Can I Get a Little Advice?

Editor’s Note: We asked students and staff alike, “If you encountered a new or returning student in a casual setting and began to talk about university life and NIU, what advice or encouragement would you give them?” This is how they responded…

Students:

“Involvement. It’s a word we all hear, especially on and around campus. “Get involved”, everyone says. “It makes college much better and sets you up better for your future”. Many people say these things – and they are right. Over the past 2 years, I have been involved with a multitude of on campus activities, clubs, and jobs. I started by joining a few organizations until I found what I really wanted to do, and everything just took off from there. I was a part of a research program unlike any other in the country. This past summer, I was able to travel to The Netherlands and to Spain on two separate study abroad programs. Because of my involvement on campus, opportunities began to appear more and more frequently. Even if you do not think you would like being involved, I would highly encourage everyone to join at least one club or organization. It will make you feel more attached to NIU, which will become more than just a place where you take classes. It can become so much more, and the first step is involvement on campus. If there’s one thing to take away, it’s this: get involved now and you will thank yourself later.” – Jeff Kamholz, Junior Marketing Major

“My biggest recommendation to any incoming student is to not be afraid of the unknown. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the person next to you. This person could easily become your best friend on campus, and if you never say hi, you can miss out on that opportunity. Also, it is with this individual that you will build study groups with that will help you meet more people and  ultimately WILL help to improve your grades. This will also give you a strong support system that you can use for all your issues in college because there is almost always someone who has experienced what you are dealing with. Lastly, do not be afraid to talk to your professors, they are some of the most knowledgeable people on the campus and they are way cooler than you think. They have limitless stories and experiences that will help you with your studies and life. All in all, do your best to step outside your comfort zone, you never know what it can bring you!” – Marc Fasshauer, Senior Finance Major

Professors:

“If you got into NIU, you belong at NIU. If you belong at NIU, prove it to yourself by performing academically the way YOU know and WE know you can!” – Bill McCoy, Director of the BELIEF Program

“Engage, engage, engage! Be curious and ask lots of questions. Look for opportunities and seize them!” – Christine Mooney, Associate Professor of Management

“Get good at saying “No”.  You are going to get pulled in a lot of directions, and if you say “yes” to everything, you will fail to have the time to do the really important things that are your priorities.  Saying “No” is really saying “Yes” to your priorities”.  – Dennis Barsema, Instructor of Management

 

Summer Internship Experience: For-Profit Edition

Editor’s Note: With the summer just finishing up and the NIU Internship/Full-time Job Fair just around the corner we wanted to highlight students and their internship experiences. In this two part series we will highlight two students, one who interned with a for-profit company and another who interned with a nonprofit company. By highlighting these two sectors we hope to give students different perspectives so that when it comes time for them to make the decision of their own they’re better prepared.

Hello! My name is Luis Sandoval and I am a senior double majoring in Management Information Systems and Applied Mathematics.  I am also double minoring in Marketing and Computer Science.  I was originally an accounting student but quickly found out that I really didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life.  It did not seem interesting to me but rather static. In addition, I also felt that there wasn’t much room for personal innovation and that did not align with what I envisioned for my future.

I have had the great opportunity to intern with AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company, for the past two summers. The summer of 2013, I took on the role of a Business Systems Analyst and worked with the company on enhancing the overall performance and user experience of an international financial planning tool. At the end of my internship I had the opportunity to present my results in front of the project steering committee. This past summer, I took on the role of a developer and built an interface that allowed for the communication of an external and internal systems. During both summers I worked within a team, that’s just how the business world is.

Over the past two summers, I really developed my leadership, communication, teamwork and professional skills. I learned to put myself out there by simply putting myself out there. It may have been uncomfortable but I managed to overcome that. I was able to put myself in situations (networking, pitches, one-on-ones with directors and management, etc.) until it became more familiar to me rather than uncomfortable. That naturally allowed me to develop the skills listed above. I ultimately learned to put myself out there and I got used to being comfortable in uncomfortable and new situations.

I definitely did not have a good grasp on everything all the time. However, I asked tons of questions and did many hours of personal research outside of work. I feel that’s what everyone should do. You can’t just wait and expect for things to come to you. I am grateful to say that I will be starting full time with AbbVie in their IT Development Program in January.

Summer Internship Experience: Nonprofit Edition

Editor’s Note: With the summer just finishing up and the NIU Internship/Full-time Job Fair just around the corner we wanted to highlight students and their internship experiences. In this two part series we will highlight two students, one who interned with a for-profit company and another who interned with a nonprofit company. By highlighting these two sectors we hope to give students different perspectives so that when it comes time for them to make the decision of their own they’re better prepared.

