Networking Everyday

All right folks, let’s talk about this thing called “networking”. First, what is networking? Business networking is formally defined as, “a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded business people recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities.” Some of you may be thinking, “huh?” I totally understand why this definition would confuse some of you. I think that the definition does a fine job of explaining the overall goal of networking, but I think it gives a false idea of what networking really is.

Networking shouldn’t be thought of as this big, intimidating thing that should stress you out. Not every networking event is a career fair or trade show that requires professional dress, resumes, and business cards (These are important types of networking events though). The truth is that most networking opportunities aren’t events at all; they are continuous and happen to us every day. An ordinary occurrence sometimes has the potential to turn into a business opportunity.

Here is an example of what I mean: Say you are walking down the street and you see a gentleman drop his keys. You promptly pick up his dropped item and return it to him. The two of you are heading in the same direction, so you strike up a conversation and learn that he is an executive in the company you have been applying to! You trade contact information and head your separate ways.

proper-handshake

Now, this is an extreme exaggeration of what could actually take place, but the point I’m trying to make is that you should always be on the lookout for networking opportunities, and always be prepared. If an opportunity presents itself don’t hesitate to spring into action; ambition is a desirable characteristic inside a company.

This brings me to my next point, have an elevator speech prepared! An elevator speech is a short speech about yourself that should describe who you are, what you’ve done, and what you want to do. This speech should last about as long as it would take to ride an elevator a few floors: hence the name. This sounds like a feat in itself, but if you practice your elevator speech frequently you will be ready to give it at a moments notice. If the speech went over well and you feel confident enough to take it to the next step, then ask for the card! It’d be a shame to have an awesome elevator speech, impress the individual, and then not have a way to get into contact with them later.

If you develop this style of approach to networking then you will undoubtedly see an increase in the number of professional contacts you have available. Networks do not remain static! Networks either strengthen or weaken with time, but they do not remain the same. Professional relationships are similar to other relationships because they must be nurtured or they will weaken. Take the time to reach out every now and again to strengthen these relationships; give them a phone call (if  you deem it appropriate), send a handwritten note, or get up with the person on LinkedIn.

I used to work at a car dealership as a marketing intern about a year and a half ago. It was a good job and my boss and I got along really well, but due to unforeseen circumstances I had to end my internship early. After leaving the dealership I continued to keep in touch with him and talk about a variety of different things. Every now and then he would approach me for help with a promotion that the dealership was putting on and I’d help out. Just this past weekend I was working with him at a rodeo out in Williamston and we had a chance to catch up. I was telling him about how I was searching for a job in advertising and he told me that his wife is a partner at an ad agency in New Bern. He said she was looking for a new assistant and told me to send him my updated resume. That is one heck of an opportunity right there and I would have never unearthed it if I hadn’t networked every day.

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It Takes One

Some of us are looking forward to the end of college this May. One of the things you do for graduation is fill out a graduating senior survey. In this survey you will list two of the most influential professors here, highlighting those who made a difference in your experience. Those professors will be given a thank you card for every student that acknowledged them for their passion and effort. Every year the top 10 listed professors are honored with a dinner with the Provost & Sr. Vice Chancellor, Marilyn Sheerer. College of Business professor Dr. Tracy Tuten was honored last year along with Dr. Jay Oliver this year. Two professors who are from the College of Business and both in the marketing concentration, doesn’t make a good professor. So what does?

Community.

I sat down and spoke with both Oliver (left) and Tuten (Right) to ask them what makes a beloved professor.

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Dr. Tuten’s fondest memory of her time teaching was during graduation. When all of her students were with their family and friends they took the time to Tweet and Facebook her thank you. Dr. Tuten talked about her mentors. Mrs. Perkins inspired her to write and Mrs. Dee Congleton gave a shy 7th grader the courage to try out for the Cheerleading team. In college, Dr. David Glascoff insisted she should go for her doctorate and become a professor.  Tuten believes this to be what allows her now to give global seminars around the world and also be involved with her students’ lives in and after college. She’s been involved in students’ weddings and every year invites a group of students to New York to meet with past students in their current advertising jobs.

