Forum: Shmooze or lose

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By Yohannes Edemariam

American universities are outshining their Canadian counterparts when it comes to post-graduate work in science and business administration, said an Ontario cabinet minister.

Jim Flaherty, Minister of Enterprise, stressed the need for opportunity and innovation, as he spoke to 350 Ryerson business students at Westin Harbour Castle last Wednesday.

In his speech, Flaherty said that a government partnership with universities is essential to Ontario’s economic growth.

Afterwards, Flaherty added Ryerson students are an important part of the government’s business plans and that more investment and collaboration is needed.

“There’s a lot of good news but we have a lot of challenges ahead of us,” he said.

There is a wealth of opportunity for Ryerson graduates in the province, he told the group, adding that they shouldn’t settle for mediocrity.

“We in Ontario need to be second to no one,” he said. “So aim high! We have a brilliant future together as Canadians going global.”

The Ryerson Business Forum, a student-run initiative that aims to enhance the learning experience of fellow business students, organized the gathering. It was the first time in the forum’s 16-year history that speakers were invited.

Michael Lee, an RBF co-chair, said that one of the main aims of the event was to help students work on their “soft skills” by networking with business leaders.

The students were given the chance to do just that during the following reception.

“This was a conference where [the students] got to hear from some of the most prominent people in Canada,” said Lee.

The students also heard from Mark Benadiba, executive vice-president of Cott Corporation and a 1976 Ryerson Alumnus.

Other speakers were Ron Nolan, president and CEO of Hatch Limited, John Johnston, chairman of Delta Hotels, and Brian Hunt, president and CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.

“All the speakers were inspirational and uplifting,” said another forum co-chair Mike Elliot. “It made me want to be like them.”

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