By Shivani Patel
Harvard’s 10th Annual Intercollegiate Business Convention was held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston Massachusetts on October 18th, 2014. The convention was an unforgettable and valuable experience for me as I was able to understand where my strengths and weaknesses lie through various professional development workshops as well as connect with entrepreneurs and professionals in finance. Here is a summary of my experiences:
The day began with registration and breakfast with keynote speaker Lyndsey Scott, a former Victoria’s Secret model, actress and app developer. Scott described how her interests in theater and computer science while studying at Amherst College constructed the individual she is today. At the end of her speech, Scott held a Q&A session where she didn’t shy away from any questions she was asked nor did she convey a sense of arrogance.
After the keynote breakfast, attendees left the ballroom to attend various breakout sessions. Each breakout session included a selection of panels ranging from socially responsible business to environmental sustainability. We attended a total of three breakout sessions, and each breakout session was about fifty minutes and included workshop sessions, networking, as well as professional development workshops such as interview skills and pay negotiation tactics.
The first breakout session I attended was called “Maximizing Your Own Productivity.” This workshop was lead by Mr. Bob Pozen, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School. Mr. Pozen described various tactics to maintain productivity and essentially to become as efficient as possible. For breakout session two, I decided to attend a finance panel called, “Finance 101: An Introduction to Careers in Finance.” In this panel, I was able to connect with students from Harvard as well as other schools in the Boston area. This panel gave a great overview of the finance industry as well as the diversity of careers within the industry. The panel included 4 extremely talented women who held a diversity of positions in companies such as Goldman Sachs, BlackRock and Macquarie.
We then had lunch and another inspiring keynote speaker: Maureen Chiquet, the Global CEO for Chanel. Her speech encompassed her struggles to find her passion and where she thrived. She even mentioned how she walked away from a bar exam after she realized that she didn’t want to become a lawyer. Afterwards, she became involved in GAP, launched Old Navy and became president of Banana Republic in 2002. Maureen Chiquet’s speech was by far my favorite because of how genuine she came across to us all. She showed up in jeans and a Chanel jacket—what she wore when she started at Chanel—and inspired us all to pursue our passions and to not shy away from intimidating situations.
After another brief breakout session, we attended a panelist networking session, which was essentially a career fair where we networked with representatives from companies such as Bridgewater, Blackrock and TIAA. We concluded the convention with a closing ceremony and speeches. Overall, I learned life-long lessons and met amazing and inspiring people that I aspire to become.