5 tips for making a meaningful connection with employers
The Fox School has maintained a focus on student professional development with the launch of the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD). Since 1997, CSPD has served as a vital link between Fox students and the business community and a comprehensive resource for students on successful entry into the professional business environment.
In addition to providing resume critiques, interview preparation, career and industry awareness development, and placement services, CSPD also offers guidance on impression management, including personal branding—an increasingly important tool in 2018 for jobseekers, whether you are a current Fox student or experienced graduate.
What is a brand? The promise of an experience, advises Janis Moore Campbell, director of graduate professional development for CSPD. In a job search, communicating your personal brand—including the “experience of you that you promise” to an employer—is essential to standing out.
But how do you present that experience before getting your foot in the door? Job seekers must establish and reflect a brand online that is relevant to targeted opportunities and employers, says Campbell, and an increasing number of enterprises are expected to use social media, technology, and artificial intelligence for candidate recruitment and applicant sourcing.
Campbell offers the following tips for reinvigorating your brand and effectively communicating to target employers the promise of you.
1. Take a realistic stock of your current presence on the Internet. You can control what you upload—your digital footprint. However, you should also stay aware of what others upload about you—your digital shadow. Stay informed on both to limit the disconnect between what your digital footprint reflects and what your digital shadow conveys.
2. Use fact-based, not opinion-based, language. Skip the cliché resume speak—recruiters and employers are not interested in your “dedicated, detail-oriented” opinion of yourself. Stick to facts, like how many years of experience you have, the number of people you manage, and your knowledge of specific technology and software (AP, Python, SQL, Power BI, Tableau, etc.) Highlighting those facts in clear language is crucial as AI helps recruiters sift through resumes. Although applicant tracking systems (ATS) are improving at processing PDFs, for now, it’s best to keep formatting simple and to submit documents in Microsoft Word format.
3. Recommend; don’t ask to be recommended. Recommend others on LinkedIn, but don’t ask for recommendations. Doing so will yield the boomerang effect and you’ll soon discover that colleagues, customers, and vendors will be more than willing to write credibly about you.
4. Strategically volunteer to build and showcase skills. Volunteering is an outstanding opportunity to develop, use, and market a skill that you may not be able to cultivate and utilize in your current role. It’s not enough to just volunteer at the Broad Street Run because you believe in its mission; instead, consider taking a strategic approach to volunteering. For example, if you wish to establish or transition to a career in marketing, consider volunteering on the marketing committee for the Broad Street Run as perhaps a more effective way to give back and contribute to your professional development.
5. Join and network through trade associations. For the most productive networking, meet others within a select field through regional and national professional associations, both online and offline. Nearly every industry or professional trade group has a local or state chapter that hosts a variety of events where you can increase your knowledge, meet industry professionals, and get the inside track on job openings in your area of interest. Professional trade associations and industry groups offer a wide variety of beneficial connections.
This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.
Graduating from college is a time of excitement, anticipation and anxiety for many. Completing a degree is an achievement to celebrate, and the Class of 2019 will do just that at commencement on May 9 in the Liacouras Center. They will be surrounded by their friends, family, classmates and professors that helped make success a possibility for each of them.
Hundreds of undergraduate students will be receiving BBA’s from the Fox School. To get in the spirit of the season, we caught up with a few graduating seniors to discuss their experiences at the Fox School and what’s next.
Major: Marketing and Supply Chain Management
SPO: Temple University’s Supply Chain Management Association (TU-SCA)
New job: Associate Business Consultant for JDA Software in Dallas, TX
What’s next for Brooke: After graduation, Brooke will be traveling a bit before starting her new job. In June, she will visit Portland with her family. Then, Brooke plans to take a road trip down to her new home in Dallas, exploring the U.S. on her way.
In her position as an associate business consultant, she is part of a one and a half year program where she will work on a variety of projects across diverse industries. After that, if she decides that consulting is right for her, her options for relocation are nearly limitless with JDA Software. If not, Brooke will utilize her network and connections to find the right industry for her. Mainly, Brooke plans to continuously learn and grow as a business professional.
Advice for future Fox students: “Get involved early on. Find what you love to do, and always express a passion about it,” she says. “During interviews and networking opportunities, being able to express and articulate passion sets you apart from the rest.”
