A Step Toward Leadership

By Ajay Rattu, Peer for Career

As the semester is well underway, many Baruch students have their daily interactions with the Baruch campus and its student life. However, many students fail to understand the importance of obtaining leadership position throughout their educational career. As a sophomore who is well-rounded with the student life in Baruch through personal experiences, I can say that leadership, both educational and professional, is imperative in any student’s career. It is leadership that separates a student from the rest of the student body and helps one jump-start their professional career. Contrary to popular belief, obtaining a leadership role is not out of reach for many students. It can be as simple as joining a club or program on campus or off campus that creates the foundation for you to move forward in the world.

My first semester at Baruch College was a bit daunting; I was coming from a small private high school where the graduating class was smaller than the amount of students that fit into a large lecture hall. As a freshman I really did not know where to begin or who to talk to at Baruch because it was just so overwhelming! I naturally became a commuter student who did just that- went to class and then back home. Luckily for me I had great Freshmen Seminar mentors who exposed me to a leadership program in Baruch called “T.E.A.M. Baruch.” I was initially reluctant to join on the assumption that it was probably a waste of time. Although I initially felt skeptical, I ultimately applied and was able to become a part of the program. I can say that applying to T.E.A.M. Baruch was one of the best things I have done for my educational career. Becoming a part of T.E.A.M. Baruch and learning about my strengths as a person, student, and fellow peer gave me the confidence to pursue other leadership roles in Baruch including the Peers for Careers program at the Starr Career Development Center (SCDC).

Becoming a Peer at the SCDC was a major change for me because I was now a part of a huge department that dedicates itself to helping students be at their best when looking for job opportunities. My role at the SCDC helped me understand how important leadership is to any student. Along with earning qualifications to review resumes, cover letters, and thank you notes, I am able to highlight and implement my skills in the corporate world. Using what I have learned from my spring Tier 1 training, assessing and making the best of a situation in a professional environment becomes simple because of the confidence I have gained along with the absence of anxiety. Being part of the SCDC opens many doors for a Peer by giving a student insight about all the helpful programs that everyone should take advantage of. The SCDC provides a number of helpful tools including their resume, cover letter, and thank you notes workshops. Other workshops the SCDC coordinates are Networking 101, On Campus Recruiting, and Mastering the Job Interview just to name a few.

Looking back, I am surprised at how one decision made such an impact on my college career. I have gained so much insight on how to properly present my brand and communicate with employers. Through this leadership role on campus I am able to advise my fellow peers when it comes to preparing for an interview or responding to a job posting. Many students are not sure about what to join, so here are some of the main and well known programs at the SCDC: Max-Berger Pre-Law Program for potential law school students, Financial Leadership Program for junior-year Finance Majors (applications due at the end of sophomore year), Rising Starr Sophomore Program for rising sophomores, Passport to Partnership for sophomore- and junior-year accounting students, and of course the Peers for Careers Program which has helped me grow as an individual and as a student.

If you are not entirely sure about any particular program to join, I suggest first starting by applying to T.E.A.M Baruch. The application process is very simple and should be electronically submitted before 5PM on October 31st, 2014. The application can be found on the Office of Student Life website. Some of the programs other than Peers for Careers within T.E.A.M Baruch are: Freshmen Seminar Peer Mentors, Orientation Leaders, P.A.W.S. – Peers Advocating Wellness Services, and Peer Academic Advisers. Any of these leadership roles is a great way to create your presence and become a part of the student life at Baruch. For more information about the programs mentioned above, you can visit the T.E.A.M. Baruch website. By the end of the training, students are aware of their role on campus and as emerging leaders representing Baruch!

While T.E.A.M Baruch and Peers for Careers are great programs to join and to take advantage of, there may be other programs that students are interested in. I highly encourage you to ask about the different clubs and organizations to find the right one for you by going to general interest meetings and club events. Finding a program that you are very interested in will make all the difference in your educational and professional career along with how you develop as a leader. Good Luck!

Balancing Graduate School, Career, and Family

By Camille Hall, Higher Education Administration Intern, Starr Career Development Center

Separately in their own categories, graduate school, a career, and family each demand a significant amount of time and effort that can be challenging to manage for any person. For a number of individuals, like me, you may find yourself at some point in your life having to juggle all three at once. This is not an easy balancing act; however, it is possible if you choose to undertake it.

