Students learn to network

The Business Banquet sees students and professionals mingling


The Undergraduate Commerce Society and the Student Management Association held their fifth annual Business Banquet at the Mississauga Grand Banquet Hall on November 7 to offer networking opportunities to students in a professional setting.

Over 200 guests in black business attire mingled and exchanged business cards throughout the evening. The event was geared towards UTM students in programs such as economics, finance, commerce, and accounting. Students had the opportunity to network with alumni who hold accounting, financial director, and management jobs, as well as faculty in business-related fields.

The event began at 6 p.m. with refreshments and mingling in the foyer, until guests were escorted to the dining room for a three-course dinner and a presentation from guest speaker Doug Keeley.

“This is the biggest networking event offered to UTM business students,” said Sarah Adnan, one of the event’s organizers and the president of UTM’s Student Management Association. “We developed this event for students so that they can feel more confident in getting a job after they graduate.”

Foluke Adebayo, a fourth-year commerce and accounting student, said that this was her first time attending the Business Banquet and that her goal was to meet industry professionals and students like herself who want to pursue a career in accounting.

“It’s up to the students [to decide] how they want to use tonight,” said Adebayo. “I’m looking to meet the alumni and see how they found their first professional job. If I don’t make an effort, I’ll never know.”

Keeley, the CEO of the motivational speaking business The Mark of a Leader, gave a two-hour interactive lecture complete with guitar-playing and videos to drive home the theme of the banquet: change. Keeley cited world leaders to demonstrate how good leadership and teamwork skills can build a better business.

“Always ask yourself, ‘What lens do I see the world through? Is it a lens that someone made for me, or my own?’ ” asked Keeley. “When you have your own lens you can make a difference, because you see the world differently. Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple because he was looking through someone else’s lens.”

Keeley encouraged the audience to embrace rather than avoid change. “Moving towards something different means you’re welcoming change. Don’t be afraid of that,” he said. “There is a price to pay for those who choose to stand still while the world is moving.”

Vanisa Dimitrova, a fourth-year commerce student, said Keeley showed students the importance of thinking independently.

“I think we often fall into that trap of doing what everyone else is doing,” said Dimitrova. “To find success we have to think differently.”

Third-year economics student Jordan Woodsen said that he was impressed by the number of industry professionals at the event and that he feels more confident about finding a job after graduation. “It’s important to have connections with people in your field. If you want to get somewhere you can’t be just book-smart,” said Woodsen.

The guests wrapped up the evening by collecting phone numbers and business cards and shaking hands with the peers and businesspeople they had met throughout the evening.