1. As of March 10th, I began to document my last month before graduation through a “G minus” countdown, whereby I would capture a picture a day with the same text. The name came from the commonly used “T minus” to denote the time until a certain date (usually a bomb? :/ ). I chose March 10th because it was the Monday after Reading Week, and as a result was a marker of the last stretch before graduation. Also, that was the day of my last midterm, which made me realize that the “lasts” were beginning. 

    Though it is clear that my intention with this project is to capture the last memories of Bronfman, I also intend to capture authentic moments. A lot of what’s on social media is glorified to represent only the best of people’s lives. I want to take pictures of moments in my day that I would make an effort to remember - be it an awe-inducing free speech by the co-founder of Reddit in our very school, a team picture of the students that made my year so amazing, or staying up late on a Friday night to watch marketing case presentations. Hopefully this means you won’t be seeing Instagrams of nail polish, clothing, or plates of food.

    …My only regret is not having a better quality camera (damn you, iPad camera!). 

     

  2. Whiteboard Diagram: Why Work > School

    Disclaimer: the set of categories for school is entirely my own (some students aren’t involved, or have different priorities), and I don’t know what working full-time is like yet. So this can be ENTIRELY wrong. This diagram is only a current theory that shall be revisited.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love school. I’ve learned so much, and been exposed to so many opportunities because of this wonderful institution. I just think that I’ve lost a significant amount of efficiency, efficiency that I hope to gain working at a job. 

    Each arrow is a certain task that needs to be completed, and each set of arrows is the share of my mind. Their length denotes the important of the task. The numbers they point to are the different goals. For example, my goal with building my school club is completely different than my academic goal. Sometimes (more like all the time), these goals go against one another when I’m strapped for time, which forces me to prioritize and sacrifice an arrow. Another dimension that isn’t drawn out is that my favourability: how much I like or dislike a project. To top it all off, all I’m losing money while doing all of this.

    At work, I believe that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Though there will be quite the wide variety of tasks, they will all have the same goal: contributing to the company. Furthermore, these tasks will be performed in an office environment (and not at my own leisure, where I can get insanely distracted), and they will all hopefully be tasks that I enjoy and excel at performing. Motivation also comes into the picture. At school, our motivation to perform is quite short-term: our courses end in 4 months and our extracurricular involvements last up to a year. But a job? If you screw up, it will stay with you for the rest of your 45-year career. And oh yeah, salaries!

    Realizing this has made me all the more excited to work. It also brought out the importance of working for a company you believe. If there is only one goal you’re working towards in the office, and it better be one that motivates you. 

     

  3. Job Search Strategies: Standardized or Customized?

    I have been building up my career, activities, internships, and resume for this time of year: recruitment. However, with five courses and a club being current priorities, job applications have taken the back burner. The two main roads to take with regards to job search strategies are the following:

    1. Apply everywhere with the same cover letter
    2. Spend a lot of time on the few jobs you really, REALLY want

    I had been trying the latter because, as someone who has been on the other side of the table, I know that creating a convincing, customized application highly increases the chances of getting the position. But there are so many steps in the recruitment process - what if they’re just looking for the key words? What if they don’t even read it? Wouldn’t you rather just get your foot in the door? With that in mind, I had spent the last week crafting a sample cover letter (which I did not have) to send to any and every marketing position demanding 3 years or less of experience.

    Plot twist: after speaking to my dear friend Andrea (who went through the recruitment process in London) and my previous boss Arjun (who is currently going through the same process for Toronto), I’ve gotten a reality check. As with any product, the more tailored to the consumer the better. My friends pointed out that, though the customized route will take longer, the results will be so much more rewarding. Wouldn’t you do everything you could to land your dream job? Given that I am (according to others) the type of person to go head over heels for something I want, the standardized approach isn’t something that fits with my profile. Furthermore, applying to organizations I wouldn’t see myself in is a waste of time for both myself and the employer, a lose-lose situation.

