The Mentorship Spot
Insight from an iBBA Schulich Student
Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Written By Melissa Miller
Melissa Miller is a fourth-year student in the iBBA program at Schulich School of Business. Some of her hobbies include fencing, backpacking (travel), spending time with the York SOS family, and coffee (if that counts).
Question 1: Why did you choose Schulich?
In the summer between my Grade 11 and Grade 12 year, I visited all the different universities. All of them were great, but when I came to Schulich, I felt that I was coming home. So, a large part of my decision was that gut feeling.
But I also had some more rational reasons:
I loved how international Schulich was — offering many different courses focusing on international aspects of business, having partners with business schools around the world, and asking all iBBA students to go on exchange. I knew I wanted to work internationally in the long-run, so that was a key aspect that contributed to my decision.
I appreciated Schulich’s incorporation of social, ethical and environmental responsibility in all courses. Schulich ranks very high globally in terms of responsible business, which is not only the future of business but also the responsibility of my and future generations to bring into the business world.
I really liked the people that I met during the information sessions for Schulich — I could ask any questions and get an honest response, joke around with them, and I could see myself finding a community here.
Question 2: What does your program offer?
The iBBA program offers a huge diversity of courses and, correspondingly, many different specializations from the traditional Finance and Accounting to Entrepreneurial studies. Schulich also offers a fantastic exchange program through its extensive partnership programs with universities around the world.
Question 3: Schulich is often known for its networking and alumni connections. How do you see this represented?
It depends a bit on which area you want to go in. For example, accounting has a lot of opportunities and is over-represented in the events hosted at Schulich. I find that Schulich has definitely been working on that over the last couple of years and a larger variety of events in different functions are more common now.
I find that in terms of alumni connections, it is on you to reach out to them via LinkedIn, a common connection, or e-mail. But I have found that 99% of Schulich alumni are more than happy to help out whenever someone reaches out.
I also wouldn’t underestimate the value of our professors — if you want to learn more about an industry or get connected, profs are also invaluable.
Question 4: How have you gotten involved on campus, and how do you balance school and student life?
I am currently the President of York SOS, which is a chapter of a national social enterprise. We offer exam review sessions for students at York, especially Schulich! Through that we raise money for our educational projects in Latin America. Our third pillar is that we offer outreach trips where York students can go to Latin America to implement the projects we raised money for with our local partners.
How do I balance the two? Firstly, I appreciate the importance of both aspects. School work is important since it’s giving you the thinking style and the knowledge for your career. But student life, especially your extracurricular club activities, is also where you learn invaluable skills, such as teamwork, project management, and leadership, and get to implement the things you learn along the way. We see the importance of both reflected in recruitment — companies look for students that aren’t just doing well academically but are also very involved in their community. So, understanding the importance of both helps me make sure I constantly work on balancing both aspects!
I do have a couple of tips when prioritizing student life and school work:
It’s an ebb and flow between prioritizing one over the other. For example, when a big project is due the next day, I’ll work on that rather than my club activities. If there is a major event the club is hosting, I will spend more time doing that.
Ask for help when you need it. When you realize that you aren’t able to complete a task for your club activities, let your peers know before the deadline and they can help you out! It’s better to be very open about your schedule and work with it rather than take on too much and work against your schedule.
Dedicate a certain amount of time to an activity and stick to that time-frame! This will help you schedule student life and school work and actually keep to it.
Question 5: What are your goals after undergraduate studies and how is your program helping you achieve these goals?
I am going into Management Consulting after graduation, where I want to develop my thought leadership, have an impact beyond my day-to-day job, and give back to the community and my business acumen in order to set me up for success. My exchange was also very influential — I took new courses and found a new area within management consulting that I became interested in, I had the opportunity to do a consulting project on exchange and worked with the Irish government on their apprenticeship programs.
Schulich certainly helped me during recruitment, but you need to put in the work as well to get to where you want to go! The Career Development Centre (CDC) was very helpful in reviewing my resume and cover letter, helping me prepare for the consulting case interviews, and connecting me with peers going through the same recruitment.
Question 6: Advice for high school students about your program
Trust your gut feeling on where to go — in the end, there is no “wrong” or “right” choice.
Get involved — Schulich has a LOT of opportunities to get involved! I have found another family through York SOS, I have been able to implement amazing new initiatives and I’ve implemented initiatives that didn’t work so well — but I learned lots and I have found friends for life.
Take advantage of the resources given to you — e.g. use the CDC, go to networking events early on in your university just to learn the dos and don’ts.
Thanks for reading this article! If you liked it, consider checking out the other articles on our page and stay tuned for new ones weekly! Did you know we also pair high school students with uni students in their desired program for advice and mentorship? Check out our sign-up change to register as a mentor or mentee today!