Exceeding my Own Expectations
From Westborough High School to Pitt Business with Bethany Woodcock ’23
Spotting a Path Through the Snow
I applied to Pitt on a whim as a recommendation from my high school guidance counselor. I wanted to go to a school either down South or out West. However, since Pitt has rolling admissions, I thought I would give it a tour. I took a flight to Pittsburgh with my parents in the middle of February of 2019. It was snowing, raining, and sleeting–the weather honestly couldn’t have been worse.
That cold day in February ended up being the day I told my dad, “You should buy the hat,” as we walked by the bookstore after our tour. With my two older sisters, the whole action of “buying the hat” actually meant: “dad, this school is the one.” The Nike Pitt hat had joined his collection of his daughters’ college hats, but we all knew which one he was going to be sporting the most for the next four years.
The thing that stood out to me the most during my tour was how much the Pitt Business faculty and staff cared. They wanted to do anything they could to help you and be a resource for your growth. I also was in awe over what seemed like endless study abroad options! That was one of the factors that drew me to the business school, along with the strength of classes and variety of majors.
Seeing Pitt for the first time, I was taken back by the amount of hustle and bustle that was happening on campus, and in the surrounding communities. There is a different energy when you come to campus and can see school actually in session. You can see how the students act around one another, and get a real feel for the university itself. I was also able to do some exploring to Southside, Shadyside, the North Shore, and Squirrel Hill, all surrounding neighborhoods within a few miles of Pitt.
Gaining Confidence and Quieting Doubt
I am a Finance and Marketing double-major, while pursuing the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics (CPLE). All my professors are very understanding that we have a life outside of their class. I have never felt overwhelmed with work to what feels like a “breaking point” which goes to show the emphasis on outside the classroom development. They enjoy hearing about our personal lives when it comes to work that we do in our student organizations. Ray Jones, one of my favorite professors, is actually the faculty advisor for Delta Sigma Pi (DSP)!
The fall of my freshman year, I rushed DSP, one of the co-ed Professional Business Fraternities on-campus. After receiving my bid to DSP, I immediately felt like I was a part of something where people cared about me. DSP suddenly made the business school seem small. DSP even made Pitt seem small! I learned that everyone has a connection everywhere, and the world is much smaller when you have a family behind you. The brothers will review my resume, or even interview prep with me before the big day.
DSP has given me the personal confidence to go after what I want for my future, including running for our chapter Senior Vice President (SVP) position, taking on that role, and managing our recruitment. Then, running for President the following year and earning the position, which I currently hold. After having doubted myself a few times along the way, and overcoming that fear, I am translating this energy in applying to internships for next summer. If I ever have the mindset of “I am not qualified for this,” I quickly correct my line of thinking to “I am suited for this role, and this is tangible.”
From The Classroom, To The City, To The World.
“Bruce Means Business”
Living in Bruce Hall my freshman year had introduced me to other people in my classes. I never felt like I didn’t know someone in my class because I would recognize them from the dorm, and I could sit with them in class. Something in Bruce Hall that was great was the study room on the 6th floor. We would often congregate there to do group work or study for exams together, since again, a lot of us were in the same classes.
Bruce Hall is centrally located on-campus, the dining hall is right around the corner, and Cathy was a view out my window. I felt connected to the heart of campus. I also never felt like I missed out on any events because I always heard about them through the grapevine of the Bruce students. To this day, I will see people who lived in Bruce and the tagline of “Bruce Means Business” will come up, as a familiar saying we look back on.
Internship Turned Passion
Building My Career
During summer 2020, I interned at Know Thy Neighbor which is a small clothing start-up, and I helped create their brand image through social media growth tactics. I headed a social media influencer program where I sought out strong representatives for our brand, so these influencers could push our products out to their follower base. I also worked with our website by learning search engine optimization (SEO) to increase our rankings when conducting Google searches. Working in a small team allowed me to make a lot of business decisions, such as creating pricing models that would be appropriate for our target market, and working with our supplier in Peru to streamline supply chain methods.
During summer 2021, I interned at Birgo Realty in Pittsburgh in their accounting and finance departments. I received this internship through CPLE, using the network of my professors. I expressed that I really wanted to dive into real estate, and they helped match me with Birgo Realty. At Birgo, I worked mainly in the finance department, as I was involved with running the financial models behind the valuation of prospective properties. I was involved with making the decisions whether to go after a property that could be added to Birgo’s portfolio. This all fell under the umbrella of underwriting properties, which I found out I LOVED doing. After this internship this summer, I realized I want to work in the financials behind real estate, and one day have a portfolio of my own. For now, I am absorbing as much knowledge as I can from those in the industry, from reading books, listening to podcasts, and even learning from my peers at Pitt Business who have also found a niche of real estate.
This is just the beginning for my growth trajectory. Being in a city, I am forced to learn both street smarts, along with what I am learning in my classes. I am much more aware of other things happening in the world, making me a more engaged community member.
Pitt Business always leverages their network to put us in the best position to succeed–whether that’s connecting us with recruiters, program opportunities, or alumni. Seeing Pitt’s emphasis on creating equal opportunities for their students goes a long way, again, another reason why I believe they care so much about their students.