Dr. Oliver worked in corporate customer relationship management before teaching the practice here at ECU. His warmest memory here is when his wife who also teaches at ECU was pregnant. He guesses around fifty students came up to him, shook his hand and congratulated him on his child. That’s the kind of comfort and community he feels apart of here at ECU. His focus on student growth and involvement in the East Carolina chapter of the American Marketing Association allows him to develop lasting connections with his students.

Both professors believe in community and being apart of students’ lives. As students we are given the opportunity to build a community with our friends and also our teachers. Do you have a relationship with your professors? Can you say that you will be apart of these relationships ten years from now? I challenge each and every one of you to meet your professors. Treat them as mentors and friends, not as enemies and judges. The college experience may be a break from the real world, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to make the best of it.

Before you graduate experience the warmth. It’s better on the inside.

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There’s No Crying in Group Work!

But let’s face it, sometimes we have to hold back the tears.  One of the most dreaded assignments in a college course is a group project, and in Business they are bound to occur at LEAST once every semester.

What is it that makes group projects so difficult?  Often times it’s not even the material or the assignment itself that causes stress, but the coordination and planning of how it will be completed both efficiently and effectively, so that everyone comes out on top.  It’s sometimes hard to manage planning and execution without any one or more group members doing a significantly larger portion of the work than the others.

If you put as much significance on the CHOOSING of your group members and PLANNING of their parts as you do the project itself, 70% of your work is already done.

are you crying?

25% Choosing Your Group

If you’re allowed to choose your group members for a project, it is highly suggested that you choose them carefully, especially if you’re someone with a tight schedule.  Your lack of flexibility is not going to be anyone else’s problem but your own if you choose not to address it in the beginning.  It is your responsibility to find people that can work with it so that you’re not left out in the cold.  Bring a hard copy of your schedule including class and work times to provide your classmates a visual of when you are and are not available when groups are being made.

Also when choosing group members, it may not always be a good idea to work with friends even if you know them well, because an effective team is one that can give and receive critical feedback (David Kroenke, Experiencing MIS).  Group members must also be able to hold each other accountable for the completion of certain tasks, and you may be less likely to do so if you’re working with friends who you don’t want to fall behind.

Don’t be afraid to work with people different from you either as often times it is our differences that complement each other to create something better than if they didn’t exist at all.  The important part is that if you are able to choose your group members, some thought and/or strategy should be put into doing so.

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45% Planning Meetings and Collaboration

The most arguably difficult part of group projects (hence why it’s almost half the work) is planning its meetings and somehow determining in those meetings who is going to do what part(s), by what time those parts are going to be done, and how the rest of the group is going to collaborate with each of them.

Doodle.com is a FREE website used for scheduling meetings and displaying availability that should be used as soon as possible so it can be determined early on when everyone is available to work on the project if it must be done together.

The project itself doesn’t necessarily (always) have to be started as soon as possible, but the meetings that determine its execution do.  If you wait too long to try meeting with your group and it turns out there is a serious schedule conflict that makes it next to impossible to complete the project, it will be easier for you to switch groups early on (whether chosen by you or the instructor), than it will be after other groups have already started working.

Get as many initial meetings out of the way in the beginning so that there is at least a foundation set up for the rest of the project’s completion, whenever a group member chooses to work on it.  Without that foundation, no one can do any (effective) work, and the duration of the window there is to work on the project will become even narrower than it already seems to be at times.

Every project’s planning  and assigning of parts is going to be different based on the nature of the work and its group members, but this section just emphasizes the importance of determining availability and planning the meetings  early, because that is almost half the battle.

there's no crying in baseball!

30% Doing Your Part

Independently of whether you’ve gotten to choose your group or not, after  having meetings that have assigned parts and set deadlines, the work that you do on your own should be the least of your worries.  As long as you use the same reasonable planning and organization skills that it takes to complete work in any other class, you should be able to complete the tasks and meet deadlines for the group project.  This makes the collaboration when the project is being put together that much easier.

Just as the execution of section 2 is dependent upon the nature of the work itself and the group members, how you do your own part is also determined by such things.  The important part to remember in this section is that your part must get done ON TIME, and that it’s imperative for you to see by whatever means possible that it does.