Entrepreneurs 2 300x270 Summer Internship Experience: Nonprofit Edition

NIU Business Student Kerrian Miller and Co-Founder and Director at Human Connections Elly Rohrer posing for a picture with a local artisan.

Hello! My name is Kerrian Miller, I am a sophomore Marketing and Social Entrepreneurship student in the College of Business. This past summer I was fortunate enough to intern as the Marketing and Media NGO intern in Bucerías, Nayarit, Mexico. Three of the goals I set for myself when coming to NIU were to always challenge myself, enjoy what I’m doing, and gain real-world experience. While interning at Human Connections I was able to reach these goals and accomplish much more.

I interned at Human Connections, a non-profit organization that works with low-income artisans and tradespeople in the beautiful town of Bucerías, Nayarit, Mexico. They offer tours showcasing the artisan’s to locals and tourists. The tourists are able to gain a better perspective on the culture and appreciate the hard work that goes into sustaining a small business. The profits from the tour and donations are used to compensate the artisans shown on the tour and provide community classes for clients and their communities.

I had an amazing experience working at Human Connections. I learned so much in the short six weeks I was there. It was great to gain experience in consulting, marketing, and non-profit organizational leadership. This internship helped me to gain a better understanding of non-profits, immerse myself in a different culture, and it exposed me to people with such different stories. I was continuously learning, taking on new tasks, and being a positive contributor.

While interning for Human Connections, I helped create the strategic marketing plan. I loved offering creative and innovative ideas toward marketing material that would help us reach as many people as possible. Working on the website content and layout was very interesting. I had the opportunity to act as a marketing and financial consultant with many artisans and working with them was a very humbling experience. They were always very welcoming and appreciative. Towards the end of my internship I was creating marketing material for a client named Francisco. I know that he was grateful to have a new way to market his products and make tourist understand the work that goes into his craft. I left Mexico knowing that what I did made a difference in the lives of our clients.

Overall, being an intern this past summer has taught me to really think about where I want my career to go and to work diligently towards it. I now think about working internationally or for a non-profit organization. My interest in non-profits, social enterprises, and entrepreneurship has really grown. It was an amazing learning opportunity. I had such a great time working with students from universities from all over the country. Being an intern has made me realize how much I’m capable of. There was never a moment where I felt like I wasn’t doing something worthwhile. Human Connections is so invested in the artisans, tradespeople, and small business owners we work with. I have so much respect and appreciation for the team and work done at Human Connections. I know that having that experience will lead me towards more new and exciting opportunities.

Score a FREE Lunch!! (Contest Details)

If you are an NIU Business major (freshman through senior levels) and if you like food (especially when it’s free!) AND if you want an opportunity to meet other students and the NIU Business Dean in a relaxed setting, then this is the contest for you.

Follow the instructions (below) and you may win a free lunch!  Not only that, but you’ll have fun, meet some new friends, chat with NIU Business Dean Denise Schoenbachler, and maybe even learn something new about ways to make the most of your time at NIU!

“Score a FREE Lunch” Contest Instructions

  1.  Send an email to jacobiferguson@yahoo.com and include this information:
    1. Make the email subject:  “Score a Free Lunch Contest”
    2. In the body of your email, provide:  your name, your declared NIU Business major, and your academic year (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior).
    3. Please also briefly share “Why I Chose NIU.”  (There’s no right or wrong answer to this!  We just love learning more about you!)
  2. Send your email no later than WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 10th!  In order to be eligible your email must adhere to all of the contest instructions listed here.

Winner Selection and Announcement Details

Contest entries will be grouped by academic class (NIU Business:  Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior).  Winners will be randomly selected from each academic class and notified via email on Friday, September 12th.  The email notification will include more specific information about the free lunch and will be sent to the winners by jacobiferguson@yahoo.com .

Any questions?  Lemme know in the comments section!  If not, well, then GO! and fill out the contest instructions!

 

And the Journey Begins…

601379 10151231923430960 1946632987 n 225x300 And the Journey Begins...

NIU College of Business Marketing and Social Media Intern - Jacob Ferguson

Hello! My name is Jacob Ferguson and I am a senior Operations Management and Information Systems (OM&IS) major here at Northern Illinois University. Before we get started I would just like to thank all of the previous interns and authors particularly the most recent one, Rob Willer, for all their hard work and their dedication to making this blog the best that it can be. The goal of this post is to give you a brief introduction to myself and to inform you on the direction that we at College of Business plan to take the Student Voices Blog this year.

