My Experience at the PBL National Leadership Conference
Phi Beta Lambda President Will Huang discusses his experience at the PBL National Leadership Conference In Nashville, Tennessee
Hello! My name is Will Huang; I’m a junior economics major and math minor from Orange County. This summer, I had the pleasure of attending the National Leadership Conference in Nashville on behalf of our Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) business chapter. Our attendance marked the first time Occidental College was ever represented at this annual gathering, and our large delegation (two people) was understandably excited and anxious in equal measure to join our brothers and sisters from across the nation.
The conference consisted of a series of workshops, competitions, and networking opportunities that tended to begin at agonizingly early hours (ok, like nine o’ clock, whatever). These ranged in topic from financial to interpersonal to dining etiquette. The two workshops I found most interesting and valuable were on personal finance/credit and the aforementioned business dining etiquette workshop. I learned to keep my credit balance at around a third of my credit line and have two credit cards open to build credit. I also learned how to dine continental style.
Another of the workshops I attended was on conflict resolution. This one was particularly interesting because it went beyond just glossing over the stages of conflict and how confrontation is the best option. Instead, we actually learned how to use mirroring, eye contact, and “I” statements to communicate in a manner that other parties could understand.
We did whip up a sixty-page report that thankfully comes with a table of contents, so if you want to learn useful things for the “real world,” contact me at email@example.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn too: linkedin.com/in/williamhuang16.
Despite the formal social event being tragically reminiscent of a middle-school dance, I managed to make many valuable connections. The mix of advisors, students, and professionals that I befriended are already introducing me to relevant individuals in their lives, and I know that our relationships will mutually benefit our respective chapters.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the lodgings! Larger than Oxy and boasting nine acres of indoor gardens and fifty thousand tropical plants, the Gaylord Opryland resort was honestly the nicest place I had ever been. Despite a raging thunderstorm and intermittent rain, the large transparent ceiling dome enclosing the resort and an accompanying gentle artificial breeze made me forget I was indoors at times! And, true to expectations, the lovely Southerners were gracious and offered memorable hospitality.
Ultimately, I am positive that our historic attendance at the National Leadership Conference will quickly pay off. The Chapter has never been better positioned and better prepared to grow, thrive, and bring value and synergistic management solutions (gross) to the student body at large!
If you are interested, you should join PBL—the world’s largest and oldest business organization. We can get you 50% discounts at Men’s Wearhouse and 15% off at most chain hotels and motels in the nation—and much more. All for $20. You heard me. Twenty. How much do you pay for SAE, huh?
I want to thank Professor Studenmund and the Economics Department for financing the bulk of our trip via the Bennett W. Schwartz Fund. Their generosity and commitment to a “total educational experience of the highest quality” is much appreciated. I would also like to recognize the ASOC Senate for also approving an amount of funding for us.
The Chapter also committed a significant amount of human and monetary resources to our little venture, and I would like to recognize leaders Jordan Dias ’14, Jon Stavros ’14, Son Htet ’14, Clare Shuey ’16, Emma Huang ’16, and Farhad Ranji ’17 for their support and service. I would also like to extend a warm thank-you to our advisors Courtney Stricklin (Director of Employer Relations) and Joseph Shea (Director of Development and Director of Major Gifts)!
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