Career Diversity

Real talk about diversity and careers: The things you want to talk about at work but can't...and probably shouldn't.

LOFT Opportunities

LOFT offers unique opportunities to members seeking to start their professional career and get ahead. The following are current openings. In order to apply, please follow the instructions listed on each link. Must be a LOFT member to apply.


 The Hershey Company

One of the largest North American manufacturers offers students the opportunity to explore careers in food technology, information technology,voice and data networking technologies and more.

For details about The Hershey Company's internship positions, see the document below.

 Hormel Foods Corporation

Hormel Foods Corporation is a Fortune 500 multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer-branded food products, many of which are among the best known and trusted in the food industry. Interns will gain real world experience by performing the duties of their full-time counterparts.

For details about Hormel Foods Internship positions, see the document below.

Summer Associates Program

Chase Card Services Summer Associates Program is an internship program with two tracks: Marketing and Analytics. The goal is to recruit, retain and develop a diverse group of high caliber resources for junior level roles. The Summer Associates Program will run June 1 - August 7 in Wilmington, DE and will include challenging work assignments, training, networking events and community involvement.

For more information, see the document posted below as "Summer Associates Program".

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Fall 2009 Internship: Washington, DC

To be posted at a later time.


LOFT Fellows

ExxonMobil looks to nurture motivated sophomores, juniors and seniors across the country, with a passion for Engineering and Science.

LOFT Fellows is an opportunity for selected students to be exposed to a top quality company by participating in their world class mentoring program. Each student will be paired up with one of ExxonMobil engineers/scientists to learn how their knowledge is applied in a corporate setting.

Open to students pursuing majors in: Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Materials Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Geology, Material Sciences. Interested candidates must send their application and additional documents to by March 16.

See application below.

This event is an expenses-paid visit to our global headquarters in New York that gives students the opportunity to get an inside look at our Investment Bank. They will have the opportunity to explore the world of Investment Banking, Sales & Trading and Research through job-shadows, hands-on training sessions and networking with our top people.

The event is open to top Black, Hispanic and Native American freshmen from any major. Students will need a genuine and deep-rooted interest in investment banking, sales, trading or research, plus a minimum 3.5 GPA. Please view the attached flyer and share with students who may be interested.

Applications are due March 15, 2009. For more information on how to apply, students should visit the Launching Leaders Experience page on

Time Can Spoil a First Impression
The Call Entrepreneurs Dread

“Hi, my name is Tom Matthews. Bob Smith suggested we meet. Is there any time in the
next six weeks we could get together for lunch?”
“Can we have lunch, just to get to know each other better?”
You have no idea how much busy entrepreneurs hate to hear these words. Despite
knowing that the meeting almost certainly is a waste of time, common courtesy to the
caller and “Bob Smith” means the entrepreneur has little choice but to squeeze something
else into his eighty hour work week, meaning that work, family or charitable duties must

Finally, it’s the day of the meeting. Thankfully, the entrepreneur’s assistant has managed
to convert the lunch to a short meeting.
“Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“So how do you know Bob?”
“We met a few weeks ago, and your name came up.”
Another ten minutes are wasted on empty pleasantries, like the weather and the latest
sports scores. Finally the moment comes.
“So what can I do to help?”
“Well, I’m not sure. I’m just trying to network with as many people as possible. I’m
thinking about changing careers.” (Heavy sigh from the entrepreneur.)
“So what kind of job would interest you?”
“Well, I’m not sure. Something that’s really exciting and pays well. I’m really open to
anything.” (Another heavy sigh.)

Then, if you are really unlucky, the guest begins to recount, in agonizing detail, his life
story. This takes another fifteen minutes. Time moves slowly. Very slowly. Finally, the
meeting is over. Another half hour wasted.
What’s wrong with this picture?
So what went wrong? Is the entrepreneur unsociable? Selfish? No, not at all. Even the
most charitable person wants to know – what’s in it for me? Even if “what’s in it for me”
is the joy of helping someone else.

Basically, as an entrepreneur with a family and obligations to my community and church,
every minute of every day is already taken. That means there’s an opportunity cost for
every new task accepted. If you waste my time because you haven’t thought about your
own goals, you are telling me that, at best, you are naïve; at worst, self absorbed. Not
exactly the best first impression.

It is a waste of time to use personal interviews to learn about an industry or decide what
you should do with your life. A stranger or casual acquaintance doesn’t know you well
enough to give you personal career advice and general career advice isn’t very valuable.
If you want to learn more about an industry, it’s more efficient and effective to read about
the industry first and then interview front line workers—not bother a CEO with general

Save interviews and interactions with busy entrepreneurs until you know exactly what
you need. Someone who can help you naturally becomes your mentor, so make it as easy
as possible for them to help by having a specific request.

But, But, But……
“But don’t entrepreneurs want to make new friends?” Sure, but at their own choosing,
not as a social obligation because it’s rude to refuse to see you. Sometimes random
meetings do lead to long lasting friendships, but the odds are against it.

“But I just need someone to listen to me.” Sorry, that’s not an entrepreneur’s
responsibility. That’s the job of a spouse, friend or counselor.

“But I need to learn more about your industry.” Fine. Read a book. I’ll even send you a
list of books by e-mail. Surf the internet. Talk to salespeople and operators. I can’t tell
you enough about my industry in thirty minutes to do you much good. You need to do
hours and hours of reading to even scratch the surface.

