Archive for February, 2011

Where Business and Service Meet

February 24th, 2011 by kkayer

For all of the soul-searching, job-seeking seniors.

I have found that, upon graduation from a liberal arts institution, students are left with two common goals: “I want to make a difference in the world” and “I want to make a lot of money.”  This is bound to happen because in any notable liberal arts curriculum, students are conditioned to be both socially responsible and professionally successful.  More often than not, graduates are left choosing between taking that steady analyst position at a large corporate firm and teaching English in an impoverished South African village (believe me, I’ve been there. Choosing to go to graduate school to postpone making a decision may not have been my most enlightened solution).  These options might seem like completely opposite ends of the employment spectrum.  The truth is, though, that being successful professionally (in terms of both job title and salary) and making a global difference are NOT mutually exclusive.

Jobs serving the betterment of the community are not limited to government and non-profit organizations.  Despite common misconceptions, careers in business have just as much to offer the global community.  If a “higher moral calling” exists in the public (government) and social (non-profit) sectors, it exists in the business sector as well.   The truth is that “You can make a vital contribution in any of these three sectors, because all three are needed for a society to function well.  (If just one sector is weak or absent, the result is usually a failed state.  Think of the former communist states that tried doing away with private business, or the chaotic warlord states without effective government.)”  And while many are put off by the “corruption of corporate business,” keep in mind that there are dozens of examples of both virtue and vice in each sector.  No one sector monopolizes either corruption or morality. It is important to remember that goodness lies within the individual and in the moral decisions those individuals make regarding their work, not in any particular industry.

I recently read the book Half the Sky, which promotes the humanitarian organization by the same name.  The Half the Sky Organization is a non-profit that works to fight global poverty by unlocking women’s power as economic catalysts — transforming teenage girls from brothel slaves into successful businesswomen.  This non-profit organization is using entrepreneurial and business practices to fight extremism and poverty around the globe.  Yes, Half the Sky is a non-profit organization, but it is bolstering the business sector and suggesting (quite convincingly) that entrepreneurial endeavors, combined with education, are the most effective way to combat poverty.

The fact of the matter is that business strengthens a community.  It creates jobs, which in turn allows for the economic growth and security of individuals, their families, and by extension their entire community.  By entering the business sector and engaging in socially responsible business practices, you are making an irrefutable social contribution.

When it comes time to make a decision about your career path, I’m not suggesting that the business sector is the only place to look; however, I do ask that you not overlook it either.  Armed with your Liberal Arts degree, you have the tools to succeed in any job you choose and, with that ability, to better your life and the lives of those around you.  No matter what sector you find yourself in, you can make a difference in the world and be professionally successful at the same time.

Until next time!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

Excerpts from “Where Goodness Lies: An Open Letter to College Students” by Judith Cone, Vice President, Emerging Strategies, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
All information about Half the Sky Organization is property of Halfthesky.org

You have to read the Journal

February 16th, 2011 by kkayer

I’m pretty new to Holy Cross, but over the course of the fall semester, I’ve had a few opportunities to meet with some distinguished alums working in the finance world.  When asking how our program can better prepare HC students for careers in finance, no matter who I talked to, or where they worked, I heard the same response over and over again:

THEY HAVE TO READ THE JOURNAL

So, there’s the big secret everyone.  No matter what else you do to prepare for your finance interviews, number one on your list should be reading the Wall Street Journal every single day.  No excuses.  Every alum I spoke with, no matter their age or title, promised me that in any interview they can tell within the first few minutes if the candidate reads the Journal regularly.  Those who do, engage in educated conversation about what is going on in the industry and can provide well informed answers to questions about market trends and statistics.  Those who don’t tend to have brief and unsuccessful interviews.

I have compiled a few tips they suggest that might make this task less daunting.

1.       Find a few companies you like and follow them.

You don’t have to be able to quote the paper cover to cover, but be able to speak intelligently about major happenings in the industry.  An easy way to do this is by following articles about a product or company that interests you.  The most common examples that they gave me were Nike and Apple.  If you can have a discussion about the two companies, who their competitors are, what changes you see in their product lines and how they are fairing in the market, you are proving to your interviewer that you understand the industry and are engaged and interested in the field.

