The Closing Bell: An Open Letter to SBI 2014

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July 31st, 2014:

Today’s presentations mark the end of SBI 2014. Congratulations to the A-Team, our other finalists, and to every SBI student; 10 weeks of hard work and dedication have finally paid off. You have three weeks or so before classes start up again, so make the most of your break; your vacation is well deserved and very much needed, I’m sure. Before the blog goes on its own hiatus, I’d like to send you off with a few final words.

First, thanks are in order. SBI’s professors bring their time, their knowledge base, and their enthusiasm to bear to make the long hours SBI students spend in the classroom a rewarding and memorable experience. Similarly, this program would not be possible without the help of a dedicated group of professionals, including our corporate clients at QVC. The CE challenge, Professional Success events, and the classes themselves would be nothing but a pipe dream if these people were not willing to contribute their time and their expertise.

A side note: This post also marks my last post as editor of the SBI blog. It has truly been a pleasure developing this blog over the past four months and one hundred posts, but the time has come for me to step down. As editor, I have written more than a few posts on the importance of aggressively pursuing one’s career goals, and in order to pursue my intended career in law,  I have to seek new opportunities elsewhere. The blog will return during the academic year with a new editor, a new voice, and a new vision. I look forward to seeing how the blog will evolve and improve through the efforts of my successor. Before I sign off, I want to thank my supervisors and coworkers at the Clay Center for the essential role they all played in getting this blog off the ground. Likewise, much of our content wouldn’t have been possible without a large group of SBI ambassadors and alumni who were willing to contribute their time and experience to the blog, and who were somehow capable of tolerating the deluge of emails requesting input that I sent them. You all made this blog possible.

A few final words for this year’s SBI students. You’ve accomplished something to be proud of this summer, and we’re sure that you will carry the skills, the knowledge base, and the confidence you developed with you as you embark on on your next endeavors,  whatever they may be. Some of you will remain focused on academics for the next year or two. Use that time to learn new things about yourself, your chosen field of study, and, if your exposure to it piqued your interest, the business world. Don’t forget that you can now pursue a supplemental business minor, and please consider staying involved with SBI as an ambassador.

For others, your entry into the workforce is a more immediate concern, and your next priority will be building a career. It’s an intimidating task, but don’t forget that your SBI experience has left you extremely well equipped to handle it. Find what you love to do and do it. We’d love to hear what you learn and accomplish along the way, so don’t hesitate to keep in touch with SBI through our staff, our social media presence, or through this blog.

Congratulations once more, and good luck. You’ve spent this summer investing in your future, and that investment has just reached maturity. Now’s the time to capitalize on the returns.

Sincerely,

Greg Dahl, Editor

 

Words of Advice: The CE Presentation

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After weeks of work, your CE experience boils down to one final assignment; you and your team presenting and justifying your plan to your peers, your professors, and your clients. Check out these words of advice from SBI alumni to make sure you’ll be ready when the time comes. 

“Practice, practice, practice! Look for feedback from other team members and your professors before the big day.” – Janine Perri, English, History, and Honors Triple Major, SBI 2012

“Time is limited so it’s important to create a good presentation from the start.” – Ashley Reed, Mathematics Major, SBI 2013

“We started with just a run through, then began to time it and cut stuff out. Focus on the important things as early as possible to make editing much easier.” – Dan Suskevich, Computer Science Major, SBI 2013

“Half the battle of the presentation is choosing the right people to speak and doing it well. The other half (which is almost MORE important) is using numbers to back up your points. Companies LOVE to see numbers, ROI, and visual projections of how much money each proposal you have will make them.” – Liz Tyhacz, Mechanical Engineering Major, SBI 2013

“Don’t be afraid to inject some humor into your presentation. It will win over your audience and put your mind at ease as the presenter.” – Nick Holden, History Major, SBI 2013

“I was a presenter for my group, so I went over my script several times, I even practiced in the mirror to make sure my delivery was impeccable. Before my presentation, I took three deep breaths, and then just spoke like I was having a conversation with the entire room, which was very helpful.” – Domenico Cricchio, Political Science and Italian Double Major, SBI 2012

“I was one of our two presenters, so I received the “script” well in advance and looked it over frequently. Along with that, those that were not presenting gathered informative notes on our company in various areas and put those together for the presenters. We read those over multiple times and just became familiar with the company, its competitors, and the industry as a whole.” – Joe Lenz, Economics Major, 2013

“Practice; practice anything that can go wrong and any question that can be asked.” – Joe Steadman, Political Science and French Double Major, SBI 2013

Words of Wisdom 28 July

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“Whatever you are, be a good one” – Abraham Lincoln 

 Now that you’ve almost completed SBI, you have an expanded skill set, a more marketable resume, and a deeper understanding of the business world. You are substantially better equipped to find a career that interests you and to pursue it than you were at the beginning of this summer. Whether you graduate in one year or three, you can take the next steps toward building a career.

