Are you or someone you know currently majoring in business? Why major in business? Is it to gain knowledge and experience to work at a fortune 500 corporation, to become the CEO of a company, or enter the business world as an entrepreneur? Whatever the reason, I have identified five tips for female college students to consider that will help lead to success in completing a business degree and pursuing a business career.
Office Hours for Professors
First, you should feel confident in your abilities to take rigorous business courses and earn good grades. However, if there is a question or concern about an assignment or project, please advocate for yourself early on and seek assistance during your professors’ office hours. Your professors make sure students are aware of their office hours, and the dates and times are located on each syllabus and/or on other web applications such as Blackboard. Cassandra O’Sullivan Sachar discussed the importance of holding office hours and encouraging students to attend in her article entitled, Office Hours: Why Students Need to Show Up. See and understand the positive benefits such as not being embarrassed to ask questions when one-on-one and that higher student achievement (better grades!) can result when students meet with their professors.
Second, if you commute and work off campus while attending college, you should still be confident and seek assistance when needed. If you are a commuter and the dates/times do not work with your schedule, let your professors know, and they may be able to make an adjustment or possibly speak with you by email or phone. If this option does not work, talk with your advisor or go to the Career Services Center. A counselor or mentor may have other suggestions to assist you.
Take time to introduce yourself to your classmates. Ask for a couple of phone numbers and email addresses so you can contact someone with a question regarding homework, projects, or to have a study partner. In some courses, professors will encourage students to form study groups to complete certain assignments or group projects/papers. Study groups can be very helpful because your group can meet for study sessions, divide up questions/activities, and communicate via Google and help each other to be accountable by meeting all class deadlines. Once again, higher learning can result! More positive reasons can be found at https://www.educationcorner.com/study-groups.html
Clubs & Professional Associations
Another great way to be successful while in college and after graduation is to join a professional business association that is part of your major and affiliated with your college or university. For example, one could join the American Marketing Association (AMA), Delta Sigma Pi, or the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), to name a few. These organizations are open to both female and male students. Membership in these types of groups is a wonderful and strategic way to work with other students, meet professionals in the field, participate in social or business-related events and to begin networking in your chosen area of expertise. Various professional organizations sponsor campus-related events and may offer scholarships as well as internships.
Whether you live on a college/university campus or commute to school, working with a mentor can be very helpful. The definition of a mentor per the dictionary is “someone who advises or trains.” In this context, a mentor is a professional who volunteers time to talk with you about your school progress, goals, concerns, and may assist you with interviewing techniques, scholarship opportunities, and other topics. A mentor can be a go-to person who will listen to your thoughts and decisions. The mentor-mentee relationship can be formal or informal. However, it is imperative that ground rules are established and maintained so that a positive mentoring relationship can foster confidence, possibly open doors to opportunities and can encourage female business graduates to give back sometime in the future as a way to assist other female business majors.
A professional mentoring program for female business students has been established at George Mason University, which is located in Fairfax, MD. The program began in Fall 2018. There are many other programs like this one on college/university campuses worldwide. Take some time to research the mentorship options at your school, and take advantage of them early on.
George Mason University’s School of Business believes a Mason graduate is “a well-rounded scholar and engaged citizen who is prepared to act.” George Mason University has produced several female business graduates who have gone on to careers in business, become business owners and CEO’s and serve in various capacities on boards and advisory boards. For example, In 2014, a group of female business leaders saw an opportunity to give back and became founding members who established the Women in Business Initiative (WIBI), of which I am an advisory member. Talmar Anderson, current president of WIBI, stated, “We wanted to create opportunities and ways to collaborate and inspire women to get ahead in business. There was not an all women business advisory board at the university. So, we were trying to find community for and create mentorship for women.”
WIBI works closely with the School of Business and sponsorships to provide opportunities for female business students to apply for scholarships, participate in networking activities, and to work with mentors. Currently, there are four committees: Events, College to Career, Branding & Marketing, and Fundraising & Sponsorships. As a WIBI advisory board member, I participate on the College to Career Committee. We hosted a “Tips for Success Etiquette Lunch” and currently working with the Career Services Center on a “Networking on the Green Golf Event.” The Career Services Center established a formal Mentorship Program, which includes a mentor and mentee contract. A number of WIBI Advisory Board members are currently volunteering time to work with a mentee. If your school offers similar programming, consider joining!
As a female college student interested in or already pursuing business, think about using the tips shared in this blog, consider joining a business organization on your campus and find ways to learn, grow and network with other women. Our society needs more women to become business owners and CEO’s in order to employ others. In the words of WIBI, you will be “Breaking Barriers…for the Next Generation”.
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