Finding My Impact
From Freehold High School to Pitt Business
with Vanessa Kern ‘ 24
Seeking The Perfect Fit
I chose Pitt because I was looking for a medium-sized school with a highly ranked business school that would provide me with resources and professors who could assist me in taking advantage of the college experience. After speaking with my Pitt Business academic advisor for the first time during my senior year of high school, I realized that the Pitt Business program would be a great place for me to prepare for the business world. During my senior year, I also got a letter from the Pitt Business honors program about the opportunity to study abroad the summer before my first semester at Pitt. This seemed like an amazing opportunity and it showed me how invested Pitt was in getting their students abroad which is something I hoped to do. Pitt Business stood out to me because it seemed to be the perfect size with the perfect amount of resources to assist me as an individual while allowing me to have an impact on the school in return.
Using Her Support Network
I am pursuing a degree in Marketing and the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics (CPLE). I am also interested in looking into a degree in Global Management or Business Information Systems and a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Pitt has allowed me to explore multiple interests by providing me with the ability to pursue multiple majors and certificates. Pitt provides core classes in every sector of business which allowed me to get a feel for all the different aspects of business. I was also able to explore my different interests through different studying abroad programs that exposed me to areas of business that I didn’t know existed.
My favorite class was Ethical Leadership with Professor Ray Jones as part of CPLE. This class was exciting for me because it provided me with real-world consulting experiences and gave me insight into project management and presenting. In addition to the faculty, the staff at Pitt Business has been so supportive throughout my time at Pitt Business. Mike Kijowski, my academic advisor, made an impact on me by inspiring me to pursue more than just my major. He has guided me in doing more research on pursuing opportunities for my future rather than just my current academics. In addition, my Pitt Business career advisor, Carli Anselmi, has helped me explore my career interests. I met with her over winter break during my freshman semester and explained to her that I was interested in working with small businesses, but I did not know how to contact them. She provided me with the links for applying to jobs with small businesses and I was able to get an internship during my first summer. When I was a freshman, I was interested in starting my own business fraternity but didn’t know where to start. After I got into contact with Jess Druga, student engagement manager, she helped me with the process and was very helpful. I would not have been able to complete the project without her.
“I was also able to explore my different interests through different studying abroad programs that exposed me to areas of business that I didn’t know existed.”
Making Her Mark
During my freshman year, I lived in Sutherland Hall in the Honors Living Learning Community. By living here, I was able to meet honors students of all different majors. I lived with engineers and pre-med students and was able to hear all about their experiences. I have grown to understand diversity, equity, and inclusion by participating in different conferences that expand my education on these topics.
Additionally, I decided to join the American Marketing Association to learn more about the different aspects of marketing. I also joined a business fraternity which is a great way to expand professional skills while making friends in the business school who can help with schoolwork. During my freshman year, I realized that there were not enough business fraternities for all of the business students, so I started working on bringing a new chapter of a business fraternity to campus. I am now the Founder and Executive Vice President of Phi Chi Theta, Epsilon chapter at Pitt. I was motivated to do so because my sister was in Phi Chi Theta at NYU and she told me all about the great experiences she had with developing professional skills and talking to recruiters. Through this experience, I was able to make lifetime friends and work on my project management, team-building, and leadership skills.
From The Classroom, To The City, To The World.
Executing Early Opportunities
After my freshman year, I worked as a Marketing Consultant with a startup company called Honduras Green Travel. The career team helped me with my internship search because when I expressed to Carli Anselmi, the career advisor, that I was not interested in working with big businesses, she provided me with resources for working with local Pittsburgh companies. She gave me the name of a scholarship opportunity, the James B. Tafel Scholarship, that matched my interests and the name of a company that she thought I would be interested in working with. After I applied for the position, I was provided with the emails of recruiters to schedule interviews which ultimately got me the position I had over the summer. My favorite experience from the internship was being able to see the beginning processes of what goes into starting a business. I had the opportunity to run the entire social media page and see what went into making a business proposal.
My post-graduation goals are to work for a small company doing project management. My time at Pitt Business connected me with internship opportunities and real-world experiences in class, where I completed several consulting presentations with real companies and made business recommendations. Because of these experiences, I feel prepared to enter the business world ready to communicate with management-level staff.