(Bottom row, L-R:) Alexandra Doronina, Megan Ernst, Francesca Navarro, Latiece Munnerlyn; (Top row, L-R:) Joseph R. Petrucelli, CPA; Jerry Stanley; Michael Allamby; Bekim Kaja; Austine Buchanan; Bruce Toussaint; Prof. Jonathan Peters

The Business Innovation Club held its inaugural meeting recently with a holiday networking event. The club was conceived by students majoring in Business to provide an opportunity to unite the diverse concentrations of Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and International Business around common areas of interest such as developing networking skills, innovative ways to be noticed by potential employers, and networking with fellow students.

According to Club President, Michael Allamby, “The CSI Business Innovation Club was created to provide business students with the knowledge and networks necessary to become tomorrow’s business leaders.”

Presenters included Adjunct Accounting Professor Joseph R. Petrucelli, a CPA certified in forensic accounting, business valuations, and public school accounting, and Mike Breon, whose experience includes working as an auditor for Deloitte, and also with human resources benefits for the Hershey Chocolate Company.

Prof. Petrucelli emphasized the importance of essential first-impression skills such as business dress, a firm handshake, eye contact, positive attitude, knowledge of the company and current trends relative to the positions that students are seeking, cordial conversation with potential coworkers, and a 12-word opening “sound byte.” “Remember when you are interviewed to have a small prepared sound byte that you actually lived through that shows the interviewer you are the solution to his or her problems related to the position. Remember to always be ready for an interview because you never know when the opportunity may arise.” noted Petrucelli. In addition, Petrucelli acknowledged the difficult employment environment but pointed out that there is plenty of work for accountants now and how vital it is for employers to hear life experiences that can be translate to job skills, such as volunteering to assist senior citizens with tax preparation and active membership in professional associations.

Mr. Breon engaged students in mock interviews, encouraging them to actively demonstrate crucial first-impression fundamentals, adding, “Always bring a copy of your résumé that is fact-based and focused on experience and special skills.” He emphasized the importance of demonstrating initiative by researching the organization, obtaining a copy of the company’s annual report, and to know the finer details of the career path. The importance of being able to hold a knowledgeable conversation with an interviewer and avoiding awkward silences is seen as critical to a potential employer’s first opinion.

Club Advisor, Professor Jonathan Peters, recommended that students read the newspaper continuously to stay abreast of business news and to visit financial Websites such as the IRS for updates. Peters strongly recommended that students join professional associations and societies relative to their field of interest. “Pretend you are what you want to be. You will learn if you sit and listen to ongoing conversations in the profession…you’ll catch on.”

Career Development Specialist, Nina Long of the Career and Scholarship Center, spoke on the importance of networking and reviewed ten basic tips, highlighting interview preparation, displaying genuine interest, and never underestimating the importance of following up an interview with a thank you note, adding “Savvy networkers know that building connections takes time.”

Over 70 students attended the CLUE-certified event, along with Alumni Board members Lynne Libert ’06 and Sumi Raj ’90, who lent their support and shared their expertise with attendees. In addition, three students won raffle tickets for a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank.

The new club is open to all students. Events planned for spring semester include visits to the New York Stock Exchange, American Museum of Finance, and industry panel discussions. Club Officer, Bekim Kaja, summed up the occasion, “Being a member of the Business Innovation Club, where each member is as important as the next, is one of the highlights of my college career. As far as our future plans [are concerned], they will hopefully exceed the expectations of faculty and students.”