Published on October 20, 2020 by Morgan Black  
Professional Development Event
Image taken during the 2019 Meet the Firms career networking night, prior to COVID-19.
Samford University’s Brock School of Business hosts numerous professional development and career networking events for its students each year through its Office of Professional Success. The fall 2020 semester looked different from years past due to hurdles created by COVID-19, but through use of the virtual platform Zoom, Brock School of Business has been able to adhere to its commitment to providing successful events for its students.
 
More than 30 virtual professional development events were implemented to allow students the chance to hear stories from numerous professionals. Guest speakers from all industries, some Samford alumni, shared insights such as networking tips, details of their respective industries, what it’s like to be a business owner and how to get connected for internships and full-time jobs. Speakers even shared stories of their own path to success.
 
Senior Cassidy Goble, who was a regular participant in the virtual events, said that she had some of the most fruitful discussions that she’s had during her time as a Brock School of Business student. “This online platform allowed us to facilitate meetings that may never have been possible if they were in person. We were able to meet and talk to businessmen and women from all over the country.”
 
“In addition, we were able to see a new side of people as these experienced professionals spoke to us from their homes,” Goble added. “It created an engaging atmosphere that was personable and exciting.” 
 
Career nights for the six different majors were also held via Zoom. The two-hour networking event for entrepreneurship, management and marketing students hosted business leaders from 13 companies. The event for finance and economics majors hosted representatives from 20 companies. Meet the Firms night for accounting majors hosted representatives from 18 industry organizations. Each of these events gave the students the chance to network with business leaders from their respective area of study and connect for future job opportunities.
 
Goble also shared another benefit to the virtual nature of the events: the platform made interacting with executives significantly less intimidating. “Although the setting tended to be more casual, to me it paid dividends to have this perspective on the business world, especially as a senior about to enter into the labor force,” she said. “We were given the opportunity to see these high-level executives adapt to the changes in their new normal and show us how they present themselves in a virtual setting.” 
 
“We are thankful for employers near and far who have continued to be eager to collaborate with our students in a virtual manner,” said Kathryn Boyd, director of professional success. “It is so important for our students to hear and learn from industry professionals and providing these opportunities for our students this year would not have been possible without their flexibility to pivot to a virtual platform and their unwavering commitment to Brock School of Business.”
 
The Office of Professional Success reports that 96% of Brock School of Business students participated in an academic internship during the 2019-20 school year, many of which were initiated by connections made through events like these. By keeping these opportunities scheduled, regardless of the platform, this statistic is set to continue, if not exceed years past. Fifteen more events are planned throughout the duration of the fall semester and the spring event planning is underway.