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For five straight days last week, business leaders and successful graduates visited Lakeland College to share their expertise and insight with current Lakeland business students.

speed networking at Lakeland Business Student week"Business Student Week" featured everything from a resume workshop to speed networking to mock interviews and many other exercises designed to prepare students for their career search after graduation.

"It went very well," said Kay Voss, Lakeland's assistant director of career development. "Our students had the opportunity to connect with employers, while building their skills as they think about what path they want to pursue for their future.

"The employers were very happy as well. They said our students will go far and were impressed with our students' professionalism."

Sponsored by Lakeland's Accounting Club and the Career Development Office, the week kicked off on Monday with a resume workshop, during which students were given tips on how to make their resumes stand out and catch employers' attention.

On Tuesday, human resources representatives from Bemis Manufacturing, ACUITY, SME Partners Inc. and Old Wisconsin Sausage facilitated a panel discussion with about 20 students. The HR reps gave advice on how to best separate from the pack when applying for a job, and the keys to a strong interview.

"Everyone smiles in the same language," said Mike Klein of Bemis. "If you're personable, and I feel good about our conversation, you're in a good position. What I will remember above all else is how our conversation made me feel."

Lakeland sophomore Kelly Swart, who is majoring in accounting, said the panel was outstanding.

"I thought this was great," said Swart. "I am looking for a job locally, and these were employers I could potentially interview with some day. They provided great advice."

On Tuesday night, employees from more than a dozen dynamic local companies took part in the high-energy two-hour "speed networking." Students got four minutes to talk to a company representative seated across from them. After that time elapsed, each student moved one spot over to get to know a new company rep. Local companies represented included Kohler Co., ACUITY, Community Bank & Trust, Orion Energy Systems, Schenck SC, The Osthoff Resort, Van Horn Dodge, Dynamic and more.

Robyn Guerts, HR Generalist-Rotational at Kohler Co., said, "I'm very impressed with how prepared the students are, and the fact that they have business cards and LinkedIn accounts."

On Wednesday, Lakeland grad Mark Kelly, an expert on money management and financial planning who works with Raymond James, had lunch with and advised students throughout the day.

Thursday featured the business colloquium, featuring five successful Lakeland graduates in another panel discussion with current students. The guest graduates were:

  • Pratikshya Bhandari, a 2011 grad with a degree in international business, who is an investment risk management specialist at Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee.
  • Janeth Diaz, a 2009 graduate with a degree in international business, who is a market analyst for the Latin American Division of Kohler Co.
  • SarahAnn Eskridge, a 2012 graduate with a degree in business management, who is an executive team leader for guest experience and sales floor at Target in Racine, Wis.
  • Markus Savaglio, a 2010 graduate with a degree in hospitality management, who is the general manager of The Inns of Geneva National Golf Club at Lake Geneva.
  • Shawn Voelz, a 2008 graduate with a bachelor's degree in business and marketing who also earned his MBA in 2010, is a professional recruiter with QPS Employment Group.

The five Lakeland graduates discussed their time at the school, as well as the things that made their experience great and the way the school helped launch their successful careers.

Friday was mock interview day, as representatives from Huberty & Associates certified public accountants, Aurora and Orion Energy Systems conducted mock interviews with Lakeland students.

More than 60 Lakeland students participated in Business Student Week, with many taking part in multiple events.

"I think the week was very successful for our students and area employers, and we met our goal of preparing students for future employment," Voss said. "We host events like this throughout the school year as a way for all of our students to build themselves professionally and connect with employers."

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