The UTSA College of Business Office of Graduate Studies sponsored 18 graduate students who attended two virtual professional development and career conferences this fall.
Five students participated in the National Black MBA Association conference in September. They were Andres Cuellar, Winona Johnson, Khiry Milton, Gabriella Villanueva and Tya White. The conference featured keynote speeches, panels, interactive workshops and a career fair offering educational and employment opportunities.
“Attending professional development conferences is a great addition to a student’s resume,” said Danielle Gawronski, assistant director of graduate career development. “It shows you are engaged with your career and professional development. Students can also practice their networking skills and build their confidence.”
Cuellar, a MBA student graduating this December, participated in the conferences in order to expand his network and reach out to employers. “I got to interact with several different companies and had interviews over the phone and through video chats,” he said. “Even though it was virtual, I was able to make a personal impression. At the end of the day I was successful.”
“Participation in these national career fairs allow students to be strategic in their job search and gain exposure to national and international companies,” said Gawronski.
“Every session had nuggets you could apply in business and with your colleagues,” said White, a first-year EMBA student. “Diversity conference open up a safe space to ask questions and to have that type of dialogue with my peers.”
Thirteen students attended the Prospanica Conference and Career Expo in October. Participants were Valery Assad, Andres Cuellar, Bianca Diaz, Lauren Fenske-Dillard, Lillian Miess Frei, Felix Gonzales, Anthony Hernandez, Marisa Llano, Valerie Lozano, Esther Oyeleye, Alejandro Espinosa Plata, Carlos Rodriguez and Julianne Torres. Prospanica’s conference is designed to educate, inspire and connect attendees to professional development leaders.
“I wanted to attend Prospanica because I had the desire to improve my professional development, leadership and networking skills,” said Llano, a first-year MBA student from Laredo. “After the conference I felt more motivated and inspired as a Latina professional.”
One advantage of virtual conferences is that it makes attending more accessible for students with families and full-time careers.
“I’m appreciative to the College of Business for sponsoring my participation,” said White. “It was a great opportunity. I didn’t know what to expect. I’m old school, but the virtual conference did its job. You can still be personable and authentic virtually.”
Tips to be Successful at a Virtual Conference
Have your resume polished and prepared ahead of time. A lot of events allow you to upload your resume prior to the conference.
Look at the agenda, plan out the sessions you want to attend and put on your calendar so you don’t double book.
Take a risk. Do something you wouldn’t do at a normal conference. You have a lot more leeway in a virtual environment. You never know when you’ll be rewarded.
After each session write down 2-3 take away items, then come up with 1-2 action steps to apply to your life.