Career Conversations is a hit with students

Students heard speakers and panels talk about educational and career options at Career Conversations ’07 last week.

The highlight of the three-day career fest was a talk by Justin Trudeau, son of late former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, about being an active and engaged citizen. The education, environmental and youth advocate urged his student audience to make responsible decisions now and become agents of change.

Left: Justin Trudeau talks to York students

"Rather than becoming a leader of tomorrow," Trudeau said, "we need to become citizens of today." (Your Passport York password gives you access to his one-hour speech archived until Nov. 2 on the Career Conversations ’07 Web site.)

Trudeau was one of four keynote speakers invited to address students about future possibilities at Career Conversations, organized by York’s Career Centre. The others delivered equally valuable advice. Douglas Peers, York dean of Graduate Studies, explained how to choose, get into and succeed in graduate school. Tim Cork, president of NexCareer and best-selling author of Tapping the Iceberg, talked about "Achieving Straight As through Attitude, Aptitude & Action". And Randall Craig, career columnist and author of the bestselling book Personal Balance Sheet, explained how to achieve life balance.

Students had a chance to hear panels of educators, employers and York alumni talk about topics ranging from how to get into law school or nursing or teachers college to what it’s like to work in marketing, at a pharmaceutical, for a not-for-profit or the government. Panellists shared their career stories and experiences and answered students’ questions about what it’s really like working in a specific industry. Many of them told students to follow their passion and try to make a difference.

Left: Douglas Peers talks about graduate school

The format of this year’s career event differed from previous years. Instead of thrusting students into a room full of potential employers and hoping they found a match, the Career Centre scheduled 22 "conversational panels" to stimulate focused information sharing. 

"We wanted to create an event that provided students with an opportunity to hear from experts, get relevant information, and make connections to inform their next steps," said Donna Robbins, Career Centre director.

The format proved popular with students and panellists.

One student said: "It gave me direction in what I want to do after school, and how to go about doing so. It was a worthwhile event that I hope will be repeated again next year and for the years to come. It was very informative, and a great opportunity to have my questions answered."

A third-year student in Schulich’s Bachelor of Business Administration Program found the panel of civil servants informative. "They gave us very insightful information about what it is like working for the government. All the representatives shared wonderful tips and suggestions about the different opportunities that are available in the government even for students like me with a business background. Their advice and encouragement was very reassuring and helped me feel more confident about landing a job in the public sector."

Above: Emad Khan, right, talks on the business & finance panel

Panellist and York alumnus Emad Khan (MBA ’00), a senior portfolio manager with CIBC Mortgages and Lending, said, "It was eye opening to see how impressive the new generation of graduates really is." 

For students who missed the event, go to the Career Conversations ’07 Web site to see photos, hear conversations on some of the panels, read about the educational institutions that participated in the Further Education Expo, join a Google group to continue the conversation, and view Justin Trudeau’s presentation. 

Submitted by Julie Rahmer, Career Centre communications & Web services manager