Event Recap: Senior College Panel with GFB Directors

Written by Jenny Zhao, Pranavi Suthari on Saturday, 17 June 2023. Posted in Event Recap

On June 3rd, Girls for Business hosted a personal ‘Senior College Panel’ as its last event of the year. Featuring four accomplished GFB directors, the panel shared thoughts and advice about their high school experiences and college application journeys. 

The four panelists started with introductions. 

The first panelist, Rachel Wang, is the Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Business. Throughout high school, she pursued a plethora of finance-related opportunities—from interning at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, studying government contracting and planning budgets to serving as the President of the Maryland chapter of DECA, an international business organization. She will be continuing her studies at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School, concentrating in Finance and Management. 

Next was Jessica Lian, an incoming freshman at Harvard University, where she plans to study Economics and Data Science, focusing on the analytics side of business. In high school, she was the Business Analytics Editor-in-Chief at GFB, helping to empower young women through her passion for business analytics. Jessica's achievements go beyond business; she actively participated in public forum debates, even starting her school's debate team. Additionally, she co-founded her school's DECA chapter, showcasing her entrepreneurial spirit and allowing her to compete in DECA competitions. Jessica also explored STEM through internships at a pharmaceutical company, making valuable contributions to business development and product promotion.

We then met Stephanie Mo, who is the Director of Mentorship at GFB. Throughout high school, she exercised her many interests by taking photos as a self-employed, nationally awarded photographer and interning at Ranok Therapeutics, a drug development company. She is a decorated rower as well, and is competing in a national-level regatta this summer. Stephanie will be an incoming freshman at the Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin School of Business majoring in Supply Chain and Operations Management. 

Marika Clark is the Ambassador Director of GFB. Not only does she have experience in entrepreneurship through her sustainable clothing business, but she also interned in the Biology Department at Howard University to further her STEM interests. She was also involved in the Global Youth Economics Forum, and served as the Marketing Director. Tying together her interests in both business and science, Marika will be majoring in Public Health and Biology at the University of Virginia.

After the four panelists concluded their self introductions, the event segued into a Q&A and discussion led by the moderators. 

 

Q: What are the factors that made your application stand out among so many others and helped you get accepted?

A: Jessica felt that her application was very well-rounded, which she demonstrated with her experiences in both business and STEM. This helped her shape her narrative in looking at the intersections between the two fields. She also centered a large part of her essays on her role at school and things she did for enjoyment, which she felt made her seem more genuine to the readers. 

Rachel took a similar approach, but also highlighted the importance of making it clear to the admissions officers that you have a definitive interest in your endeavors. She used her own activities as an example, saying that as soon as she recognized her passion in business, she pursued more academic opportunities in the field, such as internships and research activities. 

Stephanie focused more on essays, and advised the participants to conduct in-depth research on schools they are interested in. She felt that this helped her greatly as it gave her ideas for her supplementary essays. 

Marika continued on this, and underlined the importance of conveying to the school that you also have something to offer so it seems like a mutual transaction. After determining why you are interested in the school, also figure out what you can contribute from your own experiences.

 

Q: What is your biggest piece of advice on writing the Common App and supplemental essays?

A: Rachel and Jessica both believed that it was extremely important to showcase different bits of their identity in each segment. From their activities list to personal statements, they both talked about different interests to humanize themselves to the readers. 

Marika and Stephanie stressed the importance of starting essays early and creating a set calendar plus organizational method to make the process easier. Keeping hard deadlines helped Stephanie especially, as this allowed her to have ample time to revise and get feedback on her writing.  

 

Q: How did you condense all of your activities in an organization or club into the 150 allotted characters on the Common App? 

A: Jessica and Rachel both focused on the parts they believed were important, by highlighting quantitative achievements and using strong action verbs respectively. For example, Jessica mentioned the numerical increase in GFB newsletter subscribers during her time as Editor-in-Chief.

 

Q: What was the most useful method you employed in getting internships?

A: Marika attained both of her internships through programs from within and outside of her school. Stephanie and Rachel used methods on opposite sides of the spectrum, but both had great success. Stephanie took advantage of her connections with friends and family to set up meetings and opportunities, whereas Rachel took to cold emailing and online research to find professors conducting research in her interested fields. 

 

Q: How did you find your interest and major?

A: Jessica once again stressed the importance of putting yourself out there early on in high school. Since she joined so many clubs in freshman year, she was able to determine what her interests were from her experiences. She also reminded the participants that it was completely fine to switch majors in college, apply undecided, or even simply choose a major that goes along with your extracurriculars. 

 

After the general Q&A session concluded, the participants were divided into breakout rooms with a panelist of their choice to learn more about their experiences. There, the panelists answered specific questions about their applications and advice. 

Once the breakout sessions ended, the moderators closed the event by sharing the panelists' contact information and ways to get involved with Girls for Business. Thank you to our wonderful panelists, Rachel, Jessica, Stephanie, and Marika, for sharing their valuable insights on their high school journeys and college application experiences, and congratulations to the graduating class of 2023! 

 

About the Author

Jenny Zhao

Jenny Zhao

Jenny  is a Business Features Writer at Girls For Business.

Pranavi Suthari

Pranavi Suthari

Pranavi is a Business Analytics Writer at Girls For Business.

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