Mingsi, College Connection Class of 2015 and a graduate of Northeast High School, is an extremely dedicated and focused sophomore majoring in Accounting at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. In addition to maintaining her excellent academic record, Mingsi has been growing socially and professionally by becoming highly involved in Temple’s chapter of Ascend, an organization for Pan-Asian business students and professionals. This past summer, Mingsi had the opportunity to travel to Anaheim, California for Ascend’s annual national convention. We asked her to tell us all about her trip and how joining a student organization has greatly enriched her college experience:
What is Ascend and how did you get involved?
“Ascend is a national non-profit organization that seeks to bring together Pan-Asian business students and professionals in North America, but has grown since its establishment in 2005 to include other professions and industries. I joined the Temple Student Chapter of Ascend in September of my freshman year of college, after attending a Student Professional Organization Fair at the Fox School of Business. As an undeclared business student at the time, I did not know what to do in college; I wanted to join an organization that will help me advance both academically and socially. From the conversations I had with the Ascend representatives at the time, Ascend seemed to be a great fit for me, and it has been proven throughout the year that I spent with Ascend.”
What is your role in Ascend and what are your primary responsibilities?
“My current role in Ascend is the Director of Events. I specialize in planning and executing community service and social events for our chapter. The process includes scheduling a time, reserving a facility, and sometimes providing transportation and food as well. During the process, I also cooperate with many people both inside and outside of our chapter, such as external food vendors and our internal treasurer. The greatest satisfaction comes when a large number of members attend the events I planned. Last month, we had our first social event at a restaurant on campus, where over 40 current and prospective members attended and had lots of fun.”
Can you tell us about some of Ascend’s events?
“The largest Ascend Temple Student Chapter events are the Annual Kickball and Dodge-ball Tournaments, where current members are joined by Ascend alumni and their colleagues to network in a casual setting while having fun in these tournaments. In addition, we also host monthly community service and social events, where current members and officers develop friendships among each other. Most importantly, we host weekly meetings where we invite representatives from various accounting and finance firms (from multinational to local) to present their career opportunities as well as professional advice to our members. The newest additions to our member benefits are local office tours and an alumni mentorship program, which both seek to provide members with more opportunities and insight into the professional world.”
This past summer, you participated in the Annual Ascend National Convention in Anaheim, California. What were some highlights of that experience?
“This past summer I went on a 5 day sponsored trip to Anaheim, California for the Annual Ascend National Convention along with 5 other Ascend officers. This 3 day event included a series of workshops, presentations, panels, discussions, networking events, and a huge nationwide career fair with on-site interviews. In more interactive sessions such as workshops and discussions, students were able to participate in team-building activities, and share experiences and knowledge with each other. In less interactive sessions such as presentations and panels, students listened to inspirational words from industry leaders. There were also numerous networking opportunities for all student and professional attendees. Lastly, there was the biggest career fair I have attended so far – for example, companies like Deloitte had at least 30 representatives instead of 5 like we usually have on campus! The best part of this experience was that it did not cost me anything financially – I received the opportunity to attend the Convention through my active participation in the Temple Student Chapter of Ascend. I was a member since my first semester at Temple, became the Ambassador in my second semester, and currently serve as the Director of Events for the 2016-2017 academic year.”
What do you think is the most valuable lesson or skill that you have developed through your involvement with Ascend?
“The most valuable skill I have learned so far from my involvement in Ascend is public speaking skills. As an officer of Ascend, I have had numerous experiences with speaking in small and large groups. For example, I presented Ascend’s new semester recruiting pitch to a class of 300 students. I have become much more comfortable in speaking in front of groups, which is very helpful both in classroom presentations and professional networking sessions.
I also learned a lesson through being an officer of Ascend for two consecutive semesters. I learned that here are different types of leaders and followers, and it is important to learn how to manage each other in a group work environment. As the Director of Events, I am fortunate to have a committee with two members, so it became important to learn how to delegate as a leader, cooperate with peers, and manage up. In this way, I have also developed my leadership skills, which is very beneficial in any group work setting.”
What advice would you give to a Philadelphia Futures collegian who is considering taking on a leadership role in a student organization?
“I would definitely encourage students to take on leadership roles in student organizations! There are countless benefits: on a personal level, you will gain valuable friendships with your peers; on a professional level, you will broaden your professional network as well as develop soft skills such as leadership, time management, organization, communication, team work, and so much more. If you are worried that your involvement in an organization may negatively affect your grade, please remember that in addition to the on-campus resources you already have, you now also have upperclassmen in your student organization who can provide you a ton of support and advice on anything. There is nothing to lose!”
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