Fast Five: Meet Blaire Fenniman!

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qxategOZERy-72jI-h0Am89QgW25rUDrjkFWrGZ2qux8CS_0fSjW7aa-ipF5ppIvb70y1MATcAkIxPARmz4fP-44XYO4mpsnPhDbdgwjC6gYeTRa91a-Bb9nuZ6cyLxkQDQNOnI7SVxqLRZE2IM7d-9WzGx14sn1w7N9CEw=s0-d-e1-ftBlaire is a senior here at Villanova! She is from Dover, New Hampshire and completed SBI in 2015. She’s a hard-working student, double-majoring in Cultural Studies and Spanish. Last semester, she worked as a community interpreter intern for Spanish-speaking clients at the Villanova School of Law. After graduating from Villanova, she hopes to attend law school herself. Take a look at Blaire’s Fast Five and learn more about her!


#1. Current Netflix addiction?

“I am currently addicted to the new Netflix series ‘Narcos,’ about the life of Pablo Escobar and his reign as a drug kingpin in Colombia.”

#2. All-time favorite movie?

“Mulan. No question.”

#3. What’s on your Villanova bucket list?

“To watch our basketball team win a national championship.”

#4. If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be?

“Natalie Dormer. She plays Margaery in Game of Thrones and is such a good actress.”

#5. Favorite Villanova memory?

“Freshman year my friends and I decided to have a night in at St. Mo’s and we ordered $200 worth of Campus Corner, pigged out, danced, and had a movie marathon all night long.”

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.

The Futures Portfolio: Construction Management

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This post marks the first installment of the futures portfolio, a recurring series that will explore the diversity of careers that SBI alumni have built for themselves. 

Gary Dragona always knew that he wanted to build things, but his time in SBI convinced him to make a modification to his career plans. Mr. Dragona entered SBI as a Civil Engineering Major, but his time in the program piqued his interest in the business side of the construction industry. In order to pursue this interest, he transferred into the school of Arts & Sciences to study Economics.

Gary Dragona

Mr. Dragona now works as a Construction Manager for Tishman Construction, a major firm based in New York City. Dragona’s recent projects include upgrades to the security infrastructure at New York-New Jersey Port Authority facilities and repairs to property owned by Verizon Wireless that had been damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

In many ways, the title of construction manager matches the job description, but that description includes a broad array of responsibilities. When managing a site, Mr. Dragona is responsible for creating a plan for the site that includes a schedule and a budget. Once the plan is in place, it is also Mr. Dragona’s responsibility to implement it, and to ensure that construction is completed on time, under budget, and according to prevailing quality standards. He is responsible for managing the construction crews working on-site, for maintaining the project’s books, and for reviewing contracts. Construction Managers, in short, have to be familiar with a wide variety of business disciplines, including management, accounting, and business law.

Mr. Dragona’s background in economics has helped him to carry out these responsibilities, as it has helped him develop the cognitive skills that his job demands. “Economics has developed my quantitative and analytical skills which help keep my projects on schedule and under budget”, Dragona says. He notes that in order to succeed in the workforce, economics students have to apply the theoretical knowledge they learn to the unique attributes of their target industry. “it is important that you take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to the business sector you are in, all of which require an understanding of markets and rational choice.”

At first blush a transition from engineering to economics might seem an unusual career move for somebody interested in construction. This didn’t stop Gary Dragona, who saw a background in economics as the means by which he could pursue in twin interests in the business and construction worlds. By identifying a path that worked for him and pursuing it, Mr. Dragona was able to build a career, a livelihood, and more than a few buildings in the process.

 

Words of Advice: The Networking Reception

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The networking reception often has a way of making people nervous; there’s something forced (and dare we say awkward?) about the whole situation. If you find yourself dreading this afternoon’s reception, take heart; plenty of people have done this before, and those people have great advice to offer you. Here are some tips from SBI alumni on how to survive, and even thrive, in the artificially constructed environment known as the networking reception.

