Giving Back

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It’s been a while since our last Traditions class update, but we can assure you it was worth the wait.

I bet you’d be surprised to know that PBP partners with 26 non-profits to sponsor 30 projects. One of them being a safe home for orphans and immigrant children in Israel, and another being a Nitrogen-Hydrogen Alternative Energy Reaction Research Laboratory. Yeah, we were surprised too… but even more so, we were very inspired.

This week we learned all about PBP’s philanthropy efforts. They do a ton of work for many different groups of people.

The company supports victims of substance abuse, Junior Achievers and local organizations such as the Walnut Street Theater, the Wharton Esherick Museum and much more. They also sponsor stem cell, cancer and energy research.

One of their big initiatives is helping students. PBP founded The Franklin Institute’s STEM scholar program, which is a cohort program of 15 talented high-schoolers in under-served communities. These students get to do research projects with The Franklin Institute staff.

At the collegiate level, PBP sponsors the Life After College Success Program at Franklin and Marshall. Also, PBP created an international internship program in social entrepreneurship. Selected students from UCONN, Duke, Columbia and Notre Dame travel to Guatemala for the summer and teach local entrepreneurs business tools.

One of the biggest ways employees can get involved in PBP’s philanthropic mission is by volunteering at PBP’s adopted inner-city school, Cook-Wissahickon Elementary. Employees act as student-mentors and spend time with their students twice a month – either at the office or at the school. PBP also created before and after-school programs with games, crafts, homework help and snacks for the students. They’ve taken children on trips and sponsored speakers, career days and other events.

Giving back means something different to everyone, and there are many reasons why people choose to give. Some people are passionate about a cause, some feel inspired when they give and others want to make a difference. Also, there are many things people can give: time, money, talent.

We were asked to think about all of these things and what giving back really means to us. We challenged ourselves and discussed how we’re going to give back in our futures.

And now we’re challenging you: how will you give back?

Settling in at PBP

pbp interns

This week concludes our sixth week of our internship at Progressive Business Publications, officially half way through!  Although it has been 6 weeks, it feels like it was yesterday that we had our first day. Boy does time fly when you are having fun! The first few days came with a combination of nervousness and feelings of excitement but now all the anxiety has worn off. Between finally finding our way around the building without a map and learning to prioritize our daily tasks, we have all adapted quickly and are now very comfortable at PBP.

Unlike others, for us the purpose of adapting as interns is not just to survive but to learn, grow, and contribute. Here are a few quotes from us interns on some things we have learned, accomplished or enjoyed from our first 6 weeks here at PBP!

Christina- “I’ve learned a lot of different skills in the publication product marketing department, from writing headlines to understanding HTML for email marketing . I have also really enjoyed the intern “Traditions” class where I have learned more about myself, specifically my strengths, as well as hearing from other PBP employees and their advice to us interns.”

Kevin– “I have met so many great people who immediately made me feel part of the PBP family. Through my 6 weeks in the AC division I have learned so much about direct marketing that I don’t think I could have learned in a classroom setting. Jess allowed me to take over the Managers Are Heroes twitter and I have really enjoyed driving new customers to view our amazing content.”

Caroline– “I have enjoyed forming friendships with everyone in AC and creating content for the women’s leadership group.”

Jake– “I’ve been assigned to interview managers from the different Business Units to understand how reports are being used throughout the company. It’s been very interesting to meet people from all parts of the company and try to piece together the way PBP operates.”

Paige– “This internship has been a great opportunity to absorb information from attending meetings and executing projects. I am enjoying this internship. The structure of the program is great. Traditions has been interesting to learn about the company and learn more from employees here at PBP.”

Eugena– “At the PBP Media Division, I’ve been learning about SEO and putting the theory into practice. This is a crucial aspect of digital marketing and is fascinating to be educated in. It’s given me a new perspective on how much goes on in the background of Google, a function that all of us mindlessly utilize every day.”

