Education - Page 1 - Opportunities of a lifetime

- Page 1
Opportunities of a lifetime
Campus programs prepare students for life

By Lisa Baldino, Contributing Writer

From jumping through a ring of fire to getting their dream job, students at three local colleges have access to programs that prepare them for the “real world.” The programs promote leadership, mentorship and healthy living, and they give both graduate and undergraduate students opportunities to learn business and life approaches.

At Loyola University Maryland, students can be part of The Sigma Society, a student organization for professional development. According to Marie Yeh, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing at Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business, The Sigma Society is structured like a company. Department leaders hold the title of vice president in areas such as marketing, social media, human resources and membership. “Each position has a variety of duties. We work on communication points, the key skills of networking, customer experience and service marketing,” Yeh says.

The Sigma Society holds “A Night of Networking” each year, so that students can practice networking and maybe even get an internship or job. Jack Farrell, currently a senior at Loyola, did just that. The finance major says that after meeting several executives from the crowd of 80-100 undergraduate students and 50 alumni, he followed up with the executives on LinkedIn. A partner at WMS, a wealth management firm, remembered Farrell and the two continued to keep in touch. The result: Farrell landed an internship with WMS in the fall of his junior year. Add summer job experience at Merrill Lynch and a second financial internship, and Farrell already has a very respectable resumé, as well as the communications skills to go with it.

“I chose wealth management because I like talking to people and hearing their stories, I like the ever-changing market, and I want to learn as much as I can about it,” Farrell says. His advice for networking: “Talk to as many people as you can. People want to help others. It’s all about conversation and follow up afterwards.”

Yeh says the group for “A Night of Networking” has grown from 40 to over 100 participants, and she heavily recruits for business executives from the school’s Alumni Group to attend these events. Yeh also teaches a sales class for undergraduates that includes role plays, with her as the customer. “They find out that they need a discovery call so they can learn about their customer. They learn how to make a good 60- to 90-second elevator pitch, and how to write an effective thank you note.”

The Sigma Society and the unique approach to a sales class are breaking through the barrier of “I can’t get a job without experience and I can’t get experience without a job.”

At Notre Dame of Maryland University, April 2018 marked the re-launch of the Women’s Leadership Institute there. In the last 18 months, the group has celebrated the accomplishments of hundreds of women and helped hundreds more develop leadership strategies across gender, generation and culture, according to Maricka Oglesby, director of the Institute. “We saw that there is a need among students and the community for mid-level and entry-level skill building,” Oglesby says. “We’re bridging the gap between baby boomers, millennials and Gen. X by talking about things that matter to these groups.”

The two newest programs from the Institute are a negotiation workshop on how to ask and get what you want or need, and a Saturday workshop providing hands-on skill building. These two new themes will join the leadership seminars the Institute already has available. “These skills help women build confidence and give them starting power in the workforce,” Oglesby says. She also notes that you don’t have to be a student at Notre Dame of Maryland to attend these

Opportunities, continued on page 7