Major: Management Information Systems
SPO: Association for Information Systems (AIS)
New job: Risk Advisory Staff at Ernst & Young
Andrea’s experiences at the Fox School and plans for her future: As a junior, Andrea joined the Events Committee for AIS, where she helped plan a host of social and community service events. She also participated in the Data Analytics Competition and the AIS National Case Competition and was selected as a finalist for both awards.
She later presented her case study at the AIS Student Chapter Leadership Conference at the University of Texas, Dallas and won third place for the competition. This year, Temple is hosting the conference, and she was a member of the committee that planned and selected proposals for workshops and panels at the conference.
After graduation, Andrea accepted a full-time position as a Risk Advisory Staff at Ernst & Young.
“The Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) has helped me greatly in my professional journey,” she says. “I attended everything I could: Professional workshops, career fairs, leadership panels and coffee chats, to network and learn more about specific careers that were calling to me until I decided I wanted to do consulting.”
Major: Actuarial Science
Volunteer organization: Big Brother Big Sisters of America
New job: Actuarial Associate at Prudential Financial
Georges’s life at the Fox School and the role of social responsibility: The highlight of Georges’s time at Temple University was being a Big Brother through the Big Brother Big Sisters of America program. With his mentee, George explored his aspirations and fears, discovered what he wanted for his future and learned the importance of social responsibility. As George embarks on the next stage of his career as an actuarial associate at Prudential Financial, his Little Brother is in high school working toward his goal of being a writer.
“At the start of my journey at Fox, a degree in Actuarial Science seemed like a bold move because, until then, I had nothing but the Internet and my love for mathematics to guide me through a future in this obscure field,” he says. “At that time, success seemed improbable. Yet, in a few weeks, I will start my career as an actuarial associate in a Fortune 100 company.”
SPO: American Marketing Association (AMA)
New job: Marketing Associate at SRS Distribution
Experience Getting CSPD’d: The first in his family to attend college, Cesar was treading new territory as a freshman at the Fox School. He received support from the Fox community and utilized the services provided at CSPD to help with professional development. As a member of AMA, Cesar was able to attend various workshops and guest speaker events that enhanced his knowledge of business.
What’s next for Cesar: By attending Fall Connection, an event hosted by CSPD that links Fox students with business professionals, he was able to meet with his future employer. After graduation, Cesar will start his career at SRS Distribution and is excited to join the ranks of the thriving community of Temple University alumni.
We wish these students and the entire Class of 2019 good luck as they embark on the next phase of their careers or education!
On Tuesday, January 29, 2019 the Fox Graduate Alumni Professional Development Council held their first meeting of the minds.
This group, spearheaded by the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), was established to create a space for the school and MS and MBA alumni to connect and come up with ways to enhance career services for Fox School of Business alumni.
“One of the goals here is to continue the network of like-minded individuals that was established during your time as graduate students,” said Meredith Okenquist, director of Alumni Career Services and Professional Development in the CSPD.
At the inaugural breakfast, the selected members met and exchanged ideas with Fox academic program directors, CSPD staff, and fellow alumni from Fox MS and MBA programs. They discussed the mission and strategic goals for future professional development initiatives in partnership with CSPD.
Additionally, the group brainstormed various ways to get involved with current students and alumni, including networking panels, feedback collaboration opportunities, virtual presentations, and mentoring sessions.
The CSPD graduate team is excited about this new development, which includes plans to gather with the advisory council each semester and to partner with key professional development stakeholders at Fox and throughout the Temple University community in Philadelphia and internationally.
“We are proud of the impact and difference we have made in the lives of students,” said Assistant Dean of Student Professional Development Corinne Snell. “Now we are ready to take the next step and move up the ladder to further assist the entire Fox school community.”
Interested in learning more about alumni from the Fox School? Check out our story on Kevin Hong, “Fox School Alumnus honored with AIS Early Career Award.”
The Fox School of Business‘ Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) has a commencement tradition. Toward the end of every semester, graduating students, when they secure a post-graduation job, ring a bell and publicly announce who their soon-to-be employer is and what their new position will be.
It’s a great way to declare, “I did it! And this is what I’m doing next!”