Anthony– “I have enjoyed learning all of the different writing styles for my publications. I have worked on and successfully written articles that were published online for Administrative Professional Update and Facility Managers Alert. I enjoy how friendly and helpful everyone is and how there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions.”

Amanda– “I’ve loved the editors I’ve had the chance to work with, and I’ve learned a ton about the different topics I’m writing about. I’ve refined my writing style and even got the chance to write stories that are now published!”

Thank you so much to everyone for making all of us feel so welcome and at home. If you have not met us yet we would love to meet you so if you see us around, give us a wave!

Is College Still Worth It?

 

college-costs

Just yesterday I received an email from my student loan borrowing service informing me that it will soon be time to begin making payments.  After I took a few minutes to think about how much I was going to be paying, I became curious as to how much my education was worth.

As an intern in the analytics department, I have been working in a program used for visualizing data. I decided to research some data regarding student loans, tuition, and anything else that could be relevant to me as a recent college grad. After some digging, I found a few data visualizations which tell some interesting stories.

 

The 20-Year College ROI by State

The first graphic I found was a map of the United States comparing the 20-Year Net Return on Investment for the average college student by state. By clicking on a state, you can drill down deeper into statistics for individual colleges in that state. Hovering the mouse pointer over a dot next to the college name in the list (sorted in descending order by higher ROI) or the sub map of the state, you can get a tool-tip with more statistics. Using a dropdown menu, you can also look at some other statistics including the 20-year ROI for those with financial aid, the percentage of people who stay in the same state after graduation, the graduation rate, as well as some other relevant statistics.

 

  Here’s the full link: http://public.tableau.com/views/MappingCollegeROI_0/FinancialAidDashboard?:embed=y&:showTabs=y&:display_count=yes

After looking at the visualization, I was able to find a few interesting details. The good news for me was that, as a Penn State graduate, I was set to make a return. Knowing this, I was curious to see what schools would actually cause you to lose money in the long run. According to this visualization, the worst school you can go to for your money is Shaw University in North Carolina with a 20-year ROI of negative $156,000. Interestingly, Alaska as a state has the highest overall ROI while Alabama has the lowest. Alaska really only has one school (University of Alaska), which is a small sample size. Alaska also has the lowest graduation rate at 29%, lower than any other state by 10%.  So considering the low graduation rate, the very cold weather, and how far it is away from everything relevant, you may not want to send your kids there thinking they have the best chance to make a lot of money. If you want your kids to come back home after they leave for college, you should probably make them go to a school in Vermont where only 27% of students stay in the state and have a below average ROI. If you’ve been counting down the days until you have the house to yourself again, you may want to consider getting your children to head to Texas. 84% of students stay in the state while it has an average ROI and a below average cost of graduation. This visualization would have been something great to look at when I was trying to decide where to go to school. It’s highly likely there are a lot of other factors affecting these numbers for each state and there’s no way this visualization tells the whole story, but it is a simple way to compare the costs and benefits of individual colleges.  

 

Tuition Shifts Since 2008

I was also able to find another interesting data visualization from CNBC regarding the changes in tuition in the United States since 2008. This dashboard illustrates spending by each state on higher education and the amount of tuition paid per student in those states. States are shaded in blue according to the percentage of state budget sent on higher education (darker = higher %). By hovering over a state, you can get a line chart and a bar chart comparing higher education budget to tuition over since 2008, and a snapshot of taxpayer money for this year in the form of a pie chart.  

 

Here’s the full link: https://public.tableau.com/views/HigherEdBudgetSqueeze/HigherEdSpending?:embed=y&:retry=yes&:loadOrderID=0&:showTabs=y&:display_count=yes

The biggest thing that stands out is the growth in the gap between tuition and spending per student. This is telling because not only has the amount that students have to pay for school gone up, but the amount of money given to help for college has gone down, increasing the burden on whoever is paying for college. I can speak directly to this as Pennsylvania cut the higher education for public universities by 30% in 2012, as I was entering my sophomore year of school. Penn State was forced to raise tuition, and I had to pay. Pennsylvania’s average tuition has increased 8% and spending per student has gone down 15% since 2012 when I started school. Over this same time period inflation has been slightly less than 6%. This trend exists in the majority of states in the US where the gap between spending on students and tuition is increasing, but Pennsylvania spends the second least of state tax money on secondary education at only 2% of overall budget.

