Category Archives: Undergrad
Does Freshman Year Matter?
By: Nathan Hastings-Spaine
“Nothing restricts success more than limiting your self-beliefs…Limiting belief is a virus of the mind.” ― Maddy Malhotra
Before even stepping foot on GW’s campus many freshmen have set a standard for their first year. Whether it’s done consciously or not they have created a scale that determines as freshmen what meets expectation and what exceeds expectation. Attending a career fair or walking up to a recruiter in the Duques lobby will be labeled as one of the other. Moreover, let’s put your scale to the test.
Rate the following statements on a scale from 1to 5, (1 meaning I definitely disagree and 5 meaning I definitely agree.) Be honest!
- Freshmen year is not as important as sophomore year
- I have time to think about my future.
- Junior year is more important than freshmen year.
If your response to the following statements were anything but “1” you have lowered the bar for yourself. What you believe is exceeding expectation is in fact only meeting them. Our mentality is at the heart of our reality. Therefore embracing a limiting mentality will affect how you approach your first year. Your will attend the career fair if time permits because freshmen are not expected to go. You will walk past companies’ recruiting in the lobby and ignore the Career Center newsletter because you are “only a freshman”. Nonetheless, I challenge the 2019 freshmen class, and all GWSB students, to create a culture where we hold each other to a high standard.
To ensure that you take full ownership of your GWSB experience I have listed a few tips.
Start now: This summer I realized the biggest difference between school and “real life”.
School has a definitive start and end date. However, the length of a career is uncertain. This uncertainty often scares people and as a result they make excuses not to begin the journey. No, you do not need to have a concrete 20-year plan. Even as a senior my goals and aspirations are fine-tuned daily. What you can do is start exploring what opportunities are out there so you can determine what you like and what you don’t like.
Be Present: I suggest attending two GWSB events a week.
These can range from career center events to UBA affiliate organization events/meetings. Attending events is great practical way to apply what you are learning in class. I have found that it is easier to learn about a company or industry when I talk to someone who currently works, or has previously interned, in that space. Being present also puts you in the position to buildrelationships with upper classmen and professionals who may serve as a source ofguidance, or even as a mentor.
Be Prepared: Some opportunities only come around once.
Therefore, it is critical that you do your due diligence when preparing for a career or event. You don’t need to know everything. No one expects you to, but, you are expected to do enough research to ask thoughtful questions. Preparation also prevents you from being what I call a “brand junkie”. We all fall victim to it. I personal remember neglecting to get an individual’s business card because I had never heard of the company. I later came to find out they are one of the industry leaders in a space I am now interested in. Who would have thought?
Lastly, a good friend once told me, “Nathan, you are the CEO of your life. If you do not take it seriously, who will?” As you continue your day I encourage you to think about how you are performing as CEO. What is the value of your company? What are you doing each day to increase it?
I chose to study Italian in high school because I liked the sound of the language. Little did I know then that it would become one of my biggest passions, leading me to study abroad in Milan, the business capital of Italy. In the span of only one month I have had countless experiences I would love to share. Here are some highlights:
I’ve heard many people say “It was different than I imagined it” when recalling an arrival to a new country. This was not the case for me. Somehow the quartiere of Brera, my new neighborhood in Milan, was exactly how I pictured it in my dreams. The artsy district is known for its bohemian atmosphere, vivid restaurant scene, and charming galleries. The Italian community assistants gave us a tour of the area on our first day. It was not until I was walking down the city’s cobblestoned streets, taking it all in after enjoying an authentic caffè, that it hit me that I would be spending a full semester in Italy. That is definitely a moment I will never forget.
While the millennial in me wanted to document and Instagram every moment of that first week, that was not an option. Unfortunately or not, I left my cellphone (which was also my camera) in a cab on Day 2 and I never saw it again. Apart from the slight social-media withdrawal symptoms I experienced and limited communication with my parents, being phoneless in Milano did me some good. I learned to better appreciate the present, and coincidentally, I got a lot better at taking mental pictures. Luckily though, I could count on my roommates and friends to snap pictures of me at important places.
Directors at IES Abroad Milan make an effort to take students to places that would be otherwise difficult to visit. This semester we had the chance to explore Sicily, the large island off the toe of Italy’s boot, about 1,000 kilometers to the southeast. Our weekend started with a visit to the vibrant fish market held in Catania, Sicilia, where I put to use all of my five senses. The smell of freshly caught fish was coupled with the sound of fish vendors shouting in Sicilian dialect and the feeling of slimy hands after posing with a paddlefish for a picture. In the fruit side of the market, I experienced the unique texture and taste of the colorful fico d’India, a cactus-like fruit that is common in Sicily. Sicilians were excited to have us and eager to share their culture.
