School of Business graduates discovered that some of their proudest achievements happened outside the classroom
The most overwhelming response to what advice this year’s grads would give future students of the School of Business programs? Get involved—and don’t wait too long. This year’s class of business grads are socially and environmentally conscious, and believe in giving back to the community. No doubt they’ll make a splash in their respective industries and professions. It’s just a matter of when.
Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing Outgoing President, Marketing Club
I’m one of those people who likes being busy—it gives me a sense of purpose. I have people ask me all the time, “How do you do it?” I kind of hate that question in the sense that I’m not superhuman by any means. If I want something, I’m willing to work for it, and anyone can do that. It might mean sacrificing a few things, but I think it paid off for me. I can say that I did everything I could with my time in university, and that makes me feel really good. I don't regret anything.
I started at MacEwan in the Bachelor of Arts program and struggled through my first year. I had to decide whether or not to come back or to switch into something else. I transferred into the Bachelor of Commerce program and it’s been a total 180. That’s quite an achievement in itself, and I owe it to the experiences I’ve had here. I’m proud of the communities I’ve been involved in—Peer Support, the Marketing Club and the career development office. Everywhere I volunteered or worked is doing such amazing things for students. I think that just being involved in those communities that are helping in different ways, you can’t help but feel inspired, and it really does make an impact on you as a whole.
Bachelor of Commerce, Management Outgoing President, Case Club
A week before I finished high school, I had my schedule picked out for my first year at MacEwan. But a week before classes, I deferred my acceptance because I was not ready to go to university. I took a year off, worked in some dead-end jobs to make some money and travelled to Southeast Asia. When I came back, I was much more ready for school.
I’m most proud of being part of creating the MacEwan Interstudy Case Competition (MICC). I was the president of the CASE Club and by getting three different disciplines of students to come together, we were able to develop a case competition for business, computer science and design students. According to my research, it’s the only competition in Canada that brings together these three disciplines, and seeing the interplay between each group’s different ways of thinking and the ways people are taught was really cool. It was a very large initiative to take on and we ran it for the first time this year. Next year will be a little bit easier for the incoming executives because there are some processes in place that we can fall back on, like the work we’ve already done and the relationships we’ve already built.
Bachelor of Commerce, Human Resources Outgoing VP of Events, MacEwan Human Resources Club
I was vice-president of events for the MacEwan Human Resources Club during my last year at MacEwan, which was something that I never thought I would do. I’d always seen myself in a leadership role, but had never really acted upon it. In my last year, I decided it was time to step outside my comfort zone. I didn’t want to be sitting around, waiting for things to happen so I took action. I finally built up the courage to apply for the position—and I got it. The experience was truly amazing. We rebranded the whole club, created new events and hosted the Bachelor of Commerce program’s first-ever conference for a specific major. In the end, we were titled SAMU’s Club of the Year. Getting involved was the greatest decision that I made and it’s also the one I regret—I wish I had started in my first year.
Because I put myself out there in my last semester, I started volunteering once a week at AdaptAbilities, a non-profit organization that offers respite care and programs for people with disabilities. This opportunity allowed me to build rapport with staff, which in turn led me to being offered a summer position in their HR department.
Overall I can say my experience at MacEwan has made me more courageous. In my first few years, opportunities were always offered to me, but I was never brave enough to step outside my comfort zone. Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn and I’ve learned to understand the importance in taking persistent action in order to get to where I want.
Asia Pacific Management Founder and Outgoing President, Asia Pacific + Global Business Club
I came to the Asia Pacific Management program because I was definitely interested in the practicum part. Coming out of political science at Carleton University, I was not interested in law school, so I didn’t know what to do or where to go after, whereas having a built-in practicum and knowing where I’m going with my education is a lot handier. I’ve always been interested in international travel and learning another language. For my practicum this summer, I’m in Shanghai for a month and a half learning about marketing in China.
Starting a club was definitely interesting, but I really wanted people to be able to practice their Mandarin and Japanese language skills in a comfortable place and not feel judged. In the first year, we specifically had Asia Pacific Management students in it, but by second year, we realized we had this whole untapped community of the International Business major students. So we expanded the club and renamed it Asia Pacific + Global Business, and we went from having movie nights in first year (because that’s kind of all we could handle) to attending conferences at Harvard University.
Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing Former SAMU VP Operations and Finance
Right after I got elected as SAMU vice-president Operations and Finance, I was trying to keep up with everything. I always give this advice to anyone who’s interested in running for SAMU elections: make sure you keep time for yourself because I ended up failing a class during that time. It was embarrassing and also concerning because now I had to fit in another class somewhere, and there are limitations with how many courses we can take as SAMU executives. I had to use some of my personal time during the summer to take the online version of the course so I could still keep my graduation date on track. I was definitely challenged coming into a new role where I wanted faculty and everybody to respect me.
I worked on the SAMU building project a lot in my role. Our proudest moment was when we received funding for our loan from the government for the building—it was great to see that the project was moving forward and that students would soon have a place to call home. I’d been working on it for two years, first with Brittany Pitruniak and then with Danika McConnell. A lot of hard work had gone into that and we honestly weren’t sure at some points if it was going to go forward or if we were going to get the loan. When we finally did, it was a huge moment for students.
As a returning student, I pretty much kept my head down in my first year. I didn’t go out of my way to make friends. And then it all kind of changed when I took a summer class. I sat next to the two co-presidents of a club called Oikos Edmonton, which focuses on corporate sustainability. I thought this couldn’t have happened by accident—what are the chances? When they asked me to join, I was really nervous to get involved because I was working part time, I had a small child, and I don’t like committing to things and letting people down. So I offered to volunteer at all of their events instead. And then I started talking to people and connecting with them about what the club was doing. It was because of this that Erikk Opinio, one of the Oikos co-presidents, created the brand ambassador position for me.
I’m most proud of helping to grow the club’s membership and engage other students. Oikos started with six members in September 2016 and now we’re over 30. Not only does that help the club, but it has an impact on the way we can educate people about making ethical or more environmentally conscious choices.
Although I knew I wanted to pursue a commerce degree right out of high school, I wasn’t entirely sure what sort of journey I would go on to get one. I came to MacEwan the summer after I graduated, and over the course of my first two years, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped academically. Going into my third year, I just told myself that I had to try harder in order to get through everything, and once I started to get into classes that revolved around my major, things got a lot more interesting and easier for me. In my fourth year, I ended up taking on six courses per semester to catch up on things, and with some dedication and hard work, I ended up getting my name on the Dean's List. I just needed to get over the psychological hurdle that was in my mind, and I needed to tell myself that these classes were more than just listening to a lecture or doing well on exams. They were an opportunity for me to take in the knowledge that was presented in front of me, and apply those business concepts to the real world.
Right now, I don’t really know what my dream job is. I currently work for the Government of Alberta, and my experience here so far has been nothing short of amazing. Eventually, I would love to do something with tourism or with sports like hockey, soccer, surfing, snowboarding, skiing or golf. If my job involved me being outdoors, around sports or working with media in these kinds of fields, I would be ecstatic. In the meantime however, I'm just taking every opportunity as it comes, leaving all of my doors open, and I guess we’ll see where I end up.
Bachelor of Commerce, Management
The most important motivation was the continuous support from my parents. They were there for me when I was struggling, but it was really their support that motivated me to work hard and continue to follow my goal of graduating from business school.
One of my most memorable accomplishments in university was when our Business 201 group won the Mission Possible year-end pitch competition. We were able to earn just over $2,400 in two months, and we donated $750 to the Canadian Mental Health Association. A more recent and defining accomplishment that I am very proud of is being named to the Dean’s List for my last year at MacEwan. Going from a GPA that was less than two to one that was high enough to be selected for the Dean’s List showed how much my hard work paid off.
The best advice I can give the next class of students is just enjoy it. The most important thing is to find a proper balance between your social life and school. Go out on weekends and enjoy student life, but also get involved in the university community and focus on your studies throughout the week. That balance will help you get the most out of your university experience.
MacEwan University is proud to celebrate the Class of 2017. Congratulations to this year's graduates, medal recipients and distinguished award honourees.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.