Silver linings for a virtual Canada, Meet McGill

This year’s Meet McGill event organized by the Desautels Career Services team helped students, staff, alumni and employers connect over the Faculty Blackout Period from November 18th to 20th, 2020. Going virtual allowed for a unique opportunity to engage with employer partners across the country for Canada, Meet McGill, whereas in previous years, Meet McGill had a specific Toronto focus.

Over three days, 220 Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Master of Management in Analytics (MMA), Master of Management in Finance (MMF), and Master of Business Administration (MBA) students met with close to 70 organizations to learn about career opportunities, network with recruiters and alumni, and take ownership of their professional development over various activities.

Employer-hosted group sessions provided students the opportunity to interact and actively participate with their peers via smaller breakout rounds, live Q&A speaking panels, roundtable discussions and a new favourite, Ask a Recruiter session. The signature speed mock interviewing activity was pivoted for a remote model, where students were able to practice their introductions, elevator pitches, behavioural and situational interview skills with employers and alumni for personalized feedback and discussion. New this year were one-on-one coffee chats, where casual, candid conversations took place between students and employers.

At the alumni speed connecting event, we had alumni presence from the class of 2009, who graduated in the wake of the global financial crisis and were able to speak to graduating in an uncertain time and offer words of encouragement. Fast forward, 10 years later, this same group were able to hear from current students who are about to graduate amidst a worldwide pandemic, and learn how the Desautels programs have evolved to adapt to these times.

Tianyi Zhang, a third year BCom student, not only participated in the activities, but had a role in creating the student social activities that allowed peers to connect and meet virtually. For many students who had to start off this semester remotely, this was a chance to meet and get to know each other outside of the academic setting. “As an international student, I did not realize the importance of networking until I started to look for internships this summer,” said Zhang. “For a long time, ‘networking’ [seemed] like a daunting word. Thanks to the group sessions, coffee chats, and mock interviews I participated in, I recognized that networking is not a scary thing. Rather, I genuinely [enjoy] the process of building personal connections, exploring different companies through conversations with current employees, fellow alumni, and gain confidence pitch[ing] myself to recruiters.”

Stemming from the success of this event, the team is now planning for Montreal, Meet McGill set to take place in mid-March of the upcoming Winter 2021 semester. If you are an employer who is actively hiring for summer internships and/or full-time roles, please get in touch with lorrie.quigg [at] (subject: Hiring%20for%20summer%20internships%2Ffull%20time%20roles) (Lorrie Quigg), Business Development Associate. If you are a current Desautels student interested in participating, please look out for further information concerning this event in our weekly Career Services Newsletter.

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