Undergraduate students market themselves through business education in action

May 20, 2016
Students in the Bus 343 class participated in a mock networking event with Beedie alumni and industry professionals as part of the Business Career Passport.

Students in the Bus 343 class participated in a mock networking event with Beedie alumni and industry professionals as part of the Business Career Passport.

Undergraduate students at the Beedie School of Business are learning how to market the most valuable commodity of all: themselves.

As part of the Bus 343 Introduction to Marketing class, students are tasked with conducting a personal branding assignment in order to market their professional talents. The Marketing Me project is designed to empower students to recognize their own market value – qualities that set them apart from others and the desirable abilities they possess.

In Marketing Me, students conduct a market analysis to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and match them against the skills required for their preferred careers. Through this, they identify whether they are right for their chosen industry, and whether there are any gaps in their skillset that they can address.

Many of the students identify weaknesses upon which they can improve in order to stand a better chance of securing an entry-level job in a field they have targeted. Other students discover through researching career opportunities in various industries that their talents are actually better suited to roles they may not have previously considered.

“The marketing plan provides a wake up call for students – they realize that it’s not just enough to get good grades, they have to have a strategic plan for their career,” says Bus 343 course coordinator Jason Ho. “In addition to the strategic focus we want students to think about the tactical execution. We bring in industry professionals for the students to practice their one minute elevator pitch, and through the feedback they receive they are forced to think about the tactical message supporting their plan.”

For the first time this past semester, the Bus 343 class incorporated the Beedie Undergraduate Career Management Centre’s (CMC) Business Career Passport, a series of six mandatory workshops for Beedie undergraduate students focusing on elements of career management that they must complete before graduation.

A core component of the Business Career Passport involves preparing students for real world networking through a combination of a workshop led by the Beedie Undergraduate CMC and a mock-networking event with Beedie alumni and industry professionals. This past semester the component was integrated into the Bus 343 project, allowing students who had not yet completed the networking component of the Passport to fulfill its requirements.

The event offers students an invaluable opportunity to practice networking at a variety of tactical levels – from how to build their own professional network, to the appropriate level of eye contact to make.

“The professional development networking event showed how important it is to have a plan about what you are going to say about yourself in that setting,” says Beedie undergraduate student Tynan van Wyk. “Having the industry professionals on hand made us all think about how to present ourselves. In these networking settings you don’t know what people are going to ask about you, so the event made me realize the importance of setting goals when entering into this environment.”

The integration of the CMC networking component into the Bus 343 class underscores the Beedie School of Business’ commitment to combining theory with experiential learning.

“Marketing Me is a wonderful example of the Beedie School of Business’ approach towards putting business education into action,” says Lisa Higashi, manager of undergraduate careers at the Beedie School of Business’ Career Management Centre. “It encapsulates innovation, creativity, and experiential learning within the classroom. The networking component integrates theory with applied learning, and exposes students to a situation that many of them have no experience with, but which is a vital skill in the real world.”

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