This edition of Student Group Of The Week is a bit different than the previous ones – it’s more of a sequel. But we promise you, unlike most sequels, this feature is just a good as the one before it!
We wrote about UTSC’s Management and Economic Students’ Assocation (MESA) in September, which fosters connections between students, the Department of Management and the business community. One way they do this is by hosting competitions, information seminars and events like the the Leading Innovative Visions to Execution (LIVE) Conference, which we’re focusing on today.
The LIVE Conference was started by MESA UTSC to give students a glimpse into each area of business, like accounting, human resources, marketing and strategy. It’s comprised of a competition, networking sessions and social activities to help students pinpoint which field they want to pursue. For those who already know what they want to do, it offers invaluable experience, practice and opportunities for networking with industry professionals.
Stephanie Leung and Precia Darshan, Co-Chairs of LIVE, shared with us their experience running the conference, what it’s taught them and why it’s crucial for students to get involved in what they’re passionate about. Stephanie is a fourth-year Co-op Management and Accounting student and Precia is in her third year of Co-op Management and Finance.
How did you get involved in your current role with LIVE?
Stephanie: I was first introduced to the LIVE Conference as a delegate in 2010 and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. At the time, I was part of MESA’s Associate Program on campus and decided to apply to be part of the LIVE Conference. In 2011, I contributed as a Curriculum Manager and am now Co-Chair.
Precia: I first joined LIVE as a Corporate Relations Manager after completing the Associate Program with MESA. LIVE introduced me to a new level of event execution and I was fortunate to be one of the MCs of the conference. Through this extraordinary experience of planning and team bonding, I knew being the Co-Chair of such a unique and dynamic conference would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Before joining, how should students decide which student groups will be right for them?
Stephanie: Try to get some experience with as many clubs as possible, whether it be in a major role or simply attending an event. From there, it’s best to determine which experience has the most potential to help you grow not only as a student or a professional, but as an individual.
Precia: Consider what you hope to achieve and how much effort and time you are willing to commit. For example, the LIVE team works extremely hard for 10 months to execute a two-day conference. It is an experience that leaves you with an enormous sense of accomplishment but requires much dedication.
What skills have you gained from working with LIVE?
Stephanie: My communication skills have been strengthened through my frequent interactions with students, faculty and corporate professionals. My ability to manage people has also improved.
Precia: My people management skills, written and oral communication skills, and presentation skills have all been exercised. But most importantly, I have diligently practised my time management skills. The preparation of LIVE demands punctuality and promptness for almost every aspect of the conference. This has definitely been the most challenging part of organizing the conference as these deadlines are dependent on your team and third parties.
Why is it important for students to get involved in groups such as yours on campus?
Stephanie: Academic knowledge is only half the journey. The social skills that are developed through partaking in similar groups and the experiences that are taken away contribute to your overall development as an invividual.
Precia: I believe it is fundamental for students to be involved in groups and committees so they can go beyond what they have learned in the classroom. These extra-curriculars help you discover your strengths, areas of improvement and most importantly, your capabilities.
What would you say to employers about the campus recruitment experience?
Stephanie: Take into consideration more of what students do outside of the classroom. This goes for employers and students. Of course, it’s a fine balance, as academics still and always will matter.
Precia: Value a student for their diligence and their experiences. Grades are one component, but it is important to equally consider work and volunteer experiences. Sometimes the latter of these two proves to be more useful in the workplace.
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