I graduated from Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois in May of 2011 with dreams of going to college and my eyes set on one school, Northern Illinois University. One of my main missions since entering Northern Illinois University has been to leave it a better place than when I started and to enjoy myself as much as possible along the way. I think I have managed to accomplish at least one of those in my time here thus far. Furthermore, I am involved in such organizations as Delta Sigma Pi, CAUSE (Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs) and the Dean’s Student Advisory Board which I believe have all helped me to make tremendous strides in achieving the two goals mentioned above.

At the end of the day a lot has changed since beginning my time here at Northern Illinois University and it hasn’t always been good. I plan to be transparent in my posts and will try to give you a taste of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to this place that most of us call home for four some odd years. Topics will be selected by students and we will focus heavily on guest posts to give you different perspectives. This blog is written for students and by students.

Go Huskies!

 

 

Building your personal brand

Ludwig Banner1 Building your personal brand

Editor’s Note:  We’re coming up on the start of NIU’s fall semester, when a new NIU Business social media intern will post to Student Voices.  In the meantime, another NIU Business student sent in a guest post and we’re delighted to publish it!  In this post, Ludwig Gerdes (that’s him in the picture!) shares great suggestions for building your digital presence and your personal brand.  It’s a wonderful thing to do because building a personal brand helps you become more intentional about your goals and even more focused on how you Show Up for things in this great adventure called Life! Check out all of Ludwig’s suggestions in this story (below) and also on Ludwig’s web page.   (We couldn’t help but notice that one of Ludwig’s tips is to build a branded webpage.  And we also couldn’t help but notice that he not only gives the advice, but lives it too! Awesome.  So now your turn…go for it!)

 

A guest post on building your personal brand by Ludwig Gerdes

You may not realize it yet, but you are already contributing to your prospects of getting your dream job in the future. Whether your contributions are positive or negative, however, is the real question that you should be asking yourself.

What I’m trying to say is that your personal brand is already having an influence on your future, and it is high time you manage what your personal brand is saying to the people that matter.


“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.

 Building your personal brandJeff Bezos, CEO Amazon

Do a Google search for “Jeff Bezos”.  What do you see? Probably you’ll see multiple pages detailing his biography, some videos of speeches he’s done, and numerous articles about or concerning his work with Amazon.

Now search for your own name. What do you see? You’ll probably find your Internships.com profile, an old assignment you did for a class during your freshman year of college, and who knew you still had that old MySpace page.

So how are you and Jeff Bezos different, other than the $30.2 billion between your net worth and his? Well, he understands the importance of his personal brand more than you do yours.

But here’s how you can fix that.

1. Delete EVERYTHING (and start over)

It’s time for a good old-fashioned wiping off of the slate. Oh, but you spent so much time racking up those 2,000 friends on Facebook! They’ll still have profiles when if you come back. Think of it as a breath of fresh air. Believe me, you’ll thank me later.

If you do, however, have content that you want to keep (e.g. Facebook photos of yourself in high school, old Tweets you thought were hilarious, or Pinterest pins that showed exactly how you can turn that old desk in your parents’ basement into a GORGEOUS vanity) back it up. Save screenshots, download files, or whatever you have to so that you don’t regret deleting everything else.

If you need help, you can head over to PrivacyFix, or to one of these sites to search for any profiles you might have missed. If you’re willing to spend some money, head over towww.reputation.com. These sites are useful if you are worried that you might have missed something on the web.

Now that you’ve made it through that step and are most likely shaking from separation anxiety, you can start thinking about the next part: what do you want to do with your life?

2. Make Your Personal Strategy

Where do you want to be in your life? No, this isn’t an existential question. I’m asking you what you want your career to look like. Where do you want to work? What do you want to do to make money? Where do you want to live?

You should ask yourself all of these questions before you even START to think about anything else. Give yourself time though. It’s your life – don’t rush through it. Good? Great.

Understanding where you want to be in your career in the next 2, 5, and 10 years is vital before you start shaping your personal brand with different social media accounts.

“It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, Author of Crush it! (2009) and Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook (2013)

 Building your personal brandGary Vaynerchuk, CEO Vaynermedia

Gary Vaynerchuk (one of my personal heroes) understands the value of personal branding. Having attended a small private school in Massachusetts and receiving less-than-noteworthy grades, his personal brand and his attitude have more than anything made his career what it is today: a multi-million dollar media agency.

A. What Platforms to Choose (Professional)

Just how exactly do you start choosing what social media platforms to have a profile on, you ask?  Well, really it depends on where you said you want your career to end up, and how that relates to different social networks.

