AN ONLINE CURRICULUM HAS A GAMIFICATION FEEL
In order to appeal to the millennial generation, the online curriculum has a gamification feel, and students need to complete 20 activities in order to earn 500 points, Sangster says. The tasks include items like researching three different career paths, interviewing MBA women on campus, and listening to webinars or podcasts where women business professionals from different fields give career advice.
Students earn points each time they complete a task, and can collect a reward once they’ve collect 100 points. Rewards can include an introduction to three Forté corporate sponsors, entry into Forté’s internship resume book or an invitation to attend a Forté networking conference with the attendance fee waived. Once students complete the program, they are allowed to put a Rising Star digital badge on their resumes, which can serve as an important talking point during interviews with recruiters, Sangster says. In addition to the online activities, students are encouraged to attend Forté networking events on campus.
This year, there are ten schools participating in the Rising Star pilot: Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, George Washington University, Indiana University, NYU, Ohio State University, University of Michigan, the University of Texas at Austin, William & Mary, and Yale University.
106 UNDERGRADS FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON HAVE SIGNED UP
Since launching this September, about 800 students have signed up so far. Three of the ten pilot schools – the University of Texas, NYU, and GW – have more than 100 female students participating.
At George Washington University, for example, 106 women have signed up for the Rising Star Program, 86 business students and 39 freshmen, says Mackenzie Farrell, a project coordinator in the career center at George Washington University’s School of Business. Farrell says she forsees more students at the university signing up for the program next year, especially outside of the business school, as word gets out.
George Washington has worked closely with Forté in the last few years on programming for MBA women, and is eager to extend similar opportunities to the undergraduate female population, many of whom will go on to get their MBA, adds Linda Livingstone, dean of the university’s School of Business.
‘YOU CAN REALLY DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF IF YOU START EARLY’
“The program gives our female students a bit of special attention and an additional leg up,” Livingstone says. “We know there are challenges in getting women pulled all the way through the system and that they tend to drop off in different places than men. The more we do in their careers to help them better understand the opportunities and the challenges ahead of them, the more we can help them be successful.”
Ellen Longman, a freshman at the College of William and Mary, signed up for the program this fall, and has already accumulated 300 of the 500 points she needs to become a “Rising Star.” She hopes to attend Forté’s Fast Track to Finance conference in New York next year, and is using some of her “rewards” to get introductions to employers in finance, a field she plans to major in next year. She plans to put the “Rising Star” badge on her resume once she completes the program, a designation she believes will help her stand out in a competitive job market.
“The badge is really important to Forté’s sponsor employees, and will be a great way to get my foot in the door when I start to apply for full-time internships,” she believes. “If you can start early, then you can really differentiate yourself and get a head start.”