Temple University’s commencement, which will include hundreds of undergraduate students receiving BBA’s from the Fox School, is this week. So we asked several members of the Class of 2018 to share with us their new jobs and some inspiring stories about their time at Fox and Temple.
Kasey Brown, BBA ’18
Major: Management Information Systems
SPO: Association for Information Systems
New Job: Summer staff missionary, Catholic Youth Expeditions
New Uplifting Experiences: “First and foremost, I’m excited to grow in my Catholic faith. Temple gave me a beautiful opportunity to discover this faith, and I feel so blessed to work for an organization that allows me to grow and discover even more. Secondly, I have always had a special place in my heart for high school students and young adults. I remember what a difficult time of life it can be, and I look forward to being with them and help them in any way I can. In addition, working with Catholic Youth Expeditions means getting to learn more about how to serve the poor and how to love others—and there’s nothing more important to me.”
Helping Others: “Temple and Fox gave me the opportunity to hone my skills—not only in business, but also in communication, time management, leadership, crisis management, critical thinking, and teamwork. More importantly, Temple and Fox helped me discover the reason why I wanted to do business: to serve others. I know that in whatever job I do, it’ll never be just a job. It will be an opportunity to use my skills to help others and give back all I’ve been given here.”
William Clark, BBA ’18
New Job: Financial analyst, Revint Solutions
Perfect Launching Pad: “As I progressed through my lower-level BBA core classes, I realized I had a passion for analyzing underlying financial data. I have been a math and science guy as early as the second grade, so pursuing a career centered around financial analysis seemed like a natural fit. A financial analyst position is the perfect launching pad for a long, successful career in corporate finance.”
Love at First Sight: “I fell in love with Fox from the moment I attended my first course. I had the privilege of being taught by some of the best professors in academia, within a modern building full of the latest finance-based technology. The Capital Markets Room was one of my favorite places at Fox, as I was able to hone my skills in Bloomberg, FactSet, and VBA programming, among other things. I was able to attain valuable knowledge that allowed me to separate myself from the crowd.”
Alexa Ann Gerenza, BBA ’18
SPO: American Marketing Association
New Job: Group ticket sales associate and service coordinator, New York Yankees
A Lifelong Fan’s Dream Job: “I’ve been a Yankees fan my entire life and to now have a job that always seemed so unrealistic it’s still hard to believe. Moving to NYC and having my office at the stadium and my work schedule based around game days, is less typical, yet so very exciting. This is an entirely new lifestyle than one I expected to have post-grad, but I’m beyond excited for the journey ahead.”
Finding Confidence (and Forever Friends!): “The American Marketing Association has given me my forever friends and motivated me to work harder in everything I do. It has given me more opportunities than I ever imagined, including two trips to the AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans, leading Temple’s chapter as vice president to success as a top five chapter, touring the Facebook office in NYC, and competing in an eBay sponsored case competition. Without the lessons learned and the experiences gained, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to send the initial LinkedIn connection to the Yankees and jump on the first phone call, which ultimately led to the position.”
Kyshon Johnson, BBA ’18
Major: International Business
New Job: Business Leadership program/Global sales associate, LinkedIn
Linking Up with LinkedIn: “LinkedIn is my dream company. I was able to tour the San Francisco office in 2016 and made a promise to myself I’d work there. I felt the company and culture aligned perfectly with my passions and life purpose. Initially, I applied for a summer internship and was rejected. I used that experience as motivation and an opportunity to improve my professionalism. I interned at Comcast and gained industry experience before applying for my full-time role. I am confident LinkedIn and the Business Leadership program will groom and mold me into a successful business woman.”
The Fox School Network: “I am thankful for the resources and support that Fox and Temple have provided during my undergraduate experience. Fox has a strong alumni network filled with professionals throughout the world. I utilized the alumni network to connect with Owls within the technology industry. I was able to meet with individuals that work at Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They were all enthusiastic to assist me in landing a role at their companies. This professional foundation allowed me to explore career options and connect with amazing individuals.”