If you’re a design student (graphic or otherwise) you’d better have somecombination of profiles on Behance, Pinterest, Instagram, and Dribbble.

But wait! Don’t be on all of them. My recommendation is 2 – 3 accounts so that you can stay active on each of them, and it doesn’t stop being fun. Too many and you’ll never keep up; too few and you won’t have enough of a presence.

You can take a look at my comprehensive guide to choosing a social media platform based on industry. But in the meantime, let’s just say you’re majoring inbusiness administration, like me.

As a business student, your best friend is your LinkedIn account. On it, you can display your professional work, talents, and interests in such a way that someone interested in hiring someone with talents such as yours can easily find you. Did I mention that approximately 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet job candidates?

Secondly, you’ll want somewhere to host your work.

You love making slideshow presentations? Slideshare. Avid photographer? Instagram + Pinterest make for a one-two combo.  You have musical skills? Use SoundCloud to show off your masterful ability.

Each social platform has its unique features that lend itself to the betterment of your personal brand. Be creative and have fun.

B. What Platforms to Choose (Personal)

Now that you’ve decided on some professional profiles, you can decide if you want to accentuate them with one or two “personal” profiles.

What you have to remember in any case is that your personal accounts are still visible. Even if you set all of the privacy settings to your personal accounts to MAX, there are still numerous situations in which potential employers, co-workers, or recruiters can see your profile. So do not post anything you wouldn’t want emerging in an interview with the employer of your dreams.

Personally, I recommend sticking to the messenger apps like GroupMe rather than other, often problematic social media accounts, but for each their own.

C. 100% Completion

It’s not enough to just have a profile on a social network. You need to invest the time and energy required to reach 100% completion. Otherwise, you’ll come off as looking like an amateur. Do you want your brand to say “Amateur”?

Start by making sure that you have a sound profile picture. The picture should be less than six months old so it actually looks like you and not your younger, less stylish self. Also make sure the picture looks professional. No selfies or mugshots. Nor any generic background photo that looks like you cut it out of a yearbook. (I’m talking to you, NIU faculty!)

Link all of your professional accounts to each other so that they are easy to keep track of. Also, PLEASE customize your social account web addresses, if possible.  http://www.linkedin.com/in/ludwiggerdes looks infinitely more professional than www.linkedin.com/in/12019283102

Just go the extra mile to avoid looking like an amateur.

3. Create A Professional Website

Now that you have a professional presence on social media and are benefitting from the improved SEO that comes with that presence, you can take it one step further and create a professional website that can serve as a portfolio, blog, or simple contact form.

I know that you may have made a basic website during the early stages of your college career, but let’s face it. It was probably a piece of garbage. If you haven’t yet, go back and delete it.

With more modern technology, you can create a website with little-to-no difficulty using a combination of HostGator (web hosting) and WordPress (Content Management Software). I recommend following THIS GUIDE to creating your professional website.

I did, and then I slowly improved. You can take a look at my finished copy atwww.ludwiggerdes.com

One thing that I do (albeit less frequently than I would like) is write articles and publish them to my self-hosted blog. A quick Google search of my name will show you that my personal website is one of the highest-ranking results, just behind my LinkedIn profile and the work I’ve published for LinkedIn. That’s because original content is king.  You can use this to your advantage just as easily as I have, and boost your own ranking in Google searches.

Regardless of whether you blog or not, the most important part of your website is the message behind it, and the brand promisethat it displays. Again, be creative and original.

“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.” – Warren Buffett, Investor and philanthropist

 Building your personal brandWarren Buffett, CEO Berkshire Hathaway

4. Stay Active

So you have successfully created your professional presence on social media, a professional website for yourself, and cleansed the Internet of all traces of your unprofessional self.What’s next?

Well, now comes the hard part.

You need to stay active online. Not for a grade like some college courses require. I meanfor the sake of your future career.

You should endeavor to contribute to online communities, because other community members will take notice. However, you shouldn’t contribute by not contributing (e.g. spamming LinkedIn groups with questions you don’t actually care about).

Your personal brand is only viable if you maintain it. If you don’t strive to maintain it, then you are in essence telling potential employers that you don’t take pride in your work, and that you can’t be relied upon.

So you need to keep up with your social media presence, your professional website, and the online community that you are a part of.

If you don’t, then you may have already ruined your chances of getting your dream job.

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken.” – Oscar Wilde, Author and Playwright


Ludwig Gerdes is the social media marketing strategist for Northern Illinois University, as well as the 2014-2015 President of BASA, NIU’s Business Administration Student Association.