Making the Best of Winter Break

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As finals week is coming to a close, it’s hard to think another semester has come and gone so quickly. Even though many of us, myself included, are still working hard to finish out our last finals, we need to all breathe a sigh of relief because winter break is coming!!

We are very lucky at UMass Lowell because our time off for Winter Break is over a month long. That means we will have a lot of free time that we’re not used to during the school year. In order to make the best of your winter break, take a look at a few of these suggestions…

1. Make a list of everything you want to accomplish over break

At the start of break, it may seem like you have all the time in the world (it is a WHOLE month after all), but with the holidays coming up and all the time spent sleeping in, those days go by fast. Making a list allows you to see the goals you want to accomplish, so you don’t come back to school feeling overwhelmed by things you didn’t do over break.

2. Make time for family and friends

This one may seem like a no brainer for some of us, but it can be tough with busy schedules to spend time with everyone you’d like to. Plan to get coffee with old friends or spend time doing some Christmas baking with family. Making plans at the start of break, or even before you come home, is your best bet so you can be sure to catch up with everyone on your list!

3. Sleep!!

One of the most rewarding part of break, especially after a particularly tough finals week, is being able to jump into bed and catch up on those long lost hours of sleep. After having an 8am two times a week, I am going to be thrilled to have a few extra hours of sleep every night!

 

Good luck on the rest of your finals, everyone!

 

Disclaimer: This post reflects the thoughts and ideas of the author and the author alone.

Designing a Website

Puppy Pals Heritage Name

I have been preparing my move to North Carolina at the end of the semester and time has been flying by. Previously, my boyfriend and I had planned on holding a Co-Op position for the semester in NC to be closer to family. Well, our plans have changed. We decided to stop pursuing the Co-Op and instead restart our dog business, Puppy Pals Andover, that we had created while still in high school. I have been so excited about our choice because we had a fantastic time running our own business the first time around.

I have been eagerly setting up everything possible before we get down to NC. One of my biggest projects has been creating a website for our new company, Puppy Pals of Heritage. (The picture above is the heading for our website) Now, to be totally clear, I am not a computer person. That being said, designing a website has been  insanely fun. It took about two weeks, but I have finally finished and will be publishing very soon.

The reason I am sharing this is because I feel like the website will very much help our company with marketing and promoting ourselves. I think designing a website can be seen as expensive or even intimidating to create, but I have found it is much easier and cheaper than it may appear. It is definitely something to consider for anyone who owns a small business.

I think my website came out very clean and professional. It should be a great way to build business and help get word out for our company! When I publish my website, I’ll be sure to post the link to anyone who wants to check it out.

 

Disclaimer: This post represents the views of the author and the author alone.

MSB & DCU Innovation Contest 2014

The DifferenceMaker Manning School of Business and Digital Federal Credit Union Innovation Competition took place last night, December 3rd, from 6-9pm in the Saab ETIC Atrium on North Campus.

The judges were Jim Regan, President and CEO of Digital Federal Credit Union, David Araujo, VP of Information Systems at Digital Federal Credit Union, Scott Latham, Interim Dean of the Manning School of Business, and Holly Butler, the Director of the DifferenceMaker Program. Professor Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development of UMass Lowell, MC’ed the event.

Bears

“The Bears”, made up of team members and business students Joseph Baglio and Meghan Foster (another MSB blogger), won the top prize of $500 each, in addition to $200 for making it the finals. The team won a total of $1,200 in prize money. They pitched an idea for a subsection budgeting banking system app for DCU. This app will help DCU clients budget their money into different categories to promote organization and assist visual learners.

Congratulations, The Bears! You both did a terrific job of representing the Manning School of Business at the DifferenceMaker Competition. Good luck pursuing your entrepreneurial venture!

Thanksgiving as a College Student

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Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Who doesn’t love a holiday dedicated to eating, watching football, and spending time with friends and family? But as a college student I have grown to appreciate this special holiday even more for one reason: good food. As a commuter, 95% of the food I eat, I have to cook myself. I love cooking and I’ve enjoyed getting better at it, but I miss having someone to cook for me. That is why Thanksgiving is so great.

