Alumni Mocktail Panel: A Reunion To Remember

By Khalid, Khalid, Peer for Career

On a beautiful Thursday evening of March 24th, the STARR Career Development Center welcomed back six of its former Alumni who were part of programs such as Peers for Careers, Rising Starr Sophomore Program (RSSP), and Passport to Partnership (P2P).  This event was possible thanks to the collaboration between awesome SCDC staff counselors and the Alumni Committee. The night was filled with spirited conversation, networking, and chatting with the six panelists who are now successful in their professional careers.

The overall Mocktail Panel was truly inspiring, from hearing the directors speak about the resources of each of the programs to being inspired by the valuable insightful success stories by each of the panelists. Attendees were able to gain and practice networking skills while savoring delicious appetizers and fancy mocktails. As a current Peer for Career, I was personally impressed that a former Alumna like Victoria Rodriguez is still utilizing the very skills she learned as a Peer. Rodriguez explained how Peers for Careers, especially Tier 2, helped her immensely in her professional career as an HR Associate at Johnson & Johnson. Surprisingly, it was not only Rodriguez who has successfully taken advantage of her experiences at STARR; most panelists agreed that participating in STARR’s programs prepared them well for their professional paths.IMG_2011

There are quite a few highlights and takeaways from the event. The one that stood out the most to me was that, no matter what leadership activities or clubs you are participating in, the skills you gain will come in handy sometime in the future. I think this is valuable advice for all students to take greater advantage of the student activities at Baruch and the great resources and programs that the STARR Career Development Center offers.

As the night went on, Alex Ryshina, the moderator, kept the conversation very engaging. Attendees received great insight into how former Alumni reached their professional goals, and what steps and initiatives they took to help them to get there. Afterwards, students had the chance to participate in a Q & A session, where one of the students received valuable tips on how to make the most of her summer internship experience at EY.IMG_2010

The night was indeed wonderful getting to know our successful Baruch Alumni. Before the event transitioned to one-on-one networking, Dr. Ellen Stein give the panelists some beautiful gifts to thank them for their time and their support for aspiring students who want to follow in their footsteps. The event was only two hours, yet full of memories for Alumni and great advice for students.                                                IMG_2009

On Behalf of the Alumni Committee, we would like to thank all the STARR Career Development Center counselors, directors of special programs, staff, and student aides for working tirelessly to put this event together. Also, we would like to extend our thanks to the Baruch Office of Alumni Relations for their support and lovely gifts for our Alumni.

I am a Flower…And Still a Flower: From Freshman to Junior Year

By Lisa Puran, Peer for Career

When I arrived at the Newman Vertical Campus on the first day, I breathed a sigh of relief. “Finally! a school where my mom will not be a part of the PTA,” I thought as I trudged up the steps. Although lightly humored, it instantly dawned on me that entering college would mean independence and personal growth. I would be my own boss in one of the biggest business schools in NYC, no pun intended.

I entered the building ready to tackle the day.  My schedule was looking great with the breaks between classes. I began to enjoy college for the supposed ease, by simply showing up to my classes and hanging out with friends during breaks. College life was awesome, until I received a low mark on my first exam. It then hit me that free time in college was not a luxury, but a necessity. I spent the second half of my first semester doing outlines and self-studying. Slowly, but surely I saw my grades increase despite exhausting nights studying. If college taught me one thing, it was self-discipline.

Freshman year was a breath of fresh air because it taught me the importance of management. I had to master time management by learning how to juggle my classes, study sessions, and part-time job. My planner became my best friend in mapping out my days, weeks, even months. I even learned the hard way to become financially stable when I blew one of my paychecks on food and other random items I most likely did not need. This level of personal management has allowed me to blossom from a kid reliant on mommy and daddy to an adult who can take charge of her life. However, overcoming the independence hurdle is only half the equation. I soon found myself facing a new personal challenge.

There was something about Baruch that was… different. It was the culture – more specifically the business culture. I was initially amazed at the austere grandeur of the business school upperclassmen dressed in slick black suits. Some would be sitting reading the Wall Street Journal while others flocked to corporate events or even STARR for interviews. I looked down at my flower dress and wondered how an intended Finance major like myself could fit in when I was so obviously disadvantaged. I decided to get more involved on campus by joining T.E.A.M. Baruch and applying to the Rising STARR Sophomore Program (RSSP). I wanted to build upon my leadership and professional skills so I could make myself a target candidate for internships in the future. Through these programs, I was able to witness a change in myself – I was much more outspoken and confident. I was so incredibly thankful for the opportunities here at Baruch that I became a proponent of mentoring.

Since freshman year, I have become more involved on campus, despite the stereotype against commuter schools. I held a Freshman Seminar role where I helped lead a class of 20 incoming freshman, assisting with their college transition. I also joined the Peers for Careers program, where I am able to aid my fellow Baruch students in their individual career development by revising professional documents as well as leading workshops. I was selected to participate in RSSP and also in the Financial Women’s Association chapter of Baruch College. I applied and received mentors from Baruch’s Executives on Campus. These experiences allowed me to develop as a young professional while being able to give back to the Baruch community. As an added bonus, I was able to do extensive networking and met a lot of great people, some of whom are actually now my best friends. And it is these experiences that have made me ready for perhaps my most difficult feat yet – Junior Year Recruiting.

