Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Forté Conference: Starting my MBA Journey

by Jessica Weaver, Forté Fellow
MBA 2014, University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign

Ocean breezes, palm trees, gorgeous weather, and inspiring women.  What do these things have in common?  This is what welcomed me to my MBA journey, which began at the 2012 Forté Conference in Los Angeles.  Reflecting back on the experience, the top five ways attending the conference prepared me for starting my MBA program were: 
  •  It built my network:  I met women from other MBA programs and companies.  It was a delight to run into them later in the school year at other career fairs and conferences.  Plus, I got to know women in my program better. 
  •  I learned about career options:  Prior to earning an MBA, I worked in the public sector.  I honestly did not know what a career in finance could look like.  The conference gave me a safe place to learn about career paths and meet women on these paths. 
  •  The career fair prepared me for fall recruiting:  Similarly, I did not know what the internship and job search would look like.  At the Forte Conference’s career fair, I got a picture of what the career fairs I would attend would be like, which helped me be more prepared for the internship search. 
  •  I met companies I liked:  Similarly, I began building relationships with companies I wanted to work at before I even got to campus.  This helped me find recruiting events to attend, internships to apply for, and more. 
  •  Inspiring women gave me confidence:  The best takeaway from the conference was meeting truly inspiring women who encouraged me to get as much value as I can from my MBA experience.  I came away with excitement, enthusiasm and confidence about the opportunities ahead.
Now a year into my MBA, I would encourage both first and second year MBA women to attend this summer’s conference in New York City.  It’s an invaluable learning experience and a great chance to meet like-minded women.  I’ll be in New York this summer interning in consulting at Accenture, and I will be at the conference, so I hope to see you there!

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