Empathetic, inquisitive, and hardworking are three adjectives commonly used to describe graduates of Acadia University’s F.C. Manning School of Business. Apparently these and other traits are what made Brooke Bailey, Candace Conrad, George Kashap, Jenny Mattinson, Samantha Sproule and Andrew Trudel stand out this past March at the Venture for Canada Selection Day in Toronto. As noted on its website, Venture for Canada (VFC) is,
a not-for-profit that recruits, trains and supports top recent graduates to work at Canadian startups in need of talent, with the mission of fostering entrepreneurship. Fellows spend two years working at one of our partner startups, where they gain the skills, network and experience necessary to launch their own firms. Of the 2,200 applicants to this year’s VFC program, only 65 were invited to Toronto in March, including six F.C. Manning Business students that apparently impressed the judges in the previous rounds, which included both telephone and video interviews. Candace Conrad described Selection Day as,
super intense but an amazing experience. It was a really positive environment that forced us to get outside our comfort zone by participating in various challenges in front of a panel of six judges, both in teams and individually.
This spring, the Acadia students offered places in the fellowship program participated in a month-long training camp in Kingston, Ontario, preparing them for two-year placements with startups in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Brooke Bailey said she really benefited from the training camp experience:
Each week is catered to a different area of what we will experience in a startup environment. You are given the chance to really connect with the other people in your cohort. In my case I made about 60 new friends and networking connections. Now Venture for Canada Fellows, the Acadia students are positioned to have an impact on start-ups including Common Good Solutions where Samantha Sproule is working, Swell Advantage Ltd. where both Brooke Bailey and Andrew Trudel accepted jobs, and at LeadSift where George Kashap is working.
Throughout the VFC experience, students have been fortunate to meet like-minded individuals and to make connections in the startup world. Samantha Sproule said,
Selection Day was all about authenticity, focusing on activities that demonstrate what you care about, your ideas and your character. No mention was made of your GPA, instead the focus was on the soft skills and experiences necessary to make a startup succeed. This was familiar territory for the Acadia students given their educational experience where small class sizes provide numerous opportunities to present in front of their peers, and to participate in case-based discussions derived from real-life scenarios. These realities prepared the students for Selection Day, and Professor Ryan MacNeil expects these advantages are part of the reason F.C Manning students were so successful with Venture for Canada. Professor MacNeil also mentioned the liberal arts emphasis at Acadia was on display in the responses candidates provided to social-justice-themed questions, which differentiates Acadia students from your typical BBA graduate. Indeed, from a total pool of 2,200 applicants, that 6 of the 65 chosen for Selection Day were Acadia BBA students speaks to the quality of the F.C. Manning School of Business program. The School of Business hopes to continue building its relationship with Venture for Canada in Nova Scotia and expects to see many more VFC Fellows coming from Acadia in upcoming years.
About the Manning School
Founded in 1957, the Manning School at Acadia University is home to over 600 students from over 20 countries. With 23 faculty members from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, the Manning School offers small classes that encourage concentrated interaction between students and faculty. Our students have opportunities to learn outside the classroom through co-op placements, projects with local enterprises, and international exchanges. Firmly rooted in a rich institutional legacy that personifies the very essence of a liberal education, the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program at Acadia is challenging and flexible, allowing students to explore a broad range of interests and producing well-rounded graduates who are well-positioned to pursue varied professional opportunities. As testimony, our graduates work in leadership roles across Canada and around the globe, with many having made their Acadia BBA degree a pathway to prestigious graduate programs.