Students entering the job market need to be open to any opportunities that come their way even if those opportunities are not what they imagined, a group of 60 Boston University women learned from speakers and peers this Saturday.
85 Broads, ‘the ultimate career connection for smart women worldwide,’ hosted a day of networking and career advice focused on young women. The group aims to empower and connect women, according to its website.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumna Umber Ahmad, who now works at private investment firm Goldenridge Capital, said it’s important to not pigeon-hole yourself in a career.
‘The person you strive to be changes and evolves, and you have to adapt yourself constantly,’ Ahmad said.
Speaker Kamrin Eriksen told attendees about her personal journey to success. After saving enough money mowing lawns and opening a cafe, Eriksen traveled to China with her father, she said.
On a boat along the Yangzi River, Eriksen made a connection through a dinner conversation with a man who turned out to be the general manager of a footwear company, she said.
The meeting was a ‘total fluke’ that resulted in Eriksen accepting a job and moving to China to work for Adidas, she said.
‘You will never have luck or be in the right place at the right time unless you move out of your comfort zone,’ Eriksen said.
Eriksen is now one of the Costing Directors for Coach, Inc.
This year’s conference was intended to connect women from all academic disciplines to give them insight into varying industries, organizers said.
‘We worked hard to get a diverse group of speakers,’ Broads Vice President of Programs and Events Audrey Geller, a School of Management senior, said.
Attendees listened to stories from successful women with experience in marketing, finance, nonprofit work and fashion retail.
SMG professor and speaker Kabrina Chang said networking was one of the most important things women could do professionally.
‘I never put a formal name to it,’ Chang said. ‘I just think about it as maintaining relationships. Most of the jobs I have gotten have been through someone I have met along the way.’
Ahmad said she calls networking ‘connecting with people.’
Eriksen and other speakers said maintaining a balance between personal life and work life was important.
‘It’s easy to forget yourself and focus only on your career,’ Eriksen said. ‘Even if you’re lucky enough to find a job you love, supplement it with something fun.’
Students also received tips on how to choose a major.
‘ ‘Find out what you respond to the most, what feels natural for you to do, and don’t think about what specific career that major might lead to,’ Eriksen said.
SMG junior Linda Yin said the event was helpful.
‘More female students would appreciate this if they knew about it,’ Yin said.
SMG junior Maria Constantopoulos said she appreciated speakers’ honesty, especially regarding the state of the economy.
‘It reinforced the messages I’ve been hearing that it’s going to take more legwork than usual to get a job,’ Constantopoulos said. ‘And although the speakers give you a reality check, they still send a hopeful message because they love their jobs.’
Eriksen said the most important thing aspiring businesswomen could do was to be flexible.
‘Be open to opportunity,’ she said. ‘Take a chance.’