    To conclude, I’ve decided to focus on jobs that I really see myself in. Even if it takes me 6 months after graduation to find, I will do everything to make my first job my dream job. :) 

     

  4. Self-Confidence: Can I Borrow Some of Yours?

    What are your strengths and weaknesses?

    My answers to this age-old interview question are constantly changing. I attribute this indecisiveness to my major weakness: self-confidence. Twice yesterday, I was told that I underestimate myself. The result is that I am humble for the most part (strength!), but then I either don’t reach for opportunities, or don’t perform to my fullest due to apprehension. And because I lack this self-confidence, I never see my actual strengths (unless they are pointed out by others).

    I wonder, where was I supposed to gain this self-confidence? My upbringing and academic environment can be blamed, but what if I was supposed to acquire these by myself? Or you know what - what if it’s because I’m female? It’s known that as a gender, we put ourselves down for no reason.

    Either way, the point is that I have been living with a dearth of self-confidence for almost my entire life. The time has come for me to realize that I have plenty of strengths, and to discover them for myself. Graduation is nearing, and so is ~real life~. I don’t want to get trampled on through office politics while I try my best, just because I was too afraid to do something. It scares me so very much that my lack of confidence will have a significant impact on my being when I leave the safe, nourishing academic ecosystem.

    A mistake I’m sure I’m making is that I often confuse confidence with ego. Whenever I feel like I’m on top of the world, I tell myself to stop. “This feeling is bad, it isn’t right, don’t get too cocky”. These feelings often come through an external validation, be it someone appointing me to a position, an award, or a letter grade. I feel that this is what fuels ego, not confidence. Yes, someone believed in me and saw my strength, but those results should not be what defines my self-confidence, no?

    However, I do recognize that I am 21 years old - these thoughts are supposed to occur. I’m trying to figure out “who I am” (cliché much?), as is my entire age cohort. In writing this post, I’m trying to get myself to realize that my lacking self-confidence is real, important, and modifiable. I have to find a healthy level, and put the effort into reaching it before it gets the better of me.

     

  5. Graduation: The Bright Side

    As I research for my paper on female leadership, I can’t help but feel excited for what’s to come. My Business in Society professor touched upon this last class: “in this building (Bronfman), you’re taught to live one kind of life. Realize that when you leave this building, you can imagine and live any kind of life you want to”.

    We have decades upon decades to create our impact on society. There is so much more to life than working job after job, and I’m genuinely excited for the infinite range of possibilities. With 5 courses occupying our student lives, the days get filled very quickly with academia and not much else. But when we graduate and have a steady income, we can start our own companies, attend conferences, volunteer, have multiple jobs, and so much more! 

    This sudden surge of enthusiasm came when I came upon Lori Senecal's profile through this Forbes article. Her accomplishments and titles astound me to no end, and so do her thoughts and experiences on female leadership. Then I scrolled down her LinkedIn profile and realized that she, too, pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. 

    It’s hard as women and undergraduate students to remind ourselves that we have endless potential. We put ourselves down, compare ourselves to our peers, and quantify our performance through our GPA. But I strongly believe that each and every one of us can make a significant impact in this world, no matter the GPA or gender. We can all be Lori. We can all achieve our goals and dreams. 

    TL;DR - Eileen can’t wait to graduate; everyone has potential to create their own life.

     

  6. Achieving Balance, Guaranteeing (Student) Success

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    Students each have their perception of the formula to success; this blog post is about my own theory. I think that there are 3 variables: GPA, work, and extracurriculars. If you a sizeable amount of eggs in all these baskets, you can achieve your career goals. 

    GPA: having a 4.0 in business school does not guarantee you a job. The most it can demonstrate is your ability to cope with a ton of information, and your time management skills. It leaves out teamwork, exposure to the actual industry, any passions you might have, and so much more. The most important factor that I think the GPA leaves out is leadership. Those who can rise up the corporate ladders of this world have initiative, leadership, and management skills; none of these assets are shown in your 2-decimal number. However, this number has meaning to it that will (well, should) not be overlooked by employers. The professors that are teaching us are experts in their field; as a result, the marks they hand out have quite the credibility. In marketing, at least 80% of our marks are project-based because the real world works that way. If the class average is curved down to a B and your group got an A, it means that in the real world, your project would have been chosen.

