Human resources is one of those special industries that is able to span many others. Virtually every company, once it gets to a certain size, needs HR professionals to handle administration, management and training within their organization.
If you love people and want to dedicate your career to helping them in a corporate setting, a career in HR could be for you.
The students of Ryerson University’s Human Resources Student Association (HRSA) have put this passion for helping people towards their fellow students. Catering to over 600 human resources undergrads, they connect HR career-hatchers with each other and industry professionals, provide career development opportunities and host many academic, professional and social events throughout the year.
This past year, they’ve hosted and participated in over 15 events, including the HR Alumni Night (attended by TalentEgg’s own Lauren Friese) and the Organizational Behaviour Case Competition, in which their team placed second!
HRSA Director of Alumni Relations, Sarah Campitelli, and President, Ernest Mistica, took the time to talk about HRSA’s initiatives and why they love being involved in the group.
Sarah is a third year Human Resources major and Communications minor, while Ernest is completing his final year of Human Resources and Marketing.
How can students decide which student group will provide the best experience for them?
Sarah: To a student just starting out with campus involvement, I would say try something that will make you happy, where you can make a difference in your school community and where you can have fun. University can be the greatest time of your life if you take advantage of opportunities—such as joining a student group!
Ernest: One saying from Starbucks has always stuck with me: “Love what you do, do what you love.” When deciding where to invest your time, choose a student group where you see yourself having fun. If you’re not having fun or enjoying doing the work, you won’t invest 110% into it. Choose something where the lines between work and fun blur.
What has been your most memorable experience with HRSA so far?
Sarah: The HRSA recently won an award for “Best Academic Event” from the Ryerson Commerce Society for our Organizational Behaviour Case Competition. After working with the team for a year, it was the greatest feeling hearing our name at the award ceremony and being recognized for our hard work. At times it can be very demanding being part of a student group, but seeing an idea turn into a reality and run successfully is such a rewarding experience.
Ernest: My most memorable experience with the group has been getting to meet the other HR students across seven different schools at the Organizational Behaviour Case Competition we ran. At the event, there was lots of time to network and chat with other students amidst the craziness of analyzing cases and presenting. I got to meet students who I still keep in touch with today and see the breadth of how HR students impact Canada.
What valuable experience have you gained in your role at HRSA?
Sarah: Since my role required me to plan and execute our Alumni Night, I was able to really showcase my event planning skills. Event planning is hard work! From the logistics of the event, to securing attendees, I was part of every step in the process. My organizational and communication skills were the most developed as I kept track of all aspects of the event, and delegated work to my team. I was then able to apply my skills to school work and my personal life.
Ernest: Being involved with the HRSA has helped me grow exponentially both in terms of career and personal growth, but one thing that I would say I’ve improved most is my communication skills. There’s no better way to learn about yourself and how well you communicate than by being involved in student groups. From sending out group emails to meeting industry professionals to making an impromptu speech at an event, being the President of HRSA has really tested my ability to communicate effectively to diverse groups of people.
What are your career ambitions? How will the skills you’ve developed help you in your future career?
Sarah: I’m still trying to figure out what aspects of HR appeal to me. I also enjoy public speaking and event planning. Until I figure out where I’d like to be in a few years, my experience in the HRSA and being involved on campus has been preparing me for the real world. Through our events, I have been able to network with many other student leaders at Ryerson and meet Industry professionals. I truly believe that interpersonal skills are important – no matter what field interests you.
Ernest: I’ll be starting at Target after graduation and hope to shape the Canadian retail industry during this exciting time. I hope to get lots of experience at Target and find roles where I can combine my marketing and human resources experience to create some real value for Target and for Canadians.
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