- Feb 22, 2021
When it comes to careers, there is a world of opportunity.
That was the message for more than 450 Ivey and Western students at the third annual Western and Ivey Global Career Conference, which ran from February 17-19. The goal of the event was to showcase career opportunities in London, U.K., and Hong Kong. It was also a chance for students to hear about alumni’s experiences working abroad, and for alumni and firms to meet the next generation of talent.
“Ivey and Western's alumni network stretches around the globe, but few tangible opportunities have existed for students to begin their careers abroad,” said Ryley Mehta, HBA ’20, who is one of the co-organizers of the conference, along with Nicholas Mehta, HBA ’18; and Jordan Camilleri, HBA ’15. “We hope to continue to inspire students to think globally and international alumni to think Ivey and Western when recruiting new talent.”
The Western and Ivey Global Career Conference is supported by Ivey Career Management, Western Alumni, and the Ivey Alumni Network, along with two student clubs: Western Capital Markets and the Ivey International Business Club. It began in 2019 as a trip to London, U.K. over Reading Week to introduce students to alumni and firms in the U.K. This year, the conference pivoted to virtual format, which enabled more students, alumni, and firms to participate. Over three days, the conference featured more than 30 events, including panel sessions, workshops, and mini case competitions, and shared the perspectives of 50 alumni working in five different countries in a variety of industries.
The benefits of global experiences
The students also had a chance to hear from Ivey leaders about the benefits of working globally and some of the opportunities that exist. Chris Chan, Associate Dean, Asia, told the students about the rising career opportunities in Asia, particularly in innovation and technology or virtual banks. Ivey Dean Sharon Hodgson discussed her international experiences in the U.S., Asia, and Europe and how they made her a better leader.
“When you have global experience, you come at problems differently with a more grounded perspective to problem-solving. But I also think you learn a really important key skill. You learn to listen to gain perspective and appreciate diversity of thought because, in a global journey, you will be walking into lots of situations that are truly unknown and you must listen, and you must observe, to understand what's going on,” said Hodgson. “This is an invaluable skill, an undervalued skill, and a critical skill for you as leaders. I think international experience makes all leaders better leaders.”
She encouraged the students to be open-minded about career options and to not be afraid to take risks.
“Right now you are the most unencumbered you will be in your life … Be an intellectual athlete. Challenge yourself to learn and grow … The best way to really know what you want to do is to explore options and to try new things,” she said.
Expanded recruiting options
Ivey Career Management is one of the partners on the initiative. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, Executive Director for Career Management and Corporate Recruiting, said the conference will help with the globalization of recruiting at Ivey. By introducing students to opportunities in different regions and industries, Career Management will be able to add new markets and geographical locations to its portfolio.
“It’s a win-win-win because we get into more regions, we do more for our students, and we diversify the School’s footprint in terms of global recruiting. And it’s driven by alumni. I think it’s a fantastic move for the School,” she said.
Takeaways from the Global Career Conference
Here are just a couple of student takeaways from the event.
“After the pandemic, I started to realize how incidents happening on the other side of the earth can impact our lives heavily. I've always wanted to work in another culture and potentially experience a different lifestyle and this conference provided me with the opportunity to explore that.”
– Lauren Wang, HBA ’22 candidate
“I thought the conference was my best chance to understand various industries and professionals, develop my network, and find the best fit for me … I want to embrace all the possibilities, and choose the one that I am most interested in … One of the most important takeaways was about taking risks.”
– Logan Pan, HBA ’22 candidate
Thank you to the conference team
In addition to Jordan Camilleri, Nicholas Mehta, and Ryley Mehta, the full team of co-organizers also included Nicholas Tommasini, HBA ’21 candidate; and Caitlyn Liu, Chery Ma, and Selina Yang, all HBA ’22 candidates.
Share your experiences working internationally
The team is now looking to develop a multi-year strategy to build the initiative. Those looking to get involved in next year’s conference or support other global initiatives can reach out to Ryley Mehta.