After months of preparation Schmoozapalooza 2017, The Schmooze Express, has come to an end. This annual networking event for second year Marketing Communications students occurred Tuesday, January 17 and was an absolute success. As an attendee, I was blown away by the event and the fantastic job the BCITMA Professional Development committee did this year. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.
Leading up to Schmooze the committee in charge was hard at work organizing everything from sponsors, catering, silent auction items, and much more. They probably ate, slept, and breathed Schmooze. As the event planners, I’m sure they were stressed out about how it would all go, but I on the other hand, as an attendee, had my own nerves about what to expect.
Meet the Schmooze Team: Lauren Hutton, Joe Freeburn, Lesley McSweeney & Marlee Eheler
The weekend leading up to Schmooze I barely ate, couldn’t sleep, and had stared at my resume and cover letter for over 16 hours straight – I’m not kidding with that last one! I had been so nervous that I forgot that worrying about it would do nothing. As a person who had never excelled at networking before, I was consumed with the what ifs that could happen. Looking back, I wish that I had known what a fantastic and easy-going night it would be.
The Speed Networking
Thank you to the amazing Schmooze committee member who took on the job of collecting everyone’s top choices and then arranging the speed networking list. I am sure students were upset if they did not receive their top choices, but I’d have to say that not getting my number one benefited me in a way I did not expect. I was forced to open my mind and speak to companies I had not considered but should have.
As well, the short five-minute sessions with different industry professionals really helped to get the right energy going for the rest of the night. Five minutes might seem like a short amount of time, but in reality, you can develop a great conversation. I found myself prepared to ask hard questions, but once in the fast-paced environment, I leaned towards asking questions about positions and company culture. By doing this, I was able to create a conversation base to build on after speed networking and also see which companies I did not mesh with at all.
The Main Event
After Speed Networking, the real fun began. The room seemed to completely fill with students, alumni, and industry professionals and everyone was having a great time; a small part of that might have been that the bar opened up. The feelings of nerves finally dissipated as everyone delved into conversations while trying to woo their favourite companies.
The Schmooze floor was bustling full of excitement and energy
I personally didn’t leave Schmooze with an internship secured, or even an interview scheduled, but I wouldn’t have changed my process one bit. I left having had some great conversations, some not so great ones, and meeting wonderful industry professionals for which I was soon to become one. I can honestly say that this night was as unexpected as it was inspiring. The BCIT Marketing Communications program really knows how to do it right.
The Tips and Tricks
If you’re a first year Marketing Communications student and an eager beaver (aren’t we all?) then here are some tips and tricks I wish I had heard before attending Schmooze.
- Schmooze is not scary. Remember conversations will flow, and your nerves will go away as the night goes on.
- Just be yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not because I promise you, you will find your people.
- Do your research but don’t be scared to talk to company’s you aren’t prepared to speak with.
- Prepare an exit strategy to get away from companies or individuals you know you’re not a fit with. Some attendees found passing a business card over to be a great way to end a conversation without closing the door.
- Speed networking is not the be all end all. If you don’t get your top picks you still have hours to meet companies later at the remainder of the event.
- Sometimes the smartest questions aren’t always the best. People want to work with people they like and being remembered as the person who asked the smartest questions isn’t always the way to be remembered.
Thank you to the volunteers, the hardworking Schmooze team, and our sponsors BCIT School of Business, BCIT Alumni Association, 6S Marketing, Hemlock, Trialto British Columbia, and Field House Brewing Co. for a memorable night. I look forward to coming back to Schmooze 2018 as an industry professional and seeing all of the hard work pay off again.