College Students: Join A University Business Organization
In 2016, I transferred as a Junior to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. During the universities activity fair, I walked around not knowing anyone but was interested in possibly joining an organization to meet people, gain a resume builder, and to get experience in a related field to my major which is finance. Regardless of your college major, experience in business will go a long way when it’s time to pursue a career after graduation.
Having experience from going through real business situations is much more valuable than reading about it in a book. Through a business organization, you often will hear first-hand experiences from entrepreneur speakers, go on-site to businesses to see their operations, and possibly set up and run your own business. In the Bradley chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization (CEO), we take a yearly trip to the national CEO conference where successful entrepreneurs both young and old hold sessions, give speeches and answer direct questions. Also at the conference, there are a series of competitions where you can further your experience and knowledge in specific areas of business.
Joining a business organization is a fantastic way to gain contacts in the business world. Contacts lead to references, friends on the contacts who might be able to help you, and sometimes directly to a job. Out of my 5-lifetime jobs, I have gotten four of them from contacts and had to work very hard to acquire the fifth on my own. You can meet contacts in a business organization through involved faculty, guest speakers, other members, and people you meet through group activities.
Meeting friends in college is not always easy if you are not in a fraternity/sorority, and are going to a school away from your high school friends in an unfamiliar town. Joining a business organization will not only give you something to do but will give you an opportunity to meet new people and make lots of friends who share the same business-related interests as you do. I have made several friends through the organization I am in at Bradley University. Friends can also be used as contacts, but are even more valuable.
Employers look for related experience, past jobs, education, community service, clubs/organizations you have been a part of, and leadership experience among other things. Being part of a college business organization looks great on a resume and can put you ahead of many other potential candidates. After you have had a year or two of experience in a business organization, it’s time to become an officer to further your leadership skills and for a more impressive resume builder. At a career fair, I went up to a representative from Caterpillar. The woman instantly dismissed my resume because she said: “there are no leadership skills listed”. I had previously been unaware that companies focused so much on entry-level skills such as leadership, but they do.
These are only a few of the many benefits you can receive from joining a university business organization. They can be a very fun and rewarding experience that will help you in many ways. So don’t be shy or nervous to try new things, join a college/university business organization.