In April of 2013, the inaugural group of Forté College Leadership Launch of Women program was held in Washington, DC at the PNC Financial Services Group, including 37 universities, 42 different majors, and college women of all ages. While hundreds of women applied, the class was made up of 94 unique women from across the country with a majority of sophomore women attending.
As one of the selected students to attend, I was given a full day’s access and introduction to women my age as well as working professionals in such sectors as investment banking, finance, and consulting who came as sponsors, recruiters, and generous hosts of the program. From the time of the 8:30 a.m. registration to till 5:30 closing time, Forté Foundation provided a varied, and intellectually stimulating itinerary of activities which included presentations from Great on the Job, Deloitte, as well as a BTS “World of Work” Simulation. Sponsors included Citi, Deutsche Bank, and Cognizant.
For many undergraduate women, comprehending how a company works with its business operations, overhead and expenses, as well intellectual capital to meet quarterly and yearly benchmarks, can be a foreign concept until you are able to actually work for one. Such was the case for myself before the BTS simulation, and it was a great, pressure-free introduction to the various concerns and struggles surrounding company growth, expansion, and collaboration.
Many college students, some of you can already relate, have trouble finding practice in this arena. Forté offered many resources during the conference to overcome this information asymmetry.
Following the presenters and simulation, there was a Career Expo with representatives from consulting, finance, and banking institutions offering information for summer internships and full-time job opportunities. Given the intimate nature of the group, every single participant was given plenty of time to speak with each representative and to leave their business cards and/or resume if they so chose.
Being able to meet with key names in business and not having to compete for time and space in a recruiter’s schedule is a great asset for college women seeking immediate internships or jobs. They have a greater chance of being remembered and having their name rise to the top of a stack of resumes.
As a member of the first group of undergraduate college women to attend such a conference, I felt that I profited leaps and bounds from the great deal of planning and preparation that no doubt went into sponsoring and hosting such an event. From the college women who were selected, the Forté members and working professionals to the representatives from PNC themselves who shared their lovely DC office, there could not have been a better way to acclimate women with resources open to them for leadership in business.
If you did not get the chance to participate last year, greet 2014 by submitting an application for the Forté College 2 Business (C2B) Leadership Conference held in New York on April 5 and San Francisco on April 12. Either of these events includes a one-day business career exploration as well as leadership and networking conference.
It is designed for freshman, sophomores, and juniors of diverse backgrounds (STEM students are encouraged to apply as well). Similarly organized like last year, the conference’s itinerary includes presentations, marketplace business simulation, and a career expo. The applications are open as of now and the deadline to apply is March 1.
I hope you are able to take advantage of such a fabulous opportunity!
Nicole Chacin will graduate in 2015 from George Washington University with a degree in business economics and public policy with a minor in vocal music. She plans on getting a JD/MBA after college and dreams of working in health policy and administration. She was a part of the first Forté College Leadership Conference and is the creative designer and co-founder of Chicago Boutique.