    Work: some students have some insane internships under their belt, and some don’t. The internships you score could come from your family’s connections, a lucky networking cocktail, or your blood, sweat, and…cover letter. Because there are so many factors that play into your work experience attainment, I think the emphasis should be put on what was actually achieved and learned throughout your 1-4 months. In our student lives, we function in a small environment where there are only so many cause and effect relationships. We study business, but we rarely apply it. Work experience allows you to have more on the line - money, your job, your reputation, and more. You also learn to navigate different corporate cultures, generation gaps, cultural backgrounds, and hierarchies. At school, people are either young adults or seasoned educators, but nothing in between. To conclude, I think students should look for as much work experience as possible in their academic life, in order to learn about work preferences before locking oneself into a full-time job upon graduation.

    Extracurriculars: I love extracurriculars. My adolescent life has revolved around schools clubs because of the social aspect, the acquired skills, and especially the uniting-for-a-common-purpose bit. I just don’t think they should be the focus of your university life. There’s only so much you can learn from organizing events for students; after holding logistics, communications, and sponsorship positions I can say that my learning curve has plateau-ed. Additionally, the esteemed President position of any group is only as strong as you make it. Anyone can create their own club and run events, but what did he/she do to better the club? To add value towards the mission? Extracurricular life, as the MUS President likes to say, is like a sandbox for us business students. We can screw up, experiment, and learn without the consequences of the real world. The next-level extracurricular activities you can involve yourself with are out-of-campus events (conferences, festivals) or even creating your own business (which ties into work) - these are ideal, as they tie in multiple factors, and because fewer students will pursue this route.

    To be truly well-rounded as a business student, two of the three can be enough. But to have no regrets about your resource allocation, I think all three must be pursued equally. Try hard in school, have a club or two that you’re really passionate about, and get yourself some work experience to become a business student with no regrets.

    PS: The personality factor was left out of the mix because I believe every personality suits a company, or a few companies. It’s all about fit, and there is no one personality that will fit with every company. If you have enough GPA, work experience and extracurricular activity, finding companies that fit you should not be a problem.

    PPS: Staying up to date with business news becomes almost mandatory by the final year! Start early, be business-savvy.

     
  7. Sure you’d expect #hashtags to appear on advertisements, campaigns, as slogans, and on anything company-created. Over the past few months, hashtags have been appearing in the most mainstream music possible (see pictures) in song titles, music videos and album covers. Billboard analyzed the trend back in May, and concluded that its raw use is purely promotional but is not necessarily translating into sales - after all, the actual music has to be worth listening to. I can understand that hashtags are a great way to organize all current conversations with a click of a button, but is the blatant promotion a little too…overdone? Is it not more tactful to create a slogan-esque hashtag (ex: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ #sharkfacegang) that unites its fanbase in a more indirect way? Even #wopnation as opposed to plain old #wop is a much more clever use of the hashtag. 

    The hashtag is a useful social media tool that connects regular users to each other with a Shift + 3 and a click of a button. It’s spreading like wildfire (Faceook, Eventbrite, Tumblr, etc.). And now it’s going off the internet onto TV screens, posters, billboards, and more. Will it get overwhelming? Will consumers get tired of looking at those 4 intersected lines? That’s what I’m wondering.

     
  8. Yesterday, I went on a run for the first time in…let’s not go there.

    Anyhow, I was panting my way up Mount Royal in a sea of tall trees when suddenly, they opened up and revealed the most spectacular view of a sunset on Beaver Lake. But it wasn’t just any sunset. It was this glimmering vortex of stunning pink and orange clouds embedded with shimmers of gold reflections, on a background of electric blue twilight. At its epicentre was the Beaver Lake house (foyer? main building?), where a large group of people were dancing in a circle to folk music. Every second that passed was pregnant with happiness, beauty, and serenity. 