Katherine Taraschi, BBA ’18
New Job: Owner, O bag (King of Prussia Mall)
An Italian Vacation Inspires a Career: “O bag is an Italian company that creates interchangeable bags and accessories that customers can build in the store. It’s a store my friends and I were completely obsessed with when we visited Italy last spring. We visited six different locations all over Italy and one in Budapest. O bag King of Prussia will be located on the first floor of the Plaza between Lord and Taylor and Nordstrom.”
Benefits of a Real-World Curriculum: “I love that the professors at Fox all have real-world experience. Hearing different situations that they’ve encountered embedded in course topics gave a different perspective to the lessons—and definitely helped prepare me for my new position as a business owner.”
Lindsey Thompson, BBA ’18
Major: Human Resource Management
SPO: Net Impact; Society for Human Resource Management
New Job: Compensation analyst, Day & Zimmermann
A Passion for Philly… and Data: “I’m so excited to continue to live in my favorite city (Philadelphia), work with coworkers I have formed connections with during my internship at Day & Zimmermann, and to dive into the details of data in a field I’m passionate about.”
Involvement Pays Off: “The professors in Fox’s HR department, as well as other schools throughout the university, are some of the kindest and most knowledgeable people I’ve met. I can’t thank them enough for passing on their extensive industry knowledge, their warm and understanding natures, for making me think, and for serving as mentors. My leadership position with Net Impact and my role as a Teaching Assistant taught me the value of detail orientation, time management, effective communication, and remaining open-minded. I would suggest to any undergrad to get involved outside of class, because it has really added to my experience here at Temple!”
Ian Usher, BBA ’18
Major: Management Information System
SPO: Association for Information Systems
New Job: Media-Tech associate, NBC Universal
Becoming a Tech Leader: “I’m incredibly excited to start working for NBC Universal. While working for NBCU last summer, I discovered the company has a wonderful culture where I feel engaged and valued, even as a young employee. During that time, I became good friends with other interns, and it will be wonderful to continue to grow those relationships. The Media-Tech Associate program is a very demanding program, but it’s designed to give us the skills necessary to become future technology leaders.”
A Professional Journey Began at Fox: “Throughout my career at Fox, I was pushed to think logically, clearly, and critically to solve many real business problems. I was fortunate to work on projects with real companies, from startups like PoundCake to major organizations like CHOP. Completing these projects and learning how to interact with professionals helped me excel during my internship and prepared me for the workplace more effectively than if my classes were purely lecture-based. I was a poor writer before coming to Temple, and Fox classes like Business Communications have helped me improve my writing skills dramatically. That’s been critical thus far in my professional journey.”
Learn more about the Center for Student Professional Development.
On April 4, five teams consisting of Fox School undergraduate students participated in the On Target Case Competition, sponsored by Target and hosted by the Center for Student Professional Development. They were asked to act as consultants in order to address a corporate issue—in this case, the role of gender toys in merchandising—spanning multiple functional areas of Target’s business. The five finalist teams, whittled down earlier from 15 overall team submissions, received a collective total of $3,500 in prizes. The winning team went home with $1,300.
“There were so many innovative ideas and solutions,” said Anita Galiano, a senior field campus recruiting leader at Target and one of the competition judges. “Their professionalism, from their demeanor to how they projected themselves from a research standpoint and really dove into the case study, was impressive. There’s normally a point when teams stumble, like if we throw a wrench in their plans, but the winning team was very committed to their plan and quickly came up with great advice and answers.”
The winning team consisted of students Cong No, Tung Nguyen, Quyen Le, and Thao Nguyen, whose pitch to Target was a plan titled “PlayVenture.” It included the implementation of an indoor play area where kids could test new toys and shoppers could earn rewards, the development of new in-store displays to promote gender-neutral product categorization, and the creation of an internal toy brand.
“The most valuable lesson we learned was that trying our best always led to worthwhile results,” said Thao Nguyen, a member of the winning team. “We did a lot of research about toy trends, especially gender neutrality in the toy industry, and we pushed ourselves to come up with creative ideas. Another valuable lesson we learned was that understanding our teammates was key to the group work. Because the process was very long and we were all busy with studying and other things, we respected each other’s busy schedules and had flexible meetings. Therefore, everyone had the chance to contribute to the team work.”