 

By mentally weighing each of these sections by the importance provided, you may get a better idea of how successful group projects work and how to get the next one done with less stress.  Of course these are not literal measurements of the work it takes to complete a group project, but mental guidelines of how much is truly involved in their efficient completion.  So, hopefully, the next time you you hear the dreaded term “group” utter from your professor’s mouth, you won’t feel the need to cry as much.

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Who to Follow: @GaryVee

Gary Vaynerchuk

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As we sit in class day to day, studying hard, taking all the required courses to earn a degree in Business, there are people out there making a name for themselves simply through social media. People like Gary V. This self-made social media expert is the type of person I have always aspired to be. If I had read his book four years ago, I cannot promise I would be where I am today. I would like to think I’d be in a big city, doing social media or PR for a brand name company, because that is what I am most passionate about.

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From lemonade to liquor:

Gary V has always had a hard-working and self-fulfilling attitude. From the early age of 8 years old, he’s been a working businessman who managed 6 lemonade stands around his neighborhood and sold baseball cards at local malls. When High School began, he started helping out at his parents’ liquor store. Bored, he found himself picking up the wine magazines and books more often. By the time he had read the entirety of books around the store, he was in college, commuting every weekend to work at his parents’ store. He moved on to reading about Social Media and marketing strategies. The books he read and the efforts he took, helped to shape him into one of the most successful Social Media Marketers in the business.
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After some time, in 1997 he realized there was a technological shift in consumption; e-commerce was on the rise. Being smart, Gary took advantage of the early years of e-commerce and created a website called winelibrary.com, which ultimately helped his family grow from $3 million to $45 million in 2005.

Vayniacs:

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From Justin Bieber’s “Beliebers” to Lady GaGa’s “Monsters”, today it is not uncommon for figures in the limelight to have a stapled name for their fans. But who knew some average Joe from New York could create such a following? After the launch of winelibrary.com, Gary V took to the content world with his flipcam and started posting personal reviews about wine on YouTube; He was attracting over 100,000 views per day on his reviews. Eventually, his fans and followers were so dedicated to his posts, they became known as “Vayniacs”.

Why Follow?:

Gary stays humble about his success. He has close to 1 million followers on Twitter, speaks at conferences, and organizations around the country, has two books on the New York Times bestseller list, and was voted in BusinessWeek’s top 20 people every entrepreneur should follow. In his book Crush It! He explains how to take something you are passionate about and make it into a living. Most people say you can’t make money in today’s economy without a college degree. Three years ago, I would agree. But with the rise of technology and media outlets, it is easier than ever to reach consumers. As business students of East Carolina University, we are ahead of the rest with the knowledge of how to manage and market a business. From what Gary tells us, all you have to do is start creating content, sharing it with the public, and participating in the activities you receive back.

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Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the most entertaining people to watch and listen to. He’s extremely active and reactive on Twitter. He likes to get involved with his followers. He makes it easy for organizations, companies, and students like us to reach him by providing links to contact him about coming to speak and interviewing him face to face. Below is a link to a video he posted ranting from a plane that’s been one of his most buzzworthy content posts. The video will give you a glimpse of his “out there” personality.

Gary V Rant

http://garyvaynerchuk.com/

 

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Leading the Leaders of Tomorrow- College of Business Living Learning Community

As of the fall semester of 2012, all freshmen attending East Carolina University, aside from the few exceptions, are required to live in the dorm facilities offered by the University. It has been researched that students who live on campus for at least their freshman year, experience a better quality of learning (and I’m sure rolling out of bed and being 5 minutes away from class wouldn’t hurt either).

Living Learning Community: Cotton Hall need 1

The Living Learning Community (LLC) at East Carolina University has been created to provide first year College of Business students with the opportunity to experience the transition to a larger university in a more personable atmosphere.

There are about 50 students in the LLC program this year who live together in Cotten Hall located in the Central Neighborhood of campus. It’s a great way for first year College of Busines students to be part of the excitement in the very heart of pirate nation!

 

These students benefit from living among others who share the same interests and goals as they do. Along with living among their peers, they are given the resource of their peer mentors who are upper classmen in the College of Business.

Peer Mentors

First year students are not the only ones who must adjust to new situations. However, beginning college may be the first time many students are out on their own and may sometimes feel left without guidance.

Having the peer mentor program allows upper classmen who have had experience in the College of Business, lead other students toward success. Peer mentors help with common adjustment issues first year students may have.

