Students in suits talking with company recruiters

Practice makes perfect at Professional Development Day

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By Haley Aouate

As any young professional will tell you, the idea behind an elevator pitch is that if you’re ever caught in an elevator with the CEO of your dream company or a hiring manager, you have 30-60 seconds of their valuable time to sell yourself through this short, persuasive description.

Haley Aouate

This is my elevator pitch. My name is Haley Aouate, and I am a full-time graduate student in the Master of International Business program. I recently completed by bachelor’s degree in marketing with minors in Spanish and entrepreneurship from UF. I’m eager to combine my creative nature, analytical capabilities and educational background to make a positive impact through a career in marketing.

At Warrington’s Business Career Services Professional Development Day, Hough Graduate School of Business students had the opportunity to practice their pitches, gain valuable career information, and network with corporate executives—no elevator necessary.

Professional Development Day began with four keynote speakers from different backgrounds including consulting, real estate and marketing. Not only did students learn firsthand about each speakers’ road to success, but more importantly, about the many twists and turns that road takes. Students were encouraged to put their needs and values first, pursue their dream career even if it is not in the field they originally anticipated and build their personal brand.

After the keynote speakers, students attended three breakout sessions where they had the opportunity to learn more about careers across a variety of functions, including information technology, marketing, finance and more. The sessions were in an engaging Q&A format that allowed students to better understand today’s marketplace, as well as their personal strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the day closed with a networking mixer that allowed students to practice their networking skills, and even elevator pitches, in a low-risk environment.

After Professional Development Day, I feel empowered to begin my career search with a strong focus on my values and personal brand. While I was able to network with marketing professionals, I was encouraged to keep an open mind and learned more about the sales and retail industries as well. Lastly, I had an entire lunch hour to chat with corporate executives and learn about their winding career paths, largest failures and advice to their young professional selves. I am so appreciative to the Hough Graduate School of Business for creating opportunities like Professional Development Day to set students up for success and happiness.