“What made our team a good team,” Nguyen continued, “was that we really paid attention when our teammates were talking so we could pick out strong and creative points. By doing so, we were all respected within the team, and we created a comfortable and conducive working environment.”
Learn more about the Center for Student Professional Development.
Updated Aug. 16, 2018: Mary Tang, BBA ’18, is currently working on her Master of Accountancy degree at the Fox School and she recently completed a summer audit internship with KPMG.
“How do I make the most of my college experience?” is a question every new college student ponders. Mary Tang, a senior majoring in accounting at the Fox School of Business, has answers.
Tang formerly served as the president of the Temple University chapter of Ascend, a Student Professional Organization (SPO) that fosters Pan-Asian leadership across industries, and she is currently the president of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honor society for accounting, finance, and information systems students.
Tang’s involvement in SPOs had a significant impact on her. After graduation next May, she’ll intern with KPMG, and then she plans to earn an MS in accountancy from Fox and become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). But her longterm goal is to stay involved with SPOs.
“For a while,” Tang says, “I thought I wanted to be a partner at a public accounting firm, and I could end up doing that. But since I’ve been so involved with SPOs on campus, I’ve worked with a lot of recruiters, so I know the recruiting process for public accounting firms, which are very specific processes, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’d love to work as a campus recruiter, for a campus organization, and help students in SPOs get internships and jobs. That would be really, really cool.”
From learning how to network with recruiters to becoming an SPO leader, Tang’s learned a ton about optimizing her college experience during her time at Fox and Temple. She shares this wisdom below.
5. Explore Philadelphia
“One thing students forget to do is explore the city,” says Tang. “Philadelphia is one of the best cities in the country and in the world, so it’s important to learn all the history behind it. There’s so much to do, not just in Center City, but many other parts of the city, too. I’m a lot busier now in my senior year, but freshman year is when you have the most time, so new students should take advantage and get to know Philly. I love South Philly. And I’m always in Chinatown; I recommend people go out and have some bubble tea.”
4. Use SEPTA
“Not many students have a car on campus, so SEPTA is the best way to explore Philadelphia. You could Uber and Lyft everywhere, sure, but if you’re going to college in a city, you need to learn how to use that city’s public transportation. Learning how to navigate the subway, trolley, bus, and trains will prepare you for getting to interviews, go out to dinner with friends, or whatever you need to do.”
3. Network/Ask People to Grab Lunch or Coffee
“Friends, classmates, anybody. If you’re at a networking event and you meet someone who’s interesting, definitely grab their business card, but also ask if you can shoot them an email, and ask if they’d like to get together for lunch or coffee. Every time I’ve asked a professional this, they’ve said, ‘Yes.’ I’ve gone on about 15 lunch dates with different professionals. It pays off in the long run.”
2. Talk to the People You See Every Day
“If you walk by someone in the dorm, or the hallway, or you see them in class every day, become friends with them. For business students, learning how to talk to everyone is important. And maybe one day you’ll need their help, or they’ll need your help, so it’s good to become friends with as many people as possible. Start learning how to network by talking to the person next to you in class. Maybe they’ll help you get a job one day, but it’s more important to talk to them like a human and get to know them first.”
1. Become an SPO Leader
“I was perfectly content with being a member of SPOs, but when I learned about the success stories of leaders, I knew I had to join the leadership. The former president of Ascend really challenged me to do and try new things and this helped me learn new skills. That’s when I learned being a leader is a great way to influence people and make a big impact. I knew I wanted to become one, and I did.”
Learn more about the Fox School’s Undergraduate Programs and the Department of Accounting.
Throughout the day, students from the Fox School of Business filed into Temple University’s Mitten Hall, where a myriad of professional opportunities – and potential employers – awaited.
Fox’s Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) welcomed a record number of industry partners and hiring managers for its annual Fall Connection networking event. Fall Connection offers a platform through which nearly 1,000 pre-registered Fox School students could shake hands and share resumes with representatives from top employers in the region.
Held Sept. 21, Fall Connection drew representatives from more than 100 companies to campus, helping students identify professional opportunities for full-time employment or summer internships. The networking event supports the sterling reputation of Fox CSPD, which achieved a 94-percent job-placement rate within three months of commencement for undergraduates who utilized its services.