    There was only one problem: I couldn’t capture it. A wave of anger consumed me as I realized that my phone/music device’s camera hadn’t been working for a year. I felt the need to tell everyone about this majestic scene I was witnessing. This needed to be filtered on Instagram, hashtagged everywhere, posted to everyone’s feeds. Instead, I called a friend and spent a good 10 minutes on the mosquito-ridden grass describing what was on top, in front, and all around me. 

    It saddens me to think that we witness life’s great moments behind our devices so that we can validate it and share it to the world. It didn’t happen if we didn’t post about it.

    We don’t take the time to let these moments sink into our minds. We don’t let memories form around them, we let the memory cards do it for us. Moments in life are now measured by how many likes they can gather, not by the value they add to your life. We go to concerts and spend more time taking videos and pictures of it than listening to the artists we admire so much. We go to foreign cities and take thousands of pictures so our friends can be jealous. We take pictures of food to say “look at what I can afford” or “look at what I can cook”. 

    Do we have to announce everything we’re doing to the world? I am vested in the power of social media for its ability to spread ideas, create communities, and inspire change. But what of the social and cultural effects - our habits have changed completely since we’ve been able to publicly document every step we take (literally - have you seen the amount of people saying “lol just woke up” on Twitter??). 

    Ironically, I grabbed this (extremely filtered) picture of the exact sunset I was describing from Instagram (user rudebo11). Whatever. It looks, sounds, and feels better in my memories. 

     

  9. What is my passion?

    People throw this “p” word around constantly. Go for what you’re passionate about, show that you’re passionate, be passionate in what you do. In an interview last October, the employer asked me: “what are your passions?” and I couldn’t deliver a response that was true to myself. He was looking for a response like “oh I have a food blog” or “I loooove traveling”, but honestly, I don’t think those sorts of themes can be passions. These are interests that come and go, and unless you can tap into the emotional aspect of it that fascinates and moves you, you can’t define these as “passions”.

    Since then, my brows have been furrowed asking myself: “what are you passionate about?” Google’s definition (yes, I went there) says that it is a strong, barely controllable emotion. My emotions get out of hand when I’m exposed to either 1. something that isn’t fair; 2. someone doing something about what isn’t fair. Example: I always, without fault, cry at conferences centred around environmental or social issues. 

    But then, the line between passion and values blurs. I value equality, but can equality be my passion? Making the world different and better: isn’t that a purpose more than it is a passion?

    Someone, please help :( #lost

    Also, here’s a blog post that I wrote 2 years ago on my previous tumblr that I think is still very true to this day: bit.ly/1ag9tYf

     

  10. When you have the internet at your fingertips, what do you end up on?

    I spent this sunny summer Saturday stuck inside and online. 

    After 11 hours of scouring the internet’s plethora of information, this is a summary of what I wound up on:

    Unintentionally, I built upon my goal of self-discovery via my browser history. The topics I loved reading about were of personal growth, happiness, cool new things on the internet, and marketing secrets. 

    Though my Facebook friends posted pictures and statuses of themselves traveling, partying, tanning, and have a dandy outdoorsy day, I felt rather satisfied knowing that I’d go to sleep more knowledgeable of the world around me, and myself, than I did yesterday.

    The way I discovered and processed information was like so: I would find an article (either on Facebook or Twitter), which would either lead me to other articles, or ring a bell and prompt a google search. It wasn’t long before I had 20320293839 tabs open in Google Chrome. I then ADHD’d my way through all of them, until very few were left. When I found content that reminded me of certain people, (a startup marketing 101 event, or a podcast about retail marketing) I sent it their way.

    I feel that I could have thought more critically about all of the information, instead of just taking it as is. Thinking critically and forming my own ideas has come mostly when prompted to do so, either in an argument, discussion, or testing situation. Generating these ideas naturally has to be acquired, and that is something I shall definitely work on.

    It has been a refreshing day of sitting, typing, and reading on my chair. I encourage anyone reading this (does anyone read my blog at all?…) to take some time to be alone and surf the internet for a long, long period of time.