Business Women of Tomorrow

Diversifying Career Paths: Neha Kotha’s Experience with the Career Ready Certificate

After taking the Career Ready Certificate program as a Forté undergraduate campus ambassador, Neha Kotha, a student at the University of Pittsburgh, saw the benefits of the program firsthand. From enhancing her resume to the thrill of exploring new career opportunities, Neha shares her experience with the certificate program and why all undergrads from all majors and career paths should take it.


Why did you choose the Career Ready Certificate?

I thought it would be an interesting opportunity because I knew that the program would benefit my learning in terms of the professional world as well as something to add to my resume. Also, Forté itself is geared toward business, the business world, and businesswomen, but I’m not in the business school. So I thought this certificate would be something that could diversify my interests despite being a Data Science major and CS minor. So I’m more focused on the technology industry and the program was a way for me to learn various elements of my future career and what fields I could go into because tech is involved in everything. It was also a way for me to see if I’m interested in even shifting my career more towards business.


What did a typical day look like for you when you were working on the program?

I was doing the program during the summertime, which definitely gave me a lot more flexibility with my time than if I was doing it during the school year. I was working and taking some summer courses, so I had to budget my time. And because it was summer, I’m sure others who did this cohort may have also experienced that they didn’t budget their time exactly as they planned. But at the end of the day, I ended up getting everything done. In terms of a typical day, I got in a few of the modules during the beginning of the summer and then took a few week’s gap where I didn’t do anything at all. And then there was a week or two where I was doing more those days. I will say that doing it all at once is probably not as smart as budgeting your time out as intended. But doing them all at once did allow me to give my full focus to the program and have fewer distractions. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way as to how you get it done, but just complete it in a way that you’re not stressed out in the end and trying to pack it all in.


What was your favorite piece of advice or an action item you learned from the Career Ready Certificate program that you’ll continue to use throughout your education and career?

I enjoyed the career simulations and looking through those, especially the one that was related to tech. They were interesting to me because they showed this real-world element of what the rest of the program is teaching you and why it’s actually important. They are also something I can look back on and reference. Also, I liked the podcasts and videos of people telling their real-life stories and I think those were very valuable because you get to hear how other people’s journeys are not always a direct route. I remember one podcast, in particular, where a woman was discussing how she was a waitress in some foreign country and then decided one day, “Let me go get my MBA.” She then went on to start a business at 40+ years old. Your whole life is not stagnant. Life can always change.


What advice do you have for other undergrads who are interested in the Career Ready Certificate program?

I would say, again, it’s about budgeting your time. You get as much out of it as you put in because, if you really want to, you can go through it mindlessly without really reading through everything or listening intently. My advice would be to focus on the areas that you feel are beneficial to you. All of it, of course, is beneficial, but I would say use it as more of an exploration of yourself and who you want to become. A lot of the program was informative, but then some of it was situational exercises that get you thinking “What would I do?”. At the end of the day, do it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


Ready to earn a career ready certificate? Check out our certificate page for more information to see if you qualify.

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