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Giving Women the Tools and Training of Forté

Sarah-GatesSarah Gates will graduate this spring from Texas A&M with a biomedical engineering degree. But thanks to Forté, the career paths ahead of her are looking broader than just her degree.

A year ago, Sarah gathered up nearly 20 of her engineering classmates at A&M to caravan in four cars down to Austin to attend the Forté College to Business Leadership Conference. As an upperclassman and one of the executive members of her local Society of Women Engineers chapter, she knew it would be valuable to expose the freshmen and sophomore women engineers to the world of business to see how their skills might apply in a different environment.

“We all learned a lot of important skills that day,” said Sarah. “One of the most valuable was how to network and quickly build relationships.”

The women were split into teams with students from other schools and other majors. In these teams, they were given a case simulation about an imaginary business and had to work together to make decisions about how to move the business forward.

“It was fun to see how an engineer’s approach to a problem could make for successful business decisions,” Sarah reflected.

That day they were also coached through the simulation by professionals. While it was intimidating at first, the women found it to be good practice to interact with people from the business world, as opposed to just professors and TAs.

“After the Forté C2B Conference,” shared Sarah, “I felt encouraged that I had the skills to work in the business world.” She was able to secure an internship in investment banking with Goldman Sachs last summer.

“I had a wonderful experience in the internship and realized that there are non-technical companies that really value hiring someone with an engineering mind to approach their work.”

Sarah also learned the value of knowing more than just physics and math. “I saw that these skills will only take me so far,” said Sarah. “To move up in a company, I need to understand the business behind it and how to get the technical work approved and moving forward.”

This May, Sarah is moving to Houston upon graduation. Thanks to the exposure she received at the Forté conference and in her internship, she’s being invited to more than just engineering jobs and is able to cast a wider net for her job search. “I’m excited for all that lies ahead.”

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