As a graduate student finishing up my Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Administration course work at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, the journey has not been easy and I would like to share some lessons learned from my experience.

1. Plan Ahead!

Before applying to graduate school, take the time to do the following.

1.      Find programs that offer courses at time frames that accommodate your work schedule.

2.      Consider how many courses you plan to take each semester.

3.      Plan your commute not only from your job to grad school but also your commute from grad school to home.

If you are a resident of New York City, you may live in one borough but work in another borough. In addition, depending on the location of your graduate school, you may find yourself traveling through three boroughs each day that you have class. When I was accepted into the School of Public Affairs, I was pleased that all of the courses required for my degree began at 6pm. This offered me enough time to commute from my previous employer located in Jamaica, Queens (at the start of my graduate experience) to Manhattan. However, I live in the Bronx. Therefore, I developed a true appreciation for the MTA’s unlimited metro card.

2. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate!

Communicate with your spouse/partner: It is important to share your higher education pursuits with your spouse or partner. This was critical with my husband because my school schedule affected his schedule, especially since we are both working parents with a young child. Having a conversation and implementing rearrangements and/or adjustment to various home responsibilities will allow you both to continue meeting the needs of your child and home life.

Communicate with your employer: It is important to inform your employer of your goals to grow professionally by pursuing a higher degree. This is critical because your employer may offer you more flexibility in your work schedule, tuition reimbursement, or a promotion after you complete your degree. With my current employer, I was given flexibility in my work schedule to complete my internship at the Starr Career Development Center at Baruch College which I value greatly.

Communicate with your professors: In some cases, informing your professors of your student/parent status in advance may allow him or her to be more accommodating to you if your personal schedule conflicts with your academic responsibilities at some point. For example, a couple of weeks after I gave birth to my son in August 2010, I chose to take a fall semester course. However, with new motherhood, I had to reach out to my professor and inform him that I would miss the first class. He was perfectly fine with it and appreciated my dedication to my course work as I transitioned into a new personal responsibility.

3. Budget!

Grad school is expensive! You may be able to find ways to reduce your cost or receive full funding. However, for a number of individuals, paying out of pocket is their reality. In addition, when that reality includes raising a child and maintaining a home, financing your education  is even more challenging. Therefore, smart financial planning and budgeting will be essential to staying on track with your course work goals. My graduate school progression was delayed due to my poor financial planning. As a result, I experienced semester breaks in course work and found it difficult to afford summer course work.

4. It’s All About Time Management

I’ve found that it is extremely important to enhance your time management skills. Learning to manage your time efficiently and effectively will assist with completing various tasks. However, throughout the juggling act, it is imperative to schedule in some down time for yourself. Even if it is simply making sure to sit down and watch your favorite TV show or DVD, you will feel recharged afterwards.

5. It Really Takes a Village: Develop a Support System.

Depending on your situation, seek assistance from your spouse or partner, family, friends, neighbor, or a combination of all. Keep in mind that your graduate school may have child care services and other parent resources available to you. Baruch College has an Early Learning Center that offers childcare and education to children ages 2 ½ – 5 years old. Even if the child care services are not feasible on your end, it’s helpful to stop by the Center to receive any information that you may find useful.

6. In the End It’s Worth It!

As I stated before, the journey will not be easy. However, it will be worth it. As I reflect upon my own experience, my goals to better myself have been met. With more education, I am confident I will find more opportunities for career advancement or successfully transition into a new field. In addition, I am pleased to be creating a strong academic foundation for my child to later use as inspiration for his own future academic and career endeavors.  I’m sure you will find your current balancing act is worth it for similar reasons.

Baruch Students Give Thanks…because the Little Things do Count

By: Farzana Ghanie
Class of 2014, Peer for Career
As we, residents of the tri-state area, continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy many of us have realized how important the little things in life like basic necessities – truly are. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the Peers for Careers at the STARR Career Development Center thought it would be nice to share the gratitude that some Baruch students are feeling this holiday season.“Hurricane Sandy was a rude awakening for many of us. After seeing the severity of Sandy and the destruction it caused, I am grateful for having a roof over my head, food, water, power. My heart goes out to the families who have lost everything. The strength to get back on their feet is admiring, and the countless volunteers who have helped with recover process, their actions are endearing,” said Senior Nikita Singh.Singh was one of many students who shared her reactions to Sandy as well as her appreciation for having safely weathered the storm.

