College Success

Exclusivity of Business Clubs and How Forté Is Breaking Down Barriers for Undergraduate Women

Ilana Drake is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University and is a Forté Campus Ambassador. Aside from being curious about business, Ilana enjoys student activism and writing. Her words have been published in Ms. Magazine, PBS NewsHour, The Tennessean, and YR Media. 

*Photo credit: Nikita Rohila, Vanderbilt Hustler

This fall, I attended numerous information sessions for business clubs at my school, including business fraternities and other organizations which market their pre-professional nature. This is not the first time I was at these sessions – I applied to some of these business clubs last year and was shocked at the numerous rounds required for admission into the club. I recognized that these clubs were not accessible to every student on campus, given the components of the essay-based application, the video interview, the networking rounds, and the attire required for each round. These clubs were exclusive with their low acceptance rates, which were marketed as achievements. 

Last spring, I interviewed students at other schools about their experiences getting involved in campus clubs, and responses at other schools echoed my own. I wanted to find a way to get involved in business-related activities which were inclusive of everyone. After researching, I found Forté. I was delighted to hear about this organization and became eager to learn how I could get involved.

Forté stood out to me because of their conferences geared towards young women who were curious about learning the tools needed to enter the industry. Forté yearns to reach as many young women as possible and shares opportunities on their job boards as well as provides the opportunity (for partner school students) to gain a Career Ready Certificate. (I completed mine this fall and learned a lot about specific careers in business.)

Forté promotes a community of young women who are eager to help each other navigate college careers, professional development, and other crucial skills. As I continue my tenure as a Campus Ambassador, I hope to reach other students, both at Vanderbilt and at other universities across the country, who might want to gain a sense of belonging and learning through a significant network.


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