What is this class? What does that word even mean? How could business and ethics go together when these two terms are seemingly in contrast?
Portico: noun, a covered walkway in the form of a roof supported by columns or pillars
Still not helpful? Well, entering this class was probably the most confusing and intimidating moment of my freshman career. Not only did I lack an understanding of the purpose of the class, but I also didn’t know what to expect from this course. While I was more than unprepared, here are a few tips to help you survive Portico:
1. Don’t be intimidated by your male peers
You’ll recognize that CSOM, particularly in certain concentrations such as finance and accounting, seems to be largely dominated by the male population. While this certainly has its advantages (nothing says eye candy like a CSOMer dressed for presentation day), there can be times when you feel out of place or like an onlooker to “the boys club.” Stand your ground and remember you earned your spot in the #4 business school in the country just as much as “he” did. Raise your hand to answer questions and respond with just as much conviction as they do. Seeing a Forbes 500 list of CEOs overwhelmed by men only means it’s that much more important for our generation of ladies to stick with our passions, own our intelligence, and level the playing field.
2. Avoid the Portico Hook-up
Referring back to all those cute guys dressed in business attire, it is easy to fall victim to the charm of the boy in your group with a dazzling smile and ambition suited for Wall Street (you can’t help but think husband material). However, Portico will essentially serve as your home base for your freshman CSOM career, and you don’t want that being impacted by a broken heart or a fling gone wrong. Focus on forming strong friendships and good academic relationships with the people in your class. It will be much better for your academic career and personal life if your presentations and class discussions reflect your intellect and ability, rather than your obvious concern over how cute your hair looks (although on presentation day you should be concerned about that). Keep in mind that Portico only lasts your first semester, so if the flame still remains, by all means take initiative once you’ve proudly received that final grade.
3. Take your WSJ reflections seriously
Yes, they will get tiresome and at times seem like busy work, but these write-ups can have much greater value then a surface level skim. Find an article that interests you, and invest some time in learning about it. Connect it to past class discussions. Spark conversation with friends to examine their opinions. You will be surprised by the array of viewpoints you find in your peers that may give you greater insight on business and ethical problems, allowing you to lead a better class analysis (and not to mention “wow” your professor). The hard truth remains that surviving in the business world means keeping up with the conversation, so it’s time to get informed on what’s going on in the world outside our comfortable BC bubble.
4. Meet with Your Professor. But Actually.
You have probably heard this a billion times by now, and it’s only your freshman year, but seriously, meet with your professor. Not only are they your advisor, which we will get to in a moment, but also, every single one of the Portico teachers is incredible. These are potentially the best teachers you’ll meet during your freshman year. Utilize them. They are always willing to meet, whether it is to revise a paper or just talk over coffee, and they are honestly some of the most interesting people you’ll get the pleasure of meeting.
5. Use Your Professor’s Advice
If they say read, then read. If they say rewrite, then rewrite. If they say take this class, take that class! Not only are they limitless in their knowledge regarding the subjects they teach, additionally they are an unlimited resource when it comes to advice on just about anything. Whether it is guidance on which class and teacher to take, or on what major might be best suited for you, your Portico professors are a really useful source of support, and I would highly suggest getting to know them not just on a professor level, but a personal level as well.
6. Your TAs can be Mentors
Your T’s for Portico will probably be some of the most intimidating people you will meet at BC. They have their act together and are basically the most ideal students, or interesting people, you will ever come across. While most people at BC have their act together, TAs for Portico appear as though they have been ripped out of a J.Crew magazine and have been installed with Einstein’s brain. This is especially concerning seeing as though you are new to the school and now assume everyone is just like that. Turns out, they were once in your exact shoes not too long ago. They apply for this position so they can serve as a resource to you, not just so that they can sit and look perfect. Ask them to go to dinner and talk to them about their Portico experience or freshman year in general. They will have good, sound advice for you but will still act like any other peer.
All that being said, Portico will prove to be a wonderful introduction to the CSOM world and a great representation of BC’s finest academics. Keep these tips in mind to ensure you stand out in the classroom and develop a solid foundation for college classroom learning beyond your freshman year.