Don’t forget, however, that you’ll be investing a significant portion of your life towards whatever that career may be. Assuming you work 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, you can expect to spend 2,000 hours a year at work. If you work 30 years before retiring, that’s 60,000 hours over the course of a career. Family, friends, and the other things that are meaningful to you are certainly just as important, but your career will, in a very literal sense, constitute a large part of your life’s work.

In that case, why not make your life’s work something that you’ll do well? Spend those 60,000 hours in a way that allows you to grow as a professional while providing value to others. You no doubt learned in the management component of CE that your engagement in your work will be a major factor in your effectiveness. In order to find something you’ll do well, find something that you love doing. Enthusiasm for your work makes all the difference; with it, those 60,000 hours will be a pleasure, without it, they could be a prison sentence.

The next time you consider your career goals, don’t fixate on what jobs are projected to be in demand when you graduate; projections don’t always fit reality, and you don’t fit every job description. Instead, look for something that you enjoy and can excel at. You might not find that something right away, so don’t be afraid to keep looking.

Your college education will give you more freedom than most people have in deciding how to spend your 60,000 hours, and your SBI education will expand your options even further. The freedom to make your career a part of your life, and not just a living, is an immense gift. Make the most of it.

Quote Source: www.brainyquotes.com/quotes/quotes/a/abrahamlin109279.html 

Weekend Warriors: Homebodies Edition Volume II

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The final weekend of SBI is upon us, but let’s face it; you have a test Monday and the CE presentations on Wednesday, and you’re not going anywhere this weekend. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take an hour or two to unwind. Here are a few more movies worth checking out on Netflix for when you need a break. Background information, including quotations, awards, casting, and content advisory, courtesy of imdb.com

Airplane! (PG, 1980, 87 Minutes): There’s a reason that even 30 years after its release, this film is consistently ranked as a comedy classic. When food poisoning incapacitates the crew of a jumbo on a cross-country flight, passenger Ted Striker (Robert Hays), a rattled ex-pilot, must step up and save the day. A ludicrous script, written by Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers, meshes with the cast’s deadpan delivery to create comedy gold. Recommended. Contains nudity and sexual situations.

The King’s Speech (R, 2010, 118 Minutes): Thrust onto the British throne by the unexpected abdication of his brother, King George VI (Colin Firth) finds himself in an unenviable position. Threatened by the looming shadow of Nazi Germany, England is badly in need of a king who can provide strong symbolic leadership, yet a persistent stutter makes public speaking all but impossible for the King. With the help of an unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) and his Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), King George sets out to conquer his impediment and to become the strong voice that Britain needs. Powerful acting and an inspiring plot netted The King’s Speech eight Academy Awards, including the Oscar for best motion picture. Recommended. Contains strong language.

Out of the Furnace (R, 2013, 116 Minutes): Russell Baze (Christian Bale), a steel worker in a dying Pennsylvania mill town, is trying to put his life back together after a prison sentence when is brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), falls into the hands of gangster Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson).  Russell’s search for Rodney and DeGroat takes him across moral boundaries and into DeGroat’s stronghold, an insular community nestled in New Jersey’s Ramapo Mountains. The premise sounds like any of a dozen cookie-cutter action movies that have come out in the past few years, but Out of the Furnace is something far more thought provoking, a character-driven drama that only sounds like another Taken clone. As menacing as Harrelson makes his thug, it is the Baze family’s demons, not DeGroat, that serve as the primary antagonist. Recommended. Contains violence and strong language.

