College is the perfect time to take advantage of exploring different companies. So, two weeks ago I did just that. I packed my carry-on and went on a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Target Headquarters is located, for a three day leadership workshop.
Opportunities like this are not uncommon, you just have to look for them. Companies want to recruit top talent, and they usually try to reach them before graduation. They will host day programs, week-long symposiums, or company visits, and may even pay for airfare, hotel stays, and even meals to encourage students to attend without the financial stress.
I was fortunate enough to be selected along with forty other students from across the nation to attend the Target Diversity Leadership Symposium, a three day meeting that focused on Target Corporation and its movement towards diversity.
Day one I listened to presentations from Target executives about corporate responsibility, internal and external diversity efforts, and the future of Target stores. After, we toured headquarters and learned about entry-level positions available at the company. The day concluded with a networking dinner with recruiters, diversity leaders, and various employees. It was a day full of meeting and interacting with Target staff, gaining valuable knowledge about the company and industry, and understanding what role I could have at Target post-graduation.
The second day of the symposium was focused on a case study. We were divided into teams, and charged with analyzing a problem, developing a solution in two hours, and presenting the solution. We learned how to quickly bond with unfamiliar faces to solve a problem. Unfortunately, my team was not the lucky $3,000 winner, but the case study was a great experience, nonetheless.
On the last day, each of us had the opportunity to interview for the 2016 summer internship, a well-known, competitive program.
In between all of this, I explored Minneapolis and met a lot of brilliant students similar to myself. I saw Mall of America, the Stone Arch Bridge and Mississippi River, the Cherry and Spoon statue, and the downtown area. Also, I can look forward to reconnecting with my conference hotel roommate who is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel’s next door neighbor.
My advice: Don’t worry about taking time off work or school, or not spending a Saturday in your pajamas. Take advantage of programs like the Target Diversity Leadership Symposium, because these opportunities can lead to large networks and potential job offers.
Ariana Stroman | Harrisburg