Speakers give students formula for success

By Donald Roth Jr.

As President Bush was giving the nation some advice on its state of health Tuesday night, advice was also being bestowed on NIU students by leaders of the Chicago business community.

Six successful business people, five of which are NIU alumni, from the Chicago metropolitan area spoke on various subjects to about 100 students and DeKalb residents.

While the program was sponsored by NIU’s Financial Management Association, the content of all the speeches was applicable to all college majors.

Tom Johnston, senior vice president of the Capital Markets Group at Chicago’s LaSalle National Bank, told students they must prepare adequately for their first job after graduation.

“All students should try to take courses which will expose them to geography, foreign language, arts and most importantly courses that will teach them how to communicate effectively in writing, as well as verbally,” he said.

In response to questions about what kind of jobs are available in these turbulent times, Johnston told the audience they shouldn’t be terribly selective with the first job they accept.

“Getting your foot in the door even as a janitor can pay some of the bills and help (you) network with the company’s employees and eventually help (you) move on,” Johnston said.

As the current recession has caused the job market to tighten, speakers gave advice on how students can gain competitive advantages in their job search.

“You would not believe the amount of applicants we get with 4.0 grade point averages or close to it,” said Nick Calamos, a money manager. “What students need to do is learn how to distinguish themselves from their competitors.”

Calamos explained one way to stand out from the rest is to research prospective employers and relay the information gathered during an interview.

Another way to stay on top is to get a good education.

“Education teaches you how to learn and how to present yourself as marketable in all jobs in all fields,” Johnston said.

While most of the advice pertained to obtaining a first job, there were some basic ideas suggested.

Johnston said all students should make studying a priority, take great care with personal health and articulate long term goals if they hope to secure success in life.

He also said that while NIU students may have limited travel and job experience outside the midwest, the importance of the global marketplace is emerging.

“The world is globalizing. With the flow of technology, people, and cultures everyone will have to compete in the international marketplace,” Johnston said.