While in Sicily, we had the privilege of hiking up Monte Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Experiencing nature and seeing Sicily’s incredible geography from so high up was both astounding and humbling. To top it all off, the trip to Sicily was complete with traditional cuisine, which included arancinis (stuffed rice balls) and mouth-watering cannoli (deep fried pastries filled with sweet cream).
This past weekend, three friends and I ventured out to Czech Republic to visit the beautiful and historical city of Prague. Many say it’s Europe’s most beautiful city. I have to agree after seeing the views from the top of the castle and the Gothic style of St. Vitus Cathedral. A tour of the city also gave me insight into how a nation’s history influences the mentality of its people. History has never been my strong point, but my visit to Prague spiked my curiosity of central European countries. The individuals I met at our hostel and the places I saw over the weekend made me thirsty for more knowledge and experiences.
After three weeks of intensive Italian, I now find myself busy with the start of regular classes as well as job applications. I also finally had my phone replaced, so I will be able to better document my adventures. I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had so far and excited to see what comes next.
Christina is a Senior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Italian Language & Literature. She is studying abroad on the IES Milan, Italy program. To read more about the program, click here.
Six months ago I faced my biggest personal challenge of accepting my current situation and pushing through the circumstances that surrounded me. In response, I considered taking a semester off and even switching schools. But then a good mentor and recent GWSB advisor, Rick Hess, inspired me to apply to study abroad. Six months later, I’m nearly 10,000 miles away surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic plants and animals. Thank you, GWSB.
I think what I appreciate most about Australia is the serendipitous vibe. As much as we love our fast-paced strolls through the Washington, DC concret jungle, I think what I love best about Goldcoast, Australia is that it seems like almost everyone here works to live rather than live to work. Each corner that I turn I feel is filled with me absorbing every Tim Tam and piece of Australian culture I can find. Side note, Tim Tams are Australia’s famous chocolate biscuit; it’s equal to the USA’s Oreo. Listen mates, ditch the milk and Oreos and go for the hot tea and Tim Tams. You’ll never view snacks the same again.
It’s okay to admit that when someone says Australia, your immediate thought may be about the deadly insects, Koalas, Kangaroos, and the Outback lifestyle to name a few. However, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at how similar the structure and culture of their society is to the States. There’s so much to offer with roughly 112 nationalities contributing to technology and politics that’s brought to central and vibrate locations. However, trust that adorable koalas and kangaroos still very much are present and part of the culture. As you can see in my pictures, there’s no words to describe my joy for holding a Koala, a.k.a A real live Beanie Baby!
Overall, I can’t complain. My “Uni” looks and feels like a resort, my professors are super interesting, and I can’t seem to find one mean Australian in a 20 kilometer radius. Even though prices are ridiculously high, I find excitement in bargain shopping and $2 steaks and Happy Hour on Sundays at the local tavern.
So what’s my big takeaway? My life lesson learned abroad? It’s to remember that self care is the best care. Some people find stability in religion or sports. I think I’m finding mine with international mates from all around the world and a pack of Double Coated Tim Tams. It’s the little things, ya know?!
Cheeers to my mates in the states! And don’t forget, “Put some prawns on the barbie” for when I return!
Carlo Wood is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA in Sport, Event & Hospitality Management, with a minor in Communication. He is currently abroad at Bond University in Australia through the Arcadia program. To read more about it, click here.
By: Palak Merchant
The job and internship hunt can be a challenge, especially when it comes to getting your foot in the door. When competing against hundreds of other applicants it can be difficult to make your resume and cover letter stand out. In order to help you land those interviews, I have put together some of the resume and cover letter advice that has been most helpful for me. These tips do not take the place of seeing a career coach or having someone read and edit your resume and cover letter, but is definitely a good place to start.
The first thing to keep in mind when writing your resume and cover letter is not to discount your work experience. Instead of presenting yourself as an inexperienced college student, try to emphasize that you are someone who can get the job done and is ready to step in and help the company’s bottom line. It is important to use action verbs like “led”, “conducted”, and “performed”. When using these action verbs keep in mind the “SAR” method. Ideally, there should be a situation, action, and result (SAR) in each job bullet on your resume. Work with a career coach, mentor, or trusted family member (or all 3!) to help put your work accomplishments in the best light.
