Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Advertising & Marketing Week 2015

This article originally appeared on i-studentglobal on April 20, 2015

This year, I got an opportunity to attend FFWD Next Generation Agency Day, part of FFWD Advertising & Marketing Week, Toronto. This event runs for a week each year.  It consists of various workshops, seminars, leadership conferences, galas, keynotes, and panel presentations discussing the current trends and future of the advertising and marketing industry. This year, brands such as Yahoo! Canada, Toronto Star, Ipsos Reid, Twitter, NHL, ComScore, Google participated.

"I got an opportunity to attend
FFWD Next Generation Agency Day..."

The day started off early at TIFF Bell Lightbox with the registration process, followed by a light breakfast. I reached the venue early, as I was very excited to attend it. While I was waiting for my classmates from Humber’s Marketing Management program to arrive, I made new friends from other colleges in Toronto. There were approximately 300 students who had come to attend this event from all over Toronto and southern Ontario.

The first event was a panel discussion, which included professionals with at least six years of industry experience. It comprised people from Cossette, Real Interactive, Weber Shandwick, SapientNitro, and Padulo. The second panel consisted of people with one to three years’ experience. This panel was personally of high interest to me as it resonated more with where I am in my career. It had people from Ogilvy & Mather, One Advertising, MacLaren McCann, Media Experts, Juniper Park, etc.

"...I made new friends from other colleges in Toronto."
Both panels had a good mix of people—from account management to digital to production to media buying and planning. They mainly focused on their career history, how they got their first break, why they like working in this industry, and how they got their first job. They shared their life lessons and provided us with tips on how to get an internship in this industry.

"Both panels had a good mix of people..."
Some of their tips were eye-opening.  It taught me to not to over-think it and just dive into whatever opportunity you get. According to them, it usually takes two to three years to figure out what you truly like doing, and you only get to know that once you start working in that field. One of the tips that stood out to me from this panel was: Learn the culture of wherever you are applying to.  As much as the company is trying to find a good ‘fit’ for the team, it is equally important that you attempt to find out if the culture of that company is a good ‘fit’ for you!

For the second half of the day, all of us were taken to our respective assigned agencies. I was assigned to attend SapientNitro – a digital agency. The agency rep gave us a quick tour of the office. At a first glance, the agency with its rustic look was beautiful and elegant. To my surprise,theyhad roughly 400 employees in their Toronto office!

"...they had roughly 400 employees
in their Toronto office!"
Since all of us were hungry, we broke into a pizza lunch session with other staff from the agency. In no time, it became a small informal networking event. I got an opportunity to talk to various team members ranging from IT to digital marketing to account management department. The culture and the people in the agency were just amazing. I met one person, and that one person introduced me to her colleague, and the introduction chain helped me meet all of them in no time. I was so excited to learn about their stories that I did not get any time to eat! 

Similar to the first session, there were panel Q&A discussion sessions lined up for us at Sapient – one with experienced professionals and another one with recent hires. Both the sessions helped us to learn more about the agency and the kind of work they do.

Following these sessions, they had planned something interesting for us – a real time project to work on! We were asked to create a digital campaign for one of their clients. With only 45 minutes in hand, we were expected to brainstorm, come up with a campaign idea, plan the campaign, and prepare to present our ideas in front of the senior managers of the agency. The senior managers gave us valuable feedback on what they liked about our presentation, what we could improve on, how they would have solved the problem, etc.  This exercise truly gave us a real hands-on experience.

"...real hands-on experience."
This session made us put on our thinking hats, but hey, the day was not over yet! Along with my new friends, I headed towards the Pilot to attend the networking and social event organized by the event organizers.  It was a full-circle for us – we met our classmates again, and all of us had great stories and new friends to introduce to each other!

Some inspiring words from the event:

"We are and always will be an ideas-based economy."

"Revolve your life around trying to make an idea the best it can."

“You have 8 seconds to make or break your first impression in an interview!”

"If you give the client what they want, you are a waiter. Do you want to be a waiter or a chef?"

“If you do a great job, people will remember it and they'll remember you."

“Managing relationships will take you a long way.”

“Find your niche and be valuable!”

“Never say no & embrace the yes.”

Monday, April 20, 2015

Being Buried in the Snow!