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Mentors have been trained in personal development, academic scheduling, programming and other areas that support and strengthen the College of Business core values.  The leadership mentors Jack Prager, Samantha Sweeny, Haley Adams, Caroline Hill, Marisa Melchiorre, Eric Green and I, under the guidance of Kristen Harris, have developed a variety of engaging programs and activities. I think paintballing was our favorite program yet! We encourage active involvement in the university and develop unique events to maintain motivation.

Our programs help us develop a level of comfort between lower and upper level students that create a lasting bond. To be an effective peer mentor one must be knowledgeable about available campus resources, communicate with a variety of cultural and personal backgrounds, and function effectively in a team environment while being a dependable team member.

Melissa Melchiorre commented on her experience as a peer mentor by saying,

“We have helped students adjust to the COB or the college life in general by suggesting classes to take and letting the students know that there are other student available to talk to about school or other personal matters. Whether it is being away from home or adjusting to the busy college life, we are here to assist students to be successful and reach their goals. It is also rewarding to us knowing that we can help freshmen with lessons that we have learned and sharing our experiences with them.”Whole Gang Fountain

(L-R) Michelle Cavallo, Jack Prager, Samantha Sweeny, Kristen Harris,  Marisa Melchiorre, Haley Adams, Caroline Hill

How to Become a Peer Mentor

The LLC program is just beginning to grow. Kristen Harris who runs the program plans to extend this program to the sophomore level during the 2013-2014 school year. This growing program hopes to develop a network of interdependent individuals who can concentrate on academic achievement in a productive and supportive community.

All qualified College of Business students are encouraged to apply for this leadership position. No prior experience is required and the position offers a great work environment, flexible schedule, supportive management, and an excellent opportunity to build and improve on your leadership skills. This is a paid position.

Requirements

  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0
  • Completion of 60 credit hours
    (by August of 2012)
  • 2 semesters completed at ECU
  • 2 semesters remaining at ECU
  • Declaration of Concentration in the College of Business
  • Involvement in campus/community service
  • In good standing with the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Full time status (at least 12 hours)
  • Attend Leadership Challenge Course
    (April 1st – 3rd)

Visit this website for more information and to complete an online application!

http://www.ecu.edu/business/success/peermentor.cfm

 

 

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Are you on the Vine?

With the popularity of your friends’ meals posted on Instagram, some restaurants have gone so far as to outlaw customers from taking pictures of their food. That means we need something new. How about a six second video with sound? Well that would be Twitter’s new app – Vine. Vine is a louder, more involved Instagram. Vine allows you to create and post six-second video collages to its site, or store on your phone for other networks. Expect to see your friends on Vine in the next few months.  So, how do companies utilize and build content?vine-image-2 Gap is an early adopter of Vine, showing a nostalgic view of their brand over the years to test the waters. If an Instagram picture is worth a thousand words, how much is Vine content worth?

I had some questions about how Vine might be used by business. So I spoke with Joe Quattrone, Vice-President of the social marketing company M80’s New York office.  Here are a few of his thoughts:

“For the time being we’re going through a period by which we all as social media practitioners have to download it personally (which is already happening), and then start to think about it through a branded content lens. That will happen throughout 2013”

“We have several weeks to articulate P.O.V.’s to our clients”

M80 is a leader in social marketing. Their early enrollment of client Audi in Instagram built a following of 300,000 followers in one year.

Facebook is aware of Vine and blocked users from connecting with their network, just hours after Vine’s release. Watching .gifs and Tumblr are nothing new. Vine provides a convenient way to develop creative content for brands and their followers. I’m excited to see how we all interact with Vine. How do you see Vine changing the social structure? Download Vine on your mobile device to explore.

 

Special thanks to Joe Quattrone: Follow him @Superquattrone

 

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Get Involved?

pathsWhen coming to ECU I’m sure you’ve heard advice from parents, teachers, and older peers on how to succeed in a university. Manage your time. Don’t party too much. Go to class. Get involved.

Get involved?

What does it really mean to get involved? Does it mean simply joining and organization so you can list it on your resume? Hardly.

