Friday, November 21, 2014

Seeing my future come into focus

College is nothing like high school, I actually remember being there forever and wanting to leave. If I could, I would stay in college for at least a couple more years (and never get older of course).

High school is as static as it gets, not a whole lot changes. College is very dynamic, you never know what the next day has in store for you. You hear people tell you that time flies, but that doesn’t seem more true than anywhere but college.

This month is going to be full of adventure and opportunities for me. Today, the Career Development Center organized a career fair with a room full of different companies from UPS, Fastenal, and Crayola where you could walk around and network and hand out resumes to. Since I worked at Fastenal as a sales-trainee over the summer, I talked to the district manager about getting some hours over winter break. Not only was he excited for me to come back and work at the Milton location, but he also wanted me to work at the Bloomsburg Fastenal next semester.

This just shows you that you should always work your hardest and even if you need to leave a company for any reason, you should never burn any bridges with anyone. You never know when you might need a job in the future or a few hours to make some extra cash. Students from my Advanced Professional Sales class went to talk to UPS to thank them for funding some of our trip to Orlando, FL to the International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC). We talked about careers in sales and how much they love their jobs because they get paid to talk to people and create relationships. They also gave us some advice about interviewing and resume tips.

The ICSC was the most amazing experience I have encountered during my years here at Bloomsburg. The ICSC consisted of two competitions, one was the Tom James role play and the other was a Sales Management Case competition. I competed in the Sales Management Case competition, because soon I will be going to New Jersey for another sales competition.

We arrived in Florida on Thursday and immediately went to the opening ceremony and registration. At 7:30 p.m. that night, my partner and I were given our case where we had 18 hours to creating a presentation. We immediately went back to the hotel and plugged the flash drive that they gave us and stared terrified and immediately stressed at the 12 pages of information.

We were given a scenario of a real company that was fictitiously struggling and we had to come up with an idea to help them get back on their feet and present it to two people from companies that were sponsoring the event and the third person that was from the actual company the case was about. We researched and brainstormed and paced up and down all night and day to finish this presentation. 

We had to hand in our PowerPoint by 1 p.m. Friday. It was getting down to the wire, we were scrambling to get this presentation finished but we did. We had to present our ideas to the judges without any practice. We went in there and nailed it! Luckily, we got to see our judges later that day and talk to them about how they think we did. I got the most encouraging feedback I have ever received in my life. The feedback I got from the judges actually made me 110 percent sure that I was going in the right path for my future. The experience was something that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

A total of six of us (including our professor) went to Orlando for this competition, Jordan Barnett and Amanda Leshko competed in the role play competition and Austin Schwarts was an alternate if anything had happened to any one of us. Even if you were an alternate coming to this competition, the companies that were at the career fair there wanted you. Students aren’t invited to these competitions “just because,” you are invited because you have a passion for sales and you are good at.

Dr. Favia picked a great group to go to the competition this year. Anthony Furjanic and I did not place in the top four out of the 21 schools that competed in the case competition but we definitely made an impression on people from industry. Jordan made it to the second round and also made a good impression on some of the judges. Amanda did an amazing job and made it to round three where she was in the top sixteen out of 84 students. We definitely put a good word out about Bloomsburg University because different companies introduced themselves to Dr. Favia and wanted to make connections with her and our University. Overall the trip was an amazing experience and we couldn’t have done it without Dr. Monica Favia, thank you!

Another opportunity I couldn’t have been able to have without Dr. Favia, is an interview with ADP. She encouraged us to talk to a recruiter from APD about a month and a half ago to get some information about the company to see if we would be interested in working there. After meeting with the recruiter, we emailed her our resumes and gained a brief phone interview and an in-office interview.

At ICSC, when we walked around the job fair, we pretty much had mini interviews with each company that we talked to. Some of them asked me questions that I was prepared for and others asked me some that I wasn’t so that helped me prepare for next week. Another way that helped teach me how to interview, were the Professional U sessions that the University organizes. They are extremely informative and you learn something new every time.

Along with my interview next week, I will be going to another sales competition in New Jersey where I will be participating in the role play competition. At this competition we will have to sell ADP in various scenarios in various rounds. This competition will also have a career fair where I can market myself to potential businesses around the US.

My second to last semester has most definitely flown by with the blink of an eye. The most I can do is to get out as much as possible from my experiences as I can and learn as much as I can before I get thrown out into the real world. My advice to you, is to take advantages of the opportunities that surround you every single day. Don’t put something off or push great opportunities to the side, you never know when you might get them again and when they do, they will be gone in a blink of an eye.

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

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