“I am thankful for my parents for holding it together during the hurricane,” said senior, Shirley Cheung, whose community suffered flooding and power outage as a result of the storm.

Living in an area, which was also affected by the natural disaster, junior, Yahya Khan, expressed his gratitude for the restoration of power and heat in his neighborhood.

“I am thankful for the understanding and determination that allows me to adapt to any situation,” said sophomore, Jason Ioffe.  As an active student leader, Ioffe helps students in various capacities through his different positions in many of the offices and around campus.

International business major, Harshita Parkh is grateful for pursuing a major that she is passionate about.  The Career Center has played an integral role in Parikh’s professional development.  Parikh joined Peers for Careers, a leadership program, which provides undergraduates with the opportunity to assist other students in their professional development during her freshman year.  This role has given her greater insight into resume, cover letter, and thank you letter writing, as well as interviewing techniques.

“I am thankful for the opportunities that have came my way and the resources at Baruch College that have helped me take advantage of the opportunities,” said Sam Wong, finance major.  Throughout her time at Baruch, Wong has also taken advantage of the many resources offered by the SCDC.  In addition to utilizing Baruch’s career database, STARR Search, Wong has participated in On Campus Recruiting.

Senior, Liz De La Cruz is thankful for her full-time offer as well as her acceptance to her chosen study abroad program.  De La Cruz will be spending the winter intersession taking classes in and travelling around Brazil.

Observing individuals, neighbors and strangers alike, helping each other as we travel down the road to recovery is heartwarming.  Sometimes we become so comfortable with the little things in life that we lose sight of their value.  Something as small as a smile or a simple “thank you” can make someone’s day so much brighter. As we enter the holiday season, let us celebrate and embrace the good things no matter how small, because as Sandy has shown us, sometimes it is the absence of the small things that have the biggest impacts on our lives.

On behalf of the Peers for Careers and Starr Career Development Center, I wish you a safe and festive Thanksgiving!


Freshman Seminar Shows What Baruch Has to Offer

By: Shirley Cheung
Peer for Career, Majoring in Accounting
Class of 2013
If there was only one token of advice I could give to someone starting off college it would be:  know and understand what your environment has to offer.
When I started Baruch I had a class called Freshmen Seminar also known as FRO which was a weekly meeting that enabled me to learn about Baruch College.

The topics ranged from the different services offered by the college to how to register for classes. Because it was a pass or fail class some students did not put in much effort.

But when I started Baruch my goal was to know how everything worked to make the most out of my four years. I knew this class would help me accomplish this goal and so I paid close attention in order to take advantage of every opportunity that came my way.

In one freshman seminar class we took a field trip to the Starr Career Development Center and a staff member spoke to us about services the Center offered and about a career leadership program available to students, called Peers for Careers.

Instantly I became engaged. Leaving high school with work experiences as a muralist and volunteer was great, but being a student leader in college seemed to be a solid starting point for my career.
That day I took the initiative to stop by the Center’s office on the second floor of the Newman Vertical Campus. I asked, “How do I become a student career advisor?” They said I would have to apply to this umbrella program called T.E.A.M. Baruch, commit to the training sessions, and later apply to the Peers for Careers program.
Upon completing the T.E.A.M. Baruch training I heard about another leadership position on campus, to lead freshman seminar sessions—the same class where I learned about so many of the resources at Baruch.
After successfully completing the application processes, interviews, and trainings, I became a Peer for Career at the Starr Career Development Center and a Peer Mentor for a Freshmen Seminar class. Working at the Center brought forth many great opportunities to learn about writing resumes and to develop my interviewing skills.  I met many new and diverse people while becoming friends with them through my role as a Peer Mentor.
My interest in knowing more about Baruch and becoming a student leader helped lead me down the path of obtaining an internship at a leading Wall Street financial firm. So listen, learn, and discover all you can, because you never know where these opportunities may lead.