The room was buzzing with energy (and some nerves) as our class gathered in Toronto for day one of Ivey’s flagship Get Connected event, otherwise known as our “debutante ball” to introduce our class to alumni and recruiters.
From our first day at Ivey, my classmates and I had spent countless hours working with the Career Management team to build our narratives, understand the current market and practice interviewing techniques to really articulate where we have come from, the value we bring and where we want to go after the program. After months of preparation we were finally here!
We were welcomed to Get Connected by former MBAA President Graham O’Neill (MBA ’15) who demonstrated how far we had come together as a class and saw firsthand where we could be in two years. Graham spoke with us a lot about focusing on our goals and doing our personal best, whether it was in the classroom, over the course of the week and of course beyond our time at Ivey. He reiterated that no matter where we were in life, every challenge is an opportunity to be our personal best.
Our respective schedules for Get Connected were focused on the industries we were each looking to explore through various industry panels, company information sessions and networking events, including a Young Alumni event. After each presentation I was continually impressed by the calibre of individuals and companies that took the time out of their schedules to speak with us.
We each had goals for Get Connected and mine was to hone my focus on my career path and network with people from a range of for-profit and non-profit organizations as I look to bring together my interest in marketing, strategy and social impact. As someone who is pursuing a less traditional career path, I worked closely with my career coach to build out a schedule for Get Connected that would enable me to explore my career interests through a series of one-on-one coffee chats with industry leaders and Ivey alumni.
I was blown away by my interactions with alumni and the power of the Ivey alumni network. Through Get Connected our class really saw the “pay it forward” culture that our alumni embody. Each and every person I spoke to over the course of the three days was generous with their time and willing to take the time to help our class, whether it was an introduction to someone in a relevant industry, advice on finding a balance at school or even travel recommendations for our upcoming study trips.
One of the highlights of Get Connected for me was the mock interviews the Career Management team had set-up for each one us to practice our narratives. After weeks of working with my classmates and career coach it was great to hear candid feedback from an alum on how I explain my narrative, especially from a company I am interested in working with upon graduation. My classmates and I know that this is type of feedback throughout the recruiting season will differentiate us as we explore our career paths.
Overall, I came out of Get Connected with a strong set of building blocks to achieve my goals in the coming months. Perhaps more importantly, I feel invigorated about the relationships I have built and looking forward to seeing what our class as a whole does next!
Farah Kurji is an MBA Candidate at Ivey Business School with over eight years of experience working with organizations around corporate reputation, corporate social responsibility and sustainability issues. Her experience spans six continents, most recently working with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a global communications consultancy in New York and Roshan, a telecommunications provider in Kabul. Outside of the classroom, Farah is the Executive Director of Ivey’s LEADER Project, which empowers promising entrepreneurs in frontier markets to scale new ventures.