Right now, as I’m writing I’m thinking about how fantastic it will be to sit down at a beautifully made table with turkey, stuffing, goodies galore when all I had to do was show up. (In all fairness to myself, I did spend four hours yesterday baking desserts to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, but I was very excited to try a new Key Lime Cheesecake recipe, so it was fun work.) Then when the dinner is over and the kitchen is filled with leftovers, who get to go home with plates filled with turkey and apple pie? The college student that’s who! And with that the beauty of Thanksgiving lives on for the next week through turkey sandwiches and an assortment of homemade pies for every meal. Ah, it’s good to be a college student!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

Disclaimer: This post reflects the thoughts of the author and is not meant to offend anyone mentioned or associated with the post.

Managing A Busy Schedule

I may have underestimated how busy I would be when I decided last spring to sign up for six classes for the fall semester (7 classes if you include the 1 credit Co-Op course). “It won’t be so bad!” I told myself as I submitted my class schedule, which was stacked with two honors courses and an 8am twice a week. To top it all off, I am in the process of searching for a six month Co-Op internship in North Carolina that I will start in January. In addition, I run a dog service business part-time with my boyfriend all while commuting to campus. Looking back I realize that I was a bit unprepared for just how much work I would be in for this semester.

Fortunately, I have learned a lot from my super busy semester. These are a few tips that have helped me along the way.

  1. Make Lists

Lists have made my life astronomically simpler. I am a very visual person, so by making a list every week with my school work, things I need to do for my Co-Op search, and all outside events, it allows me to plan accordingly and ensure I get it all accomplished.

2. Remove Distractions

I could spend hours and hours on social media and doing random internet searches. I love to cook and I get lost in cooking blogs and finding the best recipes. That being said, it can be a huge waste of time. One of the best things I’ve done is put my phone in another room while I’m studying and using some good old fashioned self control to stop myself from opening Facebook in a new tab while writing that World Civ. paper.

3. Manage and Plan your Time

College students are typically swamped with things to do. Between school work, jobs, sports, clubs, and everything else we have going on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.   I have found the best way to manage my time efficiently is to plan out each day, with what I want to accomplish, and then prioritize each thing that I need to do.

4. Set Aside Time to Relax

It is very important to find time to decompress and enjoy college. Even taking a night off can make a huge difference. One of the most rewarding things is getting to have a Netflix marathon after a busy week.

A Beginners Guide to Social Media

social-media-appsIt is no surprise that social media is one of the most popular forms of marketing right now. Although that is the case, many of us struggle to stay on top of changes in the social media scene. Below are tips, regarding hashtags, links and content, for social media beginners to create effective posts on Facebook & Twitter.

Hashtag | The hashtag is used to mark keywords or phrases on social media platforms. It links users who are talking about the same topics. It can be used on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. To increase the value of your hashtags, follow the advice below

  • Limit your hashtags to 1-3 per post. The affect is minimized when they are used in excess. Your posts will appear more relevant & professional if you maintain a maximum or 3 per post.
  • Teach your audience how to use your hashtag. Believe it or not, hasthtags are a part of your brand. In order for your hashtags to be useful & hopefully used by your audience, you need to teach your audience how to use your hashtag. Do this by being consistent with the hastags that you use. For example, if your Organization’s name is Support Our Students, will you always write #supportoutstudents or #SOS? Or both? Whatever you decide, be consistent.
  • Stay in tune with what’s current. In order for your posts to reach your audience, you should try to be as “hip” as you can while staying true to your content and brand. For example, if it’s the holidays, if there’s a huge sports game that day, or if there’s a social issue that’s trending on social media, try to make your posts relevant to that. Even though this requires more work, because you have to stay up-to-date with what’s trending on social media, it will ultimately result in more effective posts.
  • Avoid being overly specific. Hashtags such as #imalwayslate #ilikecrackersonmondays, don’t get a lot of traction. If your specific hashtag has a purpose, such as trying to connect with a certain niche or because you are trying to be intentionally over-the-top, then you may use it. For everyday posts, though, try to stay away from them.

Links | Links are wonderful for social media. Viewers respond well to them, and if people are viewing the link you are sharing, this can be extremely resourceful for you. If you track your social media or review analytics, you can see this. Below are a couple tips to get the most our of the links you share.

  • Erase the link URL on Facebook. This is a Facebook trick that a surprisingly large amount of FB users still do not know. After you post a link into your FB post, you can delete the actual URL. Make sure that you allow the link box to load in the draft of your post, and then you can delete the URL of the link, and press “post”. This way, your posts look seamless & professional.
  • Personalize the link image on Facebook. After you have posted a link the draft of your FB post, you can customize the image that shows. You can do this by clicking the bottom of the photo where it reads “Upload Image” usually in pale white writing.
  • Shorten the link for Twitter. Naturally, we all struggle with advertising on Twitter because you only have so much room to write your message. This can make it challenging to include links in your posts, because links take up so much room. In order to shorten a link, you can (and should) sign up for bitly (https://bitly.com/) which is a website that shortens your links for you. Super cool.

Content | Prose is not appreciated on social media as it is in other settings. If you want to share more than a paragraph, do it through a blog or link to a website. Otherwise, it is more than likely that your audience will disregard your post.

  • Take Action: Encourage your audience to take action by starting posts with “Get involved today!” or “Win a cash prize”, etc.
  • Relevant: Keep the posts relevant to the time that you are posting it. For example, post detail-oriented & live event posts during the day, and share creative and thought-provoking posts in the early morning or evenings when you audience is more likely to take the time to read them.
  • Pictures: Images are always more successful at grabbing viewers’ attention than words. Use them wisely by using high quality photos and posting live photos during events and throughout the day.
  • Maintain Branding: No matter what you want to post, make sure that you relate it back to your organization. You can do this by explaining how you are involved in the event, photo, or website that you are sharing. You can also do this by including your logo and color scheme on as much online marketing material as possible, such as graphics, photos, and links.

Drop-in Advising Sessions Coming Up

The Enrollment Management Committee of the Manning School of Business is pleased to announce Drop-in Advising Sessions! All sessions will take place in the lab, Pasteur 205 on the following days:

Thursday, October 23rd 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Monday, October 27th 9:30 am – 11:00 am
Thursday, October 30th 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Tuesday, November 4th 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Wednesday, November 5th 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Registration for Spring 2015 semester courses begins on Monday, November 3rd through iSiS student self-service (based on enrollment appointments). Please make an appointment with your advisor or stop by one of these sessions to talk about your schedule for the spring!

Your Resume Won’t Get You Hired

Disclaimer: Anything written in this blog represents the opinions of the author, and no one else. Each blog is written lightly, and is not intended to offend any of the mentioned businesses, locations, students, or staff.

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“I wish someone had told me this when I was your age…” This is the good old prelude that everyone 14 through 25 hears enough to feel indifferent. Fortunately, I am discovering that the information that follows this introduction can be extremely valid. For example, the advice about resumes that my boss has been sharing with me and my co-interns has opened our eyes to the purpose of a resume, and how to use one properly.

The advice he has given us so far is written below.

1)      Your resume won’t get you hired. What it will do, though, is get you through the door. Very few people have been hired based on words written on one sheet of paper. The goal of the resume is to do one thing: to pique the interest of the prospective employer and to bring you to the next step, which is the interview.

2)      Looks matter. Your resume must be esthetically appealing, as humans are apt to pay more attention to things that are appealing to the eye. This doesn’t make the prospective employer shallow. What it does mean, is that they are serious about who they want to hire. A visually appealing resume shows them that you care, you pay attention to detail, you care about your brand, and want to give off the best possible impression to those around you.

3)     Tell a story. Humans like to be walked through information in an eloquent yet concise manner. Your resume shouldn’t solely explain what you did in your previous positions. It should explain how you impacted the company’s business, how you helped them reach their goals (mission statement, yearly goals, ROI, etc.), and, most importantly, what you did differently to make your time there matter. Examples and numbers are effective ways to show evidence of this.

4)     Don’t just apply. It’s important that you don’t send along the same version of your resume to a bunch of companies. Tailoring your resume for a specific position will give you a leg up on the competition. It will help you learn more about the position you are applying for, and show the prospective employer that you understand what the company is looking for and that you hold the characteristics they are looking to attain in an employee.

At the end of the day, most people don’t land positions because of their resumes. Nevertheless, every bit of effort helps. Also, often it’s worth absorbing advice given by elders – even if they start it with a cliché lead. Good luck & resume on!

Get Me Out of Here

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Disclaimer: Anything written in this blog represents the opinions of the author, and no one else. Each blog is written lightly, and is not intended to offend any of the mentioned businesses, locations, students, or staff.

 

I have hit a turning point in my internship. I had the most terrifying phone call of my life today.

Today began as a day just like every other. I picked up the phone to call some prospects in California around 11:15am (8:15am their time) as I do just about every day. I am greeted by a calm man, and I proceed to share with him why I am calling him. He allows me to introduce our firm and I feel a slight wave of relief as he listens without interrupting my pitch. As I finish my last sentence, I am taken aback when the man erupts into a fiery rage. He has gone from cool and collected to livid and hollering in about 10 seconds.

As I respond to his hollers rapidly with the responses I practiced in training, I can see my coworkers gather around me in anticipation. I continue to do my best to try to calm the prospect and hide my shocked reaction at the same time. Unfortunately, my face is already tomato red. My coworkers stare at me for the tiniest bit of explanation for my red face. To them, it sounds like I am having a productive phone call with an inquisitive prospect. Little do they know…

In another attempt to appease the executive on the other line, I hand the conversation over to a senior wealth advisor. The conversation continues between them – emotions still roaring – with no success.

I was left confused, offended, hurt, and very red from blushing in shock.

The experience has both scarred me, and empowered me. I still have no understanding as to why the man on the other line was so wild, and I probably never will. That’s not what matters though. For me, this served as practice to be on point. It reminded me how crucial it is to know your material, for any and all positions you hold, and to know how to articulate that material.

At the end of the day, the man on the other line earned nothing from his behavior. I, on the other hand, gained more practice and confidence. So, I move forward!

I Have Officially Chosen Gas Over Mascara

Disclaimer: Anything written in this blog represents the opinions of the author, and no one else. Each blog is written lightly, and is not intended to offend any of the mentioned businesses, locations, students, or staff.

I have officially chosen gas over mascara. As I stared at my online banking account, it was clear to me that I had to choose to spend my last available 20 dollars on one of these two necessities. My heart leaned toward mascara, but my brain knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it to work unless I made a sacrifice. So, I filled my tank.

This is only one of the many pivotal changes that have occurred this summer due to my new responsibilities as an intern. Below, I will list some others.

  1. I no longer listen to Kiss 108 or 103.3 AMP Radio. The upbeat hip hop and pop songs that once represented long beach days and late nights now ring in my ears and seem to be limited to about 5 songs on both of these stations. Instead, I have resorted to 92.5 The River and Oldies 106.7 which calm me, and don’t remind me of my commute to and from work, filled with traffic and anticipation of my arrival home.
  2. Emails are no longer a professional buffer and alternative to phone calls and texting. Instead, they are an everyday tool for communication between both people I know very well, and don’t know at all.
  3. My collection of flats has transformed from cute shoes I wear with cropped jeans to shoes sitting at the floor of the passenger seat in my car, only retrieved as a functional shoe to wear while driving.
  4. Weekends are no longer a time to hang out with whomever whenever, but are instead a time to strategically plan activities and people to see. My time has become more valuable and I certainly don’t want to waste the limited amount that I have free.

I am quickly learning that internships teach you more than how to be professional and how to write a signature on an email. This summer is teaching me how to manage my time, and how simple luxuries such as music and attire hold much more value as you enter the professional world.

On the upper hand, most of my work involves phone calls, which means that the people on the other line can’t see my mascara-less eyes, right?

 

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