Event Recap: 'Business Presentation 101' Workshop - GFB CON 2022

Written by Emma Leach on Saturday, 03 September 2022. Posted in Event Recap

Graphic by Lily Wei for Girls For Business


'Business Presentation 101' was the first virtual workshop that took place on Sunday, August 14th during GFBCON and featured panelists Amie Nguyen, Mia Gradelski, and Smiti Shah.

In the business world, how you present yourself is key! This workshop led by experienced college students and professionals covered proper business attire, business etiquette, presentation and speaking, and how to present yourself with confidence. 

Amie Nguyen graduated from UT Austin in May with a degree in Finance and Business Honours, is currently working at McKinsey as a consultant, and has previously worked in private equity firm Macquarie Infrastructure. She co-founded mobile app ‘Thousand Thread’ for clothing rentals to promote sustainability and worked as a non-profit manager. She is attending Harvard Law School in 2024.

Mia Gradelski is a senior at NYU, concentrating in fintech and entrepreneurship. She is interested in the emergence of tech and finance, and believes there is no better time to invest and learn about the markets and preserving wealth than today. Mia is the Chief Operational Officer at Atticus Capital, a wealth brokerage platform designed for students to help them with their long term investment goals. Since middle school, she has been an advocate in financial literacy and helping to build the gender gap for women in STEM.

Smiti Shah graduated from Duke University in May with a degree in Economics with a concentration in Finance, as well as a minor in Markets and Management. She has interned in Investment Banking at Macquarie group and in private equity at Simetra Operator Group search fund. 

Business Presentation foundations

1. Business attire and dress (Amie)

Business Professional:

  • Jacket, Blazer and matching bottoms, or a dress 
  • For investment banking, it’s good to invest in a good suit 
  • Best not to invest in an expensive suit early on if you are not sure if you are going to use it in your future career
  • Thrifting is a great place to find outfits 

Business Casual:

  • Blouse (that covers your shoulders) and a skirt or trousers
  • Good to invest in a pair of trousers as it will be a staple in your business career
  • Simple jewelry is a good way to tie pieces together 
  • Closed toe shoes are essential ie. heals, loafers or flats 

Public speaking, pitching, and advocacy in Business and Entrepreneurship (Mia):

  • Your reputation is everything, and it starts from how you say things, not necessarily what you say. The most vital skill for Mia has been prioritising her communication skills and how her message is relatable, personable, and down to earth. She feels like sometimes students prioritise making sure that they seem like the expert, but she thinks it is important to strive to be as humble as possible so people can relate to you more and feel comfortable with asking questions. 
  • Mia explains that whilst she was working at Goldman, they have a 360 degree review process, with a key component being keeping the team up to date. As you are working with your team for many hours a day, getting along with your teammates is important, and being smart and having a high IQ doesn’t mean much if you’re not easy to get along with. 
  • Mia finds that there is an overemphasis on technicals, and not enough on soft skills such as being personable. 
  • When it comes to networking, be eager to learn and show your curiosity as it will be beneficial for you later on. 
  • Coming into presentations with composure, preparation, and making sure that it is a conversation and not a lecture is very important. 
  • It’s important to remember that ‘if you are not failing on a daily basis you’re not trying hard enough’ as you are not supposed to know everything.
  • Everything takes patience and practice (which comes with time). The more you put yourself out there, the more you have to become okay with risk, rejection and sacrifice. 
  • Knowing yourself and your brand, which stems from your reputation, is very important no matter what stage in life you are.

2. Body language and poise in Business settings (Smiti):

Confidence:

  • An action that you can take to bring confidence is smiling
  • Be interested in what people are saying: lean into conversations, maintain eye contact, nod, etc. This shows you’re staying engaged in the conversation and not just listening to find an answer. 
  • You can learn something from everything, and thinking about what you can learn from something whilst having a conversation with them is very important. 
  • Poise, grace and elegance is important in any setting. Sitting up straight, shoulders back and having your head up, and presenting yourself in the most respectful light is very important. Otherwise it can detract from the engagement you’re having from the other person. Tip: Keep hands folded on your lap.
  • Watch dining and coffee etiquette videos on YouTube - this will help you and your image.

Q&A:

Question: When is an event business casual and how do you dress for it?

Amie: Typically a dress code is provided, and if you are not sure then take the company’s standards and match that. However, if it’s a more relaxed tech firm they are more likely to dress more casual, but still make sure to go one step above so that you are prepared and look put together.

Mia: Usually it’s either a blazer or suit or anything that looks good. I have seen that it has been fairly casual in the office over the summer, so it's good to assess the type of environment when deciding what to wear. In most cases it is better to overdress than underdress, as it shows that you care about your image.

Smiti: Don’t hesitate to ask!

 

Question: Do you have any tips for presenting yourself online?

Mia: I would suggest building your brand on LinkedIn, but if you are using other platforms try and see the perspective from your recruiter’s eyes. Doing a quick search of yourself on Google will show you what pops up, so make sure that it is accurate and something you want to see. In addition, Twitter is great to show who you are outside of the professional world. 

Smiti: I advise putting non Linkedin socials on private as you don’t want to post something that will come up if a recruiter searches you online.

 

Question: Do you have any tips from past experiences with the job interviewing process?

Amie: Confidence and not apologising is important. When getting to a math related answer in an interview, saying your answer with certainty is key.

Smiti: A tip is to ask your interviewer about their interests and hobbies and see if there’s anything you can connect about. 
Mia: Get ready to explain whatever is written on your resume, and have a resume tailored to different roles. Similar to Smiti, asking the interviewer about their role and why they’re important is good to do.

About the Author

Emma Leach

Emma Leach

Emma is a Business Analytics Writer at Girls For Business.

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