In larger companies and independent business, the silo treatment – working in isolation – is almost always a guarantee to fall short of achieving goals. I believe in words like collaboration, dialogue and alignment. Each of these suggests the spirit of coming together and leveraging collective skill sets for success. Departmental resources, subject matter experts and a range of past experience can combine for a powerful end result.
So true, is the connection between business and academia, bringing benefits from this type of collaborative approach. On a recent visit to the College, I spent time in The Agency, where a group of current students participated in a discussion with some members of the business community. I hinted that this type of forum is in greater need. Successful careers rely on strong networks, on sharing environments. I remember my final months at Mohawk before entering the workforce and looking back on efforts I had made to grow my network and a circle of influence that could help me advance. Some 20 years later I still trumpet the very same philosophy; there is nothing like the power of your network.
The business community in Hamilton is rich in experience, in connections and in stories for learning how to navigate the landscape of commerce and build a powerful and sustained business. Students today can gain great insight, establish relationships and participate with an institution like Mohawk College in drawing closer ties to business. The chicken and the egg conundrum is never more evident than in the early career development stage after the transition from student life to the business world. Experience is desired by everyone on the hiring side, yet students need to be hired to gain such experience. Starting today is essential, by opening up academic institutions to business, creating collaborative environments and inviting sharing of expertise. Both parties have much to gain, with students winning as invaluable information is obtained and academia winning with new relationships and implementing the wisdom of business into college life.
Students have an opportunity to leverage; attend business functions and networking events, tap into existing relationships to be introduced to others, follow the trends in local economic development and stay in tune to what the media are reporting. Social media channels are one excellent means to reach out and connect. Follow @hamiltonecdev on Twitter. Ask to be a guest at the Rotary Club. See what’s happening at Innovation Factory. Research websites of local business organizations; absorb the content being shared by business. It’s incumbent on college leaders to welcome business and collaboration at every turn. Give them the business, it will be embraced.
– Brent Kinnaird
Business Administration ’94
Follow Brent @brentkinnaird