I am happy to say that with all of the support and experiences I have had at Baruch, I was able to land a Summer Analyst position at BlackRock. As I write today, it is crazy to think I have already completed 2.5 years of college. But I am grateful for the memories and am holding on tight for the rest of the ride.

Ending My Long and Stormy Relationship with Zicklin

By Aleksandra Ryshina, Peer for Career

The Zicklin School of Business and I have had a difficult relationship. I prepared to enter the school, knowing it wouldn’t be easy, but assured that I could handle it, that I was different. Sure the pre-requisites were hard, and I had zero interest in business, but wasn’t this what Baruch was all about? I had seen many students share an article online that had Zicklin as a top ten school of business, not far from Wharton. Top ten? Top ten! In an age all about numbers, this range was great to hear. I convinced myself that Zicklin had a good reputation, and that I would somehow find something in it for me. Along with this came the relief of having a “difficult major”, one that would attract law schools more than an “easy” humanities major. And so began the troublesome relationship.

I could almost hear Zicklin’s words inside my head, “You’ll never find anything better than me.” At first, the idea of being an Economics major was appealing-a kind of educational arm candy that I used to please my parents and confuse my book-club friends. Yet as the relationship continued, our disagreements grew much greater. I started to develop a wandering eye, one that was easily attracted to English theory and government classes, and I often wondered just how happy or how interested I was in my business classes. With Zicklin, I lacked the proper exploration I needed, since I was under constant pressure to complete its prerequisites.

Still, I went forward, taking almost all the necessary business prerequisites this fall semester. Taking required classes for Zicklin was like dating a vegan Pilates instructor; a thrilling challenge, but one that leaves you exhausted and longing for cheesecake. My disdain grew, and I resorted to making a pros and cons list, trying to get a grip of my future. This internal battle led to sleepless nights, studying for tests and quizzes, and a search history populated by questions like, “Can I still be rich without college,” and, “Is a coin toss a proper way to make a tough decision?” And then, without warning, I stopped doing well in my business classes. Until that point, I did not think I needed Zicklin, since I had many options for a major in the other schools. As midterms concluded, however, it was Zicklin that did not need me. There I was, stuck in a sea of students who knew they desired a business major, feeling like I was about to sink. I wish I could say someone tossed me a line, or that I relinquished the test scores, or anchors, that held me down, but my escape was and is a little different. I did not “swim to shore”, using Weissman as my safety net.

I realized that, in my college career, there would be no “easy” classes to take. For some, formulas and calculations are a second language; for others, research and writing come naturally. It was all to easy to go with the tide and pine for a career that wasn’t mine. I loved literature and writing intensive courses, and I knew that my interest would only better my grades. This realization came with some bridges to burn. Firstly, I had to switch my attention to Weissman courses, but that’s not to say that my experience with Zicklin had no use. Zicklin gave me some wonderful insights into the business field and a whole new perspective on how the economy operates. It is with these important learnings that I went forward and chose to be a Political Science major.
My love for humanities and my acceptance of a major not as frequently pursued in Baruch was not a rebound, nor a ploy to make Zicklin jealous. It was a chance to learn and grow in an environment where competition and hard work was indistinguishable among the majors.
I had never before felt so honest saying, “Zicklin, it’s really not you, it’s me.”

Developing Yourself Professionally: Using Available Resources to Your Advantage!

By Erika Apupalo, Peer for Career

During your early college years, you should take up the opportunity to develop yourself professionally. This means developing your skills. It begins with assessing which skills are important for your desired career field. Ultimately, it will allow you to become a more well-rounded and competitive candidate when you are getting ready to apply for an internship, job, or fellowships.

In order to develop myself professionally up to this current point, I have tried the following strategies and resources:

1. Find your own inspiration. My primary resource has been Carl Newport’s blog “Study Hacks Blog: Decoding Patterns of Success.” This has poignant and interesting ideas and practices about the meaning of success.
2. Attend resume reviews. Before I entered high school, I was made aware of the importance of crafting a strong first impression. This includes having a good first document to start with.
3. Meet with other professionals. At the earliest stage of my college career, my interests were all over the place. Therefore, I met with professionals from different arenas, such as the Math, English, and Science Departments. They all shared a similar devotion to their careers.
4. Learn about yourself. I am a reader; this is how I make sense of the world. But at times I had to stop reading and see what was in front of me. I had to understand what I wanted in order to move forward with those goals.
5. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Speaking of goals, I was taught a guideline for goal setting, and since I learned how to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely ones, I’ve used this guideline to set my personal and career goals.
6. Adapt. I have learned that personally I like to move at a slower pace. But when necessary, I have quickly adapted to the more fast-paced work environment of the business world since I want to pursue a career in this area.

That’s all for now. I hope that you will find some of the strategies that have helped me helpful for you. Best of Luck!