By: Baneen Fatima, Design Foundation student at Humber College
This article originally appeared on i-stidentglobal on March 16, 2015

Camping is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their life. I have never personally been camping back home. I have been to desert safari and things like that (which was pretty epic btw), but I have never had the chance to build a fortress with snow or sit by warm fires and tell ghost stories. It was always fascinating to see things like that in movies and I would have never thought of doing so myself mostly because of the climatic restrictions to such activities.

Here, however, things are very different. It is strange how going to Humber College and living in Canada has changed my perspective on life and how I live it. For instance, I never travelled in buses or trains back home because there was always someone who could drive me or I would drive myself. I had never worried about my rent or paying my tuition on time or even getting enough groceries for the week. Ever since coming here I have found myself being more adult, more careful and more efficient. However, things are not so serious and boring all the time. Since I am becoming more mature in my day to day life, I also have more flexibility and opportunity to have fun. This brings me to the original topic that I wanted to talk about, the winter camping trip that I recently went to with Humber. Suffice to say – It was cold (well what else should I have expected?).

"This brings me to the original topic that
 I wanted to talk about..."
We went to Mcgregor Point Provincial Park and stayed there for a couple of days. There were around 20 people on this trip including one of our Student Advisors – Matthew Keefe. The first day, as soon as we arrived, we unpacked and got ready for a hiking experience. The guides gave us these weird looking strap–on shoes which were supposed to help us with walk on deep snow. So we strapped them on and started the day with a long hike. While walking like penguins (because of the shoes), we had conversations about birds and nature and trees and the beautiful outdoors in general. Some of us decided that it would be a good idea to race in these shoes. Keep in mind, dear readers, that most people in the group were in their 20’s – considerably younger than our guides and Matthew. So when we raced in the deep snow, pushing and falling while we were at it, most of us were out of breath before we even reached the finishing point. Not Matthew though. He not only managed to finish the race but was also the first one to do so. He then went on to making fun of us ‘young people’ who couldn’t beat him. That was embarrassing! I was probably one of the last people who ended up panting and heaving while just barely making it. Trust me, it is not easy walking on the snow, let alone running on it.

"The guides gave us these weird
looking strap-on shoes..."
After this embarrassing ordeal, we played the game called “Capture the flag”. This is where two different teams attempt to steal each other’s flag and bring it to their home base without getting caught by the other. Our team won the first two rounds of the game because we had the Mighty Matt on our side. It was an extremely fun way to stay warm because we were either running or we were anticipating the enemy to infiltrate our home base to grab the flag. I remember tackling one of the girls and throwing her in a large pile of snow because she was about to catch one of my team mates who was holding her team’s flag! It was so much fun! The best part was that after all the tackling and cheating and snow force-feeding, all of us came out laughing and pumped with adrenaline…. And hungry! We came back to the camp and got ready for dinner. I saw one of the guides chopping wood and I just wanted to give it a try. He helped me understand the need to have the proper stance in order to chop wood and not your feet. It was pretty cool, although knowing my temperament my friends asked the guides to keep the axes away from my sight. Teehee like I wouldn’t kill them if I didn’t have an axe with me.

"we came back to the camp..."
Anyway, so after my many failed attempts at chopping wood, we finally had a few pieces to start the fire. It got dark and we were given head torches in order to find our way around.

",,,we finally had a few pieces to start the fire..."
The next day we set off to make a Quincy – basically an Igloo except we don’t use ice bricks but compact snow. So the way it goes is that we had to gather A LOT of snow in one area and then compact it together then add more snow. When the snow was piled up, we would dig a tunnel through it and get enough space in the centre of the pile to make room for people to sleep. So we worked on it all night, well some of us anyway. Rest of us gathered near the fire to defrost ourselves while the food was warmed up on the stove. Since the group was made up of different people from different geographical, cultural and academic backgrounds, we introduced ourselves and got to know each other better.

"...we set off to make a Quincy..."
I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but I have always loved new cultures and things that operate in a different way than I know them to. It fascinates me to understand that one thing can have entirely different meanings in two different cultures. This was a great opportunity for me to meet with such people. I met with a student from China who could write in amazing Calligraphy. I met with a student who was multi-lingual and could write and speak around four languages. I met with adventurous people, I met with smart people, I met with daring people. It was a pretty unexpected combination of individuals who came together because of this trip and made this experience even more enticing.