What makes Fox an attractive business school from which to recruit? Here is what a few employers shared on that subject:
The CSPD Difference
“Not only do they put on a superb event, but Fox CSPD also prepares Fox’s students so profoundly,” said Karen Fox, head of university and recruiting partnerships with Vanguard. “The students are polished, their resumes are flawless, and they are dressed to impress. These reasons make the Fox School one of Vanguard’s top feeders, both regionally and nationally.”
“When you meet a Fox student, they carry themselves with confidence, speak clearly, and address you professionally,” said Nicole Davis, a recruiter with Crayola. “This truly sets them apart.”
Said Clay Stewart, a business analyst with SEI: “Fox students have mastered the 30-second elevator pitch. And in a competitive environment like Fall Connection, where students are shoulder to shoulder with their classmates, this can make all the difference.”
“For me, it’s that Temple mindset,” said Matthew Filomeno, a business analysis associate specialist with Merck. “It sounds cliché, but they’re gritty. Temple students work hard, take nothing for granted, and demonstrate that they’re willing to learn.”
“Fox has a reputation around the Philadelphia region and nationally for producing great candidates,” said Ben Profeta, an associate with BlackRock. “We’re invested in Fox to the point where we’ve organized a panel of (Fox) alums who work with us to speak with graduate students in the MS in Investment Management program about their experiences at Blackrock.”
Preparation is paramount
“In this room, with 100 or so employers, it is a challenge for students to know the ins and outs of every company – but Fox students are always prepared,” said Stewart, of SEI. “They’re well-researched, and they save me the trouble of having to explain who we are and what we do. It’s actually quite impressive.”
For students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, setting oneself apart from the rest could be as simple as starting a conversation.
That’s how more than 600 students and 70 corporate partners engaged with one another at the Spring Connection networking event, held Feb. 10 at Mitten Hall and sponsored by Fox’s Center for Student Professional Development.
“If you were a recruiter sitting on the other side of the table, don’t you want somebody who seems genuinely excited about working for your company to come up to you?” said Corinne Snell, Fox’s Assistant Dean for Student Professional Development. “We want our students to take time to research companies, instead of asking, ‘What does your company do?’ We’ve found that that’s what separates our students apart from others.”
Through Fox CSPD’s Fall and Spring Connection events, students connect with employers who are in need of filling openings for internships and full-time positions.
Students have access to information on companies and their vacant positions through Fox CSPD’s unique FoxNet system, said Megan Panaccio, Fox CSPD’s Director of Corporate Relations.
“It really levels the playing field because students aren’t attracted by what they see on a sign; they’re approaching a company’s table because the students have done their background, they’ve looked up the jobs, and they are really interested in the company,” she said.
Legal Studies major Daniela Carmona, a senior, approached employers at Mitten Hall’s high-top tables with confidence as she discussed her qualifications for a position at Enterprise Holdings, the national car rental service.
“Talking to Enterprise, I felt really confident,” she said. “It’s just becoming easier and easier to go up to people and not feeling so timid and shy.”
Carmona credited her newfound confidence to a Professional Development Strategies course in which she had enrolled. The course, a prerequisite for being “CSPD’d,” said Panaccio, motivated Carmona to seek out her professional passion.
Panaccio and her Fox CSPD colleagues made it a priority to offer students access to a variety of fields and industries. For some companies in attendance, Fall and Spring Connection events are a way for employers to promote their respective fields of work.
Blueberry, a marketing research firm that offers both quantitative and qualitative services, was another of the companies assigned to the high-top tables. Junior research associate Allison Peterson and head of the qualitative team Kristen Robeson are able to promote the field of qualitative research, which Robison said, is often overlooked.
“I want to get the word out to get people start thinking about it as a career,” Robison said, “and this is a great place to start.”
Back at Enterprise Holdings’ table was one of many Fox alumni. Allison Porembo, who graduated in May 2015 with a degree in Human Resource Management, remembers what it was like to attend Spring Connection. She said CSPD helped bring out skill sets that she already had, but didn’t have on paper.
“By visiting CSPD, they reminded me of certain skills I could include that I didn’t think would go on my resumé,” Porembo said.
