Students from around the world attend Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business’ conference
Wellesley Women in Business (WWIB) brought over 50 Wellesley students to the 11th annual Intercollegiate Business Convention (IBC), the largest student-run business convention for women in the world. Organized by Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business on Oct. 17th, over 1,200 undergraduate students from all over the world attended, including students from Boston University as well as international students from University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. The students convened for an exciting day full of talks, workshops and a career fair.
“Success, fulfillment and impact in business all come down to one thing: the people. Business is about, first and foremost, the people,” 2015 IBC Chair Karen Kennedy stated at the beginning of the convention.
Kennedy’s words rang true as students from various schools met each other and the accomplished women who were giving the talks. In between talks and breakout sessions all participants mingled with each other, sharing their life stories, aspirations, and advice. During one busy day, students formed new friendships and found supportive mentors.
President of Product and Marketing at Nike Jeanne Jackson began the convention with the first keynote speech. She focused on what it means to be a woman in business, particularly a woman in business leadership.
Students then broke off into two hour-long breakout sessions, featuring speeches about topics ranging from “Media Entertainment in the 21st Century” to “Corporate Law: Legal Framework Underneath All Businesses” and workshops with various aims like “Navigating Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.”
Afterwards, the students reconvened to attend “IBC Talks,” modeled after TED talks, that featured Denise Broady, the Global Chief Operating Officer of SAP, and Katya Andresen, the CEO of Cricket Media and Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of Network for Good.
Both women talked about their life paths; Broady described how she went from being a Vietnamese refugee to a successful woman in the C-suite and Andresen broke her life up into four different phases and explained what she learned from each.
The students eventually separated for a third breakout session and a career fair, which included booths from business schools, like MIT Sloan School of Management and NYU Stern School of Business, and different banks and consulting groups. The convention ended with a final keynote speech from Rosalind Brewer, the President and CEO of Sam’s Club Walmart.
With women giving speeches and hosting workshops, the entire convention had the underlying effect of empowering women. Each speaker doled out varying advice; Jackson encouraged students to work hard, stating that working hard leads to better results, while Brewer urged students to understand themselves and achieve self-awareness.
“I thought that it was a great opportunity to learn about a future in business, even though I have no aspirations to pursue it. It was not, however, geared exclusively towards women interested in consulting or finance but rather everyone with an interest in learning more on how to be a professional and strong woman in the workplace,” Hannah Stiles ’18 reflected.
Though the advice came from women who succeeded in business, the life advice was largely applicable to all people working to achieve their dreams. As the day came to a close, students left armed with several business cards and graduate school pamphlets. The excitement from the day spilled over even after the conference ended, as students made dinner plans with the people they met and exchanged emails with their new mentors.
“I met many people who I would love to keep in touch with—mentors and peers alike,” Sophie Leung ’19 said.