The Office of Student Enrichment recently took a page out of Clemson University’s playbook for the future by providing College of Business students face time with banking professionals and Clemson alumni who call Raleigh, N.C., their home.

Group photo of business students in Raleigh

Clemson business students had face time with alumni and bank executives on their trip to Raleigh.
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Fifteen students made the overnight trip to Raleigh, courtesy of First Citizens Bank, which funds the college’s CU Business EDGE (Engage Students in Development and Global Experiences). The business school program complements students’ educational experience through a variety of engaging activities aimed at sharpening their soft skills to help differentiate them in the job market.

“One of the ClemsonForward initiatives is engaged education beyond internships and co-ops,” said Leah Hughes, Student Enrichment’s assistant director of career and professional development. “The students were immersed in an authentic workplace environment at First Citizens’ corporate headquarters. In addition, they were exposed to the Raleigh alumni base in a networking session that showed them how alums help students in ways other than scholarships, internships and endowments.”

Colby Brown, CU Business EDGE graduate assistant, said the students’ experience started with the alumni networking session upon their arrival.

Students network with alumni

Students networked with alumni upon their arrival in Raleigh.
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“The trip was enriching for students on many levels. Beyond the friendships that were formed among the group, students got a first-hand look at the Clemson Family on a couple of levels,” said Brown, who along with Hughes, accompanied students on the trip.

“Students took full advantage of networking with about 30 alumni in attendance. Though generations separated some of them, students saw how former graduates give back to their alma mater and that being a Tiger is for life,” Brown said.

“The alumni event was a great way to interact with other former Clemson students,” said Faith Hatcher, a sophomore accounting major. “One thing I learned from this experience was to always ask questions and to not be afraid to ask for help.”

Hughes and Brown said the goal of the visit to First Citizens’ headquarters was for students to see themselves fitting into a banking career, without necessarily having a finance background. The First Citizens visitors saw a fast-paced environment and interacted with employees about their career courses, including former interns who became full-time employees after graduating from Clemson.

Bank executive talks to students

First Citizens Bank leadership team members spoke to Clemson business students.
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“It was great exposure to the many career options that are available to students in the banking industry,” Brown said. “Students toured First Citizens’ data center and sat in on presentations delivered by their leadership team that were geared toward professional presence and topics such as the importance of company culture.”

The largest family-controlled bank in the U.S., First Citizens in 2018 committed $60,000 to fund the CU Business EDGE program, which provides student development opportunities such as etiquette dinners, resume workshops, mock interviews and dress for success events, to name a few. The Raleigh-based banking operation contributed an additional $40,000 toward construction of the new business school, which is expected to be completed mid-year of 2020.

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