2.       Don’t try to read everything.

Piggybacking on the last point, it’s important to remember that you won’t be able to retain everything if you attempt to study the enter issue.  Read enough articles so that you feel comfortable and confident with the material and recent industry activities.  If you continue in this manner, eventually you’ll become familiar with the styles and formats of the Journal and you’ll be able to expand your reading and retain more information.

3.       You don’t have to go it alone.

One young alumnus, who recently finished his MBA, told me that the way he got used to reading the Journal was in the company of his study group.  When you have friends to read and discuss the articles with, you are more likely to concentrate on the material and to remember what you are reading.  It keeps your mind from wandering and it gives you practice discussing what you’ve read.  You can bounce ideas off of each other and add insight to what you are learning.  It could become your new lunch/dinner table discussion with your other finance-minded friends.

With all of this in mind, I have two tools for you to consider.

First, Prebusiness has a site that can be really helpful for you: Ewallstreeter This site brings the important financial news articles and blogs right to you.  It’s a free service that has been tailored to meet Holy Cross students’ needs, so take advantage of it!

Second, I’d like to invite all of you to join a Wall Street Journal reading/discussion group.  We can meet once a week and talk about what we’ve read, what’s going on, and help clarify anything that might not be clear.  Participants can switch off giving updates on the companies they are following and industry changes they find interesting.

Email me if you are interested. Oh, and don’t forget to find us on facebook!

Until next week!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

Semester in a Glance

February 9th, 2011 by kkayer

Here’s a peak at our upcoming events.  Mark your calendars!

Insurance 101

Career Workshop Series

February 21, Monday

Gordie Lockbaum ’88, Vice President, The Sullivan Group

Gordie Lockbaum ’88, a Vice President at The Sullivan Group, will give a comprehensive overview of the many aspects of the world of insurance and discuss the varied career opportunities available within the field.  He’ll provide insight into the ins and outs of what the insurance industry really entails.

What’s better than learning about insurance and meeting a Crusader football legend?

What Is An Entrepreneur?

Career Workshop Series

March 16, Wednesday

Frank Hoy, Director, Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Frank Hoy, a Prof. at WPI, is an internationally known authority on entrepreneurship. Hoy spent five years as chair of the Central European Small Business Enterprise Development Commission. His research and educational activities have been funded by more than $15 million in awards and contracts from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Education, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Mott and Kauffman foundations, among other agencies and organizations. He is past chair of the Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management and former senior vice president of the International Council of Small Businesses. (Excerpt from http://www.wpi.edu/news/20090/beswick.html)

This is bound to be an eye-opening look at entrepreneurship from a world-renowned speaker.  If you’ve ever been curious about what it means to be (or is like to be) an entrepreneur, don’t miss this workshop!

Summer Business Program Information Session

March 21, Monday

Come learn about the best way to spend your summer.  SBP is a unique opportunity to work with alumni and learn what it is really like to work in the business world!

Business Opportunities in Science

Career Workshop Series

March 22, Tuesday

Gail Evangeline Radcliffe ’78, President, Radcliffe Consulting

Gail Radcliffe assists biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies with technical, marketing, regulatory and business development issues. Her expertise allows her to aid companies in developing successful business strategies and obtaining funding.

If you are interested in careers that combine business and science then this is the workshop you’ve been waiting for! Learn how your science degree can pave the way for business careers.

Dinner Speaker Series

April 5, Tuesday

Sheila Cavanaugh ‘81, Senior Vice President, Fidelity Investments

Registration necessary: Contact the pre-business office

Ask anyone who has heard Sheila speak at the Women in Business conference, you do not want to miss this dinner!  Sheila is an unbelievable speaker, whose professional life and dedication to Holy Cross captivates and motivates her audience.  Anyone and everyone should attend, but space is limited so RSVP!

Hope to see you there!!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor