Students in the Villanova School of Business hosted their third annual VSB Week from March 18-22, an event promoting the college’s strategic initiatives, exposing students to emerging business trends, enhancing their professional development and fostering a sense of community within the college.
Beginning in September, members of the VSB steering committee began putting together this week-long event covering professional development, global leadership, responsible business practices, social media branding, building business connections and technology in the workplace.
The Committee’s main focus was on freshmen and sophomores, members of VSB who still are finding their niche in the community and in the realm of business. These are typically the students most drawn to the week’s events.
Sophomores John Hartunian and Ted Wilm were among members of the steering committee for the week’s preparation.
“We mostly targeted freshmen and sophomores to get a younger base and to also maintain focus on the younger students who we knew would be attending the majority of the events,” said Hartunian. “We understand that it is the sophomore and freshman classes that are most able to access the events and also the ones who are just beginning their VSB experience, so we keep that in mind while brainstorming ideas for the week.”
After recruiting members, the steering committee met every Friday to review ideas and to begin contacting prospective presenters, speakers and companies to sponsor and attend the events. For this fundamental part of the planning process, Hartunian and Wilm divided the steering committee into smaller subcommittees that focused on specific days of the week.
“With these smaller subcommittees, we were able to contact a variety of people and invite them to present and speak during events,” said Wilm. “We wanted people from a variety of business backgrounds, and by assigning students to specific events and days, these different subcommittees were able to target many different areas within the business world.”
While keeping contact with presenters and speakers, the committee continued to focus on brainstorming ideas for the week itself. They contacted members of the VSB faculty as well.
“We met with all the department chairs asking what they thought would be hot topics within their field, as well as e-mailing other teachers for their input and ideas for possible speakers,” said Wilm. “In doing so, we were able to incorporate faculty involvement into the planning of the week.”
When it came to constructing the week’s schedule and coming up with the theme for the week itself, the diversity of the students in the committee had a major impact on creating a solid topic for the week that would attract as many students as possible.
“As a result, this year’s committee built this week’s events around the theme “Dare to B…Competitive, Global, Confident, Cutting Edge, You,” each day focusing on a specific characteristic that was part of the overall message encouraging students to embrace the future, seek self-improvement, become active and to have their own VSB experience.
“We tried to focus on what the VSB wants and shaping these ideas to fit the desires of younger students who are trying to make their own VSB experience,” said Wilm.
Some events were placed into the week’s schedule for the first time this year.
One new event that brought a lot of positive feedback was a golf outing called “Tee It Up with the Pros,” where students were provided with the opportunity to network with employers paired up with their team based on their major.
Another popular event was “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Job Offer,” a fashion show where fellow business students exhibited appropriate business casual and business professional attire.
“These were two events that no one ever expected,” said Hartunian. “But our committee was determined to make them happen. As a result, both of these events attracted many students because both provided a unique student perspective of the goals the VSB focuses on that they could relate to.”
Another event that had a very positive turnout was a dinner called “Mind Your Manners” where presenter Laura Katen instructed students on how to appear polished and at ease in a formal dining setting.
“It was amazing how much I learned within the course of two hours,” said freshman Kathleen McAssey, who also was a member of this year’s steering committee.
“Laura provided students with a business experience that some may never think of as part of one’s responsibility as an employee or of your efforts towards becoming employed,” McAssey said. “I found throughout the week that the events we held were ones where students could enjoy themselves while also learning numerous ways on how to make a long-term positive impression on fellow peers and future employers.”
Based on the increased turnout of this year’s events, the steering committee’s goals were achieved.
Whether it was attending a workshop about LinkedIn or watching fellow classmates strut their stuff in VSB Week’s fashion show, students were taking initiative.
“We think that each VSB experience should be based on the student’s interests and long-term goals,” said Hartunian. “And based on what our committee saw throughout the week, we successfully helped students understand that it is important to take risks and to find their place in the VSB. Finding their place in the VSB is taking their first steps towards their futures, and this week, we were able to help students take those steps.”