Student Spotlight: Connect IT 2016 Pitch Competition Winner

citOn January 30th 2016, Samuel Lee, a senior student majoring in CCIT with a double minor in Women and Gender Studies and History of Religion, attended the Connect IT conference hosted by Ryerson University. He won the conference’s Pitch Competition. Samuel, who plans to graduate this June, shares his experience in an interview:

How did you hear about the conference and what made you attend it?

“I heard about the conference through a close friend of mine, and it turned out to be a great event. I didn’t know much about it at first, but I learned that the conference has been around for a couple of years, popular among students within the sphere of Communications and Business.”

This year’s theme was on Big Data and Analytics. What did you learn and how do you see it relate to your current studies?

“Truthfully, I didn’t know much about Big Data and Analytics because at school, I focus more on the design aspect of communications. So this kind of information on how to collect data from consumers and utilize the data in a profitable manner was new to me. The conference was truly an eye-opener, especially since the Connect IT conference integrated business into the field of communications; as a student with a foothold in the field of communications, the conference allowed me to jump into the business aspect with data.”

What opportunities did you find in attending the conference?

?Through the conference, I was able to network and connect with other eager, passionate students. I knew that all the participants were serious and enthusiastic about communications because they all took that extra step to pay for the conference’s admissions fee in order to attend the event. I felt encouraged to meet such passionate students, and I hope to maintain strong, long-lasting contact with them in the future. The majority of the students I met majored in Business Technology and Management at Ryerson University. Networking with these people allowed me to conceptualize the nexus between design, communications and business.

Moreover, there were also a number of big companies that attended the conference, including Adastra, Deloitte, and RBC. The conference was a great opportunity to speak and network with representatives, as well as to learn about the companies.”

You and your team won the Pitch competition. What was the experience like?

“This was my first time joining any competition. For the Pitch competition, all the participants were randomly grouped into different teams. Afterwards, half of the teams were assigned to answer the question, “Who will win the Superbowl?” while the remaining half were asked the question, “How do you take advantage of data collected from consumers and make it profitable?” My team, which consisted of four other students from diverse backgrounds, dealt with the latter question. The competition was truly a rewarding and educational experience, and it was the perfect opportunity for me to meet different people with various communication skills. It was exciting because I could pitch in my own ideas and also listen to other people’s suggestions.

I wasn’t nervous pitching to the panel of judges because our group practiced a lot. We went in and introduced ourselves, and then we were given two minutes to share our ideas.”

What is the greatest thing you took away from this experience?

“The biggest thing I took away from the event: Don’t be afraid to get involved. Don’t be afraid of failure. Whatever competition you might partake in, you might get super lucky and be successful or you might not, but you need to start somewhere. Joining a competition not only prepares you for real life situations, but it also prepares you for the future where you work with different types of people. It also gave me a chance to put something on my resume.”

What did you think of the conference overall? Would you attend it again?

“It was absolutely amazing! I didn’t think much of it at first. I just thought that since I’m in my final year and graduating, I should pick up as many opportunities as I can. The conference was held in downtown Toronto, and the venue was amazing. It was an opportunity to learn, eat, and network! I’d definitely recommend the event – if I were doing a 5th year, I’d attend the event again.”

Congratulations Sam on winning the CIT 2016 Pitch Competition! The CIT Conference is an insightful experience that is open to ICCIT students upon successful delegate applications. Check out the Connect IT Conference page for more details on how you can take part in it next year!


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