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Career Chat: Inside Finance

GEM girls visited a leading global investment office, Burgundy Asset Management, on Friday, May 1st, 2015. Burgundy Asset Management is located on the 45th floor of the Bay Wellington Tower. The GEMgirls were in awe as they looked out the tall, glass windows to see downtown from high above. Roz McLean, an Associate at Burgundy and recent graduate from the University of Western Ontario, gave an informative presentation about how she found her way from university student to financial services Associate at  Burgundy. She stressed that networking and gaining experience is very important during your time at university. One thing that stuck out to all of us was how   she emphasized that your friendships can help you more than distract you by enabling you to enhance communication and problem solving skills.

At the midway point of the presentation, the GEMgirls were asked to break into a groups of three to analyze a company like a real investment analyst. Each group was given a company: Apple, Nike, and Starbucks. We used the questions given to each group to determine if Apple is a company we would invest in and why. We answered questions like, “What is the cost to make their product?” and “What has the company done for the community?” This exercise gave us all insight into what makes a business profitable and popular.

At the end of the presentation, GEMgirls had a chance to ask a few questions.

Our major takeaways were:

  1. Make connections! – never underestimate the importance of networking and friendships. This is a great way to find opportunities.
  2. It’s YOU not the school! – GEMgirls wondered if employers were influenced to hire you based on the university you received your degree from. Roz answered, “No. You make the influence. What you bring to the table is all that matters.”
  3. Key factors for success – Roz said, “ask a lot of questions, set goals, and follow your own path”.
  4. Relevant experience matters – Some GEMgirls were surprised to know that you do not need a degree in business studies to work in the world of finance. Get relevant experience in the field, and a social sciences degree works just as well!

The GEM girls enjoyed the experience at Burgundy and were glad to get a peek at what the world of finance looks like!

 

Burgundy Coffee 2

Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.

Career Skills Workshop: Dress to Impress

GEMgirls attended a career skills workshop on Friday, May 22nd, 2015 at the Aga Khan Museum to learn how to dress your best for interviews. Marlo Sutton and Caroline Young, who are experts in the fashion industry, were our presenters. Sutton is a personal stylist who worked in the fashion industry in Paris for 13 years and Young owns OIZO Fashion and Wardrobe consulting. GEMgirls participated and had fun, discussing tips on “what to wear” and “what not to wear” to interviews.

Clothes – “Start with the basics.” No interviewee can ever go wrong with the simple black dress pants, white buttoned up shirt and a blazer. This outfit will make you look professional. However, do not be afraid to try something new too! Instead of wearing the wide dress pants, wearing the slim dress pants is always an option too. Moreover, pencil skirts are also cute and professional! Just make sure the skirt isn’t too short. Lastly, make sure everything fits well. “Comfort, portion and simplicity” are key when deciding on an outfit to wear for an interview.

Shoes – Black shoes are best. Black patent shoes are even better. You can easily wipe them off and go! If you’re going to wear heels, make sure they are comfortable and easy to walk in. If it is raining or snowing, it is best to bring your shoes with you so that you can change into them for the interview.

Hair – If you’re someone that plays with your hair, it can distract the interviewer. In this case, the best hairstyles would be a neat bun, a pony tail, or combed back away from your face. If you like your hair down, keep it down as you’ll want to be yourself and comfortable for the interview.

Make-Up – Lip gloss, mascara, and blush is perfect when going for an interview. Avoid bright and bold colours for the interview as this could distract the interviewer. You’ll want them to remember you for the amazing things you said not the bright colour of your lips.

Accessories – Pearls are a girl’s best friend too! Pearl earrings and a necklace will make you look classy. A small black purse will go with any outfit you choose. For nails, have them fully painted or clean. Not a visible accessory, but the amount of perfume you use should be minimal or none since a strong smell could upset the interviewer.

BE YOU! – The best piece of advice from Sutton and Young was to remember that, “it’s about your voice and who you are.” Besides looking great, it is also about being prepared for the interview and having confidence. “Let yourself shine through!”

This was a fun and practical workshop. Sutton and Young gave extremely helpful dressing tips for the interview. They wrapped the workshop up by also giving tips on how to make a great impression at Prom! We left with a brochure that displayed photo examples of outfits for a formal interview, a work event, and a casual meeting (see visual below). Without a doubt, GEMgirls will be more than ready for future interviews

Four Basic Looks for Interviewing
Four Basic Looks for Interviewing

Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.