By Alonso Curiel
California State University Long Beach
Student Scholarship Recipient for SAS GF 2014
Technology and software, much like SAS, makes everything simpler and more accessible. To fully appreciate what a company like SAS embodies and what it has to offer a student, I feel it is essential to attend SAS Global Forum, especially if analytics is something that drives you. Attending a conference this diverse and of this caliber can be a great opportunity to learn and meet others in the same field of study and industry. Attending as a student can, however, be a bit overwhelming, even though it is a great way to motivate yourself and get your innovative ideas flowing. Based on my experience at SAS Global Forum 2014 in Washington, DC, I wrote this simple guide for students who wish to attend a future SAS Global Forum conference:
Tip #1: Attempt to have your schedule set at least one week in advance.
In regards to scheduling, as students, we should find this aspect of the conference to be less problematic, given that it is similar to selecting what courses you will be taking during the latter term of the academic school year. SAS Global Forum offers a preset track for Education that is recommended for students; however, do not feel obligated to go down this path when selecting workshops that you feel best cater to you. As a first time attendee, like me, you tend to stack up your schedule with a copious number of workshops because you want to soak up all information available. I recommend spacing out your workshops and limiting yourself to a small handful of courses, preferably in the same area of study so that you have enough time to break and experience what the demo area has to offer. When selecting a workshop, be sure to read the detailed description provided to you online because it will answer all of your concerns about what will be offered and will make your selection process a lot more efficient.
Tip #2: Remember you are no longer behind a computer, and try something new.
It is essential, and I am not exaggerating, that you bring business cards to the conference! For those students that have never printed business cards for themselves, there are many sites online where you can purchase anywhere up to 500 cards with a budget of $10. Remind yourself that you are attending a conference where almost everyone in attendance has similar interests in analytics, so do not be afraid to express yourself and break out of your comfort zone when meeting new people. Talk about what you like to do in your spare time other than linear regression or data mining. Do not attend this conference with the mentality of trying to score a job; moreover, be open minded in getting to know where you may see yourself in the future and what best suits your goals. Voice your experiences and opinions because you never know who might just be listening. I recommend that you also get to know the other student attendees because you definitely will have the same drive to succeed and it makes the conference just that much better.
Tip #3: Arrive early, and it is okay to say no!
I cannot stress enough how time management will be your best friend during the conference. If one of your workshops is scheduled to be at 10:00 am, I would arrive at least 20 minutes early because space is limited and workshops tend to fill up quickly. Going to bed on time may be very difficult, given that SAS offers such appealing events at night such as: Get- Acquainted Reception, a mixer hosted by SAS Costumer Loyalty and the Kick-back Party! If you know that the next morning you most likely will not wake up, it is okay to say no and skip out on one of these events. Remember that you are still there professionally