Another key part of a resume is consistency. Correct spelling is a 100% must! This is true for both the resume and cover letter. One misspelled word can cause an employer to pass you over for an interview. It is important to have a second or third set of eyes to check the spelling and formatting of both your resume and cover letter because they will almost always find something you (and SpellCheck) missed. For formatting and templates you should refer to the GWorkSB website (business.gwu.edu), which has the GW School of Business approved format for resumes and cover letters.
If you are a Freshman and do not have too much work experience yet it is okay to keep experiences from high school and your high school information on your resume, but I would strongly recommend to remove it as soon as you gain more experience and become more involved on campus. Do not discount involvement in campus clubs and organizations because they can really make you stand out and be a conversation starter in interviews as well. Employers generally place a much heavier emphasis on your work experience andactivities during college (vs. high school).
My first tip for your cover letter is NOT to just reiterate your resume. A cover letter is an opportunity to highlight your accomplishments and experiences in a way that you could not do in your resume. This is a good place to emphasize campus involvement or other non-work related experience. Keep in mind that most employers may not read your entire cover letter word-for-word so keep your strongest accomplishments near the top and make sure to have a strong introduction. Explain why you want to work for that particular organization, and why you’re a great fit for the position. Be confident in your abilities to do the job or internship you are applying for. Use keywords from the job or internship description when describing your skills. End your cover letter with a sentence like “I look forward to hearing from you in the near future to discuss my qualifications in greater detail” as this will help you come across as a confident and eager applicant. If possible, find out who will be reading the cover letter and address it to that person. This will show that you went the extra mile to gain this information and generally people love seeing their name. If you are unable to find the name, address the cover letter as “Dear Hiring Manager”.
Overall it is important to portray confidence in your skills and experiences. Having other people such as a career coach, family member, or more experienced peer proofread and help you with your resume and cover letter is a must. Be true to your experiences and make sure you can speak to everything in both your resume and cover letter in an interview. Good luck with the internship/job searches and I hope these tips are helpful!
By: Justin Weinstein
Justin Weinstein is a current GWSB senior concentrating in Marketing and minoring in American Studies and Economics. Justin spent this past summer at 84.51 – a customer science company – where he was able to bring together his passions for retail, strategy, analytics, and marketing.
What’s your story? What narrative can you tell that captures not only your experience, but also what sits between the lines? Interviewing and networking requires much of the detail of your past to be stripped away and therefore leaves you with only several moments to demonstrate your worth. Each of us, as GW students, has had internships or jobs, been on teams or played a sport, served in a club or fraternity. Reiterating those engagements in chronological order is not enough to show your uniqueness. You need to pick and choose what makes its way into your narrative and what supports your resume.
Crafting this narrative is not easy, takes time, and more importantly takes personal reflection. I always start with jotting down some thoughts about how my internship experience, academic track, and all the other “stuff” can come together in a clean and simple way. Not only does it need to be clean and simple, but you also need to show resonating focus on what makes you unique. Whether it is how one internship led you to the next, the linkage between your different majors that appear unrelated, but really aren’t, or how teammates have seen you change between years or projects or seasons. All of these things are relevant and are uniquely your own.
When you jot down the words that come to mind, find a concept or word that can stand as the backbone to your narrative. No matter the position, no matter the person, this word describes you in a different way than nearly anyone else. You thought of that word or concept because it is reflected in your experiences. Start thinking of how you can add to this backbone with experiences, snapshots, or even an encounter you had with a friend or coworker or teammate. The narrative will come to life when you infuse it with elements of yourself.
So what does a successful narrative achieve? The answer is that it has to show your depth of understanding and your breadth of experience. You need to substantiate your backbone word or concept with rich details that exemplify the depth of your knowledge and skill in addition to the breadth of its application and relevance in your life. Let me give you an example. If the concept that is central to you is “customer-centric,” you should think about how your experience as a customer in x store, your time working for x person, and your project on x subject have all shown you the importance of customer-centricity. The story needs to be logical yet not predictable. And I will say it again, it needs to be your own.
Here’s the hard part – connecting your experience to the person and position at hand. Your story cannot be static, but rather must be fluid and adaptable. You need to find the perfect linkage between your drivers/your narrative and the role you are discussing. Whether it’s a shared common value or an experience you had at a given company (or even its competitor), you need to make that connection between your narrative and the narrative of the company or organization you are looking at. It’s not easy, it can’t be static, but it will absolutely pay off.
