The Undergraduate Commerce Society and the Student Management Association held their fourth annual Business Banquet at Roma’s Hospitality Centre in Mississauga last Thursday.

Ann Sandhu of SMA and Avalon D’Souza of UCS organized the event. The main purpose of the Business Banquet, according to D’Souza, was “for students to network with industry professionals in a very comfortable environment, and to build long-lasting relationships with them”. The event was attended by over 40 industry representatives and over 200 students, primarily in commerce and management. Some faculty were also present.

Although the event began with a crowded foyer, the rest of the evening  progressed smoothly and professionally. The seating was arranged before the event to ensure everyone got the chance to mingle with both industry professionals and classmates.

The fourth Business Banquet underwent some major changes from previous years. This is the first time the event has been run as a joint venture between UCS and the SMA. Lenville D’Sa, the president of SMA, said that he “initially didn’t anticipate the demand”, but was excited to see the list of both management representatives and management students grow as the Business Banquet drew closer.

This year’s theme was “The Winner Within”, and the speaker was Randy Taylor, a leadership speaker and coach. After having experienced poverty, the alcoholism of a parent, and life on the streets, Taylor went on to become a top Canadian broadcaster at CFRB 1010.

Taylor spoke of the importance of believing in oneself, connecting purpose with passion, and living one’s life for oneself rather than for others. He stressed that everyone has “identical potential”, despite any past negative experiences. “Where you are now has nothing to do with where you can go” were the words of his high-school guidance counsellor, which have stuck with him to this day. The key, Taylor said, is belief; if we don’t think we can do it, if we stop progressing towards our goals, then our goals can never be achieved.

Jorden Wantuchowicz, a fourth-year management student and previous Business Banquet attendee, remarked that this year’s banquet had “some fantastic CMA reps”. He enjoyed the event last year, but he was also impressed with this year’s changes. He said he enjoyed this year’s speaker, adding that Taylor did not try to sell his ideas or foundations, but rather strove to offer good advice. Stanley Chui, another fourth-year management student, enjoyed speaking with the alumni. He said they provided good insight into the transition between school and work.

Throughout the dinner, all the tables were engrossed in lively discussions. At his table, Taylor talked about the future of holograms, the impact of negative news stories, and his children.

Although the effects of such networking events are often not apparent until later, the Business Banquet was immediately beneficial for Alice Han. She found a potential sponsor for the annual Global China Connection Conference. Han explained that the GCC conference features professionals from all sectors of business. She feels that she’s now “more informed of the industry that [she aims] to break into”. Other students left the banquet hall feeling like they had made personal connections as well.

This year’s sponsors were the Alumni Association, CGA, CIBC, CMA Ontario, Edward Jones, Hamel Wealth Management, and TJX Canada.

  • J

    This wasn’t the first year SMA collaborates with UCS on the business banquet.

    • Elizabeth

      Yes & no. SMA has been involved in the past with the business banquet, but never to the extent that they were this year. This is the first year that the organizers considered it a ‘joint venture’, rather than ‘in association with’ or anything along those lines. This is what was communicated to me by multiple organizers for the event. Hope that clears things up!