 

There are many dashboards out there examining college education in different ways, such as these visualizations with career and compensation data from PayScale. Which majors and degrees pay the best? What jobs are the most meaningful as compared to how much they pay? How does the ROI of investing in college compare to some historical stock returns?

These were only a few of the more interesting data visualizations that resonated me as I will soon be paying off my student loans. Before I know it, I should probably start saving for my own kid’s education if the cost of college keeps increasing the way it has been.

Traditions: Life advice with cookies on the side

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This week the eight of us got the chance to meet some top execs in the company. CEO John Benbrook and COO & CFO Tom Schubert joined us for lunch at our weekly Traditions class.

After rushing to grab sandwiches and salad, we all sat around the boardroom table ready to share about ourselves.

John Benbrook and Tom Schubert both shared their entire careers – from college to PBP – and we got the chance to ask them any questions we wanted.

They talked about the biggest challenges they face working in the company, their affinity for soccer and basketball, and also their biggest joys in life. One thing they both expressed was that they love working with the great people here at PBP.

We appreciated the casual atmosphere of the lunch and the fact that both the CEO and CFO were very open and receptive to us. We’ve found that at PBP, people don’t need to put on a facade, they are themselves.

So what were the main take-aways from the day? Besides stealing a mountain of cookies for our department, we all received great, useful words of wisdom from both execs. Here’s some advice that resonated with us:

  • Don’t miss out on opportunities. You never know what direction life is going to take you and you want to live it without any regrets.
  • Focus early in life. You’re never too young to start making a plan and taking initiative. Your choices are up to you and it’s never too early to get a head start on where you want end up.
  • Strive for excellence, not perfection. Try to be great! But if you try to be perfect, you’ll always fail and be unhappy.
  • Define what makes you happy. Happiness is extremely important, and you should define what makes you happy so that you can strive for the things that you enjoy.
  • Enjoy life’s journey. There are so many great stages in life. Embrace them as they come and try to stay positive through life’s trials.

Jumping Right In! PBP’s Eight New Interns

With two weeks down for some and a week for others, we are beginning to feel situated here at PBP! We are all working in different divisions of PBP and learning so much!

Aside from our different departments, the eight of us will be working together to post weekly blogs as well as daily tweets! Make sure you stay updated on this blog for new posts by each intern and follow @PBPInterns on Twitter for daily updates and fun office challenges!

Last week, we had our first PBP Traditions meeting, a weekly two hour orientation class that all interns take part in. After playing a couple of ice breaker games, we were able to learn so much about each other. Now it’s time for you to learn a little bit about us…

 

Amanda Abrom (PBP Editorial)delaware      

Hometown: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

School: University of Delaware

Major(s)/Minor: Economics and English with a Dance minor

Fun Fact: She choreographs musicals at her school!

 

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Anthony Panvini (PBP Editorial)

Hometown: South Philadelphia

School: Saint Joseph’s University

Major(s)/Minor: English (Journalism) and Communications

Fun Fact: He has 22 pairs of basketball shoes!

 

Caroline Dorey-Stein (PBP Executive Education/Conferences)

Hometown: Narberth, Pennsylvaniafm

School: She recently graduated from Franklin and Marshall College

Major(s)/Minor: English Literature

Fun Fact: She is a milk connoisseur!

 

 

Christina Gould (PBP Publication Product Marketing)

Hometown: Newtown, ConnecticutHaverford_logo

School: Haverford College

Major(s)/Minor: Economics

Fun Fact: She studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark for a semester!

