|The School of Business Gives Students an E.D.G.E. toward Success|
|Introduced this semester, the E.D.G.E. program provides students tools and practical applications for internship and interview experience.|
As a freshman, Nick Stuffo is already learning lessons about how to prepare for the job market.
Stuffo participated in the first E.D.G.E. mini-conference in February, a new initiative of the School and its Professional Development Coordinator. The conference addressed effective networking, professionalism and communication.
“I think the biggest surprise to me was how much of a difference there was in what I thought was appropriate to wear to an interview to what you are actually supposed to wear,” said Stuffo, who’s majoring in business administration. “I learned what the difference was between business casual and business professional. Before this session, I would not have been able to tell anyone the difference between the two.”
Bethany Kilgore, the Professional Development Coordinator, has the simple explanation of the difference: With business casual, you wear a jacket that doesn’t match in color or style with the pants. With business professional, everything matches; the dress is more conservative overall and is tailored.
The E.D.G.E. program introduces undergraduates – from freshmen to seniors – to essential skills for interview success through a series of seminars and workshops. E.D.G.E. is an acronym for the topics taught during three mini-conferences:
• Effective Networking, Professionalism and Communication
• Dress for Interview Success
• Good Work Habits
• Essentials for Successful Interviewing.
The first mini-conference prepared younger students for their professions exploration assignment. Other than learning professional dress, students learned how to connect with professionals within their field of interest. They reviewed their personal network to identify contacts, then e-mailed or called at least one professional in their field of interest to set up an informational interview.
Prompt follow-up creates a good impression, said Timothy Berry ’13, a business administration major.
“The biggest surprise to me was the tip about following up with employers, alumni, and professional contacts. I learned that responding to a voicemail or e-mail within 24 hours is best, 48 hours’ maximum,” said Berry, who is chair of finance and communications for the Business School Deans’ Hosts organization. “Beyond that two-day mark, you most likely have a note in your contact’s mind, flagging you as unprofessional because they made the time to contact you in a prompt manner, but you didn’t return the favor.’’
When he e-mailed three professionals asking for an interview, he used his Blackberry to monitor his communication: “Having e-mails pushed to my Blackberry is a great way to see how fast the professional responds, and allows you to respond on the go.’’
It’s not always easy to speak with high-level professionals, says Kristen Klocko ’14, who admits, “I’m very nervous” about her upcoming telephone interview with Susan Croushore, the president and CEO of Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, who has been named one of the top 25 women in healthcare by ModernHealthcare.com.
“But, from what I learned through E.D.G.E., I feel more confident in how to present myself and in what to say to sound professional,” said Klocko, a business administration major. “I hope to gain more insight and knowledge about the healthcare administration vocation because I am thinking about pursuing a career in that field.”
Rebecca Kabel found her professional contact on campus when she attended a “Leading at IC” program of the Student Leadership Institute. Theresa Radley, assistant director of the Student Involvement Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, discussed the responsibilities of all IC club officers. Listening to Radley convinced Kabel ’14, a business administration major and music minor, that she wants to focus on a career in higher education.
Kabel arranged her informational interview with Radley for the next day.
“I have spent most of my life organizing people and coordinating them, and have loved doing it,” said Kabel, inspired by how Radley coordinates all the student clubs on campus. Following Radley’s advice to get involved in college activities, Kabel wants to organize an event in conjunction with Longview, the residential senior retirement community adjacent to the college on South Hill.
Her vision is to bring students with their laptops to Longview to teach residents the basics of e-mail.
Liana Casciani, who calls herself “a spunky person,” said she learned she can’t dress that way during an interview.
“My biggest surprise was how important first impressions are, not only in person but on paper, too,” said Casciani ’14, a business administration major with a concentration in international business and a minor in Italian. “In person, how you dress is amazingly important – from how you present your hairstyle to how long your skirt is. Interviewers are, as I learned, very judgmental.”
She and a friend are planning to go shopping for business casual and business professional attire. She says it will give them an advantage whenever they interview: “We will be taken seriously and professionally and help make contacts for not only ourselves but for the Business School at Ithaca as well.”