Seeing dynamic interpersonal and professional skills among Fox students was no surprise to Allison Rehmann, talent acquisition manager for Enterprise Holdings, who said the company hires about 30 Temple students a year for internships and full-time positions.
“Each year, I think we are more and more impressed with the student preparation for this event,” she said, “because they come up, introduce themselves and they know exactly what to say.”
Dressed in a dark suit, Karan Patel walked through Mitten Hall shaking hands and charming recruiters at the sixth-annual Fall Connection, a networking event organized by the Fox School of Business’ Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD). He hardly resembled the student who had arrived to February’s CSPD Spring Connection in shirtsleeves and offered a limp handshake.
A junior Marketing major and Management Information Systems minor, Patel no longer considers himself that type of person.
“I wasn’t prepared,” Patel said of the springtime event. “I didn’t impress recruiters, but I learned from my mistakes. The CSPD helped me with that.”
Fall Connection is one of the CSPD’s biannual networking events, the second of which is held during the spring semester. This year’s four-hour event nearly filled Temple University’s Mitten Hall to capacity, matching 89 employers with more than 800 students from the Fox School.
For Fox Assistant Dean for Student Development Corinne Snell, Fall Connection is the CSPD’s signature event and serves as a great kick-off for October’s corporate recruiting season.
“It’s a time to make a positive impression and for students to put in face-time with the recruiters,” Snell said. “Recruiters contact us directly because of the professionalism and polish our students portray.”
This year, Patel considered himself one of those students.
Since his first showing at CSPD’s Spring Connection, he’s completed two successful summer internships with Business Route and Fastenal, continued to build his personal photography service, and joined customer service at World Republic Bank in Haddonfield, N.J.
“I go to bed at 1 a.m. and wake up at 6. I’m running 14-hour days because that’s what it takes,” Patel explained.
Patel is competing for the attention of top-tier employers such as Deloitte, Pepsi, Comcast Corporation, Target, PNC, JP Morgan Chase, Crayola, Independence Blue Cross, and others. With his eyes set on forging corporate friendships, Patel turned to the CSPD to transform his professional persona.
“I tried figuring stuff out on my own, but I had to ask questions. I’ve realized how beneficial the CSPD is to landing a job,” Patel said.
Located at the Fox School of Business, CSPD hosts one-hour workshops to help students prepare for its large-scale networking events. The workshops introduce students to the resources the CSPD office has to offer, including advice on professional attire, resume writing, and mock interviews. Giving students what they call the “CSPD Difference,” staff members work with students on developing a professional edge in the weeks leading up to their corporate connection events.
“We always hear from employers that we’re setting the bar,” said Megan Panaccio, CSPD Director of Corporate Relations. “The employers look forward to our event.”
The strength of its corporate partnerships and its dedication to student development drew Patel, a transfer student, to the Fox School. With his roots in Gujarat, India, Patel said he admires the work ethic his mother and father have demonstrated while working as a Dunkin’ Donuts manager and a convenience store owner, respectively. He considers his efforts through CSPD and Fall Connection stepping-stones to a promising future.
“My mom wakes at 5 a.m. to make lunches for the family,” he said. “She has had to work very hard. My future success is a way to pay her back as much as I can.”
Armed with cell phones, students filling seats near the runway snapped photos and admired their peers’ attire. On this day, the first floor of Alter Hall had been transformed into the setting of a chic fashion show.
Helping to define the dos and don’ts of business attire, the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) at the Fox School of Business hosted its third annual “Work Your Wardrobe: A Fashion Show For Young Professionals” event April 15 in Alter Hall’s Undergrad Commons.
Two-dozen student-models wore styles appropriate for smart business, business casual and business professional scenarios, with each of the looks originating from one of three sources: their personal closets, local consignment shops, or from CSPD retail industry partners.
“I have to be honest – I never knew the difference between the three styles,” said sophomore Chirag Chandna, a Management Information Systems major who modeled a business-casual look. “Now, I can say that I do.”
Work Your Wardrobe has become a staple for Fox’s CSPD, said co-organizers Holly Pfeifer, Assistant Director of Corporate Relations, and Lindsay Teich, Assistant Director of Career Competencies. Pfeifer and Teich said their interactions with Fox students generated a large volume of questions in regard to the culture of business-appropriate couture, leading to the event’s inception.
