Attend a Workshop in South Africa!

The Professional Readiness Program continues to expand its technology options.  Next week, Level 3 and 4 participants will be able to attend a webinar hosted by Global Trade students on a Spring Break study abroad in South Africa.

Corporate and alumni partners continue to lead workshops, seminars, and presentations on campus, providing professional skill development along with outstanding networking opportunities for our students.

In addition, participants can take advantage of on-line learning modules through the UNI eLearning system, participate in phone, email, or skype mentoring relationships, develop networking relationships in a Professional Readiness Program Facebook Group, and of course, comment or contribute to this blog.

This semester, the program introduced its first virtual workshops. In January, a group learned time management skills over a week of participation in an on-line forum, and this month we try our first webinar.  Next fall, the PRP offices will be fully skype enabled, allowing more flexibility for meetings with our Executives in Residence.

Officially Approved!

Happy Homecoming everyone! How about those panthers??  I have some great news… I’M APPROVED! I met with my manager counselor a couple weeks ago. I wanted to make sure I was following all of the policies regarding independence/social networking and asked him what he thought. He inquired of HR about my blog. I ended up having to go through a local and national approval process! In the end, I was able to continue blogging! My temporary hold was lifted J It was a close call too!

That is why it has been so long since my last entry. In the meantime, I  heard I hit the news. Did you see my on the tv? A few friends of mine sent pictures of it. After returning to UNI for homecoming weekend, I found that I actually do have a few followers! My sister went to a pre-interview event in Des Moines with her firm and even heard about my blog. This has made me even more excited to blog, but was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to anymore.

Back to blogging! I hope your post-career fair activities are going well! I know our office has been busy with candidates coming in and out. I even got to take a couple of students out to lunch today! I am sure most of you are hearing back either good news, bad news, or in the middle of the long wait between. I just want two things. If you got an offer, congrats! It is something to really be proud of. If you didn’t, don’t get too down on yourself. I was rejected when I went through the recruiting process from the majority of the firms I looked at.  Rejection is hard, but keep trying and something will come up.

As for me – I am a working girl now! These last few weeks I spent out at a client. Everyone there was really nice and helpful. They had great coffee too, which always helps (can you tell I love coffee?). I experienced driving in rush hour traffic daily for the first time. Since I live downtown, I am always headed in the opposite direction of the real rush hour. It helped make the commute easy. The work was overwhelming at first considering it was the first time actually putting all my training and education to practice. In the end it went pretty well… that is until I got my review notes back. Looking back, I wonder what I was thinking. A lot of rookie mistakes were made and obvious points overlooked. It is all a learning experience though and really wasn’t too bad!

After these last few weeks actually on a client working, what stands out most in my mind is accountability. I am not at a part time job anymore. I don’t clock in as soon as I walk in the door. My little breaks throughout the day like walking around, getting coffee, or surfing the web are not chargeable. For those of you who are interested in client services, you become very conscious of your time because it is being billed to your client. & at a high rate!

For instance, today I got into the office a littler after 7:30. If I were back at my part time job in college, I would leave at 4:30 (assuming 1 hour lunch). Not anymore. By the time I settled in, turned on my computer, got my coffee and really started work it was nearly 8. That being said, my workday really started at 8.

I also realize how important it is to be accountable for your work. Being a first year, and a newly first year at that, I know I am making a lot of mistakes. It is a part of the learning experience. I find it very important to be responsible for my actions and my work as well as to communicate this to my seniors and managers.

I find that joining this so-called real world is not that far off from my life in college. Big differences are I don’t get to wear sweats everyday and my friends aren’t here.  I always have more things on my to-do list than I can knock off in a night, but for the majority of my college experience it was the same way.  I have a lot to do at work, but hey who doesn’t have a lot to do in school?  For the record, I could probably easily make the argument of how different it is!

Please feel free to leave comments or reach out to me via e-mail. I am open to suggestions about what you want to know about moving to a new city or starting a career. My UNI e-mail is still active covert@uni.edu.

 

BC.

