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School’s New Freshmen Take First Step into Business

September 29, 2011
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Bill Fisse

Bill Fisse (BBA ’75, MBA ’77), senior human resources officer for Citi/Global Transaction Services

The School’s new freshman class has hit the ground running with a number of activities to help them get a taste for the business world as part of the FIRST Step program.  An acronym for Freshmen Integrity, Responsibility and Success through Teamwork , FIRST Step is a required semester-long course designed to expose first-year students to business ethics and principles, teamwork, and community  engagement.

So far, students have had the opportunity to hear from Bill Fisse (BBA ’75, MBA ’77), senior human resources officer for Citi/Global Transaction Services, who spoke to them about personal branding.

“A brand is a promise delivered through every experience a person has with a company,” said Fisse, who focused on the importance of a consistent brand image. “Your image takes a very long time to build, but only seconds to ruin,” he said.

Students were able to implement what they learned at the lecture during a networking event with former Citi interns and executives from New York.

“I thought it was great to hear from students who have already done an internship with a large company to see how they got to where they are,” said freshman Gabriela Gonzalez.

Men's Wearhouse

Camila Beneventy of Men's Wearhouse, demonstrating appropriate sleeve length on a model.

In addition to lectures and networking events, students participate in practical workshops and training sessions to learn the softer skills sometimes overlooked when applying for jobs and internships. To ensure students look as sharp as their resumes, Men’s Wearhouse hosted a “Dress for Success” event, also as part of FIRST Step, to teach both women and men how to dress appropriately for interviews and corporate meetings.

“We want to make sure students aren’t going to lose that job offer because they weren’t dressed properly,” said Men’s Wearhouse Regional Manager Edgar Hidalgo. “Looking professional is very important, and that’s why we’re here to help.”

Merahs Diab (MBA’09), global wealth manager at Merrill Lynch, also spoke to students about leadership, decision-making and entrepreneurship at a lecture organized by business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi and the School’s Strictly Business Association.

The community engagement component of FIRST Step requires students to work in teams throughout the semester with local non-profit organizations on projects such as business plan development, social entrepreneurship and branding.

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