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Inside Kendall

A Business Student’s Exclusive Preview to Networking in the Real World

On March 24, 2011, School of Business student Emma Sterzinger joined Dean Michelle Coussens in attending The Illinois Women’s Conference. Emma was selected to attend from a pool of several students nominated by School of Business faculty members. Below, Emma writes about her experience at the event that day.

We have all heard the expression “it’s who you know not what you know.” All throughout our college careers we are taught how important it is to network. Kendall College offers its resources to provide students with opportunities to network through the School of Business Junior and Senior Advisory Board meetings, quarterly luncheons with the Dean, and other events I had the unique opportunity to attend The Illinois Women’s Conference. Although excited, I found myself a little overwhelmed and nervous. Building the courage to sell yourself or learning how to network with finesse may seem like a daunting task or it may seem very easy. I have always been somewhat hesitant in these situations, but what I learned that day from speaker Norine Wiebmer was, “Networking is two people mutually giving to gain or give information.” We network every day, it might be the conversation you have with your hair dresser or connecting with someone on LinkedIn. Looking at networking in this light, it became more achievable to me.

The Illinois Women’s Conference was an all-day event. It began at 8 am with coffee and breakfast and ended with a reception at 5pm. The day was broken up into four blocks where guests were able to pick from and attend a number of seminars. Some choices included: Extraordinary, Powerful and Influential Women; Utilizing Social Media for Your Business; and Women and Wealth Creation. This conference is designed to target a wide range of professional women. Attending the event were women far into their careers, as well as women just entering their careers and students.

I want to share a few things I learned from the speakers about some qualities to embrace on our professional path.

  • Always live intentionally
  • Be yourself
  • Know your strengths and your weaknesses
  • Be an advocate for your company
  • Get out of your comfort zone, taking risks may lead to rewards, and
  • Have and be a mentor all through your career.

Remember, opportunities are all around us and there are people that want to help us achieve in life, we just need to ask.

Not only did the conference give me an opportunity to make connections in the business world but it also boosted my confidence with networking.

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