"...a great opportunuty..."

So, what is the gist of this blog? My experience taught me that even if you don’t like the cold, you should still go on this trip. Not because we got to build a snow fort or because we had amazing people with us, but because of the quiet outdoors, because of the beautiful stars you get to gaze at…. And also because burying your friends in snow is pretty sweet!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

IMC International Masters Days 2015

By: Ted Glenn, Ph.D., Professor of Public Administration and Program Coordinator at The Business School, Humber College

Londes and Shulman
Student-centred learning. We talk a lot about it, but all-too-often our efforts to put students at the centre of our professional focus fall woefully short.  And the excuses we find over the course of a busy semester – not enough time in the day, scare resources and few supports are a few of the ones I hear, too often from my own mouth.

For the past two days, Humber colleagues Alain Londes, Melanie Shulman and myself have been attending IMC University of Applied Sciences Masters Days 2015 in Krems, Austria.  It is an annual conference put on to benefit IMC master-level students by putting professors from partner institutions worldwide into IMC classrooms for two jam-packed days of lectures, workshops and interactive presentations.  That’s right – a conference with faculty from around the globe brought in to benefit students. Talk about a commitment to student-centred learning!

This year, the continents are once again well-represented by the twenty-one faculty in attendance – for example, Sabine Janssen from the Netherlands did a great workshop on strategic problem-solving and business development, Tess Tan from Singapore challenged students to understand the changing role of international business ethics, Erik Vazquez Hernandez from Mexico lectured on how to optimize e-retail via social media, Sergey Chernikov from Russia engaged students to think about new business strategies to deal with changes in the world’s economy, and Fulbright scholar Mark Teachout showed students how to improve team performance.

I think we all agree that our time at Krems allowed us to extend the range of our academic community, learn about new topics, and see colleagues at their best in front of engaged students – a perspective we seldom get a chance to appreciate at home.  And, at least for me this year, IMC Krems really exemplified what student-centred learning can and should be about.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My First Hospitality Internship in Canada: Lessons Learned

By: Jenny Jeong, Tourism and Hospitality Management - Event Planning student at Humber
This article originally appeared on i-studentglobal on February 19, 2015

It’s my second year in the Tourism & Hospitality Management - Event Planning program at Humber College.  As part of the Hospitality program, students must do internships with companies to complete their program successfully.

Before October arrived, I prepared a professional cover letter and a resume that I have been developing throughout my previous school year at Humber. I also had to buy a formal suit and pants to wear for the interview to impress for success.

"I also had to buy a formal
suit and pants.."
 During the summer, I had a few internships and different jobs, but I was not certain about the career path I should take. However, I knew that I was always fond of meeting people and delivering exceptional customer service to clients. I liked the idea of working at different events while interacting with people to provide services to make their stay enjoyable.

"I was always fond of meeting people.."
When I was contemplating my internships, I tried to find out about my strengths and passion. With my professors’ and friends’ support, I realized I was interested in learning more about marketing, catering and sales at luxurious hotels in downtown Toronto.

I applied at the Hilton, Trump Hotel, InterContinental Hotel, Starwood Hotel and Resorts and so on. I had a few interviews at different hotels, but some hotels weren’t the right fit for me. When I was hesitating with my decisions, time was not waiting for me. I lost some internship opportunities on my way, but I knew that wasn’t the end of the world. I kept applying for different internships and finally got a call from Starwood Hotel and Resorts. I was lucky to get an interview at one of Starwood’s hotels: Sheraton Gateway Hotel near Toronto Pearson International Airport.

On the day of the interview, I was very nervous, but determined to get an internship with Sheraton. I kept telling myself to be confident and be myself. It was nerve-racking to wait for my turn to interview while competing with other students from different colleges.

When my name was called, I walked into the room to meet with the Director of Catering, Albert. I smiled and made myself feel comfortable with the questions he asked me. As a young emerging leader, I always have big dreams. During the interview, I talked about my passion for the events and hospitality industries and how my outgoing personality will make a difference to customers who come to stay at the Sheraton Hotel.

