Last Saturday, March 7th, I had the opportunity to attend a full-day summit at Google put on by The Fullbridge Program. The Future Leader Summit brought together very talented students from schools like Stanford, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara, and of course, Berkeley. Go Bears! The summit served as a place for great minds to learn, grow, network, and have fun! It was definitely a great time to be “Googlely” and make new friends!
Fullbridge provides students with the real-world experience they need to land a dream job. It also helps fast track new hires in the corporate arena by focusing on key competencies that will deepen their business acumen and accelerate their professional development. It allows students to hear from business giants the secrets for starting out in their respective fields and how to navigate real-world business problems. This was the first event Fullbridge put on in the West Coast. Hopefully there will be more to come!
The day began with a panel of remarkably successful and inspirational speakers, followed by a catered lunch, and then an afternoon filled with interactive activities. Jason Karsh, Product Manager at Google, led the event and introduced the speakers; Rya Conrad-Bradshaw, Executive Director, College and University Programs at Fullbridge (and former McKinsey & Co consultant), Luanne Tierney, Senior Marketing Executive at Fortinet and Jonathon Youshaei, Product Marketing Manager at YouTube and selected writer for Huffington Post and Forbes. Each had a diverse career path and unique story to share.
One of the highlights of the event was the Marshmallow Challenge. For those who are not familiar with the Marshmallow Challenge, you work in a team with fixed supplies (20 spaghetti sticks, 1 marshmallow, 1 yard tape, and 1 yard string) to try to build the highest standing marshmallow structure in 18 minutes. The exercise was not only a great opportunity to meet new faces, but a chance to demonstrate the importance of effective communication, planning, leadership, and working within time constraints; all crucial skills in the business world today.
There was a lot to be learned from the summit that day, but I have summarized the day into 5 key takeaways:
Develop your brand
Make sure you understand yourself more than anyone else. In the real world today, no one is going to help you think about you but you. To get started, write down 3 things you want to be known for. They can be goals, aspirations, interests, or really anything that makes you, you! Be sure to communicate them effectively and clearly (they can help you answer the famous Tell Me About Yourself question).
Be a great communicator
Communication is the language of business. Make sure you can connect and be personable. Moreover, make sure you are communicating effectively; know and understand what the best method of communication is with the person you are corresponding with.
Get outside your comfort zone
Go beyond yourself, really. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who is at the very top of the ladder. Simply put yourself out there and be confident with who you are!
Don’t turn down a good opportunity because it doesn’t fit with your plan
We all have goals and ideas of where we want to be, but life is full of surprises, challenges, and opportunities. Be open to changing your path. You never know what might cross your path, so be willing to take that risk and accept the challenge.
Know when to wear it
Be proud of where you go to school and show that school pride! It is a great way to meet new people, spark a conversation, and of course, network. Next time you hit the gym or head to the airport, be sure to rock that school gear. You never know who you might run into!