I participated in the Women’s Bridge to Business program at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business. I entered this program believing that it would just be a stepping stone to focus my business major and be a fulfillment of credits. But as the program progressed and I was exposed to many new perspectives and subjects; Bridge to Business, became so much more than completed credits, it was an experience that deeply impacted my life on both the career and social level. Through the modules, the class learned technical skills while also gaining social and emotional intelligence. The program’s instructors were honest and direct about the realities of women in the business world and they challenged the students to be the catalyst of change.
Women’s Bridge to Business was filled will dynamic courses that spread all across the business spectrum. I was most excited about the marketing modules because I had previous experiences in marketing during high school. Out of the two marketing classes, digital marketing connected with me the most; this is because, as a young person in this generation, I grew up connected to the digital world. Through Professor Buchanan’s lectures, we learned how to manipulate those ties into application skills for business. I was surprised by how much knowledge and understanding of the product must happen before any advertising method can be created, and how the range of thinking has to span from the big picture to incredibly detailed. The planning that goes into a marketing strategy is an extremely meticulous process, that has math and science to it. This is most prevalent when utilizing the STP model, the four P’s, and the five C’s to break down the customer demographics and needs, so as to assess how to properly construct a marketing plan that engages the customer while still benefiting the company. I had previously thought that marketing solely thrived off of creative, artsy work and thinking, but now I understand the depth and variety of skills needed to have a successful marketing career. After this brief introduction to marketing, I hope to continue my education in marketing and possibly one day work in the marketing field.
Agnes Scott College prides itself on providing women with an education deeply rooted in global leadership, and these themes also appeared throughout the modules at Women’s Bridge to Business. We were exposed to many different types of management in business including operations, Human Resource, and Project management and studied how to properly understand and work with fellow employees during the Organizational Behavior module. The International Business class taught us how to conduct ourselves in an international setting and how to be culturally sensitive and knowledgeable. While global learning and leadership skills are at the forefront of Agnes Scott College’s mission statements, the biggest lesson imbued in the students is to be strong, powerful women. The business world is a tough environment for women in many aspects including harassment, lack of respect, and unequal pay. Bridge to Business addressed these issues numerous times during the three weeks and by many different professors both female and male. I appreciated that every professor was candid about the reality of the situation and each provided their own way of preparing us for the eventual dilemma. For me, the most valuable piece of advice on women in the workplace came from Gail Evens during her Gender Issues module. She spoke about how women must stop letting people describe them as “hard workers” and instead correct people with “I am a strategic worker.” Evens explained that women often take on tasks in companies that are hard, time-consuming work that does not promote them up the corporation ladder. We as women should not accept to always be the one taking the notes in the meeting or planning the company holiday party and should instead invest our valuable time in projects that will prove our potential. Evens was not the only speaker to challenge us to be strong examples of woman leaders and the full accumulation of the three weeks has left me inspired and motivated to be a strategic worker and to be a great manager that leads without fear or lack of confidence.
In our career development workshops, we learned how to propel our careers forward through professionalism and confidence both in physical appearances and online personas. Professor Neiner spoke for a significant time on how as women sometimes our appearance can hinder us in the workplace and that we must protect ourselves from that scrutiny. I appreciated that Professor Neiner talked us through “the rules of professional dress” while still empowering us as women and people. She imbued us to respect ourselves and be true to who we are and not conform completely to what has been demeaned to be the right look, but instead to gauge what is best for us. During our visit to Tuner Broadcasting, Stacy Rivers spoke on the potential of our personal brand and how we can use our reputation and online presence to help build connections and further our careers. We learned that social media like Linked In or personal blogs can be a tool for future employers to learn more about us and aid in the hiring process. I was surprised to learn that some companies even select candidates and hire people through exploring social media. I was defiantly inspired after her talk to reevaluate and upgrade my Linked In and other social media accounts and switch my perspective of social media from just a fun social app to an important tool in building my professional network.
Women’s Bridge to Business goes beyond typical classroom experiences and introduces its students to situations that will further their understanding of business and growth of careers by visiting a major company, Turner Broadcasting, and by conducting panels. The trip to Turner was a very special event for me because I have an interest in television and film. I had never been on a set before or seen a professional production. The tour demonstrated the full breadth of the company and how each aspect of Turner has many employees working together to complete numerous tasks and that many of the aspects of turner are not as simple as they might seem. I also appreciated that we toured and were exposed to a company that has a reputation for supporting and promoting women. While at Turner, Stacy Rivers spoke to us about her personal journey to career success and how openness is a valuable skill in moving up in companies. The importance of adaptability was also validated later at the panel of women that work at Turner, many of them expressed how their careers now did not match their original post-college plans. This was impactful on me because I’m not entirely sure what my exact future plans are, but after hearing that simply being welcome to change can lead somewhere great and unexpected, deeply comforts me. Even the Alumnae panel had similar thoughts and talked about how life guides you down different paths and that you should adapt, learn new things, and push yourself. Across all speakers, we were told to figure out our strengths and play towards them, while identifying our weaknesses and finding opportunities and resources to grown them into strengths. The most impactful part of the Alumnae panel was that every woman on the panel spoke about how they left Agnes Scott with many desirable, flexible skills that have assisted them along the way in their careers. Witnessing they’re love of Agnes Scott and the benefits of the networks and education provided by our college gave me a new-found pride in Agnes Scott.
Contextualization: Participating in Bridge to Business shows employers that I have had learning opportunities outside of Agnes Scott and the traditional classroom. The summary of my experience informs viewers that I learned about and have been exposed to the different fields of business. Bridge to Business taught me strength and determination and through the different lectures prepared me for being a woman in the business world.