Arts & Science students meet and mingle with alumni at b2B Industry Nights
An Arts & Science degree can take undergraduate students anywhere they want to go and the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) program wants to show them how.
Back for its 12th year, b2B offers Arts & Science students the opportunity to meet, mingle, network and discuss life after graduation with alumni and faculty members — people who’ve been in their shoes.
“b2B helps students understand their education in a broader context and allows them to network and speak with alumni volunteers who can offer guidance, career advice and encouragement,” said Clare Gilderdale, manager, alumni engagement in the Faculty of Arts & Science. “This contributes to a sense of community for our students and an understanding that this community extends beyond their expected date of graduation.”
And it’s that sense of community that has led to more than 1,000 students and 300 alumni volunteers representing 44 academic units taking part in b2B events in the 2017-18 academic year alone.
This past November, the Faculty of Arts & Science ran four b2B Industry Night events over two evenings, connecting students and alumni from government and social justice, business and finance, law and health sciences streams.
“This b2B event allowed me to network and communicate with alumni coming from different companies with diverse positions,” said Wensi Lu, a fourth-year economics student. “I found it very helpful because I got to explore different opportunities and listen to alumni’s experiences and advice. This was definitely a very efficient and meaningful networking event to connect with people with the same interests and passion.”
But events like b2B Industry Nights are also significant for U of T alumni looking to give back to their community.
“I was very impressed with the thoughtfulness and enthusiasm of the students I met,” said Christopher Ezrin, counsel in the Government of Canada’s Department of Justice. “I was also impressed by what I learned about the students themselves – plus it was nice to get back on campus.”
It’s these connections that the Faculty of Arts & Science sees as an important part of a student’s professional success.
“The connections between alumni and students that are formed at these events are deeply meaningful and have a very tangible impact on our students – and sometimes on our alumni,” said Gilderdale. “I love that my job affords me the opportunity to see these connections being made and to hear stories of the lasting effect as our students graduate and find success in their own professional lives.”
The Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) program is sponsored by Manulife, a U of T Affinity Partner. Manulife supports alumni and student initiatives across the University and its contribution allows the Faculty to hold large-scale events that bring together alumni and students to forge important connections.