Speakers on Campus brings real-world perspectives to the classroom

Nov 05, 2015
Sarah Husain, HR Business Partner Manager of Coca Cola Refreshments Canada, shares her experience as a Beedie student and an HR professional with the BUS 201 class.

Sarah Husain, HR Business Partner Manager of Coca Cola Refreshments Canada, shares her experience as a Beedie student and an HR professional with the BUS 201 class.

The Beedie School of Business’ Speakers on Campus program this month celebrates one year of successfully connecting business education with real world industry experience.

Launched last fall, the program invites industry professionals and alumni into the classroom to share their experiences with Beedie undergraduate students and enhance class material by adding their current perspective of the industry.

Since its inception the program has grown to include over 300 speakers, nearly 50 percent of whom are Beedie alumni. The speakers bring professional experience from a wide range of industries, including finance, managerial accounting, leadership, innovation, HR management, entrepreneurship, and marketing.

“Inviting speakers to the classroom is so valuable because it offers students another opinion,” said Sam Thiara, lecturer for the BUS 201 Introduction to Business class, which has welcomed several guest speakers. “It gives a candid approach by providing another perspective for students, especially as these first year students start exploring their options at Beedie.”

One of the returning speakers for BUS 201 is Founder and Managing Director of New Avenue Capital (a global investment firm) and BBA alumnus, Manny Padda. When it comes to entrepreneurship, Padda advises students to start experimenting while they are still students. “Starting businesses while I was still in school allowed me to learn from mistakes and seize opportunities that I would not have otherwise because of the great support from faculty and peers.”

During his lecture, Padda encouraged the students to take advantage of the wealth of co-curricular activities on offer at the Beedie School of Business. “My one regret from my time at the Beedie School of Business is not going on exchange,” he said. “You are able to get out of your comfortable bubble and meet new people while experiencing different cultures.”

“It can be difficult at times for faculty to connect with students – the gap is quite large,” said associate professor and BUS 201 lecturer Peter Tingling. “With speakers, the gap can be crossed as students can see the progression from where they are and make a connection with the content we provide.”

Guest speakers’ experience ranges from two years out post-graduation to C-suite, founders, and entrepreneurs, ensuring that students are exposed to professionals at varying stages of their careers. Students are able to connect with industry professionals on day one of their university journey.

“Having speakers talk about their experiences is more engaging than learning from a textbook,” said first year BBA student, Cynthia Lee. “I never considered entrepreneurship as an option until listening to Manny speak about his entrepreneurial roots at Beedie. He opened my eyes and I now want to learn more by exploring through entrepreneurship classes.”

Professionals that are interested in sharing their experience and expertise through the Speakers on Campus program can register at beediecommunity.sfu.ca/SpeakersOnCampus.htm

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