 

Eugena Lee (PBP Media Division)upenn

Hometown: Philadelphia

School: University of Pennsylvania

Major(s)/Minor: Marketing and OPIM with a minor in Fine Arts.

Fun Fact: She used to be a competitive ballroom dancer!

 

Jake Eastman (PBP Analytics)penn state

Hometown: Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

School: He recently graduated from Penn State

Major(s)/Minor: Management Information Systems

Fun Fact: He loves to go see live music!

 

 Kevin McCarthy (PBP Audio Conferences)gettysburg

Hometown: Yardley, Pennsylvania

School: Gettysburg College

Major(s)/Minor: Organization and Management Studies

Fun Fact: He started a laundry service at Gettysburg!

 

Paige Preston (PBP Gifts and Incentives)elizabethtown

Hometown: Birchrunville, Pennsylvania

School: Elizabethtown College

Major(s)/Minor: Corporate Communications with a Business Administration minor

Fun Fact: She studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland for 4 months!

 

 

Leadership: Off the water and in the office

F&M medalsAnyone who’s participated on a sports team knows that leadership influences a win, and wins come in different ways. In my own experience, I’ve been on soccer and softball teams throughout my childhood, but nothing quite matched the dynamic of Franklin and Marshall College’s rowing team.

We had our victories, our relapses, our challenges and battles. We grew together as a young program, and our coach, Rob Weber, taught us an essential lesson I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life: lateral leadership.

To those unfamiliar with the sport, on the water coxswains give commands, but on land we function like a bee hive. Rigging and derigging, loading the trailers with slings and bow numbers, sorting through nuts and bolts both metric and standard, carrying boats back and forth — Hands on, up over heads — and UP! The calls I used as a coxswain won’t soon be forgotten.

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Our men and women’s team captains were essential, there’s no doubting that. But the responsibilities for a team of 60+ that breaks up into 4s and 8s can’t always be managed by just two people, and so our coach tried showing us a new way of thinking in terms of leadership.

 

Lateral Leadership:

  • When you see a task that needs to be handled, a responsibility that opens itself, it is your role as a team member to see that it is taken care of. This could mean taking direct control. This could mean bringing it to another’s attention. But what this doesn’t mean is letting it go untouched.
  • When you do take control, and own up to the responsibility that’s presented itself, be ready for conflict. Be ready to discuss openly your role on the team, and others’ roles who could also take charge. All in all, from the resolution of this conflict will come the proper division, and respect for everyone’s capabilities. All it takes is communication, trust, and willingness to open up.

Easier said than done? I’ve asked employees, managers, and our CEO of PBP for their take on leadership as well to try and find what it really takes to be a leader.

Ed Satell, CEO: Don’t be cynical. Focus on the positive by maximizing the values in yourself and others. It takes time to be a leader — you need to be a follower first. Ego is a good thing, but don’t let it shadow the wants and needs of others. You have to be able to take the rotten tomatoes when people throw them. But most of all: Be authentic. At the same time, accept the superficiality in people, it can be a good thing, but know when to focus on the real. Make an environment to address real thoughts.

Nicole Riegel, Executive EducationA leader needs to build credibility and trust with his/her team so that the team will become followers for his/her vision.  Due to credibility and trust the team is willing to take some risks and the leader is allowed a few mistakes. A leader should maximizes people’s strengths for the greater good.

Curt Brown, Editorial: A good leader needs to have a clear vision who leads by example rather than by dictating others.

Tim Walls, PGI/PBC: Set priorities by looking at the big picture rather than getting caught up in the day to day. Know your long term goals, and stay on task.

Cheryl Jordan, Product Marketing: A good leader needs to be a good listener who pays attention to people’s individual needs.

Dannie Evans, Media: You yourself as a leader need passion. Saturate yourself in it, and let it drip onto your employees. Have that passion translate into something everyone can take on as their own.

Jess White, Editorial: True leaders motivate and inspire others to do their best work. They listen to everyone’s ideas, and they’re open to trying different suggestions to improve things for the group as a whole. 

