By Katie Peters & Kait Bedell – Co-Editor-in-Chief & News Editor
Lasell saw the third annual School of Business Day on March 10, but it looked different this year. A day typically consisting of face-to-face activities was replaced with computer screens and a Canvas page: both side effects of the pandemic.
Throughout the virtual event, students were able to attend activities both synchronously and asynchronously through a page on Canvas. Activities included alumni panels, keynote speakers and information sessions regarding different career paths within the world of business.
The day’s events began with the first keynote speaker, Senior VP of Marketing & Broadcasting for the Boston Red Sox Colin Birch. In a 45-minute presentation, Birch gave students insight into how business at Fenway Park drastically changed over the past year.
Despite the unusual nature of the day, the School of Business still saw a large turnout. With an average of 45 attendees per event, Dean of the School of Business Mathew Reilly said he was pleased with how the day went.
“We were a little worried about attendance,” Reilly said. “We didn’t know how excited students were going to be to virtually attend these workshops, but we were delighted to see that our attendance was extremely high and on par with what we’ve seen in previous years.”
This year was junior sport management major Raymond Bruno’s third year attending School of Business Day. He saw certain advantages as well as drawbacks to hosting this event on Zoom. On one hand, Zoom may be more convenient for speakers and panelists across the globe to participate. On the other, the opportunities students got for 1-on-1 conversations with industry professionals were limited.
“I do think [Zoom] made it more convenient for the speakers,” says Bruno. “I believe everything that could have been done was done to make it the best it could be.”
Although the virtual experience varied from the traditional School of Business day, Reilly said that the department was still able to maintain its goals in connecting students.
“School of Business day is a flagship event for the School of Business that focuses on business education, networking opportunities and career development,” Reilly said. “We wanted to make sure we stuck by those values when creating this virtual school of business day and we were successful in doing so.”
Students were able to connect with alumni from the business, hospitality sport management programs during three separate live Alumni Panels, where they discussed jobs in today’s world. Professor Dina Tanvuia presented a webinar outlining proper etiquette while on a formal Zoom call shortly after, followed by a panel discussion on how COVID-19 has affected the sporting event industry.
According to Dr. Nancy Waldron, the theme of the day was resilience and grit, which was brought up in most of the discussions and events. “I think the lesson that all the students walked away with was that just because you hit bumps in the road doesn’t mean you shouldn’t persevere through life,” she says.
The second keynote speaker of the day, Founder and Managing Partner of McLaren & Associates CPAs David McLaren, shared his personal life story as a way to exemplify the day’s theme. “Do your work from your mind but talk and feel from your heart,” said McLaren when giving parting advice to students.
Junior accounting major Katherine Ortiz said the day ran smoothly despite the irregularity of the event, and particularly liked the guest speakers and alumni panel.
“The biggest takeaway for me that I got from the event was learning about the challenges that each guest speaker went through and how they overcame those obstacles,” Ortiz said. She also felt School of Business Day helped students see new and positive opportunities after graduation.
In addition to live Zoom events, The School of Business also offered a list of asynchronous webinars and events available to students through the Canvas page. Four current students – accounting and finance major Olivia Tata, sport management majors Olivia Faulkner and Austin Leblanc, and marketing and finance major Rachel Carlino – shared stories from their internships in short videos.
Some of the other videos focused on career development, with information sessions from the National Retail Federation Student Association, DECA Student Organization, Lasell’s fifth-year option, and Association of Supply Chain Management Student Organization. Webinars from Dorothy Walker, Bill Gates, and Professor Martin Walsh were also available.