Get Down to Business
Executive women who have attended the
Smith College Consortium sing its praises. Not only does
the program offer new perspectives on business strategies and leadership
roles, they say, but it also affords them the opportunity to meet peers
from companies and gain access to a vast high-quality network of executive
education program alumnae.
Savvy Smith students may tap
into this network of accomplished business leaders as well.
Among them are seniors Melissa Benevides of Hudson, Massachusetts,
and Jenny Ng of Amherst, Massachusetts, who interned with
the Smith Executive Education for Women (SEE) office last summer, assisting
in the plans and organization for the two-week consortium.
Executive Education interns Jenny Ng, left, and Melissa
Benevides, both seniors, relished the opportunity to be
part of the community of corporate women who were on campus
this summer. The college's
SEE program offers Smith undergraduates crucial exposure
to business careers, practices and trends. Photo by Fish/Parham.
about the internship positions, both say they jumped
at the opportunity to learn from, and mingle with, the executives
who come to the consortium to gain fresh and practical
knowledge and experience in leadership, strategy, innovation and career
Benevides and Ng are still considering their first postgraduation
jobs and mapping out possible career paths, they easily
recognize the benefits that can come from associating with dynamic
executives for two weeks.
"It's a good networking opportunity," notes
Ng. Being part of the community of corporate women "will teach
me how to have more confidence when I get out into the business world
Beginning in early June,
Benevides and Ng cheerfully worked long days at the executive education office
on Green Street as they negotiated services with vendors, answered phones and
assembled course books and gift bags for the consortium's
53 participants. They describe the three-person staff of the SEE office -- Iris
Marchaj, consortium site coordinator; Louis Krieger, information/technical
assistant; and Barbara Reinhold, director -- as "invaluable resources."
love this office group," says Benevides. "They're
like mentors to us. Working with a team of very knowledgeable women is great."
the program was under way, Benevides and Ng were front and center staffing
the program's sessions. Beyond the training sessions, Benevides,
an English major, and Ng, an East Asian studies major, also relished the
less formal occasions when they could meet the executives during the lunches
or dinners held throughout the consortium.
"I'm very interested
in what they have to say about the business world and what it's
like working in a [management] environment that is still very much a
world," notes Benevides, who plans to work
in publishing or marketing for a few years before pursuing an MBA. "I
want to know how it's going to be when I get into that world."
program that reflects Smith's efforts to help young women
take hold of their financial futures is Smith's Women and Financial
Independence (WFI) program, launched in fall 2001. This spring OppenheimerFunds,
Inc., a leading asset management firm, and Smith formed a partnership
to further promote financial empowerment among women. Portfolio managers
from OppenheimerFunds will teach WFI classes on the economy and on financial
principles. The firm is also inviting Smith students to submit their
résumés for internships with the
Likewise, in April 2005, students will
be invited to attend a leadership conference, still in the development
phase, which will be open to all undergraduates as well as alumnae
from the college and from all the executive education programs for
Smith, in turn, will ask the executives to mentor Smith students who
are interested in business. It won't be a hard sell, says Reinhold. "[The executives]
who get to know and work with them always love our interns." -- JME