There were many others who gave insight into leadership for me, and it’s clear PBP is a place full of potential for the future of this business and beyond. I thank Rob Weber, Ed Satell, and PBP’s Traditions program most of all for these lessons on forming a constructive team.

 

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How’s that RESUME Look?

We all want to work at our dream job, right? So not a single day ever feels like work, right? But to get that so-called dream job you’ll need to have a killer interview. And before you can even interview you need the most important tool to sell yourself to employers, recruiters, and HR departments before they ever even meet you. What is it you may ask? It’s having an effective resume! Here’s a few tips and guidelines to improving that resume to get you through the company’s door and landing that interview.resume-interview-620x480

1.) Formatting Your Resume

Generally the first time a resume gets looked at it’s for 10-25 seconds. What’s this mean? This means that your resume better be as clear and concise as possible.

  • Be sure to use a logical format and wide margins, and clean type along with clear headings.
  • Use bullets in order to call attention to important points.
  • Apply bold and italic typeface to help guide the reader’s eye to important content.

2.) Identify Accomplishments, Not Job Descriptions

Hiring managers seek candidates who can assist them with solving a problem or satisfying a need in their company, so you’ll need to make sure your resume states how you’ve solved similar problems at past work experiences.

  • Focus on what you did in the job.
  • Include one or two top line description of the job, then list accomplishments.
  • Accomplishments should be unique, not just a list of day-to-day tasks.
  • For each point/accomplishment you should ask yourself, what was the benefit of having done what you did?

3.) Quantify Accomplishments

When it comes to reviewing resumes, a very common mistake hiring managers face every day is the use of too much industry jargon and confusing general claims. Be sure to use your resume as a marketing tool to sell your skills and strengths effectively.

  • Include specific achievements and accomplishments that will send a comprehensive picture of your marketability.
  • Quantify achievements at any chance you get by generating percentages, dollar amounts, number of employees, results, etc. These are big confidence boosters for hiring managers.tailor_255x255

4.) Tailor Your Resume for the Industry

When designing your resume you need to be aware of the industry you’re going into and what kind of territory comes with that industry. For example, the resume of someone in advertising and design has a lot more leeway when it comes to creativity with the layout compared to someone in chemical engineering.

  • When in doubt stay on the conservative side when it comes to style (not to be confused with boring… more along the lines of less flashy if you’re a chemical engineer.)
  • Essentials: Accomplishments, grammatically-correctness, error-free writing, and a clean crisp type will make the right impression.
  • When revising don’t rely on spell check… Use it, but review it many times yourself, and then get another set of eyes to look it over to get another perspective on things.

5.) Think Career Summary Versus Your Objective

What’s the difference? A Career Summary gives a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Where Objectives all sound the same: seeking a challenging position, interested in position A where I can use my skills A, B, and C in order to contribute to the bottom line. What does that tell us? Not much at all.

  • With a Career Summary you need to grab that hiring manager’s attention right from the get-go, with keeping in mind you have less than 25 seconds to make a good impression.
  • Spend a decent amount of time developing your career summary so you achieve getting their attention by accurately and effectively describing you as a solution to their problems.

6.) Network! Network! Network!

If you’re an unemployed candidate, then handing out resumes should be a full-time job. The majority of positions today are filled through networking, so contacting anyone and everyone you know with the addition of recruiters who are in a position to hire or provide insights is crucial. Networking can include:

  • Personal business contacts, people you’ve worked for or who worked for you.
  • Vendors / sales representatives you’ve dealt with in past 5 years.
  • Friends and family that work in the same or similar industries.
  • People listed in alumni directories of your alma mater.

With a solid resume you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting through the door, landing that interview, and being one step closer to securing your dream job.

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Traditions: Advice from the Top

One of the many reasons I decided to intern here at PBP is that interns are truly made to feel part of the company, from the kinds of assignments we are given to our inclusion in work-related events and training.  Like all other new hires, interns participate in “Traditions,” a seven-week orientation program.

During Traditions, we play fun icebreakers to get to know each other, explore our individual strengths and how to enhance them, learn about the history of the company, and receive valuable advice and insight from top PBP executives.

(From l-r): Chris, Kal, Emily, Ashley, Julia, Meredith, Ed, and Alex.

(From l-r): Chris, Kal, Emily, Ashley, Julia, Meredith, Ed, and Alex.

Last week during Traditions, we had the opportunity to have a Q&A session over lunch with Ed Satell, PBP’s CEO, and Tom Schubert, the COO and CFO.  Ed was inspiring when he encouraged us to “create our own realities,” much the way he did when he started PBP.

Ed explained how, while he was pursuing his undergraduate degree at the University of Connecticut, he began working as a china salesman.  After experiencing success at sales, in 1959 Ed founded PBP’s parent company, American Future Systems (AFS).  Then, in the 1980s, PBP was born when Ed expanded into the world of publications.  PBP’s first newsletter, The Selling Advantage, was aimed at helping other business executives do their jobs better.

Since then, PBP has grown substantially, publishing twenty different newsletters, and encompassing many different divisions, such as Progressive Gifts & Incentives and Progressive Business Executive Education.

By telling his own success story, Ed made us feel as though we could also turn our dreams into realities. Ed taught us that to be great leaders, we should always remember to help others, ask more questions than we give answers, stay resilient, and view every experience as a building block to a future goal.

Tom added that mentors can be great resources to interns and other young professionals.  A mentor can be a peer or someone at a higher level, but in either case, you should not hesitate to ask for guidance, or simply to strike up a conversation.   One key aspect of success is to expose yourself to as many ideas, opinions, and job functions as possible.

When we left lunch, we all felt both humbled and empowered and are looking forward to the next Traditions class.

Keep up to date with what we are doing by following us on Twitter.  Make sure to participate in #TriviaTuesday and look out for Phoebe the PBP Polar Bear in #WhereIsItWednesday for your chance to win a prize.

A Learning Experience

8Since interning at Progressive Business Publications, I have worked in three different publications. I am currently working on School Safety & Security alert. This pub centers on what problems schools are having and common topics that come up in education.

This pub aligns with Education Tech News, which is an online newsletter that focuses on how technology is being integrated into schools all around the country.

I have done a lot of writing for these newsletters and have also made A LOT of calls to customers. I would have to say that the hardest thing was getting RPRS (Real problems, real solutions) from our subscribers. Customers give us interesting anecdotes on challenged they have overcome. So, one RPRS I got talked about bullying and how that particular school dealt with bullying whenever it came up. Since it is summer there aren’t too many people at the schools or district offices, so it has been hard getting people on the phone.

One of the guys I talked to on the phone was from Georgia and he LOVED the newsletter. He was really nice and told me about how they changed their school visitor sign-in process. Changing the sign-in policy is something that a lot of schools have been doing after the Sandy Hook shooting. I think it’s interesting to see what schools have changed and how they have all taken different approaches to their schools’ safety. After talking to him he said, “You can do whatever you want with this information, we love the newsletter.” So he was definitely my favorite person to talk to.

However, I am learning a lot about where the world of education is going, especially in relation to technology. Working on the IT newsletter first allowed me to become familiar with a lot of the tech jargon and new devices. So, seeing how these devices are being used in schools is something I really enjoy.

One of the most interesting things I have learned is how school districts are making their own apps. Districts can create an app that includes many different abilities. Depending on what the school wants the app for, they can decide how to use it. For example, some apps allow parents to track their kids’ attendance records and lunch accounts and more basic apps will just send out alerts if there is an emergency or school closing. One school even allowed parents to set an alert on their phones if their kids’ grades go below a certain average!

So, I have to say that I have learned a lot throughout my summer at Progressive Business Publications and at this point I only have 2 and a half weeks left. Time flies!