One of the major advantages of studying at the Ted Rogers School of Management is its prime location in the heart of downtown Toronto, next to Canada’s largest and most important financial district. Besides being close to great restaurants and cafes, sporting events, tourist attractions, and more, we’re located right among the Canadian and global headquarters of some of the world’s leading businesses. This is a huge advantage for students who choose to pursue TRSM’s co-op education.
As a co-op student, I’ve been able to take advantage of this access to some of the best companies in the world. I did my first two work terms as a co-op student at Manulife Financial, and it has been fantastic to be able to get some real industry experience at a leading company while still a student.
In recognition of the opportunities provided by co-op, the Ryerson University Co-op Students’ Association (RUCSA) created the annual Industry Appreciation Gala. We held our third annual gala on March 31, 2016, at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. It was a huge success and won the Best Professional Event award at this year’s RCS Student Group Awards.
The purpose of the Industry Appreciation Gala is to give back to our co-op employers for all the learning and career opportunities they provided to us over our work terms. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today, with the amount of exposure, experience and opportunities to lead at our workplace – all while still students. The gala focused on these great people, ensuring they were treated as royalty as soon as they walk through the doors.
The speakers’ list was designed to share the co-op experience from multiple perspectives. We heard from the President of RUCSA, who shared his co-op journey over his 5 work terms, from Associate Dean Liz Evans who shared news of all 10 programs in TRSM now adopting a co-op program, then lastly Dean Stephen Murphy who spoke about how great it is that co-op helps students apply what they learn in the classroom to a real work environment.
The gala focused on attracting employers to Ryerson by allowing co‐op students to show their appreciation to managers and organizations that have made a difference in their professional development. In order to make the professionals feel truly appreciated, RUCSA took this year’s gala to another level and implemented a raffle for industry professionals, provided gifts and handed out personalized plaques to each manager who was nominated by a student.
We also made sure we held it at a venue that would reflect our appreciation. RUCSA spent a solid few months finalizing the venue and managed to secure the Toronto Region Board of Trade, located in First Canadian Place – one of the marquee buildings in Toronto’s financial district, and the perfect location for our high-profile guests. It took a few months of planning: everything from centerpieces to invitations and choosing our entertainment. When your guests include representatives from over 25 leading companies including RBC, TD Bank, Deloitte, Toronto Hydro, Oxford Properties, Nurun, IBM, and many more – you have to make sure the quality of the event reflects the importance of the attendees.
The Industry Appreciation Gala was the most successful event we organized all year. We had a 95 percent attendance rate, with 144 total guests including 50 industry professionals joining in the celebration with students.
We were extremely happy with the feedback we got from attendees, including TRSM Associate Dean Elizabeth Evans, who said, “It was an excellent event. I’ve been telling everyone that I think it is among the best events that TRSM Students organize and one of the few, if not the only, truly industry-focused celebration.”
Jennifer Reynolds, a supervisor at Toronto Hydro, was also impressed: “Congratulations on a spectacular event. I’ve been to hundreds of events and your event was first class. I appreciate the recognition of my mentorship.”
As a collaborative effort between RUCSA, Ryerson’s Co-op Office, the TRSM Dean’s Office, Ryerson Commerce Society, Business Career Hub and Paper Plane, I was truly overjoyed to hear the positive reception of the event. I am excited to see how we can provide an even better experience for our industry professionals next year.