Former GEB cohort member Kate Dressel reflects upon how her experience in WLP has helped her in her professional path.
Getting involved on campus and seeking out professional opportunities can be extremely daunting, especially for freshmen and sophomores. Even with all the advice available, just figuring out what you might be interested in can feel overwhelming. For GEB class of 2021 member Kate Dressel, WLP helped with honing in on her professional and academic interests. In a recent interview Kate, who majors in Business with concentrations in Business Analytics and Finance, highlighted the WLP experiences that especially aided her in building confidence and seeking out opportunities.
“Often we have these experiences in college where we’re gaining a lot professionally or personally, but rarely do we have the opportunity or the environment to genuinely reflect on them,” Kate said, speaking on the weekly Symposium reflections WLPers write. “[They] really helped me develop the language around what matters to me and how I’ve grown as a person in college and discovered my different interests.”
While figuring out where her professional interests lay, Kate began to utilize the WLP network. From connecting with Symposium speakers on LinkedIn to scheduling informational interviews over the phone, Kate began to learn more about the positions available in the finance field and build her conversational networking skills. Although this can be a nerve-wracking experience, Kate realized she didn’t need to worry about sounding uninformed—she was doing this to gain knowledge, not to show off any expertise.
“It didn’t really matter because I was learning from the experience and growing,” Kate explained.
When seeking internship opportunities in the finance field, however, Kate realized she didn’t yet have many of the skills these positions require. As a result she sought to find a position that would build the professional abilities she needed to gain a future role in her desired field. Based on her previous experience in high school running a nonprofit organization, she obtained a Digital Communications internship for a medical research nonprofit.
Even though the internship was not in the field of finance, Kate enjoyed the position because it enabled her to build skills she felt would help her in the future and because of the positive working environment the organization offered.
“It could be your dream position or industry,” Kate shared, “but if it’s not people you want to work with, it’s not going to be fun.”
This summer, Kate enters an internship in corporate finance for a global investment bank. She continues to draw upon the WLP network throughout her time at GW, including by reaching out to alumni for the GW Women in Business Spring Conference she co-chaired and participating in the WLP Mentorship Program.
“There’s a lot of informal mentorship in college,” Kate said. “But having a more formal network because you have the shared experience of WLP, I think is really cool.”