More than 40 students gave up their last week of winter break to take part in the Bryn Mawr College Certificate in Management workshop last week. But you won't hear them complaining about the loss of downtime.
"This has been a hugely enriching experience," says Hosanna Odhner ’13. "One thing I've particularly enjoyed is the opportunity not only to learn about management ... but also I was surprised at the connections I was able to make and the careers I was exposed to."
"I didn't think Bryn Mawr had a significant presence in the business world, but we definitely do," Odhner noted.
The workshop was led by Wharton Lecturer Meredith Myers and Bryn Mawr Chief Financial Officer John Griffith, whose office began sponsoring a series of workshops this year for students interested in exploring careers in business management and finance. There has also been a workshop focused on entrepreneurship.
"This was our longest workshop yet," says Griffith. "While that's due in part to the material, it's also driven by changes we've made to make these workshops even more interactive."
Griffith says he plans to stick to a rotation of future workshops focused again on finance, entrepreneurship, and management and to expand all the workshops to five days.
"We're going over a lot of material, and want to make sure students have the time to fully understand everything so they can make meaningful use of it as they explore their career options," says Griffith.
Among those attending the workshop was Thanh-Trang Hoang-Le ’13, who found surprising connections between management and what she's learned as a math major at Bryn Mawr.
"The critical thinking and logic skills you get from a liberal-arts college like Bryn Mawr are invaluable," says Hoang-Le. "During this workshop we're going over these case studies and mapping everything out and looking at a company's weaknesses and strengths and it's like solving a math problem. It gets me so excited because suddenly my major is so applicable in the real world."
In addition to a week's worth of lectures, case studies, breakout groups, and exercises to improve things like public speaking and interview skills, the workshops also featured several opportunities for students to interact with Bryn Mawr alumnae.
Students heard presentations and lunch-time talks from Meera Gilbert ’90, founder of Meera Gilbert & Associates, a recruiting firm for the financial-services industry; Jessie Washington ’90, senior consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton; Amy Loftus ’90, managing partner, Accenture; and Cynthia Archer ’75, vice president, marketing and development, Sunoco.
The workshop also included a panel of young alumnae—Sarah Feidt of XtraGlobex, Kira Gendlerman of McMaster-Carr Supply, Caroline Barth of PFM, and Accenture's Sara Chan—and a very well-attended networking dinner for workshop participants, Bryn Mawr alumnae, and others associated with the College.
"Spending time with such inspiring alumnae and hearing their stories about how they were able to transition from college to the work world was one of the most valuable aspects to this week," said Anita Kilambi ’13.
The finance workshop will be offered again this spring. Registration information will soon be posted on the Treasurer's Office website.