the powerful women in business we see more of each and every day.

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Our six trekees representing CWIB at Cary Street Partners. Photo courtesy of Marissa Wharton

Treks are meant to be an empowering experience for every member that attends, and this Richmond trek was just that. The reassuring nature of the testimonies from the business professionals at CarMax, the Martin Agency, and Cary Street Partners helped motivate our members to continue chasing their passions. According to Vang, the trek was inspirational because she “got to meet various successful women who had their own unique story of how they got to where they are today.” Everybody has their own stories of success, and CWIB is excited to see each of its members create their own path in the business world. Another aspect of treks that is always memorable is the female support each trekee receives. Hughes shared, “The most significant part of the trek for me was seeing just how many women from the three companies wanted to come and speak with us.” As women in business, we have to stand together during our strive for success in the often male-dominated fields we will be entering into. Hughes continued with, “They shared so many tips for helping us succeed.”

Finally, treks are simply a glimpse into our potential futures! VP of Treks Marissa Wharton states, “Treks are such a great way to take a step back from campus for a couple of days and really see what life will be like after college.” Physically seeing companies and learning about how they operate is one of the best ways to discover what your interests are in terms of a potential career! From everyone here at CWIB, we hope you use treks to the best of your advantage and cannot wait to see the paths you all carve out for yourselves.

 

By: Allison Wood