“One of the core components of the CSPD model is impression management, which accounts for both the verbal and nonverbal communication vehicles of a student’s professional development,” Pfeifer said. “The show is, and continues to be, a great success among students, faculty, staff and employers because it breaks the stereotypical mold of what resources a business school should provide.”
Work Your Wardrobe is a part of the CSPD’s full-service approach to preparing Fox’s students for the professional world upon graduation, engaging students with resume reviews, interview clinics, internship and job fairs and more.
An interactive, hour-long event, Work Your Wardrobe encourages those in attendance to vote on the origin of each outfit. In between walks down the runway, student-models acted out brief skits centered on educating students on how to properly accessorize or tie a necktie. Student-models also offered tips, like avoiding open-toed shoes and maintaining confidence in their looks.
“Feeling comfortable is important, but looking business-appropriate is just as important,” said senior Kehinde Adewunmi, a Management Information Systems major who modeled a smart-casual look. “I’d say a majority of students, before they work with CSPD, just don’t know the dos and don’ts of what to wear to work.”
“I used to think smart-casual meant a nice T-shirt and a nice pair of jeans,” said junior Ryan Rinaldi, a Finance major who sported smart-casual attire. “Obviously, there’s more to it than that, and that’s what Work Your Wardrobe tries to teach students before they make a regrettable fashion mistake in the workplace.”
Mingling between high tables in their business best, students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business actively shook hands and offered resumes to employers from the likes of Comcast, Deloitte and Wawa.
At Mitten Hall for Spring Connection, a grand-scale networking and recruiting event hosted by Fox’s Center for Student Professional Development, more than 1,000 students turned out Feb. 11 to speak with representatives from 74 companies, in the hopes of securing either summer internships or postgraduate full-time employment. They streamed in steadily for the nearly four-hour event and worked the room confidently, having engaged in the first step of professional development preparedness through the CSPD’s resume and networking workshops.
“This event is unique in that is has requirements for the students to attend,” said Fox School Assistant Dean for Student Development Corinne Snell. “Employers like the preparation, the polish and the professionalism. It maximizes student-employer time.”
Snell works with CSPD staff to ensure that before any student introduces himself or herself to an employer, they have researched the company. In reading company overviews prior to their arrival, Snell said, Fox students were able to find the corporate employers and positions for which their skills were a proper fit.
“Preparation is the key to success, and then just put your best foot forward and be confident,” Snell said.
As the conversations grew to a steady roar, Holly Pfeifer, CSPD Assistant Director for Corporate Relations and Spring Connection’s organizer, remarked upon the increasing student and employer participation.
“In the past five years, our Spring Connections have averaged about 64 employers. We beat the average this spring with 74 registrations, and the employers seem very energetic,” said Pfeifer. “They’ve said the students at the Fox School are like no other school at which they’ve recruited.”
Included in the employer turnout were Temple and Fox School alumni returning to do what Pfeifer calls “leading the charge and building the Owl network.” Pfeifer continued to say that the majority of employers present had developed a relationship with the CSPD and frequently reached out to Fox students with internship or employment opportunities.
Among them was campus recruiter for Prudential Financial, Kristen Bennett, who has worked with the CSPD before to recruit students for her company’s summer internship.
“We’ve had a strong relationship with Temple throughout the years, particularly the CSPD. They help us really find the right student,” Bennett said.
As a campus recruiter, Bennett has seen a lot of resumes and was impressed with the “elevator pitch” that students gave to employers and the knowledge they presented with regarding the company’s goals.
Seconding Bennett’s thoughts was Gabrielle Nader, talent acquisition specialist with McGladrey, an accounting and consulting firm. Nader, who previously has hired Fox students, was in search of 30 to 35 students to join McGladrey’s summer leadership program.
“We’re looking for outgoing and well-rounded students who get our culture, who know this isn’t just a job,” Nader said.
Sophomore Finance major Joe Heidt joined Nader in the handshaking fray. For Heidt, the experience presented a larger opportunity for future success.
“I want to look early and look at everything,” Heidt said. “Networking is getting into someone’s mind and being memorable. If I get my name out, employers will recognize me next summer, too.”