Fun, Fearless… Finance?

Baruch students know that succeeding in the art of entrepreneurship is tricky business- and global achievement may seem downright impossible. For female students this may be an even greater challenge, as the world of finance is dominated by males. But at Cosmopolitan Magazine’s first annual ‘Fun Fearless Life’ convention, earlier this November, business belles such as Sara Blakey, Sallie Krawcheck, Aliza Licht, and Alexa Von Tobel, showed thousands of young women what it means to conquer.

‘Fun Fearless Life’ was a two-day conference meant to promote a healthy awareness and self-confidence in young women. Many experienced panelists spoke on a variety of matters: entrepreneurship, self-esteem, social media presence, motivation, fitness, and even relationships. What did they have to say?

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, and 93rd most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes Magazine, happily shared the story of her success while encouraging women like herself to shoot for the stars. Her biggest bit of advice was to believe in yourself, and your product, but try to maintain a sense of security. She, too, gave Spanx her all, but it wasn’t until her 4th year of working at Danka that she finally resigned to fully commit to her brand. And although Mrs. Blakely is one of the world’s wealthiest people, she’s no stranger to giving back. In fact, the Sara Blakely Foundation makes a global impact by funding scholarships for young women in South Africa at the Community and Individual Development Association City Campus in Johannesburg.

Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely – Via Zimbio

Sallie Krawcheck, “former president of the Global Wealth and Investment Management Division of Bank of America” and Wall Street extraordinaire, was one of the most powerful speakers. While she thoroughly instilled the value of financial awareness, she also reiterated something that we, as Baruch students, know very well- “Who you know is what you know.”

Alexa von Tobel, creator of LearnVest, a financial planning company, made a lasting impact on the audience by not only balancing financial awareness and responsibility but also merging the concepts of saving for the future and having fun today. In her words, “Money should be a tool- it shouldn’t be worshipped and it shouldn’t be ignored.” Ladies, you can now breathe a sigh of relief. With the proper knowledge, and tools, it is possible to save for your future and not miss out on the social life you might have been holding back on.

Aliza Licht, the SVP of global communications at Donna Karan International and DKNY PR GIRL, was labeled one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York. Her “award-winning social media personality” may have captured the attention of many DKNY customers but it has also made an impact on many of the listeners at the conference.

One of her most powerful pieces of advice – “You have to go beyond where you are comfortable otherwise you are not progressing.”

So, for those of you that think you’re not smart enough, not pretty enough, or simply not enough, there’s so much more that you can do and be if you focus on your dream. These amazing women, and a few fantastic men, highlighted the very important fact that anyone can succeed with the right attitude. It’s all about finding your passion and sticking to it. Whether you’re in Zicklin, Weissman, or SPA, the right career is at your fingertips when you have a positive outlook.

For all of the women out there interested in business and/or personal growth, this may be an event for you to check out next year! You too deserve to live a fun and fearless life.

In the meantime, look into Baruch College’s own Women in Business Club and make your mark today!

Vienna (second from left) in Hallstatt, Austria

Dispatches from Austria: Part I

Vienna (second from left) in Hallstatt, Austria

Vienna (second from left) in Hallstatt, Austria

Spending an entire semester abroad takes daring and a sense of adventure. Vienna Liu definitely has both! She spent last fall in Austria, in the city of Vienna, where she had the adventure of a lifetime. While in Vienna, she kept a journal of her experiences. Check out the first part below!


My First Day in Vienna Oct. 2nd, 2013

After tightening my seat belt and taking a few deep breaths of excitement, I was all but ready to be carried off to Vienna, the city that I have only dreamed about since my childhood. Yet, in between these moments of joy and excitement, I also felt anxious, slightly worried, and unsure of myself. What if the city of my dreams was totally different in reality from the mesmerizing scenes of European villas that my mind stored? What if I got lost and couldn’t find my way? Would someone lend me a helping hand or would I find no one to turn to for help? What if…?

When I finally arrived, I couldn’t help feeling very lost. The streets were nearly empty, the shops appeared to be closed, the houses were flat, yellow buildings with grotesque and medieval architecture in comparison to New York’s fancy skyscrapers and bustling streets filled with people from everywhere in the world.

I suddenly felt very helpless among this empty void of space and flat buildings. “Entshuldigen Sie, Wo, wo.. ist Schaffergasse,” I asked stutteringly in German a few passersby that I found. With the help of a map, hand gestures, and a few words of English here and there, I was glad to have finally made it to my dorm by the end of the day.


Oct. 10th, 2013 – Vienna Central

While I was on my way to purchasing a local phone, I saw many beautiful Greco-Roman style buildings in the main district which was dotted with modern, European boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Similar to New York City, there were tourists from all over the world in Vienna’s central district, yet the atmosphere and the quaint little shops also made the area distinctive. I could see the traditional vendors and restaurants selling schnitzel, stuffed sausages, and other local specialties.