The Untouchables (R, 1987, 119 Minutes): “You wanna know how you get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way!” Better than anything else, this quote captures the essence of The Untouchables, an account (albeit one that takes substantial historical liberties) of the law enforcement unit that set out to destroy Al Capone’s criminal empire. Kevin Costner plays Eliot Ness, the federal agent tasked with assembling a team of men who could not be bribed or intimidated, “Untouchables”, and with building a case against Capone (Robert De Niro). An outstanding cast is rounded out by Andy Garcia, Sean Connery, and Charles Martin Smith as fellow Untouchables and by Billy Drago as Capone’s lieutenant, Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti. The Untouchables is an action movie at heart with a classic good versus evil plot, phenomenal acting, and a compelling, Oscar-nominated score. In case you can’t tell, this is one of my personal favorites. Contains strong language, violence, and (lots of) blood and gore.

 

The Futures Portfolio: Communications

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Across every industry and field, communicating effectively with others is an indispensable part of doing business. This necessity is reflected in the skills sought by employers;  spend some time reviewing job postings, and you’ll likely find that a requirement for “excellent written and verbal communication skills” is practically ubiquitous.  As such, people who choose to study Communications equip themselves with a knowledge base that can serve them well in today’s economy. Communications majors who add a background in business to their education do even more to enhance their prospects. This post features two SBI alumni who have used their dual background in business and communications to thrive professionally.

For the past six years, Regina Cappio Wilson has worked at Google’s New York offices, where she creates and manages advertising plans for clients that include spirits advertisers and major pharmaceuticals manufacturers. Mrs. Cappio Wilson creates plans that use Google’s search, video, and mobile platforms to ensure that “large advertisers connect with their key audiences where they are spending a great amount of time.” She started at Google as an account coordinator, a position that involves proposing media plans to advertisers, handling billing and contracts with clients, and tracking her team’s revenue performance. She currently works as an account manager, a position that involves keeping clients appraised of Google products and advertising opportunities that would complement their current online marketing.

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Regina Cappio Wilson, Account Manager at Google

While at Villanova, Mrs. Cappio Wilson focused on studying interpersonal communication, and this allowed her to develop a skill-set which is crucial to her current position. “I’m making sure the right person sees the right message at the right time. Understanding how to connect with people most effectively is an incredible asset for my role”, Cappio Wilson says. She also notes that her SBI experience helped her to better understand the needs of her clients’ brand directors, who she works closely with; “Through SBI, I have a clear view on what these folks are doing on a daily basis and I can focus on how to help their marketing efforts be most successful.”

In his work as a Business Consulting Manager at Sapient Global Markets, Ryan Doyle also makes the most of his dual background. Mr. Doyle began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he performed operations work in support of credit derivatives projects. As a consultant, Mr. Doyle helps clients implement the government rules that regulate derivatives trading. Industry-specific expertise in an important part of this job; Mr. Doyle notes that, “Clients come to Consulting firms to get work done they can’t do themselves. They expect Sapient consultants to be experts in the work they’re looking for.”

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Ryan Doyle, Business Consulting Manager at Sapient Global Markets

Strong communications skills and overall business acumen, however, are no less important. In addition to delivering consulting services to existing clients, consultants are expected to market their services to new clients and to ensure that a project makes sense for Sapient from a business management perspective; that is, to make sure that the company’s resources are being used in a manner that allows it to complete the project efficiently and profitably. Each of these functions requires Mr. Doyle to call upon different business and communications competencies. “Consultants spend a lot of time communicating, which sometimes gives a bad reputation to the industry,” Doyle says, “The real important factor is if you can back up the talk with genuine results, and you need business acumen in order to do so.”

These alumni advise current communications students seeking a job to do their research and to make the most of networking. Mr. Doyle also advises students to be open to new possibilities. “You may say you only want to work for a Tier 1 Investment Bank, or a Big 4 Consulting firm, but do you? There are trade-offs between each firm. Many times, a young professional can make more of an impact at a smaller firm where they have more of a voice.” For students interested in advertising, Mrs. Cappio Wilson offers a helpful thought exercise that students can use to sharpen their skills; “Pay attention to advertising! Why are you seeing certain ads? Where are you seeing them? Are you the appropriate target?”

A background in Communications empowers students to enter today’s demanding job market with a skill set that will always be in demand. The careers of Ryan Doyle and Regina Cappio Wilson demonstrate that complementing a Communications major with a business background can expand a student’s horizons even further.