Lenore Champagne Beirne, an NYU Stern School of Business 2016 MBA Candidate, has regularly turned to Forté Foundation for support. She attended a Forté Forum, became a Forté Fellow, participated in the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference, has explored the website and webinars, and more.
In addition to her busy life as a full-time MBA student, Lenore also works with start-up founders as a Venture Capital Investor at 645 Ventures and a Founder Coach at Bright Coaching. Lenore has more than a decade of experience advising start-up companies, nonprofits, and social enterprises, including two years connecting Haitian businesses with funding.
Here’s how Lenore’s Forté experience has enhanced her already impressive career.
#1: Range of Resources
Lenore first learned about Forté while consulting the website and webinars for “practical” MBA application resources. She then “met” Forté at an in-person Forté Forum in Washington, D.C., which connected her with multiple top business schools—including representatives of the MBA program she ultimately selected. Lenore had been working in Haiti, so she valued the efficient and broad exposure Forté gave her to leading schools when she returned.
Upon her acceptance into NYU Stern, Lenore was offered a Forté Fellowship, a program intended to increase the number of women MBAs by giving standout female students at Forté sponsor schools a broad array of benefits. This not only linked her with prominent NYU Stern peers from the very beginning, it introduced her to other MBA women when Forté invited her to host an event for Fellows from multiple schools. “There were admitted students from NYU and Columbia, but there were also current students and alums,” she said. “It was really fun to have such a mix of women.”
#2: Depth of Networking
Lenore’s fellowship also inspired her to attend Forté’s MBA Conference the summer before her first year at NYU Stern, where she experienced new networking and educational benefits.
She said that networking at the MBA Conference was “real life practice connecting with a diverse group of people.” It enables women to hone networking techniques and make helpful connections “before you’re overwhelmed and inundated” once school starts.
“The network is one of the most valuable things you’ll get out of the MBA experience,” Lenore added. “Forté pays dividends in networks. Coming into b-school having a small, curated group makes a huge difference.”
Similarly, Forté’s Financial Services Fast Track provides networking opportunities with a focus on finance, while also giving attendees customized perspectives about financial industry career paths and recruiting.
#3: Continued Development of Leadership Skills and Self-Awareness
The MBA Conference also provides workshops and panels on everything from leading in teams, to self-awareness classes. Likewise, the Financial Services Fast Track gives women focused on finance help refining your personal elevator pitch, and hard-earned insights from executive industry women.
Lenore has practiced leadership and self-awareness inside and outside of the MBA classroom as well.
“I have good intuition around leadership,” she said. “But my MBA experience helped me realize I hadn’t studied it and practiced those lessons around really smart and equally qualified people.”
In particular, she’s learning more about how to effectively consult with her own thought leadership and set strategy. “Your career is a mini strategy-setting playground,” she said. “Clubs and outside consulting help you champion your career strategy.”
#4: Power of Connecting with Employers Early
The MBA Conference’s Career Expo is among Lenore’s most memorable Forté experiences.
“People underestimate the power of getting a summer offer early,” she said. “I have friends who got summer offers early and being plugged in with Forté helps you do that. Your first year is going to be absolutely nuts no matter what. Knowing you have an offer for the summer takes that pressure off and allows you to focus on building relationships and taking classes of interest.”
She further explained how the Expo impacted her own career—and network: “I had a fantastic time talking to a consulting recruiter at the job fair. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue opportunities at the company, so we just had a great conversation. There’s a genuine opportunity to connect.”
That experience was so meaningful that even though Lenore later determined she wasn’t going to pursue a traditional consulting path, she introduced the consulting recruiter to an interested woman in her network. “The event facilitates an energy that allows people to really get to know each other,” Lenore added.
#5: Celebration of Women
Forté supports women at all career stages, and the earlier you engage—the sooner you benefit.
“Forté has introduced me to women at other schools who are now real friends,” Lenore explained. “The events gather a group of people celebrating women, and that makes it really easy to have deeper conversations. It’s a truly collaborative community—not a competitive one.”
Maximize your Forté experience: Register for the 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference (June 17-18; Austin, Texas).