Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Art of Networking - Tips & Tricks

        Whether you're a student in your first year, or preparing to graduate, there are many benefits to be gained from attending various networking
or mix & mingle events. These events offer you the opportunity to connect with peers as well as professionals in your field. These events are opportunities to expand your network, explore your field, as well as a chance to get answers to your questions from people who have first hand experience and knowledge.

        Of course, we understand that going to networking events can be an intimidating experience. This article from The Muse offers tips for navigating your first networking event. Here are a few stand out tips from the article that are useful, even if it isn't your first time at a networking event!

        - Have a goal: be informed before you attend
          Before attending a networking event, it's a good idea to be aware
          of your motivation for going; ask yourself what you're hoping to
          accomplish by attending, and what questions you'd like to ask, and
          who you'll potentially be connecting with. A little bit of research
          before attending may be a good idea, so you show up to the event
          well-informed. Consider taking the time to learn some information
          about professionals that are attending by looking up information
          about the company they work for, or seeing if they have professional
          profiles on sites such as Linkedin.

        - Show sincerity and interest
          It's always a good to have an idea of what questions you'd like to ask,
          or what information you'd like to get during these events. Also, don't
          be afraid to ask them questions about what they do, and how they've
          enjoyed their experiences in the field!

        - Dress to impress!
          While you are a student, it's still a good idea to put effort into looking
          well put together, rather than disheveled or disorganized. At these
          events, you will be connecting with professors and other
          professionals. Making a good first impression is always a positive!
          Also make sure you're comfortable; this will help you feel, and exude,

         Formal networking events aren't the only times that you can put these tips to use. You may find yourself in other situations or events where the opportunity to network and make connections arises! A few months ago, I was attending the Student Leaders Reception, and I took it as an opportunity to make connections with various Professors, Directors, and members of the UTSC Administration. In instances like these, it's important to remain sincere and interested. Don't hesitate to start a conversation with someone and share your interests, as well as learn more about theirs!

        As you may already know, March at UTSC is Choosing Your Program Month, and there are a ton of events and fairs taking place to help you decide which program(s) are right for you! Here are some networking, and mix & mingle events being held as part of Choosing Your Program Month:
        - Science Networking Night: Thursday, March 26th
          from 5:00-8:00 pm in the IC Atrium

        - Centre for French and Linguistics Mix & Mingle:
          Thursday, March 26th from 2:00-4:00 pm in room MW 130

To sign up for these events, visit the "Events Calendar" on! For a full list of events, click here.

Happy networking!

Ling Lam


Friday, March 6, 2015

Entrepreneur Expo: The Programs

     Last week, I told you about the experience of Entrepreneur Expo. This week, I’d like to tell you about some of the programs different companies offer to students looking to expand their knowledge of entrepreneurship or looking to start their own company

 1.    Mitacs : Step Program
Who: For current graduate students and graduate students that graduated within two years time.

You can register for workshops on topics such as career professionalism, time management, networking skills, project management, etc. The best part? All workshops are free for eligible students. Mitacs hopes to bridge the gap between university learning and career success by offering students these workshops. They are currently offered all over Canada.

 2.     Enterprise Toronto: Starter Company
Who: Canadians/Permanent residents ages 18-29, part-time students or employed part-time.

Enterprise Toronto can give you a grant up to five thousand dollars to start your company. They will also provide mentoring services, a comprehensive training program, and guidance from a business advisor. Even if your company is not selected for the grant, you can still receive the mentoring and training. Your business must also be run and operated in Ontario. The website also has a lot of useful resources, such as this guide on how to create a business plan.

 3.     OCE: SmartStart Seed Fund
Who: Entrepreneurs ages 18-29 that have technology or innovation based start-ups.

What this program emphasizes is transitioning your existing venture from its early developmental stages into a company ready to enter the market. The program offers up to $30,000 in financing as long as you match the contribution they make. However, some expenses are deemed ineligible for funding. The SmartStart Seed Fund is ideal if you are looking to expand your business while learning from industry professionals.

 4.     Ontario Government: Summer Company
Who: 15-29 year old citizens of Canada (or permanent residents), not running another business or working another job. Check your eligibility here.

You could receive a maximum grant of three thousand dollars to start your summer business venture. Registration is now open, and the last day to apply is May 8, 2015.  Mentorship from other business leaders is included in the program as well. Summer Company is very competitive, but a plausible business plan will be your first step towards getting into this program. A tip from a representative is to allocate more funds towards marketing and less towards equipment; marketing is what will get you noticed!

            Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March is Choosing Your Program Month! 

Are you a first or second year student having a hard time deciding what program to choose?  Are you not satisfied with your existing program and looking to switch to a different program?  If so, do not worry as you are not the only student going through the same decision making process.

Questions you Should ask Yourself:

There are many factors to consider when choosing what program to pursue for your undergraduate degree.  Firstly, lets take a look at a few questions to ask yourself before making a decision:

1) Where do my Interests Lie?

Studying a program which you are genuinely interested in, allows you to be much more engaged in your studies; and will result in higher grades on your transcript.  Studying a program which interests you will also make your university experience much more positive and enjoyable. 

2)  What are my Strengths? 

It's a great idea to analyze what you are good at to help you realistically choose what program is best for you.  Are you good with numbers, research, writing, creative thinking, etc?  Knowing what your strengths are and comparing them to the strengths required by the program you wish to study, enables you to make a more informed and practical decision.    

3)  What Career Opportunities will this Program Provide?

Often times it is helpful to picture what career you see yourself having in the future before choosing what program is best for you.  Doing some research on the education requirements necessary for the career you wish to pursue will help you get that much closer to your dream job.


To get some more tips on how to make a better decision with regards to choosing your program, check out the "Choosing Your Program" Tip Sheet.

Resources Available Throughout the Month of March:

AA&CC Events:

The Academic Advising & Career Centre will be hosting various events and workshops throughout the month of March to help and guide students as they explore options before making a final decision.  To name a few:

  • AA&CC Open House: Kick-Off Event
  • Workshop - Choosing Your Program (Sign up on CLN)
  • Online 1 on 1 Chat Sessions with an Advising & Learning Strategist
  • Online Group Chat Sessions facilitated by a Career Counselor and Advising & Learning Strategist

Departmental Events:

On March 30th & 31st, representatives including Program Supervisors and other staff members from various departments will have tables set up in the Meeting Place for the Choosing Fair.  At this event, students will have the opportunity to meet staff and ask specific questions that they may have about the different programs; allowing them to be better equipped to make an informed decision regarding their program.  

Aside from the Choosing Fair, departments will also be holding:

  • Information Sessions
  • Networking Events
  • Drop-in office hours  

For more information on dates, locations and times, visit: 

Feel free to visit to sign up for any events, or come by our office at AC213 to book an appointment.

For more information about the Academic Advising & Career Centre, visit  

Good luck choosing your program! Until next time,

Klarrissa Antony