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With less than two weeks left before heading back to school, two Okanagan College students shrugged off their business suits to rub shoulders with top-level employees at the 2012 Deloitte National Leadership Conference.
Okanagan School of Business students Amanda Blanchard and Ryan Davies were among 93 post-secondary students selected from thousands of applicants across Canada to take part in the all-expense paid conference, which took place August 22-24 at the Deerhurst Resort outside Toronto in Muskoka cottage country.
“They told us not to bring any business attire – just bring your summer clothes,” laughed Davies, who, like Blanchard, is completing his Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a specialty in accounting.
“We spent the bulk of the conference working on team building and networking. It gave me a really interesting perspective on my education and made me realize the big picture aspect of what I’m doing to advance my career.”
The three-day conference is designed for accounting students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities. Over the course of three days, student had the opportunity to network with Deloitte staff, experience team building, and receive leadership and negotiation skills.
The College students were selected to attend based in part on their academic performance.
Blanchard and Davies distinguished themselves in the last academic year competing in various events, most recently as a final team in the Chartered Accountant School of Business (CASB) 2012 CA Case competition.
“These are both bright students who are interested in getting involved,” said Okanagan School of Business professor Randy Newton.
“We encouraged them both to apply and now this is the first time anyone from the College has attended this conference,” he added. “The fact that they were selected from hundreds of applicants shows our students perform well on the national stage. It certainly reinforces what we do here.”
Blanchard suspects the practical and academic experience they’ve received through the College helped them make the cut.
“I really have to give it to the College,” Blanchard said. “It has given us so many opportunities to compete. We have a much better understanding of the material that we’re learning and then can apply it. The professors give you practice with interviews, they help with resume building – everything really.”
The conference marked the second networking event for both Blanchard and Davies. In February Blanchard received an invitation to KPMG Vancouver's Ace the Case workshop and competition, and earlier this month Davies joined a select group of students for a networking event with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Vancouver.
“There’s something really cool about meeting a lot of like-minded students and learning about a company’s culture,” Davies said.
Over the last few years Okanagan School of Business students have regularly placed well in numerous competitions, including the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition at Queen’s University held earlier this year.