Vienna's "Innere Stadt"

Vienna’s “Innere Stadt”

Vienna Central, also known as Innere Stadt, has a rich and beautiful history. During the early 10th century, the city center was covered by a Roman military camp. To this day, traces of the Roman conquest can still be seen around the city.


Trip to Krems Oct. 18th, 2013

After washing up and eating a quick breakfast, I went out into the daybreak. In the early morning, there was still a lingering mist from the night. The streets were almost completely vacant save for a few cyclists rushing to and fro. I caught the train from Karlsplatz and it took me half an hour to get to Heiligenstadt, At the Heiligenstadt station, more people were coming in. The clattering of their footsteps brought me back to the busy NYC subway stations. After another half hour of waiting, I was on the train to Krems. As I sat near the window, I saw very pretty pastures and little houses dotted neatly in a row along the green hilltops. When I got to Krems, it was 9am. Outside, I immediately smelled the fresh shrubs and flowers. I took a shuttle bus to the beautiful Danube Campus which was located in the middle of hilltop residences. Arina, the program coordinator, gave me a tour of the campus and showed me the different buildings there. The student cafeteria and hostel were located conveniently nearby. We took the elevator and reached the top of the building, where Arina showed me my classroom. Through the glass windows, we could see the top of the green and yellow hills. It was a great view.

Coming next week: Vienna’s first day of class and her visit to Hallstatt.

If you’re interested in studying abroad, check out the programs and destinations available to you. You can also stop by the Weissman Center for International Business during walk-in hours.

About Vienna Liu: Vienna is completing her M.S. in Statistics this semester. She studied Linguistics at Tulane University where she enjoyed learning about other cultures and languages.

WTWNYC 2014 at Baruch College

Check Out These Business Events in NYC!

WTWNYC 2014 at Baruch College

WTWNYC 2014 at Baruch College

Have you heard of World Trade Week? Each year in May, trade organizations and businesses come together to celebrate and promote international trade. Events and seminars are taking place all month around the city. If you have an interest in international commerce or want to network with professionals, check out the full calendar of events. Some events require paid registration, but others are completely free.

Definitely check out “MCC Young Professionals Going Global”, a networking event that will be held in the West Village next week.  Tickets are $15, but refreshments will be provided.

The kickoff to World Trade Week in NYC is held at Baruch each May with an awards ceremony and breakfast. This year, I helped organize a “Share Your Knowledge” station where guests could submit tweets that would be displayed live throughout the venue. Check out some of the tweets we sent out below!

A McDonald’s drive-thru in Vietnam via McDonaldsCorp

Ronald McDonald: The Global Citizen?

A McDonald’s drive-thru in Vietnam via McDonaldsCorp

A McDonald’s drive-thru in Vietnam via McDonaldsCorp

When you think of the phrase “fast food”, the first thought that probably comes to mind is two large golden arches. This is in no way a coincidence; it’s the direct result of the power that McDonald’s has in today’s society.

Since it first opened its doors in 1948, McDonald’s has extended its reach to over 119 countries. McDonald’s has been able to takeover in countries because the company assimilates fairly well by putting its own spin on local cuisine. For example, after opening up its stores in India, McDonald’s had to adapt its meat-based menu items to a country that is for the most part vegetarian.   To counter this problem, McDonald’s came up with the McAloo, a familiar set of buns with a potato patty instead of meat in the middle. Similarly, the franchise offers the McBurrito in Mexico and the Big Kahuna in Australia.

Vietnam is the latest country to be inhabited by the franchise in its conquest to achieving global domination. Business is doing extremely well in Vietnam for the fast-food giant as the branch has served more than 400,000 customers in its first month of business. In the first 24-hours after opening alone, roughly 22,500 customers were able to sink their teeth into McDonald’s world famous burgers and fries – which for most, was the first time.

A big factor as to whether or not McDonalds will survive in Vietnam is the price point of its products. McDonalds is known for being a place where you can eat on a tight budget here in America but how does it stack up in Vietnam?  The company’s $3.10 McPork burger doesn’t look too appetizing when compared to Vietnam’s average salaries and typical food prices.

This brings up the question of whether or not McDonalds is even needed in other countries. The company isn’t really doing much for farmers, as most of the meat and potatoes are imported straight from the U.S.

It is unrealistic for McDonalds to be a staple in the Vietnamese diet, as most only make $185 a month and a burger ranges from $3-$4. For now, the success of McDonalds in Vietnam will be a direct result of the economy and whether or not the people of the country are ready to give the Golden Arches a chance.