After I finished my interview, I sent a thank you letter and added the interviewer on LinkedIn. Surprisingly, when I was checking my email, I was happy to receive one from Sheraton offering me an internship opportunity.

"...my passion for the events and hospitality.."

I am thankful for the opportunities I have gained through Humber College, and I cannot wait until my real adventure begins next semester.

I also have a few tips for international students trying to get their first internship.

  1. Be comfortable with your strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Be confident in what you can do to make a difference to the company.
  3. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and try something you never thought you could do.
  4. Find the value in every Canadian work experience and volunteer opportunity.

    Good luck!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Humber Alumna an Early Express Entry Success

International alumna, now permanent resident, recognized at special ceremony

Yaoyao (right) graduated from Humber in 2013.

TORONTO, Ontario – April 10, 2015 – Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning celebrated an international alumna, Yaoyao (Anita) Zheng, becoming a permanent resident at a ceremony in Toronto today. She is one of the first to succeed through the new Express Entry system, launched by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in January 2015.

Many of Humber’s international graduates have become permanent residents and citizens of Canada in the past. Zheng, selected in the new system’s first draw, is an early Express Entry success among Humber alumni as well as among international postsecondary graduates across Canada.

The Express Entry system brings together several economic immigration programs, using a point system to select top ranking candidates. Zheng—who graduated with a postgraduate certificate in Supply Chain Management in 2013—applied for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class, which assigns points for factors such as skilled work experience, education, and language ability. Her program is one of Humber’s 160 career-focused options that help students develop the skills they need for a successful career in Canada.

“We are so happy for Yaoyao,” said Diane Simpson, Dean, International. “Many of our more than 3400 international students hope to stay in Canada after graduation. Her early success under Express Entry shows how valuable international students are to the Canadian workforce and how relevant Humber’s programs are to industry. We look forward to more positive news of Humber’s career-ready graduates being invited to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry.”

Canada welcomes first permanent residents under Express Entry

This post originally appeared as a news release on the Government of Canada website.
Express Entry working to make top international talent permanent residents

April 10, 2015 — Toronto — Changes to Canada’s economic immigration system are proving successful in selecting people needed in Canada’s economy and giving them permanent resident status quickly. Just three months after the launch of Express Entry, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander welcomed three of the first Express Entry candidates to become Canadian permanent residents—Emma Hughes, Yaoyao (Anita) Zheng and Xin (Frank) Zhao.

Hughes is a successful candidate from Ireland who applied under the Federal Skilled Worker stream. She now works as an application scientist for EcoSynthetix in Burlington, Ontario.

Zheng and Zhao were both international students who applied under the Canadian Experience Class. Zheng came to Canada from China and in 2012 she graduated in Supply Chain Management from Humber College. Today, she works as a dispatch logistician at DMA Logistics in Mississauga, Ontario.

Zhao also came to Canada from China as an international student and graduated in 2003 from Mohawk College in business accounting. Zhao is currently employed at Wing on New Group Canada, in Markham, Ontario.

Launched in January, Express Entry is a new way of managing applications for Canada’s key economic immigration programs. Candidates create an online profile and express their interest in coming to Canada permanently. Candidates who meet the minimum criteria are accepted into the pool and ranked according to various factors, including language proficiency, education and work experience. Each is a leading indicator of one’s likelihood of integrating fully and quickly into Canadian society and making an optimal contribution to the economy.

Quick facts

6,851 Express Entry candidates have received an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Most complete electronic applications under Express Entry will be processed in six months or less.
International students are well placed for success under the Express Entry system because of their high education, Canadian work experience, strong official language skills and youth. They can transition to permanent residence through any of the programs under Express Entry for which they meet the requirements, including the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Provincial Nominee Programs.

“I’m very pleased to welcome some of our very first Canadian permanent residents under Express Entry—Emma, Anita and Frank—and the many more to follow in their footsteps. As they build their life permanently in Canada, their skills and experience will bring them much success and also help to contribute to the Canadian economy.”

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister

“Not too long ago highly qualified candidates had to wait at the back of a very long lineup before being considered for permanent residence. Under Express Entry we can now select the best candidates with skills our labour market needs and they’ll arrive in Canada, ready to contribute to our economy and communities more quickly.”

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister