3CForum Reflections: Decision Making & Appreciation
Vera Shi, Westminster College, Hired by Goldman Sachs
Searching for the right platform is daunting, and that's why you get excited and make seemingly impulsive decisions when you see one. During early half of the year 2015, I had been relentlessly looking for personal development opportunities. After several unsuccessful applications with conferences focused on social responsibility or even philosophy, I was quite regretful for all the pointless efforts. Until in mid-July when I was interning in Beijing, I learned about the first 3CForum in mid-August in California. I knew instantly that this is the opportunity I was looking for. The itinerary sounds amazing: Stanford professors, entrepreneurship and career planning, company visit to Goldman Sachs and BCG... As a rising senior ready to put myself onto the job market, 3CForum was introduced to me at perfect timing.
The deadline was just days away (to be exact, 1 day away). However, a decision like this is never easily made without inner battles with myself. Really? I'll have to reschedule the booked flights, find accommodation, rearrange my internship with LinkedIn, all that jazz. Then I asked myself, "Do I want to spend an entire week in a completely new place with completely new people for this completely new forum, to polish my overall interpersonal skills and thinking and to better prepare myself for the upcoming job hunting? That sounds adventurous, and rewarding." Thus the decision to apply. So I learned an important lesson from 3C even before I landed on Stanford: make prompt but informed decisions and execute equally promptly.
3 days later I got the interview with the founder of 3CForum, Karen. Again, I was amazed by how much I was already learning from the organization and the people weeks before the actual launch of the forum. The interview was by no means scary, but if you think it is something casual and you don't need to put a lot of efforts into it, you are dead wrong. Karen has put so much to the line in order to make the 3CForum happen, her credibility established through her career, her resources, and her passion. It's only fair if the candidates truly understand the value and most importantly, demonstrate that they are "help-able", that they should be admitted. I still remember vividly when Karen gave me quite direct response when I said that I would not consider attending without a full scholarship. She said bluntly, "You have to know that it is not anyone's obligation to you. The scholarship is available, but that's not the reason that the help you received should be taken for granted." This is the second lesson I've learned from 3CForum: Develop a heart of appreciation. And stay grateful to every tiny help you received along the way, because you simply can't be who you are and where you are at without those help.
The actual forum is indeed the meat of the whole experience. But I guess I've already exceeded the word limit. To put short, I'll also use 3Cs to describe my 3CForum: Connections, Community and Conversation. For the first time I was in the San Francisco and Palo Alto office of the most prestigious firms in the world, interacting with their professionals and learning about the firm. These are the connections that will help me to feel related when I apply for the firms in the future. Community is the biggest surprise. I never could imagine that Karen was open-minded enough to recruit not only college students but also Ph.D.s, entrepreneurs, and experienced professionals from not only US colleges but all over the world, China, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The chemistry among us during the short period of time has led to deep exchanges of thoughts and values. The 3CForum alumni network also stays robust to date. Lastly, 3CForum is a conversation with the Silicon Valley and to probe into the brains of best entrepreneurs. It is a conversation with Stanford University. During the 5 days I lived in and explored the beautiful campus and learned about the rich history behind each building. Finally, it is a conversation with the organizers. Their true passion to make an impact on the next generation and to deliver the desperately needed help to us speak to how lucky we are to be a part of the 3CForum.