The last of the dust from the Marketing Summit is finally starting to settle, yet the relationships created during the past weekend are just beginning to development. The summit brought dozens of exemplary executives to Wake Forest and gave many students the opportunity to connect with these individuals. As a student volunteer, I was fortunate enough to host Ron Glover, IBM’s vice president of diversity and workforce programs and human resources. He spoke at Friday night’s diversity panel with other distinguished guests from McDonalds, Wal-Mart, PepsiCo, and Hewitt Associates. The panel, moderated by Dean Steve Reinemund, offered advice on how students should distinguish themselves from other candidates.
Themes from the discussion included: finding something you truly enjoy doing, continuously learning and forecasting your next role, thinking creatively, and appreciating the arts. Perhaps most importantly, Esther Silver-Parker of Wal-Mart advised that students should “spend more time building their skills than their resumes.”
The panelists made a challenge to administrators and professors of higher education to focus on experimental learning and innovation. They encouraged this group to not only teach students yesterday’s business practices but to also teach them how to foresee, manage, and solve tomorrow’s problems. Glover recommended professors complete internships in Corporate America so they are always on the edge in preparing students for the future.
The panelists reminded us of how diverse our individual skill sets must be, and they promoted our participation in thought-provoking events like the Marketing Summit Case Competition.
In the time we spent together, I found Ron to be a kind and humorous mentor-like figure who provided great advice in my personal career search. He was empathetic to how this economy was affecting job placement and gave me advice on how to position my MA degree in this competitive job market.
As I finish writing the last of my thank you notes to the executives I spent time with this weekend, I can only be thankful for the opportunity to create these relationships through the intricately planned Marketing Summit. With every hand I shake and every business card I pocket, I feel more comfortable networking and more confident in expressing my career aspirations.
~ Lauren Collins