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The UTSC Management Café gave me a new perspective on my future career path

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Erynn Mayes
Ten Thousand Coffees Team -
December 10, 2019

Canada is facing a quiet crisis.

In the coming decade, half of all jobs will be disrupted by technology and automation. Some will change dramatically. Others will disappear completely, replaced by jobs that are yet to be invented. This is what the future of work looks like in Canada, and today’s youth are underprepared. In fact, while 83% of educators feel youth are prepared for work only 34% of employers and 44% of youth agree.

Ten Thousand Coffees, in partnership with RBC is working with over 60 post-secondary schools across Canada to provide our world class networking software to connect youth and alumni to facilitate career-changing conversations. Our goal is to enable every student and alumni to grow their network, navigate their career, and prepare for the future of work.

Why networking?

When you have a diverse network, it allows you to tap into other professionals’ smart thinking, accelerates your career, and helps answer important questions as you navigate current and future opportunities.

Student Interview

Olga Popova, 19, is a BBA Candidate at the University of Toronto, Scarborough campus. She joined the UTSC Management Cafe in April 2019 and shares her experience of networking through Ten Thousand Coffees with us.

What have been some of your experiences on Ten Thousand Coffees?

I recently went on a coffee chat with a director of business development in a medium/small sized organization. He talked about his role and the organization he works for. He explained that after university he was initially going to go into finance, and never expected to be working in his current field at a smaller organization. The conversation was really interesting and it gave me a new perspective on working at a smaller company. I have always been really interested in big companies like Apple or Google, because they are international and have great reputations. Through out the conversation I learned that in a smaller company, you are given more roles and responsibilities early on, which helps expand your skill set. This conversation gave me insight into what I want to do in the future and encouraged me to try and experience different business positions.

Did you receive advice on how to get a job after University?

Yes! On the coffee chat, we spoke about our university’s co-op program. He told me that he was in the same co-op program I am in during his time at university. He explained that the co-op experience really helped him in terms of getting a job. I'm hoping that through my co-op work terms at school I will experience different fields of business and see what suits me best. I think that will give me a better idea of what I want to specialize in and do post graduation. He also mentioned that it helps to reach out to people that work in companies I potentially would love to work at and ask to go on a coffee chat to get to know more about the company environment. I will definitely reach out to my new connection if I have any questions or need more advice.

Have coffee chats helped you to develop your soft skills?

I definitely think that I've developed my active listening skills. I think that listening to what they have to say and sharing your opinion, will be very similar to a job interview environment. I got a chance to practice being present in the moment and listening, which is a great skill to have. I feel like through this coffee chat and future coffee chats on the platform I will definitely develop my listening skills further.

Do you feel more confident reaching out to other professionals for career advice?

Yes! Before starting university, I heard that coffee chats are crucial to meeting employers and potentially getting a good job. But I never understood how you could potentially message an employer and ask to go for coffee. Ten Thousand Coffees has helped me to feel more prepared reaching out to someone in an organization I want to work for in the future. By practicing reaching out to professionals, I have become more confident in knowing what to say and sounding professional.

What surprised you about the coffee chat?

What surprised me most is that no matter the experience or level of seniority of an Alumni on Ten Thousand Coffees, they are all willing to meet for coffee and share their experience while providing insightful advice. It's crazy because I don’t meet senior managers or directors in my everyday life, and I don’t think I would have if it wasn’t for Ten Thousand Coffees. This platform really helped me to connect with people working in different fields and different levels of seniority, which was super beneficial.

I was nervous at first, but once I started the conversation and going to more coffee chats I realized it is just about talking to someone and getting to know them better. Also, knowing that these are Alumni who have gone through the same experience as me really helped, because it was way easier to relate with them and have something in common to talk about.

Overall I learned to just be yourself when talking to Alumni, they are all still human!

How has Ten Thousand Coffees helped you move further towards your career goals?

This platform helped me be more prepared for the future of my career goals because I got insight in different careers that I was interested in. I also learned about companies I have never heard before previously, which expanded my knowledge and understanding. To add on, when talking with alumni I learned about the key skills employers would look for in a student who’s seeking for a position as well as their values. Finally, I was able to get insight on working for start ups versus corporate companies, the benefits and features of each one which helped me in my decision when applying to positions for co-op jobs.

After joining Ten Thousand Coffees, Olga :

Feels better prepared to navigate the working world

Feels better prepared for an interview

Learned about a new job or career

Gained valuable advice

Learned a new perspective

Identified a new skill or area of knowledge that I'd like to learn more about

Practiced active listening

Developed professionally

Olga, 19, is a second year Business Management student at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She joined the UTSC Management Café to learn more from business professionals and explore her career options.
To help young Canadians prepare for the future of work, RBC Future Launch and Ten Thousand Coffees have partnered to increase access to alumni networking and mentoring for students at more than 60 post-secondary institutions across Canada. For more information click here.
Ten Thousand Coffees offers students and alumni an exclusive online network platform, enabling them to share relevant career and life experience. Click here to learn more about how Ten Thousand Coffees can help your school or college today.

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