The Training Begins

Hey Y'all - Training is over! Well, at least the official part is. I have a feeling the real training is about to start. It is hard to describe what training was like. My emotions ranged from being nervous and anxious to excited then pretty scared while continuously feeling overwhelmed.

The first week I spent in the Minneapolis office. Then, we traveled to Dallas for the second week for National Training (hence the y'all). My total start class consists of 40 new hires. For training, we split into two groups. It is amazing to look back on the first day and see how much our friendships have grown in just two weeks. That first week consisted of a Welcome to Deloitte series, HR issues, administrative items, and then audit presentations/eLearnings. The first day we all were excited about Deloitte and what was to come. The second day, we all were pretty frightened. Basically, we were all afraid to use IM, browse the web, get a business phone, or do anything fun at national training. Don’t want to be that girl (or boy)!

By the end of the week, we were all overwhelmed and not really sure what we were doing. But hey, I still like to think I made it successfully through that first week. I had interacted with multiple managers, senior managers, partners, and other staff assistants. Two panel discussions were lead during the week. The first was a group of second years. We were told it was going to be only us in the room. We were supposed to have them all to our selves to ask anything we wanted!! When it came time, the managers and facilitators didn't leave the room. I can attest to that fact not as many questions were asked with an audience present. The other panel was a lunch with the partners. I was able to sit with the managing audit partner. One thing I love about Deloitte is how welcoming everyone is. I was not nervous at all to be speaking to the head of the practice!

Although I do not have any more homework, I did have to go into the office on Saturday. It was only for a few hours to finish up some required eLearnigns. The view is amazing though! I like to think it is just an upgrade from the 4th floor of Rod Library.

Sunday we took off for Dallas. There would be about 400 audit new hires, 150 consulting new hires, then 200 new seniors. The facility is called Deloitte University, which is basically comparable to the best hotel you have ever stayed at with even more to offer! Our “Dean” was the managing partner from Minneapolis. We were so lucky to have him down there with us. We were able to use that time to network with him and get to know him on a more personal level. Also for karaoke night, he also bought about 20 cowboy hats for us all to wear! Let me just say, we were a hit.

The highlights of the week: free Starbucks, state of the art facility, warm weather, meeting new people, different accents, learning more about Deloitte/auditing, getting to know the Minneapolis team more, best pillows ever, “real life” audit simulations, and did I mention the free Starbucks? Okay, okay, while I did enjoy the Starbucks, it wasn’t the best part. I did average about three lattes a day. One morning, I told the barista I would have soymilk... because I could afford it here! Her response was "you can afford anything here"!

It was so great to get hands on experience and meet so many great people. I was luckier than some others on my team. By the end of the week, I was hugging my team goodbye. Some others in my group had to mediate tension at their tables and one of my friends was even called a prick! I had a diverse set of people at my table. They were from New Jersey, DC, Charlotte, and New Orleans.  They are the first addition to my Deloitte network!

Deloitte covered a lot of networking during the two weeks of training. Create your networking plan. It is all about the people. People, people, people. Use what you have and don’t be afraid to go after what you want. At national training, my break our group was very interested in the Management Development Program and Global Development Program. Every leader always said the same thing. Start looking now! If you are interested in participating in a program like that, you should plan ahead. The program you want may be client or industry specific. It will be your fault if it doesn’t work out and could have been prevented. I will relate this back to you. Plan ahead in your course of study to ensure you can reach your own goals! If you want to study abroad, participate in NSE, or do an internship, then make sure you can.

One of my fellow colleagues and UNI alumna remarked this week "time goes by faster when you are old." At the time we laughed. Yet, a bit of truth was said. Since I have started work, I am usually surprised at how late in the day it is or in the week. So far it feels like the opposite of looking up at the clock in class, then again what feels like half an hour later to find it has only been five minutes.

Have a great week - enjoy this time of year - good luck at your interviews - & GO CATS!

 

Brittany.

Happy Friday & Some Career Fair Insights

It is hard to imagine that it is already the middle of September. This is my last weekend of freedom! As many of you will be putting on your suits to head to the career fair on Monday, I will be putting on mine for the first day of my career!

