A group of 30 students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business met with the leadership of several companies during a trip to Atlanta this fall. Nine of the students also attended the National Association of Black Accountants regional student conference.
Trip participants visited Shaw Industries, Veritiv, AT&T and Honda. They also attended an Atlanta Braves baseball game and met with Kyle Johns (HCB ’07), of Atlanta Capital Management.
Janice Branch Hall, coordinator of academic support and engagement in Haslam’s Office of Diversity and Community Relations, organized the trip as a way of connecting students with diverse professionals who can help inform their career planning.
“This trip to Atlanta was experiential in nature,” Branch Hall said. “Students were able to practice their elevator pitch and showcase their networking skills while hearing first-hand what it takes to be successful within various industries and the professional environment.”
Steve Harris (UTK ’13) of AT&T spoke with the students about searching for internships and career opportunities.
“My main message to the students was that the sooner they can get involved in the professional world, the easier their career searches will be,” Harris said. “The Haslam students were very professional and carried themselves well, making a great impression on AT&T leadership.”
Irvin Nguyen, a freshman marketing major, said that he enjoyed building connections and relationships that exposed him to how successful people develop their careers. He believes seeing the complexities of each company helped him better appreciate the concepts of professionalism, networking and corporate culture.
“Learning is not just in the classroom but also in real world settings,” Nguyen said. “This trip was a great step towards developing a better version of myself. I was able to interact with people who could guide me towards a bright future, and I was able to connect with them on a meaningful level.”