Getting involved in a student club is a great way to meet new people, learn valuable skills and gain knowledge outside of the classroom. It is also a truly great experience. However, it can be hard to decide what club is right for you when there’s so many options available. That’s why we’ve asked members of each of the student clubs to sit down with us and share more about their club and experiences as members.
This week, we’re talking to two members of Net Impact – Tim Buckland and Nash Shaker.
Q. Tell me about Net Impact.
Tim: Net Impact is an organization that unites MBA students by allowing them to do some good in their community. Through community initiatives, not-for-profit projects, and student engagement, Net Impact allows MBA students to use their newly acquired skills to improve the lives of Edmontonians and the charities that make up this city.
Nash: Net Impact is all about community involvement. It is an organization that allows students to build on their desires to create a more sustainable world.
Q. What are some of Net Impact’s current initiatives?
T: The main initiative that I am working on is the student projects. Each year, not-for-profit organizations bring Net Impact their business problems and ask the MBA students to consult on these issues. They have ranged from overt deliverables like marketing and fundraising plans to organizational structure design and risk management. In all these cases, MBA students must work as a team with the clients to provide a report that is beneficial to the organization. With the help of KPMG consultants, MBA students learn a lot about the essence of consulting and team dynamics.
N: Net Impact has been involved in numerous initiatives. As Tim mentioned, Net Impact organized a consulting project where four NGO’s are paired with four groups of Net Impact members to work on a potential solution to a problem the organization was facing. Net Impact paired with a local restaurant in order to advance individuals knowledge of sourcing local food, which not only improve wellness, but also supports local communities in their sustainable business. Net Impact took part in Hult Prize which is a NGO looking for social entrepreneurs to take on innovative initiatives for future advancement of their communities.
Q. What are some of the things Net Impact does (events, etc.)?
T: Related to the projects, we have a Dragon’s Den where all Net Impact members get to meet the prospective clients. In addition, we have a final presentation that is delivered to the clients once the projects are done. However, this is only one piece of Net Impact. Outside of the projects, Net Impact has a Farm to Fork event held annually that is centered on sustainability. The goal is to bring like-minded people together and provide a meal that is generated locally and ethically. This has been an outstanding event in the past and I am sure will continue to be this way in the future.
Q. What are some of the past successes of Net Impact that you are most proud of?
T: I had the pleasure of working on the You Can Ride 2 (YCR2) project last year. This was an amazing learning opportunity related to client relations and team dynamics. Our team produced a fundraising and organizational structure plan that was aimed at increasing revenues and decreasing costs. In both cases there was a steep learning curve and provided everyone on the team with a stretch opportunity. I am proud of what we accomplished and had the pleasure of meeting and working with some amazing people.
N: I am most proud of my work with iHuman, which was one of the not-for-profit consulting projects. I worked with a team of MBA students in assessing a social venture to address the needs of disadvantaged youth. We provided a solution to help improve the youth’s employability skills, by building their work experience in an innovative way.
Q. Why did you get involved with Net Impact?
T: I was interested in this club very early on. Net Impact is one of the few opportunities to get consulting experience and this was something I am interested in. The idea of helping others in the local community while building my own skills was very much appealing to me. I don’t think there is another opportunity like this where students effectively get free reign to build a consulting project and work so closely with a client in their first year. It is something I am glad I took advantage of.
N: I got involved in this club because it was one of the few clubs where I could make a small difference in the community. I truly believe in the power of community and the advancement of one’s society.
Q. What’s your favorite memory from being in the club?
T: I think the final presentations were my favorite memory. It was amazing to see how far my group came and what the other teams were able to accomplish. By delivering these presentations directly to the clients, it was a very meaningful experience to help these organizations meet their goals.
N: One of my favourite memories of being in this club was presenting my consulting project to iHuman. We delivered our project with confidence and pride, which was further demonstrated in our proposal.
Q. What advice would you give to someone looking to get involved in your club?
T: Net Impact is a commitment that is worth making. Whether you choose to do a project or not, this group has some amazing opportunities to benefit others and make a difference.
N: The advice I would give is that this club gives you a sense of purpose. You can involve yourself as little or much as you like, but everything you do take part in will make you feel like you are doing something important. This club helps advance your knowledge of the Edmonton community and provides skills that you will use throughout your life.
Q. What advice would you give to a first-year student coming into the MBA program?
T: One of the biggest challenges of the first year is figuring out how much time you have and what you are able to do. I would give the advice to take on at least a couple of extracurricular positions as a way of meeting people and learning new things. Learning the classroom material is certainly a major component of this degree but I would argue that the events outside of the classroom are even more impactful. The only caveat to this is remembering that each position is also a time commitment and there is only 24 hours in a day.