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SMC alumnae give advice at business panel discussion

| Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Saint Mary’s alumnae offered advice Wednesday to students interested in majors or careers in accounting, business or management information systems at the Alumni Women in Business panel discussion Wednesday in Spes Unica Hall.

The panelists shared their stories of business education and career success.

Director of finance at LOGAN Community Resources Allison James, class of 2008, said students struggling to pick a major should consider participating in a variety of core classes and activities.

“Get involved in absolutely everything you have time to do,” she said. “Don’t overload yourself, but you will learn a lot about what you are good at and you will learn different skills in different kinds of activities.”

Operations auditor at 1st Source Bank Bethany Panting, class of 2012, said first-years should should not feel rushed to decide their majors.

“Take your time in choosing your major as a first-year, you don’t have to come in thinking I’m going to do this,” she said. “Find what you really like because you work for the rest of your life. Find something you really enjoy.”

Breighan Boeskool, class of 2002 and investment operations specialist at the University of Notre Dame, said networking is essential when progressing in any career.

“Saint Mary’s has a great network,” Boeskool said. “If you get to go to the happy hours, any sort of event that has professionals from the area or anything you think you might be interested in, don’t be afraid to just go up, introduce yourself and talk to them and make that connection. … That process of networking — that’s what helped get my feet on the ground.”

James said joining clubs and attending events can help build a network.

“When I was in school, I had no idea that pretty much every club I was involved in or activity I went to I was networking,” she said. “Six years, seven years down the line, I am still talking to those people, and all those people are in business too. Its amazing the connections you make just talking to people.”

Boeskel said students interested in business-related fields should consider taking an introduction to databases course.

“I think in today’s day in age, where business is going, a working knowledge of databases is absolutely essential,” she said. ” … Management, finance and accounting are all about big data, every single firm. The way we search the internet, the way we look for numbers, the way we check numbers, the way we are able to make decisions or if we want to make decisions on a moments notice.”

Students should learn good communication and organization skills as well, Boeskel said.

“It’s one thing to understand your job,” she said. “It’s then another thing to be able to communicate the ideas of how you can further your projects and goals by presenting in an articulate way to the rest of the team, and that is almost as important as knowing the items themselves.”

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A SoCal native majoring in communications and political science

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