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“Do your research before the reception. If you know who is going to be there, you can impress them with your knowledge of their company. It will go a long way to having your resume seriously reviewed.” – Nathan Swain, Chemical Engineering Major, SBI 2012

“Step out of your comfort zone to make your connections. Even if you don’t think you have anything in common with a potential employer or even if you don’t think you might be interested in a certain industry, don’t hesitate to strike a conversation with these knowledgeable professionals.” – Nick Holden, History Major, SBI 2013

“Don’t be timid/afraid to talk to the professionals. They want to be there and want to help you out.” – Joe Lenz, Economics Major, SBI 2013

“If you’re searching for something to say, just ask the industry professionals about their particular field or position. Their responses will help to break the ice and give you a better idea of how their position relates to your own career aspirations.” – Greg Dahl, Political Science Major, SBI 2013

“The first question you ask a new business contact is important, but follow-up questions can be even more important. It shows you are listening and genuinely interested in what (s)he is saying.” – Janine PerriEnglish, History, Honors Triple Major, SBI 2012

“Take advantage of finding out more information about the different companies that attend the reception. Make sure to follow up with an email or phone call to show interest in the company and any job/internship opportunities.” – Ashley Reed, Mathematics Major, SBI 2013

“This is one of the best things about SBI. Compared to any career fair during the school year, there are fewer people trying to talk to and connect to all the professionals at the reception. This allows you to make better connections with them. Take advantage of it.” – Ginny Lee, Civil Engineering Major, SBI 2013.

 

 

Wildcats of Wall Street: Elizabeth Carbone Moves on and Moves up

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This is the third and final installment of “The Wildcats of Wall Street”; a series highlighting SBI graduates who are beginning full-time positions in the finance and banking industries. If you haven’t read them already, take a look at the first and second profiles in the series, which feature SBI alums Adrienne Galvin and Dave Lander. If you’re interested in learning more about the career opportunities open to SBI graduates, stay tuned for “The Futures Portfolio” a new series that will focus on how SBI alumni from different academic backgrounds have applied their SBI education to a diverse variety of careers. 

Liz Carbone is on the move. To be specific, Liz (SBI 2012, Villanova 2014) has just left the Main Line for new accommodations in Manhattan. Liz is relocating in order to take part in a two-year Leadership Development Program for JP Morgan Chase. While in this full-time, paid position, Liz will rotate between three different job functions in the bank in order to develop a well-rounded understanding of JP Morgan and of the banking industry in general. Liz’s first rotation will be as a Marketing and Product Development Analyst for Chase’s Consumer and Community Bank.

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Liz’s interest in the banking industry began with her time at SBI. While she went into the program unsure of her career goals, Liz’s experience in SBI piqued her interest in banking as a career and gave her the tools she needed to pursue it. “My background in business is also vital to my success at Chase because I have the confidence to work with my team as well as upper management.” Liz said,  “SBI provided me with the necessary ground work to begin a career in banking.”

Liz built on that foundation by pursuing an internship in the field. She found one with JP Morgan through a networking contact she had developed. “I have realized that one of the most important things about the application process (for both internships and full-time positions) is networking…” Liz notes,   “Do not be afraid to reach out to Alumni, or anyone you know who works in your field of interest.”

Liz’s time as an intern gave her an invaluable understanding of the banking industry that she couldn’t have picked up in a classroom. Liz recommends that students pursue an internship in their field of interest, as “It provides you with the opportunity to see how a business works from the inside, and helps you realize what you may or may not like about certain positions.” Taking on a summer internship can have an additional perk; an internship can serve as an extended evaluation period for potential hires, and many companies will offer full-time positions to interns who make a good impression. This is particularly true in the banking and finance industries. Liz was offered her full-time position at the conclusion of her internship, and consequentially was able to avoid the stress of the senior year job hunt.

On a good day, one can make the drive from Villanova to New York City in just under two hours, but the mental distance between the familiar confines of the college bubble and the hustle and bustle of New York’s financial district can seem far greater. Liz Carbone’s time at SBI helped her to bridge that gap, but her hard work and determination got her the rest of the way. “Be ambitious and do not be afraid to put yourself out there” Liz says.

