Leaders of Tomorrow program helps soon-to-be grads transition into the work force

Getting ahead in the industry

Leaders of Tomorrow look to help soon-to-be grads transition to the work force

CARLO JAVIER // EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Amit Sharma is paying it forward. The second-year student of Capilano Universitys North American Business Management Post Baccalaureate program is just mere months away from completing his diploma. Before he crosses the stage, he wants to make sure that other CapU students get the chance to experience some of the perks he’s seen since walking into CapU grounds.“I just want to share my experiences and the types of opportunities I got,” he said.

As a mentee in the Centre for International Experience mentorship program, Sharma caught wind of the opportunities that the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBT) provided to post-secondary students by way of its Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) program. The GVBT is the leading force in the region’s professional development, organizing events and programs for the smaller business associations in western Canada. One of their notable recent events is bringing in Michelle Obama for a keynote speech this past Feb. 15.

Within the GVBT are “signature programs”, initiatives that are focused on the growth and development of young business leaders in the west. One of these programs is LOT, which Sharma was referred to by his former mentor in the CIE, as well as by business instructor, Mitra Kiamanesh.

Built on four pillars (mentorship, leadership, networking and volunteerism), the LOT puts applicants through an intense selection process and once accepted, students are paired with a professional from the industry of their choice – who then mentors them for the entirety of their final year in post-secondary or graduate school. This mentorship program includes regular meetings throughout the school year, as well as an official membership to the GVBT, priority access to job postings and complimentary tickets to GVBT industry events.

Though the LOT seems intensely focused on business, Sharma attests that the program is also beneficial to students from other fields of study – citing one of his peers who came from a computer science background. “There’s a couple of programs that are focused on [other fields], too,” he said. “They also have the same opportunity that we have.”

Sharma’s passions are rooted in business, particularly with its global growth. “International business is always dynamic, always changing, always contributing to trade,” he said. “After the changing political scenarios of the world, there’s a lot of things going on, that’s why I’m always passionate about international business.”

With the Apr. 30 application deadline looming, Sharma is hopeful that more CapU students look into getting involved with the GVBT and the LOT. “I would say, ‘why not’?” he said. “I know a couple of students who already got jobs due to the networking of the program.”

For near-grads looking to get a step ahead in the competition, a 15-minute application just might be the way to go.

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