As the week has progressed I have become more and more excited. Last Friday, I attended a going party for one of my Deloitte friends. She is moving to London for two years in this Deloitte program. I found out a couple of my clients…I am auditing Best Buy!! Or at least I am for now. I was able to reconnect with a lot of my co-workers and meet more of the staff.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to hang out with the UNI Accounting Club - shout out to the VP Lee Brasheear & Jake Schulte! Let me just say this: it was weird being on the other side. Last year, Deloitte had us help out at the fall career fair. Now, that was weird. It took me a good two hours to work up the courage to actually look at peoples resumes (I just pretended) and another hour to actually look at GPA’s. It felt too personal, and I felt too inexperienced. Yes, the career fair is only four hours, so I didn’t really help much. Sorry if you talked to me!

Back to the Accounting Club Event- I was there for Deloitte. My name tag didn’t say my college or a previous PSP participant. It said Brittany Covert – Audit. Crazy! Anyway, it was great to be involved with the event. I know this is geared to all business majors, but I must say I think our accounting club is just ballin’. It is so great to see so many students participating in their events and so many alumni that are still connected with the club and the professors. One thing that really hit me towards the end of my college career was how proud I am to be a panther and part of such a great program.

UNI has so much to offer. So take advantage of it! Being a part of the PRP already puts you one step ahead. This is a busy time of the year (not just with football and tailgates), but for recruiting. I wish you all the best of luck!! You really should stand out compared to other schools if you use all your resources available at UNI!

Here is my career fair advice - take it or leave it. Play the part. If you are going to talk to the talk, walk the walk. Dress up… as in go buy a suit dress up. Look professional. Don’t wear something too flashy or scandalous. Don’t forget your deodorant – DO for the BO! Spit out your gum. Okay, so now hopefully that you look decent. Prep! Look up interview questions, do a mock interview, practice answers, update your resume, proof read your resume, then do it again, take it to career services, then save it in pdf. This way, the format won’t move around if you have to submit it online! I used to do it mainly so any unknown grammar and spelling errors wouldn’t be visible.

Then here is the really big advice: go for it! Follow your dreams. It may not be easy to do, but don’t be afraid to tell people what you are looking for. It is better for both you and the firm. If you have always dreamed about moving to Denver, Chicago, the east cost, or down south – try it! Yes, it may be difficult at the UNI Career fair. But, we all know you mainly apply online after you talk with firms anyway. So get out there and look!

I will put in a plug for Minneapolis. It is a great city with a lot of opprotunitiy. I believe there are 20 of the Fortune 500 companies up here. A lot of UNI graduates have come up. Two of my friends who just moved in June have both said on different occasions: "I am never leaving this place." It's about a three and half hour drive from Cedar Falls and four from Des Moines. It is a fun city with a lot to do! Just a thought!

I hope you all have a great weekend. GO PANTHERS!! Have fun if you are traveling down to IC. You better be wearing purple!

Good luck at the Career Fair. This is really nerdy, but I think I only missed one or two career fairs in the past four years. Everybody should go! I mean, you get an hour for PRP right?

Take Care.

Brittany

The Big Move

Trials and Tribulations of Moving: 

When Dale first approached me about possibly blogging for PRP, she thought having a recent graduate write about the “trails and tribulations” of moving would be a good topic. It feels like a unique time to tell you about my moving experience when most of you have just moved back to Cedar Falls and a new apartment or dorm room. 

I will start from the beginning.  Here I am a 21 year old college graduate back at home. What do I do now? I would have four months at home before I moved up to Minneapolis. I began attempting to move my belongings back into my room with the old forgotten things from high-school and my early days of college.

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I took my CPA  exams and then took more time than expected off. I shut off my brain and just relaxed. It was amazing how easy it was. I refused to do mental math unless absolutely necessary. I did apply for a job at the new OP in Clive. A month later, I got a call to come in on Monday to pick up a training packet.  By this time, it was the end of June and I was not feeling like working (not to mention at this point I thought they didn’t want me!). My mom originally thought I would be lonely and restless. I was neither of these and did not feel like having any responsibility…I took the rest of the summer off.