By Nicco Lupo
Nicco is a rising senior studying Finance and Real Estate with a BBA major. Nicco is pursuing a career in Finance/Real Estate. This summer he worked in New York City at HFF as a Capital Markets Analyst.
Over and over you will read in books, hear from parents and professors, and be told by employers that the key to success is setting a goal, and then forming a strategy to attain that goal. Setting the goal comes more naturally; for most of us it is landing a big time summer internship at the end of our Junior year and turning that internship into a full-time offer.
Deciding on what your goal is may come easy, but the formation of a professional strategy is something that most of us believe that we don’t have the experience to come up with as first and second year undergrads. As a result we often bounce around struggling to form that “story” that is vital to progressing professionally. What we neglect to realize is that the same “strategy” that we use to figure out where is the best happy hour to meet new people, and what club venues attract the most GW students is the same technique that can help us to form our professional strategy. In the same way that we use our network to create a plan for our weekends, using your network to help develop, and execute a professional strategy can make attaining that elusive goal a reality.
The purpose of networking is not just to find a job – it is to learn, to grow professionally, to offer mutual support, and to assist you in developing an efficient strategy to attaining your goals. For me, it took months of coffee, and bus trips to New York talking with different professionals, building relationships, and finding mentors that were able to help me craft the strategy that I would spend the next six months executing so that I ended up where I wanted to be. Targeting the right companies, learning the language of the business you are trying to enter, and arming yourself with the knowledge and credentials necessary to pitch yourself to those companies, are all part of your strategy, and each person has to come up with a unique way to attain his or her goals. Learn, strategize with mentors, and grind because at the end of the day strategy will get you in the door, but hard work is what turns that internship into a full-time offer.
By: Isaac Gritz
Isaac Gritz is a GWSB junior pursuing a Bachelors of Business Administration with a dual concentration in Finance and Business Analytics. He is interested in pursuing a career in financial services consulting, particularly in a data science or analytics role. This past summer Isaac interned at Capco, a financial services consulting firm in New York City in the IT Program Management Office for a tier 2 global investment bank client.
You’re a freshman or sophomore, maybe even a junior in GWSB still considering your choice for a major, and you decide that while you’re at it you want to navigate the complex maze that is job prospecting. What are the two things you hate to hear the most? “What do you plan to do with that major?” or worse yet, when you can’t give a straight answer to that question and you get back, “pursue your passion”. What do people mean by “pursue your passion”?
It’s just been a few years, if that, at GW and maybe you don’t know what career paths are out there, maybe you don’t know what your passion is. I know personally that I came into GWSB not knowing what I was passionate about. I was decent at a lot of things and had this general interest in business, but there was nothing I really had a passion for at the time.
But as I learned over time, it turns out this thing called “passion” is extremely important when you are looking at career paths, but first it’s something you need to discover. For me, the avenue for discovering my passion came from networking. Sure, you can find lists on Business Insider, the Buzzfeed of business, about the “top 10 hottest jobs for college grads” or the “surprising careers that pay college grads the most”. And you can read the pages of your Marketing or Finance textbooks that give an exhaustive list of every title you can have in those industries. But truly understanding what a career path is about, what the day-to-day is, what the company culture is like, and whether it would be a good fit for you comes from face-to-face conversations with people in those roles.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of attending career fairs and networking events with the sole intention of getting an internship or job at a particular company. You just sharpen your resume, memorize a news article and a couple questions to talk to recruiters about, send a follow up email, and then submit your resume and cover letter and wait. That’s what you’ve learned from Business Insider, right? I’d like to argue that there’s much more to it than that. Whether you know exactly what you want to do, think you know what you want to do, or have no clue, you should walk into every networking event with an open mind. If you have an idea of what you are interested in, you are going to want to narrow your focus on firms in that area, but don’t be afraid to talk to firms you’ve never heard of, or seek out industries that you never thought you would be interested in. Because the conversations you have with those employers can very well be the most interesting ones.
Recruiters would prefer to see students who want to learn more, rather than those who claim to know everything about their company or that industry. And that’s for good reason. It isimportant to ask questions, whether it is an information session Q&A or a job fair, that are relevant to what you want to learn rather than just what you memorized from a list. Employers and recruiters are there to help you discover what you are interested in, whether it is their firm or not. Because once you have been able to discover that for yourself then it makes everything else much easier. Every event you go to, the employers are there because they want to help you learn. At every networking event I have attended, whether it is in the industry I am interested or not, I have always been able to walk away with a piece of advice that has helped me with my career advancement.
It was actually last year during Career Week that I found my passion in consulting. Like many others, I came into GWSB concentrating in Finance, focused largely on the pay with the stereotypical dream of working on Wall Street as an investment banker. While this is a great path for some people, I later realized through conversations that this is not the only path – and not the one for me. What I didn’t realize at first is that even for Finance majors there are other paths including sales and trading, wealth management, commercial banking, and even consulting. After having conversations at networking events, I realized that I preferred the people and culture of a consulting company and that I liked the idea of short-term engagements and a different day-to-day that comes in consulting. It was actually at the consulting panel during Career Week last year that I truly began to understand what consulting is and the different types of consulting. Little did I know that the conversation I had back in September with Capco, a consulting firm relatively unknown at GW would turn into an interview in February, and the incredible Wall Street consulting internship experience I had this summer that very well may turn into the company I work for full time.
So as you prepare for Career Week, go to these events with an open mind and take notes, because you never know what advice one person has that may completely change your career path. Whether you are looking at marketing, finance, information systems, hospitality, or even non-profit work or entrepreneurship, there will always be some piece of insight that you will be able to walk away with from these events. And above all, having genuine conversations with employers at these firms will help you discover where you fit in, and ultimately what you are passionate about.
GWSB Ranks in Top 20 of Accounting.com’s List of the Best Bachelor and Best Masters Programs in Accountancy
August 18, 2015 – Accounting.com has been a leader in job and career information for nearly 20 years, and we recently decided it was important to expand that offering to information about earning an education in accounting. Part of this effort included a detailed assessment of every accounting program – online and campus-based, and George Washington made two of the lists:
Criteria for selection included academic rigor, commitment to student success, student satisfaction and more.
Congratulations to GWSB’s Accounting faculty, staff and students!
– GW –
More than 600 George Washington University students, faculty and staff in the participated in Lemonade Day D.C., the local branch of the national mentoring and business education program. The D.C. event was organized by the GW School of Business’ First Year Development Program to empower the city’s public school students to gain financial literacy and launch their own businesses.
This year’s event joined the 600 GW community mentors with more than 2,200 youth participants across 25 public and charter schools in D.C. PNC, Gallup, RCN and four other sponsors joined 20 community groups to support the effort.
Eighty lemonade stands were set up across Washington on April 11 as the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom. The young entrepreneurs sold more than $8,000 worth of lemonade. The youth participants, who are enrolled in third through eighth grade, were encouraged to use their profits to live up to the Lemonade Day values: “spend a little, save a little, share a little.”
Photos of Lemonade Day stands on GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus are available online
Kia Ora! Greetings from New Zealand! I have been in the land where there are more sheep than people for just a little over two months; however, it feels like I have been here forever. The culture, the lifestyle, the people, and of course, the scenery are all so spectacular. The unique city I currently call home, Dunedin, has a population of 400,000 and is situated on the coast of the South island of NZ, famous for its great beaches – and penguins! Since NZ is located in the Southern Hemisphere, I was able to leave behind the DC winter to catch the end of the New Zealand summer and this has been such a treat!
It’s not just the beaches that I have been able to spend time exploring, but even more so – the mountains. I saw the first Lord of the Rings film when I was eight years old. Not only did I fall in love with the story, but the New Zealand landscape drew me in as well, and it quickly became a dream of mine to one day see the Misty Mountains in person. Now, at twenty one years of age I can attest that the Misty Mountains are even more breathtaking than I could even have imagined! As an outdoor enthusiast, New Zealand’s natural beauty overwhelms me. Whether it is a sunrise hike before class, a quick dip in a glacier lake, or bungy jumping from 134 meters high, there is always an adventure waiting.
Backpacking and tramping (New Zealand’s term for hiking) are such special ways to get to know people. While staying at different huts and campsites you get to meet people from all over the world and quite often become instant friends. However, it is not just the people on the trail that are lovely, but also people of New Zealand, aka Kiwis. I have found that my professors and my new kiwi friends to be some of the most genuine and humble people I have ever met. The Kiwi business school culture is one in which the students are focused on working hard to not only make themselves get ahead, but the people around them as well. It is also quite different to be in a business lecture and see about 10 long boards up at the front of the classroom waiting to be taken to the beach at the end of class. Definitely not an “#onlyatGW” moment.
I am grateful to be going to school and studying business in a place that is incredibly beautiful and so full of adventure. Gaining a view of the business world from a New Zealand perspective will forever influence my life and my future business career.
Kathryn is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a concentration in Marketing. To read more about studying at University of Otago in New Zealand with Arcardia, click here.