Increasingly, companies are seeking candidates with professional experience. To gain this experience, students are turning to business-related clubs. Through researching different business industries and holding case studies and networking events, the University of Miami’s business organizations help students enhance their communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills to better prepare them to enter the business world. In my experience, three student-led organizations – TAMID Group, Delta Sigma Pi, and the new Citi x UMiami Case Competition – especially focus on building skills applicable to the workplace.
Delta Sigma Pi
Delta Sigma Pi is a professional fraternity exclusive to business majors. It encourages students to achieve their full academic potential, engage in service, and expand their professional network through various student-planned events. I rushed DSP last fall as a first semester freshman; I had met inspiring upperclassmen at the rush events who were leaders in their activities, had completed cool internships, and were full of knowledge that I lacked as a new student. For example, one brother had completed Citi Bank’s exclusive Sophomore Leadership Program Internship where he rotated through the Markets, Treasury Trade Solutions, and Private Banking departments. It was inspiring to hear how he was pursuing his aspirations. He made me want to do the same with my time in college.
One of our pledge meetings was a LinkedIn workshop. Here, our pledge educators taught us all of the ins-and-outs of how to construct a marketable profile page and how to use LinkedIn to network. A piece of advice they gave was to ask our colleagues and former employers to endorse our “Skills” on our profile pages (and return the favor) to show credibility to employers. I applied all of the techniques I learned to improve my page and found that their lessons aligned perfectly with what my management professor later taught us.
Another memorable DSP event I attended that semester was a Business Etiquette Dinner that allowed me to dine alongside local professionals from the Miami area. A lesson I learned at the event was to avoid ordering foods that are messy or likely to get stuck in one’s teeth like spaghetti or broccoli. Also, when temporarily putting one’s utensils down, it is important to place them in an “X” position on the plate with the fork and knife heads touching.
Now in my second semester, I have taken on a leadership role in my chapter as the Vice President of Scholarships and Awards. I communicate scholarship opportunities to my chapter and recognize brothers for their scholastic achievement. I have members nominate each other for the “Brother of the Week” title and do a raffle for a prize with all of the nominations. Joining Delta Sigma Pi has allowed me to find a community of like-minded people who are passionate about business. The fraternity instills important professional and leadership skills in its students that puts them ahead of the curve when starting internships and entering the workforce.
Though the organization is not actually housed in Herbert, TAMID Group focuses on offering experience to college students by helping them connect with companies in Israel. Students can join one of two tracks: Consulting, which provides pro-bono consulting for Israeli startups, or Fund, where members prepare stock pitches throughout the year. I was accepted to the UMiami chapter’s Consulting team in the fall and have loved my experience so far. The Miami chapter of TAMID is highly-regarded because of the caliber of work and dedication its students put into the organization.
My favorite part of the semester was working with a team of new members on a project for the TAMID National Case Competition, which we won. Our assignment was to develop a market entry strategy for an Israeli wine company looking to penetrate the Chinese market. Since I have been studying Mandarin for seven years and have studied in China twice, I became an asset to my team by blending my cultural knowledge with my critical thinking skills. For example, I shared how Chinese New Year was China’s largest gift giving and reunion holiday. Therefore, we should market our product as the perfect gift for people to give to their family and friends during this timeframe. I also suggested that our wine boxes be colored red and gold since these colors symbolize good fortune in Chinese culture. Learning cultural competency and how different countries interact with businesses is especially important in the age of globalization; working through this case helped improve our skills in these areas.
TAMID at Miami also created its own event, a WeWork Startup Pitch Competition at the start of this semester that allowed TAMID members to connect with the local Miami startup community. At WeWork’s Miami office, six startups pitched their businesses to a panel of student-judges to win TAMID at Miami’s consulting services for the rest of the semester. Just spectating at the event allowed students to learn more about today’s startup scene and entrepreneurship. Students were able to see what presentation techniques were most effective in capturing the judges’, and therefore investors’ interest. The presentations that led with a hook, provided ample visuals, and promised scalability were favored and remembered most by audience members. Those in attendance could use that understanding to shape their future pitches to investors.
The biggest opportunity TAMID offers to students to engage in the startup community is though the TAMID Fellowship. In fact, I earned a summer-long fellowship with three of my Miami peers. Selected students are given the opportunity to spend eight weeks in Israel interning with a startup in a field of interest to them. I am looking forward to learning more about marketing through this immersive program, as only so much can be taught in a classroom setting. The Fellowship grants students unparalleled international business experience.
Citi x UMiami Case Competition
For several years, Citi Bank has come to the University of Miami campus to hold information sessions, lead small group discussions, and expose students to the various opportunities offered at Citi. This year, though, Citi also introduced the Citi x UMiami Case Competition. Competition participants were tasked with coming up with an ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) or climate change-related financial product for Citi to implement. The two weeks of preparation culminated in a 10-12 minute presentation in front of a panel of four judges featuring two Citi representatives and two Herbert professors.
The winning team, which consisted entirely of TAMID members, pitched an ESG-friendly credit card made out of recycled plastic. It allowed consumers to get 2% cash back for shopping at highly ESG rated companies or invest in an ESG fund. Reid Baltuch, a sophomore on the winning team, said that he “wanted to do this competition to expand [his] knowledge regarding ESG investing, and [he] learned more about how to execute a marketing strategy [by participating].” The competition pushed participants to think critically and hone their presentation skills.
Delta Sigma Pi, TAMID, and the Citi x UMiami Case Competition all teach University of Miami students skills and practices that directly align with modern workplace demands. They gain valuable leadership experience through trying different roles in the organizations. By participating in these activities, students develop a deeper understanding of how businesses operate. More than that, it offers them experiential learning that prepares them for future internship opportunities and careers in business.
My name is Mikaela Sanders and I am a freshman studying at the University of Miami’s Business School. I am majoring in Marketing and double minoring in Strategic Communication and Chinese. When I am not studying, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, bingeing The Office on Netflix, and working on my YouTube channel.