Student Organizations: More than just going to meetings

By Mark Wilson, Director of Employer Relations & Technology

Recently, I had a great meeting with a second semester freshman about transitioning from engineering to business. This student was seeking information on what he could be doing right now to make himself more attractive to employers and get ready for the job search.  He was asking all the right questions and I wish we all had the self-awareness he has to seek information early whenever take on a new challenge in life.

One of his questions was what are employers looking for in college students.  There is a list of things every employer wants, and at or near the top, leadership always makes the list.  For many of us, looking for leadership is interpreted as I need to be president of a student organization.  However this in not the case, leadership should be interpreted as meaning involved and making a difference.  That is the key to joining a student organization to help build your resume.  When you join, get involved and do something.  Sadly, many students join organizations and barely attend the meetings while thinking this is what being involved means.  Any recruiter can read between lines of your resume and see the difference between true participation and simply showing up.

If you are going to join a student organization to build your resume, get involved and gain some leadership experience.  For example, a student described to me how as freshman she took on the role of concessions chair for a fund-raising event.  As chair, she organized volunteers to work the concession stand, planned a menu and shopped for food, and managed a million other details for the concession stand team.  In the end, her work raised almost $2,000 for her student organization.  This is a great example of leadership through involvement and will be very appealing to employers when they see it on her resume or when they hear her talk about it in her interviews.  Remember, you do not have to be the president of a student organization to gain the all important leadership experience employers are seeking.  Simply get involved and find a way to contribute.

Accenture SLC at the Q

This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet over 200 Accenture interns from across the country, Canada and Puerto Rico. For the past 22 years Accenture has hosted the Student Leadership Conference (SLC) for rising senior interns. This three day conference is full of team building activities, speakers, and fun activities such as talent shows, scavenger hunts, cosmic bowling and sand volleyball.

The Q-Center located in St. Charles, IL

The three daylong conference took place in St. Charles, IL at the Q center. Since I am out of the Chicago office it was just over an hour drive, everyone else flew. The Q center is an old women’s college that is now used as a training facility. When you are hired on as a full time consultant at Accenture you spend 4 weeks training at the Q center. It had a great dining facility, super nice rooms, and a great campus complete with golf course Greene. While the facility was amazing, I was not there for vacation.

The trip consisted of listening to senior executives career paths and their views on leadership, technology (such as SAP, Oracle, Cloud), and break-out sessions where we learned how to better work as a team and be an effective leader. My favorite part of the whole weekend was all the team building activities which ranged from trust exercises to scavenger hunts. My team consisted of 16 people from all over the place. One specific activity required some people that could not talk, some who could not see and the rest tied together. We then had to complete a series of activities and puzzles while working together. After spending 45 minutes trying to help someone who could not see throw a ball into a bucket and lead them over stepping stones in a lake, new appreciation and friendships were built along with quite a few laughs. However the hardest part was working with 15 other motivated, type A, leaders. It sometime becomes difficult to let other be in control and take the lead, especially for me.
All in all it was a great weekend that taught me a lot about my leadership style and personal brand. Not only did I get to hear different intern experiences and client projects, I gained better insight into what a potential career would be like with the firm. Opportunities like the SLC are present in most big companies, don’t be shy and timid but really branch out and try and meet as many people as possible.

Here is the 2011 SLC video.  The 2012 isn’t up yet but I was featured in it.  So be sure to keep an eye out for it!


Until next time,

Ohio State Grad and now off to Boeing!

My name is Jenna Nash and I graduated a few weeks ago from Fisher with my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration specializing in Human Resources.  Last week, I began my second HR internship with The Boeing Company.  Last summer, I found my internship through FisherConnect and was hired as an HR intern in Boeing’s Global Staffing department in Seattle, Washington.  Now a college graduate and soon to be graduate student at Cornell University, I will be spending the summer in St. Louis as the Leadership Talent Management – Organization Effectiveness Intern at the Boeing Leadership Center.

Boeing Leadership Center

I am working with the Business Integration team where I will be assessing the application and impact training has on business solutions.  I am looking forward to learning about how to assess training programs through survey collection and data analysis that I will be conducting with my team throughout the summer. Thus far, I have learned a lot about the various leadership and training programs Boeing provides to its emerging leaders and current managers.    Additionally, I have been gaining more insight on how corporations create succession plans and assess their return on investment from Training and Development.

The “BLC”  is full of positive, motivated employees who look forward to coming to work everyday.  Training and Development had a completely different definition in my mind after only one day at the BLC.   Keep following my blog to learn more about my second internship experience with The Boeing Company!