On Oct. 2, the Cornell Diversity and Inclusion Business Advisory Program kicked off an eight-week workshop series with an hour-long session titled “Business Basics” with Forté, a female-only undergraduate business organization, and the Wardrobe, an organization that provides free professional attire to Cornell students.
Founded in April 2019 by Claire Pan ’20, the program is funded by Dyson’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion and consists of over 45 business organizations on campus.
The event opened with a resume workshop led by two Forté members, Maddie Franke ’21, vice president of external affairs and Rabia Syed ’21, initiative representative. They shared a collection of tips for constructing resumes, writing cover letters, networking and navigating LinkedIn.
Referencing examples from her own resume, Franke presented a run-down of advice for crafting effective resumes, touching on reminders such as the omission of bullet points and personal pronouns, scarcity of high school information, quantification of experiences and consistency of formatting.
Syed followed with a concise presentation on creating individualized and relevant cover letters, navigating the details of direct introductions, “tasteful” name-dropping and describing experiences in a position-specific manner.
The Forté representatives concluded their presentation by discussing the importance of maintaining a friendly and interested — but not overbearing — demeanor during networking interactions. Attendees were then offered a chance to practice their own “elevator pitches” with those seated next to them.
This session targeted underclassmen who may not have experience navigating the job application process, networking and recruiting Syed said.
Franke added that resumes and cover letters are also important in the club application process which will give people a fair chance in business organizations if they haven’t been exposed to this before.
The Wardrobe then began the second part of the workshop, which focused on business dress codes. Four representatives from the organization — Executive Director Kevin Jiang ’21, Vice President Ruth Park ’21, Fashion Lead and Consultant Milton Tang ’21 and Director of Marketing Rebecca Fu ’21 — discussed the Wardrobe’s vision, progress and new projects.
Jiang introduced plans to partner this semester with various business fraternities and organizations on campus to offer free pre-professional clothing to its members.
Fu and Tang then broke down different dress codes such as smart casual, business casual, business professional and black tie by providing detailed descriptions and photos to illustrate each etiquette. Tang also discussed the Wardrobe’s new initiative, “winter clothing,” which intends to provide Cornell students with professional clothing suited for Ithaca’s cold weather.
Speaking to the Wardrobe’s hopes for participating in the workshop, Jiang explained that the organization’s primary goal is to raise awareness about the resources that they have to offer. He explained that the organization has inventory to support Cornell students from the entire campus, not just in the Dyson school.
“Business is such a general, abstract term,” attendee Sarah Belhasan ’23 said. She hoped the session would help break down the different industries and career paths available in business.
Pan also articulated her thoughts on the importance of the Cornell D&I Business Advisory Program, saying they value peer-to-peer learning but it can be difficult with the “exclusive nature of business clubs on campus.” The workshops offered a different “channel for learning.”
Addressing the most prevalent diversity issue facing business organizations on Cornell’s campus, Park pointed to the awareness of biases. To tackle this problem, several organizations have implemented more inclusive interview policies; for example, both the Wardrobe and Cornell Venture Capital eliminated dress codes as a part of their hiring processes. Franke explicated that interviewers have also made conscious attempts to “be aware of the many backgrounds that Cornell students come from.”
Next semester, the Cornell D&I Business Advisory Program hopes to host diversity trainings for campus organizations, as well as to hold certification programs to reward clubs that have done well to embrace diversity.
Over the course of the next eight weeks, Cornell D&I will host seven more workshops to provide its attendees with insights and information on varying industries including Finance and Investing, Consulting and Cases, Marketing and Market Sizing, Data and Analytics and Accounting and CPAs.