 

The apartment search: Not as easy as in Cedar Falls. The notification policy in Minneapolis is usually 30-60 days. You definitely will not be signing a lease in October, November, or possibly already! I am rooming with another UNI graduate. We went up to look at apartments in February to get a feel for areas and certain places. Then this summer our hunt began.  As a forewarning, in cities there are application fees, background checks, and credit approvals.  Application fee’s can be anywhere from $25 to $100 per person.

 

We wanted to live downtown. Rent downtown was expensive and ranged from around $1,600 to $2,400 for a two bedroom apartment. It seemed the more expensive places included more of the basic utilities/extras. Everywhere would be expensive. Parking downtown could be anywhere between $65 to $100 per spot. The apartments were pretty amazing. Most of the amnemties included pools, saunas, work out facilities, and some even a continental breakfast. Yes, I said it continental breakfast with coffee, bagels, and fresh fruit!!... Although the online reviews said the food went pretty quickly. The balconies had great views of the city, lakes, or surrounding rivers. I felt like I was really going to living my dream.

 

The Result: We ended up finding a great steal on Craigslist. Be Warned!! A deal that was sincerely “too good to be true” almost scammed us on Craiglist. The “landlord” claimed to be out of country and would deliver keys after you temporarily put a deposit on hold. Total scam! You would never get your money or here from this person again. Do you research!

 

Anyway, back to our legitimate of a craigslist posting.  The add was for a two bedroom unit in this condominium. It was only a block or two away from the apartment we had settled on (where rent itself was going to be over $1,000 each!).  Our rent is considerably cheaper than most apartments in the area and includes most utilities, cable, heat/AC, and even one parking spot! The whole place has been updated with new carpet, countertops and others updates.

 

The Move will be expensive. Since we are renting a unit of a condo, we must follow the association rules. This beats me, but we are only able to use the freight elevators Monday – Friday 9 – 5 AM. This excludes holidays (i.e. Labor Day).  Then, on top of this we have to pay a rate of $100 every time you move. The office lady was out of the office when we moved in all our big items yesterday. We are hoping we may not have to pay up. By the way, the “freight eleveator” we rented wasn’t even a freight elevator. They simply put carpet down and some loose padding on the walls of the elevator.

 

The transportation. We obviously wanted the best deal. It wasn’t so simple when you have a queen size bed. A U-Haul would cost us over $250 dollars or only $60 if we could use a trailer. A cargo van wouldn’t be ideal because my bed would have to be at an angle and not leave much room for my dresser and tv. Best option for me: renting an Enterprise Nissan Envy Cargo Van for one day. A queen size bed can fit upright! It was a flat rate of $99 with unlimited mileage and gas ended up being about $90. Being the accounting nerd I am, I am actually super excited to be able to deduct my moving expenses from this years tax return!

 

Packing. I am sure the majority of us feel this way summer flew by! It seems so sudden that I am actually packing (and unpacking now). What I have learned from this move is that you actually do not want all your junk from college. I don’t want my bulletin board or battered posters anymore.  I thought I did a good job before moving home. I thought wrong. I can’t even begin to tell you how silly some of the things you bring home will seem once you are ready to start your career. No, I will not use a neon block with the letter “B’ on it. No, I do not need 3 dry erase boards anymore.

 

Apartment Necessities: It is not just shuffling through old items to see if they are worthy of the move  [I felt like Andy in Toy Story when Andy goes through his toys]. It I making sure you are prepared to basically start fresh. I have been rummaging through my parents house and basement looking for things to take. Starting your own place inclusde dishes, glasses, pots & pans, appliances, silverware, and so much more. My roommate bought a new couch/chair for the living room. I agreed to purchase a TV. Of course my dad only wanted me to get a 55’’ or 60’’ TV and it had to be best quality. No way could I get just an LCD TV or a 46’’. I ended up purchasing a 50’’ (settled in the middle) LED LCD HDTV off Ebay that was $150 off, which put it into my price range of about $500-800.

