I attended CORE for the first time as the First Year Rep for CSRS. I remember being super nervous for my first-ever big “university” conference. Everyone kept talking about how incredibly valuable the “networking” opportunities would be, but at that point I didn’t even really understand what that meant. As the conference kicked off, I just went in as a curious first year. I didn’t know what I wanted to go into, wanted to learn something new, and wanted to have some great conversations; and CORE definitely delivered on that.
So if you’re hesitating on buying your tickets, there are two big messages I want to share from my experiences at CORE.
Don’t close your ears before you even listen – When I was in first year there were many times where I would feel overwhelmed by the amount of messaging I would see and hear about everything I could do with my future: finance, consulting, marketing, accounting, entrepreneurship, CSR, etc. Hearing so much of this all the time confused me and made me feel like automatically blocking out some parts of the stories being told around me. I thought I never ever wanted to try my hand at accounting and never dreamed in a million years that I might have a forte for storytelling in the world of marketing. But here I am now, as a third year student, having been lucky enough to go through a rewarding internship in accounting and now looking forward to an exciting summer in sales and marketing. The seeds for the career path that I chose to follow were planted at CORE. Attending the conference essentially forced me to open my ears and listen to the conversations and issues being discussed by people from all areas of business. It was through the conversations I had with the reps, alumni, and companies I met at CORE that I realized the plethora of opportunities that awaited me. I got to understand what it might be like to live a day in the life of an auditor at a Big 4 firm, a product manager at a tech marketing company, an entrepreneur for a social enterprise, and more. I realized that THIS was the value of the “networking” opportunities everyone kept talking about.
The lens of social responsibility & sustainability is important, even if you never pursue a career even remotely related to CSR – I used to think that CORE was a conference that was all about CSR and only those that wanted a career in it or were incredibly passionate about CSR could REALLY benefit from it. CORE disproved that notion quite quickly. I learned about the intricacies of managing corruption in a supply chain which outsourced from developing nations. I got insight into understanding how companies motivate their employees to feel better about where they work through being socially responsible and thus improve productivity. I listened to the pitches of social enterprises created by students just like me. Through all of this, everything I was learning in school and everything I knew about the business world started to come together. I began to realize that the world is in a place where for a company, responsibility to their people and to the planet takes a seat right alongside the responsibility to their shareholders. Increasingly, companies have to spend time understanding the consequences of ignoring any of these responsibilities. Attending a conference like CORE helped me grasp the reality of the implications of this responsibility on big businesses that produce the products and services we use every single day. This understanding, even to the smallest degree, has helped me understand the decisions companies I work for have and will make when I enter the workforce. One day, I might even be in a position where I have to make the decisions that perform the balancing act between people, planet, and profit, and I’m glad that CORE already kick started my ability to navigate through this new business landscape of the future.
And with that, I encourage you to find your message at #CORE2017. It all begins with taking the action to buy your ticket and ultimately leaving a legacy.