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Alumni highlight benefits of communication

It may be snubbed as a “soft skill” in some circles, but communicating effectively can provide the competitive edge in an uncertain job climate and make or break opportunities for advancement, a group of alumni told BBA students at a recent panel discussion.

Organized by Goizueta communications faculty, the talk brought together four recent graduates working in the retail, advertising, and consulting sectors to advise students on how to master both verbal and non-verbal communication to land internships and jobs.

The alumni encouraged students to take advantage of all opportunities afforded by Goizueta to practice communication skills, including presentation coaching, resume tutorials, mock interviews, the business writing center, and classroom presentations.

“These resources are so important and very practical—they could be what helps you get that job offer,” said Maliha Panjwani 07BBA, a business performance consultant for Dale Carnegie of Georgia.

Companies value employees who can parse complex topics and adapt to varying communication styles. Maintaining professionalism in all forms of communication is key, the panelists explained, from not slouching at company meetings to proofreading text messages.

This is “just another example of how Goizueta is going the extra mile to help students succeed in this tough economy,” said panel organizer Molly Epstein, associate professor in the practice of management communication.

Other advice from the alums:

  • “Take advantage of presenting in front of your peers,” suggested Eric Hagan 06BBA, a finance manager for The Home Depot. “You have that polish from Emory and that will help you make your first impression and will carry you for many, many years.”
  • “You don’t want to come in overly rehearsed for a job interview,” noted Shandra Scott 07BBA, an account manager at JWT Communications, Entertainment & Technology. “You want to be relaxed because they want to see the person they’re going to get if they hire you.”
  • “Tailor your resume to the company and job for which you’re applying,” suggested Tyler Davenport 05BBA, a manager at Ernst & Young. “Use your resume to send the message that this specific job is important to you—take the time to customize your resume and cover letter.”
  • “In this economy, who you know is going to play a pivotal role in which doors open for you,” advised Hagan. “If you can keep up that network now, you’ll have a huge step up.”

Margie Fishman

Alumni panelists Tyler Davenport 05BBA, left, Maliha Panjwani 07BBA, Shandra Scott 07BBA, and Eric Hagan 06BBA offer insights on how effective communications can create a competitive advantage.

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