About a year ago, I was introduced to the Forté Foundation through a good friend, and I quickly became hooked by their mission and values. I decided to apply to their C2B Leadership Conference, hoping to gain some additional leadership experience, but what I left with was so much more. I gained so much more confidence, not only for my academic and career goals, but in my own personal life as well.
A couple of weeks after the conference, I had my first interview with Morgan Stanley, and I used the conference to spark conversation with my interviewer. He was impressed, not only with what I learned at the conference, but how I intended on pursuing new goals because of it.
Additionally, the business simulation was a huge factor towards making myself standout compared to the other candidates. Not only did I have a clearer understanding of how a market functioned for a particular product, but I could relate the importance of fundamental analysis through this experience.
Finally, my advisor during the conference was an associate from Deloitte. Throughout the day, she was able to share some of her experiences in the consulting industry. I began a full fledge research project on consulting, to see whether or not the career would fit with my personality after the conference. I eventually decided that I really did want to pursue a career in this industry, and I worked for a consulting firm specializing in marketing this past summer!
The conference instilled a new motivation for my future and it helped me to realize that there are other women, who share the same fears as me.
This past June, I had the opportunity to attend a pre-MBA program at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. I was able to engage with many women also looking to pursue a career in business. Throughout the week, we were able to share moments with each other, where we felt out of place and uncomfortable.
For example, during my internship at Morgan Stanley, I was one of four women out of twenty interns! At first, I could feel myself shying away from expressing my opinion, but after some time (and some great self -talk), I found my confidence and stepped up to the plate. I was able to hear their stories as well, and just as when I listened to female executives speak at Forté’s C2B Leadership Conference, I was inspired by their ability to push through situations that would have definitely scared me.
One of Sheryl Sandberg’s most famous quotes is:
“The more women help one another, the more we help ourselves. Acting like a coalition truly does produce results.”
When I first heard this, I really did not give it much thought. But now, I truly understand what she meant.
The statistics aren’t secret, they are clear and known. Women are under-represented, and the less we focus on competing against one another (which to be honest is something I did for quite some time), the more change we will see.
I made a good friend through the conference and we have remained close over the past months. She encourages me to keep trying new things and gaining new experiences, and I do the same for her. I no longer view women like her as my competition, but as my teammate.
Trust me when I say this, it is much less stressful to go through life and the job recruiting process with this mindset. The kind of competition we need is like a team where each player sharpens the others and lifts them up for shared goals and success.
Megan Lancaster is a senior at UC Davis majoring in Managerial Economics with a minor in Computer Science. Megan plans on a career in the consulting industry and is a NCAA collegiate volleyball player.