 

If you have even read to this part of my blog, I am honestly quite impressed. I wanted to get across what some of the costs of moving can be to you.  Up next, can be my delightful experience with setting up Comcast or maybe exploring the new city!

 

Everyday Professionalism Awards

As we wind up the semester, I am in the process of creating Certificates of Professional Readiness to recognize those who have completed all the requirements of the Professional Readiness Program at the Advanced Level IV. If you're on this list, you can be proud to have completed this first step toward professional excellence.

These certificates are important for job applicants’ portfolios, of course, but they don’t really say very much about the “everydayness” of true professionalism.   A professional business person practices a thousand tiny acts of problem solving, conflict resolution, communication, and emotional intelligence every day, just walking around the office, taking clients’ phone calls, and accomplishing the job.  There is no award ever given for any of that…just the opportunity to keep the job! 

I thought it would be appropriate to recognize the many students who are developing that kind of “everyday” professionalism.  This goes well beyond attending a few workshops to learn about professional skills and gets to the nitty-gritty of practicing professionalism as a way of life.

So, a hearty “good job” goes out to

  • all the students who made eye contact and said good morning to their co-workers in the Curris Business Building hallways,
  • all the team members who pulled up the slack when another member slipped up,
  • the student organizations that made a point of thanking  their advisors, supporters, and others who helped them get the job done,  (Nomination letters and cookies were especially noted!)
  • all the students who sent personal thank you notes to recruiters, interviewers, faculty members, UNI staff, or references, 
  • all the students who worked in town giving outstanding customer service to members of the community (and sometimes their professors!)  It gives UNIBusiness a good name.
  • everyone who practiced a presentation one extra time to make sure it was perfect,
  • everyone who proofread a paper one extra time to make sure it was perfect,
  • all the students who went out of their way to make an international or out-of-state classmate feel welcome at UNI,
  • everyone who didn’t complain about something—even when you had a right to be annoyed,
  • everyone who didn’t give up on a project, paper, final, or presentation.  You get extra recognition if you carried on with a good attitude and helped your co-workers get through as well.
  • everyone who was tempted to cheat but didn’t,
  • all the students who took on a service project of any kind,
  • everyone who used the right fork at dinner, kept your coat on in a warm room, stood in pumps all evening, or otherwise had to suck it up for the sake of professional manners.

I’m sure I’ve left out something…add a comment if you’d like to give a shout out to a UNIBusiness colleague who was “>READY>”  this semester.

Fall Registration is Here!

As you register for your fall classes, don’t forget to put your own professional development on your calendar!

Since we're all thinking about registration, this seems like a good time to answer the questions about the transition from the Professional Skills Initiative to the Professional Readiness Program, as well as questions about PRP Levels, registration, and certificates for graduating seniors!

1.       What is the difference between PSI and PRP? With a generous donation from alumnus Kevin Steere, UNIBusiness did a pilot program, which was called the Professional Skills Initiative.  When the College decided to turn the initiative into a permanent program, the name was changed.

2.       Why is there no course credit for PRP? Because these meetings are not a course and not a part of your academic major.  Professionalism is crucial for your career success, but it is separate from learning the essential business knowledge covered by your academic courses.  In the same way, traditional work values are crucial to success, but they are not taught in any class.

3.       Do I have to register for PRP?  All business majors who entered the college THIS YEAR are required to complete two Levels of professional development prior to graduation.  This is part of the promise we’ve made to everyone who earns a degree from UNIBusiness. We’ve designed the curriculum to make sure you get the essential business knowledge needed for a business career. The faculty sets high standards and sticks to them, insuring that you’ll maintain the strong work ethic that makes our graduates highly valued.  Now, we can also guarantee that you’ll be introduced to the professional expectations of the contemporary business world.  

