For two years, the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business has been hosting “Focused Fridays,” a weekly event featuring highly-qualified speakers, networking opportunities and resume help for students.
Since its inception, more than 3,000 Utah State students have learned from more than 150 speakers, who share insight in a “Ted Talk” format, said Kevin Green, the school’s marketing manager.
“After the new building was created, Focused Fridays was one of our big implementations to help create a holistic business and a career development experience for business students and all of USU students,” Green said.
While the Leadership Forum speakers are the most well-known aspect of the weekly workshops, there are also Tech Talks and Industry Insights.
Green said that Tech Talks consist of bringing in multiple experts across multiple industries from climbing and outdoor to cooperate, or a tech company.
“We are bringing in executives and CEOs and industry professionals all over the nation,” Green said.
Scott Wilcox, the president of the business ambassadors, said Danielle Nielson, former co-owner of Diamond Wireless, was his favorite speaker so far.
”She’s a great example of taking that dream or that thing you want to do with your life and really pushing to get it done even though it’s hard to do,” Wilcox said.
Focused Fridays comes with a field trip aspect where students can go explore different career options with career exploration trips. Those trips are a great opportunity to see different work environments early in a student’s education, Green said.
“Experiential opportunities like meeting a CEO of a company isn’t something that everyone can just do,” Green said. “We facilitate that with our contacts to create those opportunities for them to get inside those offices so they can have a ‘dipping your toe in’ kind of experience.”
Wilcox has first-hand experience with the career exploration trips and said he was impressed by the environment when he visited Strata Fund Solutions. He later found out about their internship availabilities and decided to talk to a recruiter on the spot.
Wilcox went back two days later for an interview and was offered the internship right after. He then spent two months at Strata Fund Solutions in Salt Lake City working as a tax and compliance intern.
“I never would have gotten that opportunity if it hadn’t been for these Focused Friday activities,” Wilcox said.
According to statistics provided by the school, more than 65 majors from different USU departments have been represented at Focused Friday events.
“[People from other departments] realize the importance of networking and keeping their mindset open,” Green said. “We have 7 majors in the business school so you can see how vast and broad that reach is.”
Megan Fisher attends Focused Fridays when she isn’t working at her job in marketing that she received after learning how to network.
The senior marketing major said,“I really love the opportunity to hear great words of advice and how successful leaders have got their start and the challenges they’ve been through and how they were so successful in the end,” Fisher said.