Getting truly involved means finding a cause or organization that you really believe in and immersing yourself in it. This is much harder than it sounds though. ECU is home to over 350 student organizations, so selecting the right one for you can be tricky.  It’s important to find an organization that has values and ideals that align with your own, and has a culture that you feel comfortable in. A classic example is the choice of going Greek, or not. Some students find that fraternities and sororities meet their needs, but other students feel the premise behind Greek organizations is unappealing. Finding the organization that is the right ‘fit’ is so important, but where to start?

The first thing you should do is to create an account on orgsync.com. OrgSync is a platform that connects all the student organizations at ECU and is a great website to learn about and connect with student organizations on campus. OrgSync breaks down all the organizations into categories such as business, academics, performing arts, military  and service so it is easier to locate a potential organization. This allows you to pursue the organization that aligns with your interests. Perhaps you are a marketing major and want to join the American Marketing Association, or perhaps you want to fight cancer and join the Relay for Life committee. The point is that there are ample opportunities to get involved here at East Carolina.

Don’t feel pressured to dive into a group off the bat though. Many, if not all, organizations will allow you to come to a meeting or two and check it out before you join. Fraternities and sororities hold rush periods which allow you to come out and meet the brothers/sisters before making a decision.

Becoming a meaningful part of an organization has countless benefits on a young person. It allows you to learn more about yourself, test your leadership skills, make an impact on the community, and make lifelong friends! It doesn’t matter what organization you join, but just get out there and join; just remember to give it your all!

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QEP Spring 2013 Workshop Series

Attention students! Don’t miss this chance to improve your writing on essays for scholarships and awards! The QEP (Quality Enhancement Program) Spring Workshop Series will present:

“Writing for Your Future: Writing Application Essays for Scholarships, Awards, and Competitive Programs”

Monday, 2/11 at 5 pm and Tuesday, 2/12 at 5 pm in Mendenhall 244

Brought to you by the Quality Enhancement Program and the University Writing Center

Come learn some strategies for making your application essays stand out from the rest!

You can learn more about ECU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) –”Write Where You Belong”–at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/qep/

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New York State of Mind

Every fall semester East Carolina University  College of Business sends a group of knowledgeable and driven students to New York City (accompanied by two professors, of course) to visit agencies and attend the Advertising Women of New York (AWNY) conference.

The students along with the professors were able to visit 3 agencies last Fall. They got to tour the agencies and ask questions directly to successful employees. They also were able to bounce off ideas and opinions about advertising, social media, marketing, design and many more.

While at the AWNY conference, the students were able to attend a range of seminars  hosted by successful people in the advertising industry. They gave tips on how to think like an advertiser, the different jobs found in an advertising agency and how to get yourself out there when looking for a job or internship in the field.

 ”My favorite part about the NYC trip is that you go with peers that turn into great friends and connections. The NYC trip inspired me to follow my dream and to never give up as well and taught me to see the potential in myself I did not know I had. I met great connections and made forever friends. I would not take it back for the world.” – Jacki Rae Evans (attended November 2012)

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“It’s easy to forget the energy and excitement of NYC when you’re in the Pirate Nation, but going back up there was the solidifying factor in my decision to make the move up to NYC after graduation. The relationships and connections formed on that trip have helped shape me in ways I could not even explain. I am so thankful to have been a part of this trip, especially with the people who went on it.” – Abegayle Neri (attended November 2012)

“The experience and learning from the AWNY conference, as well as the connections made touring advertising agencies is priceless. The experiences you have with the group you go to NYC is amazing, and builds lifelong friendships with students and faculty. The trip solidified my desire to continue to pursue advertising, and helped me find the area of advertising I am most interested in. I would absolutely recommend this trip to students interested in advertising. It will shape and mold you in ways a textbook can’t.” – Mike Doherty (attended November 2011/2012)

So, you’re probably thinking.. Do the students get any free time? Of course they do! While in NYC the students got to go off on their own (no professors!). The students had a blast visiting Macy’s, Times Square, the High line and just having fun together.

Overall, it is a GREAT and fun experience for students. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. You get the advantage being able to meet directly and personally with some of the worlds top advertising agency executives. You get real life opinions and tips on how to make it in any industry. It’s also a great way to experience the culture of NYC along with lifelong connections and friends.

If you are interested, please contact Dr. Tracy Tuten (tutent@ecu.edu). The application process starts early September :)

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