4.       Which Level should I register for?  If you have finished Level I (Bus 1000), you may enroll immediately in Level II (Bus 2000).  This will give you a head start, allowing you to finish all four Levels of PRP and still leave time for an internship or semester abroad.  If you transferred to UNI this year, you should have taken Level II in your first semester here.  (If you didn’t, register now!).  Once you have completed Level II, you can register for Level III (Bus 3000).   You should register for Levels III or IV (Bus 4000) until you’ve completed the requirements.  If you will finish Level III by the end of this semester, go ahead and register for Level IV in the Fall.

5.       Where do I go for Bus 3000 or Bus 4000?  The schedule shows no regular meetings for these advanced PRP Levels, and students are expected to attend meetings, events, and workshops that fit into their own schedules.  You’ll find Bus 3000 or 4000 listed in your own eLearning account with all the instructions and a link to the PRP event calendar.

6.       How many events do I have to attend to get credit in a Level?  Levels I and II require sixteen meetings during a single semester, including weekly meetings as well as attendance at the career fair.  Levels III and IV require twenty events, with a minimum of three in each of the six professional skill areas, but a student can take as many semesters as he or she needs.

7.       How do I get a Certificate of Completion?  Everyone who completes Level IV receives a certificate from UNIBusiness.  Those who’ve already completed the Level by the time of the Graduation Celebration on April 14 will be invited to a special event that day.

Freshmen and Sophomores Welcome!

Tomorrow Principle Finance presents a workshop on cross-functional professionalism in a corporate environment.  Take advantage of this opportunity to think about the importance of doing well in the UNIBusiness core courses.  When earning a business major, many students develop a strong set of skills in their own disciplines, but many think of those core pre-requisites as obnoxious, boring courses to get out of the way before learning the important stuff.  

Employers don't see it that way!  Once you're on the job, you can't get anything done without the rest of the team, and the more you understand about how your team members think, the better you'll be able to function.

One of the reasons UNIBusiness grads have the reputation for a solid grasp of essential business knowledge is that every major includes the foundations of marketing, management, accounting, finance and economics.  Putting that knowledge together in a professional way takes another step: paying attention to the functional relationships within the corporate environment.

Josh Ingalls, Campus Relations Manager for Principal Finance, has invited those who talked to him at the Career Fair to join this session, which will be held from 5-6pm on Tuesday, March 1, in CBB 1 & 3.  A panel discussion of professionals in marketing, accounting, finance, information systems, and human resources will be followed by breakout sessions for the majors from 6-7pm.  That invitation is now being extended to all UNIBusiness freshman and sophomores as well.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to find out how the "other side" thinks! 


Developing your Personal Brand

This is a great week to check out the careers section of Pricewaterhouse Cooper's website.  This week is Personal Brand Week 2.0.

The company is a major recruiter of UNIBusiness grads, and the advice is great! Check out the web page full of tools, recommendations and information on creating your own personal brand.  You'll find tips and information, with profiles and interviews posted throughout the week.

Here's a quick link to the week's goodies, but if you're at all interested in an accounting career, you should be looking at the whole website regularly.  You can also find PwC on Facebook.

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Welcome aboard to the newest group of subscribers from the Professional Readiness Program's Freshman Seminar and the Level II Business Professionals in Training.  This is the long-promised blog, designed to keep you posted on opportunities and resources to manage your own professional development process.

Employers are expecting more

Recent grads are happy that job openings are finally on an upswing, but that isn't translating into an easy job market.  In fact, U.S. businesses are actually leaving more positions unfilled.  A recent Wall Street Journal article blames some of the foot-dragging on economic issues, but also identifies a trend for employers to be "pickier" about who they hire.

According to the article, companies complain that they have a hard time finding "the right people" when they do try to hire, while some job seekers claim the companies are holding out for "ridiculously awesome" candidates.

There's no question that current job seekers are competing with larger numbers of qualified candidates, including some with years of professional experience.  For those with an option, it's more important than ever to develop the skills that employers find awesome: communication, critical thinking, adaptability, and strong work values.

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Welcome to the UNIBusiness freshman class! These posts provide resources, explanations, and comments on professionalism and the process of becoming a professional.  As you take steps to develop your own skills, please join the conversation!

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