As the co-founders of one of McGill’s hottest new clubs, Emily Ren and Vasilia Kratsios share with us some insights on life as female business student. Desautels Women in Business started taking in new members this year and already has had a successful live-stream event to inspire young business leaders everywhere. What are the keys to success in their own lives?
Marianne for Her Campus McGill: Tell me a little bit about DWIB and what inspired you to start such an organization.
Vasilia: We actually wanted to start this club as McGill Women in Finance because we realized a lot of women shy away from the major and applying for internships, even though there is such a big demand for them in the field. But the more we looked into it, the more we realized it’s the type of support network and mentorship that would be useful for women in all majors within the business world. I found that the more I worked at it, the more I fell in love with the idea of having an organization that would help women really pursue their interests, it’s crazy how many girls we’ve met that shy away from opportunities just based on some idea that they’re not good enough. Go for it… you never know what’s going to come out of it. Look at us, we had an idea, we went for it and now we’ve got over 250 members on our list serve. And we’re preparing for our first National Desautels Women In Business conference next semester, too.
Emily: Sure, I completely agree with Vasilia in that the more we worked on the club the more motivated we became and the more we fell in love with the idea. At first, we thought that we would create this club because firms expressed an interest in hiring more women and we thought that a Women in Business club would be a great way for promoting this cause and reaching out to girls in the faculty. However, I think that since then, our club has evolved to much more, where we provide a platform for girls to share and encourage their ideas and goals. DWIB’s main mission is to provide a platform for women within the management faculty to explore the opportunities and careers available to them. We aim to create a strong network of women interested in a career in management; this network would consist not only of professionals, but of current students, professors and McGill Alumni. This year we already had a few very successful events including a trip to the Harvard Intercollegiate Business Convention, hosted a Lean In Livestream, offered a professional photo shoot for our members and organized a CPPIB Women`s Panel. Next year we will be organizing a Women in Banking event, a Women in Accounting event and the first McGill hosted National Women in Business Conference.
Her Campus McGill: Who is your role model?
Vasilia: I don’t really have one role model, there are people that have characteristics that I really admire and I try to pick those up, but we all have flaws and to be honest, it changes pretty often, depending on what I’m interested in that particular month or week. Right now, it’s probably Joanna Coles the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo Magazine. I met her on our trip to Harvard’s International Women In Business Conference earlier in October. She has such an edgy sense of style, she’s really confident and comfortable talking to and about anything you can possibly think of [and] it’s obvious completely loves what she does (but then I guess who wouldn’t love having her job?). And, of course, her British accent is awesome. I admire that she’s been able to achieve that level of success and still be a completely approachable person.
Emily: My role model tends to change depending on my mood and what I am most interested in these days. As a child, I always admired Princess Diana for her class and grace. These days I really admire Kat Cole for her determination in overcoming challenges and having the persistence to work her way up to CEO from being a waitress. Finally, I have always admired my mother for always having time to be a good mother, but also being one of the most hardworking people I know.
Her Campus McGill: What is your favourite part about being a student at McGill?
Vasilia: I don’t know. Even after three years I can’t pinpoint one thing. I’ve met so many amazing people here. I guess that would be it, but McGill in general is just such a great place be there are so many things going on.
Emily: My favorite part about being a McGill student is being able to meet all the interesting and weirdly funny students who are in my classes. The student life here is pretty awesome too, I love OAP in the summer, buying candy from Dave’s and being able to study in the library where I have a gorgeous view of the mountain.
Her Campus McGill: Outside of school, what do you like to do with your free time?
Vasilia: Hanging out with friends mostly. I like working out (I love to dance ballet and go for a long run) and reading books. I’ve been into biographies lately and just going into used book stores and finding old books for really cheap. I’m also completely obsessed with The West Wing and America’s Next Top model, which are two shows that probably couldn’t be any more different.
Emily: In high school I figure skated a lot and I still do some of that recreationally. I am also an avid reader. These days I love reading about investing and behavioral finance. Sometimes I tell people I enjoy cooking, but really I just like to eat. Also I am a big fan of How I Met Your Mother.
Her Campus McGill: If you could use one song to explain your life what would it be?
Vasilia: Probably Wake Me Up by Avicii, but I’m also can’t stop listening to First Aid Kit – Winter Is All Over You (Baauer Remix)
Emily: The Friends theme song. Maybe it is because I watched that show growing up, but when I think about my life, that song pops into mind. It also happens to have a really catchy tune that I often can’t get out of my head.