No Internship, No Problem

As a college student, there is one constant fear looming over our heads – what the heck am I going to do after I graduate? With this thought comes the desperation to build up our resumes with anything that will make us a desirable candidate for our desired companies. One of the most common ways to do this is through summer internships.

Summer internships are obviously incredibly useful. They give us experience in our desired career field and allow us to network with industry professionals. However, the internship search has become an incredibly stressful process, and many students believe they need to have these experiences every summer so they can be an attractive candidate to future employers.

Is it really the end of the world if you do not have a summer internship? Definitely not! There are so many things you can do during the summer besides an internship that will allow you to build your professional toolbox! Here are just a few examples:

1. Work a regular summer job – Whether it is waitressing, babysitting, or working in retail, summer jobs will help build various skills. Jobs like this put you in the position to learn about the most important thing in the business world – how to deal with people! You will consistently be put in different situations where you have to solve problems on your own to keep clients happy. One of the things employers most look for in a candidate is empowerment- are you confident enough to do the right thing on your own?

 

2. Volunteer – More and more companies are starting to place a higher importance on service and giving back to the community. Companies are not only looking for great employees but great people! Volunteer opportunities can also help you figure out what you are passionate about and what your values are. When searching for a full-time job, you can look for one that not only aligns with your professional goals but your personal values as well!

3. Take the summer off – You have the rest of your life to work, so you do not need to be in a rush to figure your future out so soon. Spend time with your family and friends, travel, or simply stay home and relax! Sometimes the most important thing you can do for yourself is taking the time to figure out what you really want.

If you did not get your dream internship this summer, do not worry! Internships are not the defining factor in whether you get a full-time job or not. Your four years of college are all about finding the path that is best for you.

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May Monthly Recap

CWIB Chronicles Articles:

Leaving Legacies: Class of 2018 – Congrats to our beautiful and accomplished graduates! If you were too busy studying and finishing projects to go to the last monthly meeting, you still have a chance to read about the valuable lessons and advice given at our senior panel in Heather’s article here!

The Power in Being Proactive – If our Editor-In-Chief, Heather Sangalang, has one piece of advice to give fellow CWIB members during the summer, it would be: STAY PROACTIVE! Read more about her advice in the latest article.

#FeatureFriday

Follow the links below to check out the posts about your fellow CWIB members’ summer plans!

#WisdomWednesday

#MotivationMonday

A few  quotes we shared for some much-needed Monday motivation:

What do you think of the posts we’ve shared this month? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts!

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.

CWIB Spotlight: Erica Sullivan

CWIB has some truly incredible members that deserve recognition, and the member to know all about right now is Erica Sullivan, the 2018-2019 incoming Chief Marketing Officer. With her own successful blog, she has already broken into the business world of fashion. Read on to learn more about how she got to where she is today and the advice she has for other members.

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What the Clique is a blog “dedicated to being a source of inspiration for every woman who loves high-end, yet affordable style.” Erica began this blog to give herself an outlet from some nasty bullying she endured in 2011. Little did she know it would turn into a full-fledged business. The What the Clique brand aims to “incorporate inclusivity into the fashion industry because you don’t have to spend a million bucks to look it.” She has truly made strides in this industry, working with brands like Clarisonic, Elemis, Laneige, Sundee Best Boutique, Monkees of Charlottesville and many more.

So what made Erica start this blog in the first place? She began blogging before it even became the trendy, common hobby it is today. “There were only a handful of bloggers I could look up to for inspiration, and it really wasn’t an established field,” Erica explained. As mentioned above, she was severely bullied in middle school and this blog became an outlet for her to find her voice without the fear of being criticized by her peers.

 “I spent a lot of time on my laptop creating this persona of confidence, success and professionalism, and with time I slowly started to realize this wasn’t a persona but rather me discovering myself as an individual.”

 The blogging industry is a very recent development in this modern era of technology, so Erica has truly been able to watch it grow and flourish. Ten years ago, retailers spending $1 billion on influencer marketing would have been a laughable matter, but today it is a reality.

 

 “There is no better feeling than watching something you’ve built from the ground up flourish. Being a self-starter has taught me so many valuable skills that I am able to take into my future career. I’ve also developed this little network of followers who allow me to have this powerful platform and voice.”

Erica’s biggest challenge with her blog has been nurturing it and marketing it every single day. She explained that not many people realize how much work actually goes into maintaining a business and brand like her blog. “It takes me about an hour to put the content of a post together, and that does not including the back and forth emails with brands, photographing the product, editing pictures, etc. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” Erica exclaimed.

“When I first started out, people thought the idea of blogging was comical. It hasn’t been until the last four years or so that those laughing at me in 2011 are now attempting to start their own blogs.”

The interview ended with a final question:

What is your advice for any CWIB member who wants to start pursuing a passion like you pursued yours?

“Passion is my biggest motivator. If I’m not passionate about an opportunity, I don’t pursue it, because there is no point in wasting time and energy on something that will leave me feeling unfulfilled. My advice for any CWIB member who wants to start pursuing a passion is to go for it! Don’t let anyone else decided which direction your life is going to go. I know people laugh at the quote, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” but that honestly couldn’t be any truer. Every day is an opportunity to make a difference and create a name for yourself.”

As you can see, there are lots to learn from Erica and her experience so far in the industry. She is a prime example of taking the negative in your life and turning it into something positive. Make sure to keep an eye out for her blog; she has a new post every Monday during the school year and two to three times a week during winter and summer breaks! Who knows, maybe you’ll even become inspired to start your own blog!