Cupcakes and Conversations: Students Master the Art of Networking

The Texas A&M University-Commerce College of Business' Career Services office concluded its robust series of career readiness collaboration workshops for the year with The Cupcakes and Conversations: American Marketing Association DFW (AMA DFW) College Edition themed event, titled “Finding Your Networking Sweet Spot.”

The event featured Network Today Podcast Co-Host and Radio Marketing extraordinaire Mrs. Sheryl Powers. Drawing on her 35+ years of experience in radio and voice-over coaching and as a networking strategist, Powers imparted indispensable methods and best practices for vital career preparation, communication, leadership and networking skills to launch students through their academic lives.

She shared knowledge that expertly guided students in shaping their professional interactions with colleagues, future employers and decision-makers through various interactive activities. The event had over 20 attendees, comprised of College of Business students, alumni, AMA DFW collegiate volunteers, board directors and mentors, engaging participants in various networking scenarios that demonstrated the essential do’s and don’ts of networking. In the initial activity, Business Analytics and Marketing students observed and immersed themselves in a simulated social experience involving three individuals engaged in a networking setting.

The students absorbed the impactful dynamic presentation in the room as ideas flowed among participants. These ideas led to the next activity, featuring special guest Reagan Weaver, a Supply Chain Management student at UNT Denton and the president of the Supply Chain Management student organization. Weaver spoke on navigating the space and fear of networking, emphasizing the importance of learning about symbiotic professional relationships.

Weaver shared his compelling student testimonial on the art of networking, revealing how it propelled him to secure internships with Top Golf and American Airlines in Supply Chain Management during his junior year. He emphasized that networking involves not just collecting business cards but setting a goal to connect more deeply, not only on LinkedIn but face to face over coffee or lunch.

The insights he shared sparked curiosity among attendees, transitioning their enthusiasm towards the concluding activities where Powers illuminated the five W's (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) of an effective conversation and how these questions should be practiced frequently. She demonstrated how these open-ended questions should facilitate a better understanding of the intentional purpose of networking through the responses gathered and the advantages given that are not only limited to a particular career.

“People will consistently open up to you with open-ended questions, and as you enter the room, remember that we are all on the same playing field,” Powers said as she concluded the event. “Every person, regardless of differences or similarities, brings unique value to the space they occupy with others.”

At the end of the event, attendees were able to add each other on LinkedIn by scanning QR codes. Powers encouraged them to follow up with personalized messages to establish strong connections based on shared interests. This helped foster both immediate and future personal and professional interactions among the attendees.