“But I’d like to meet influential people.” So would I. That doesn’t mean they want to
meet me.

“But I’m really talented and wonderful.” I’m sure you are. Now do something to prove
it. Like doing your homework before you burden busy people with meaningless

It’s Not about You
“Can you introduce me to Michael Dell? I’d like to ask him some questions about the
computer industry.”

Amazingly enough, just last year an incoming student made this request. He never
stopped to ask whether Michael Dell would have any interest in meeting him. Or what
Michael would have to push aside to make time for such a meeting. He never stopped to
consider how much personal capital it would take me to set up such a meeting or what the
cost would be to me if he wasted Michael’s time.

The first rule of “networking”—by the way, I hate that word – is that you must put
yourself in the shoes of the other person. Why would they want to meet you? How can
they help with the least possible expenditure of time or effort? How can you make such
an encounter enjoyable for the other person?

If you cannot recast your idea of networking: “Here’s what I need;” into one of humble
service: “I’ve got something to give to the world, and with just a little help from you I
can make my dream a reality;” you shouldn’t expect to get far. Bottom line: You cannot
expect the world to revolve around you and what you need.

Some Suggestions
The suggestions below will help you get the most out of personal interviews:

1. Do your personal soul searching and industry homework first.
Take a personal inventory. Take aptitude tests. Ask those who know you well what
you do better than most. Do whatever it takes to narrow your search to a few
industries. Read about these industries and the leading companies and people.
Personal interviews with teachers, entrepreneurs and executives should not be used to
narrow your search or learn about jobs or industries. A stranger or casual acquaintance
doesn’t know you well enough to map out your career. This is a very inefficient use of
a busy person’s time.

2. Be specific about what you need. Make sure the other person understands how a
little effort on their part can make a big difference in your life.

Be clear about what you want. People are more likely to help you if they understand
what you need, why it matters and how they can help with a minimum of time and
effort. If you can’t explain this in a few sentences, you don’t need a meeting.

3. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Whenever you contact anyone, stop and put yourself in their shoes. Why would they
want to talk with you? How can you make it easy on them? How can you demonstrate
that talking with you would be entertaining or educational? At the very least, be
humble and appreciative.

4. Make it easy.
Never ask for a lunch if a short meeting will do. Never ask for a meeting if a phone call
will suffice. Never ask for a phone call if an e-mail will get the job done.

5. Don’t pester.
If the other person isn’t interested, back off. Ask if there’s someone else they suggest
you could talk with or something they suggest you read. Perseverance is a great
character trait if you are pursuing a worthy goal, but an empty meeting is not a worthy

6. Start at the bottom.
Once you have narrowed the list of industries, make your first contacts with people who
are helping serve real customers. Look for people who have recently joined the
company. These are the people who can tell you the most about what your experience
will be like with a company or within an industry. You can learn about an industry’s
history by reading biographies of industry pioneers.

7. Show up prepared.
If you do need a phone call or meeting, be prepared. Make sure you have read all the
important books about the industry and the biographies about its pioneers in advance.
Thoroughly research the company and the individual with whom you meet.

8. Send a list of questions in advance.
A short list of questions help set the agenda and show that you’ve done your
homework. Sending your questions in advance makes the most of a short meeting.

9. Ask questions.
Your goal in a face to face meeting is to establish a relationship. Use your time in a
personal interview to learn about the other person. How did they get to where they are
today? What mistakes have they made? What do they cherish or regret? Once you
understand the other person, and they believe you are sincere and dedicated to their
industry, and perhaps following in their same path, they are more likely to see you as a
younger version of themselves and are more likely to want to help.

10. Give something unexpected in return.
What can you give in return? Does the entrepreneur have a favorite charity where you
can volunteer? Is there some other way you can give them an unexpected gift? Will
you at least pledge to help someone like yourself in the future? Being willing to give
of yourself without being asked is a sign of maturity and character.

Busy entrepreneurs make up to several million dollars each year. That means an hour
of his or her time is worth a thousand dollars or so, and a marginal hour of time is
worth much more. At an MBA salary, an hour of your time is worth $50 or so,
meaning that you should be willing to volunteer ten hours of your time in return for a
half hour meeting. Sound too expensive? Then you really don’t need the meeting.

11. Be nice to the gatekeepers too.
Remember, executive assistants run most companies. They can be your most valuable
source of information about a company or an entrepreneur. See them as a resource, not
a barrier.

12. Follow up
Always, always, always write a handwritten thank you note. Let the entrepreneur
know how their advice or recommendation helped. Show them your gratitude by
offering something unexpected.

Entrepreneurs are busy. Every moment of their time already is committed. People who
use social contrivances or relationships to gain access for meaningless meetings take time away from more important tasks.

If you want to learn about an industry, read books or surf the internet for information.
Interview line personnel who have more time and can give you a perspective on what
working in an industry at an entry level is like. Save face to face meetings with
entrepreneurs for that rare moment when there is something specific they can do, at a
very low cost in time and effort, that will make a big difference to your life.
Valuing time like this may seem crass, but the economics are revealing.

Above all, remember that it’s not about you. People will help you if they sense that you
are on an important mission to help others and have the character and drive to make a
difference. You can demonstrate this by doing your homework up front, and always
putting yourself in the shoes of the other person.

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