Management Career Services (MCS) hosted its annual Dal Business Networking Night last month, drawing a record number of students and employer partners for an evening of professional discovery.
Organizers of this year’s event, presented by EY, improved the overall experience by ensuring a smoother, more accessible and inclusive event.
Nearly 440 Bachelor of Commerce Co-op, Bachelor of Management, and Corporate Residency MBA students in all years of study attended, including Jeremy Higgins-Brake, a third-year Management student participating in an optional eight-month internship program as part of his degree.
"I had a wonderful time. It was an excellent venue which allowed me to talk to numerous businesses that hire students. Everyone I talked to was supportive and encouraging,” he says. “It was helpful to learn which companies hired for four-month work terms and which hired for eight. Knowing this allows me to narrow down the places with which I will do further research before applying."
Grace Adams was one of 162 first-year students who attended the event just over a week after starting their program. “This is a great event for students of all years as the experience is fantastic and is a great first step in the Commerce Co-op program.”
Tapping into immense potential
The event was also attended by 94 employer partners representing 31 organizations, nearly one-third of whom were Dalhousie alumni.
“During my time as a Dalhousie student, Dal Business Networking Night provided me with invaluable opportunities to connect with potential employers and gain insights into various industries,” says Mark Telen, a junior accountant at BDO Canada LLP, who graduated from the Bachelor of Commerce Co-op program in spring 2023.
“Now, as a recent alum, I've come to realize the importance of giving back and sharing my own experiences and insights with current students. It's a moment for self-reflection, and I was genuinely excited to engage with students who are just embarking on their professional journeys.”
There was also an increase in interest from employer partners in sponsoring the event to have the best visibility for meeting students. MCS added a new sponsorship level this year, nearly doubling the number of sponsors. This year’s presenting sponsor was EY, an employer of Dal business students for more than two decades.
“EY enthusiastically chose to connect with Dal business students at this event because we recognize the immense potential and fresh talent that students bring to the table,” says Kate Lee, manager at EY and 2019 Bachelor of Commerce Co-op alumna. “By investing in such events, we aim to foster meaningful connections with the next generation of professionals, share our industry expertise, and offer promising students the opportunity to embark on a rewarding career journey with our organization.”
More flexibility, more face time
Dal’s MCS team used observations and feedback from previous years to help improve the event this year, doubling the run-time from two to four hours to allow attendees more flexibility to attend and to cut down on wait times to talk to event sponsors. The registration process was streamlined, and more volunteers were added to guide attendees through the process and answer questions, which erased wait times to get into the event. Finally, a Quiet Space was designated for attendees to use at any point during the event.
“We know how important it is to create these opportunities for students and employer partners to meet face to face, allowing our students to build professional connections and practice their networking skills. Our goal is to host accessible and inclusive events that all business students and employer partners can participate in fully,” says Robert Wooden, director of MCS. “I am proud that regardless of the record number of attendees, the event experience for students and employer partners was overall positive. Our team will continue to proactively consider ways to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of our events each year.”
Looking back on his experience as a student, Telen echoes the value of in-person networking for students.
“I can't emphasize enough the importance of networking, putting yourself out there, and accumulating as much experience as possible to develop your transferrable skills. Every interaction, conversation, and networking opportunity has the potential to propel you towards your career goals,” he says. “Recognize the value of each opportunity and how it can fuel your career growth. Embrace every chance that comes your way and use it as a building block for your career.”
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