Wildcats of Wall Street: Dave Lander Plans for the Future

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Soon after matriculating at Villanova as a freshman, Dave Lander (Arts & Sciences Economics Major, SBI 2012, Villanova 2014) knew that he needed to adjust his career plans. Dave had planned on pursuing a career in law, but quickly decided that he would be happier pursuing a different path. The only problem was, Dave didn’t know what that other path might be.

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After taking SBI, Dave found his answer. He quickly took an interest the finance module of financial management and reporting (FMR). “After taking my first finance course I knew that this was something I enjoyed working in and the job prospects were very lucrative… Also, I would be lying if I said that potential future income didn’t play a large role in my decision to work in finance.” Dave recalls.

Now, Dave has graduated from Villanova and is beginning his financial career in earnest. Dave will soon begin work as a financial advisor for AXA Advisors in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. According to Dave, such a position  is “not your stereotypical job within the world of finance”. As an advisor, Dave will help individuals make the financial arrangements they need in order to retire, send their children to college, and meet their other long-term life goals. A career in financial advising (more commonly known as wealth management) requires the advisor to cultivate relationships with his clients over a period of years or even decades. Dave is confident that his education will serve him well in that respect; “My combination of backgrounds in both business and the arts will help me connect with a broader range of potential clients, and the extensive arts curriculum might improve my communication skills, further improving the results from these interactions.”

That’s not to say that Dave didn’t spend a large portion of his time at Villanova preparing for a career in finance. After graduating from SBI, Dave pursued a second minor in finance. This allowed Dave to take more advanced finance courses, including coursework in corporate finance, equity markets, and fixed income markets. Dave also pursued hands-on experience in the industry by interning at Hightower Advisors,  another firm involved in wealth management. Dave applied to the position at AXA early in the fall of his senior year, and had to go through multiple rounds of interviews before he received an offer.

When looking for a job or an internship, Dave stresses the importance of patience and persistence. “Be sure to apply for as many internships as you possibly can… also, don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back regarding many of your applications.” When one of your applications advances to the interview stage, Dave notes that being relaxed is a key to success – and that interviewees have a good reason to be relaxed. “If you even get your foot in the door, it means that they like you enough to spend their valuable time meeting with you, so you shouldn’t be too nervous.” Dave Lander’s preparation has paid off, and he now has the opportunity to use his background in finance to build a future for himself and for his clients.

Update: SBI Alum’s Business Establishes Valuable Villanova Ties

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This post is an update to a post originally published on March 20th, 2014. See the original at (see https://villanovasbi.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/sbi-alumni-get-creative-through-entrepreneurship/)

The SBI blog has previously written about Turquoise, a small business that SBI 2013 alumnus Ashley Reed runs with her sisters. The blog is happy to report that Turquoise now holds a license to produce cases and skins for laptops, cell phones, and tablets that depict Villanova University and its logos. According to Ashley Reed, the skins include “unique, custom designs that capture the spirit of Villanova, and include iconic campus images like the Church, Connelly Center, and the Oreo…  The designs can also be personalized with a name, initials, class year, or any short phrase or expression.”

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One of the Villanova Designs Available at turquoisecreate.com

Ashley’s SBI experience was an important step on her path towards running a business; Ashley notes that, “All of the classes and the well-rounded education I received during SBI prepared me extremely well for all stages of business growth and development.” The process of obtaining the license from Villanova was long and complex, but Ashley feels that the license was well worth the effort. She notes that the decals present an excellent opportunity to show school spirit, and an excellent marketing opportunity for Villanova. “Many people have decals for their car to display their school name, but cell phones, tablets, and laptops have the opportunity to be seen more often” Ashley says.

Additionally, the license to represent Villanova through their products means something special to the Reed sisters, ” It is special for us to be able to combine all three of our amazing experiences at Villanova and share designs that we feel visually express what is so special about Villanova University!”