Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What we learned at Club Week

B!G had the privilege of meeting Schulich’s undergraduates last week at the student club fair.

Ye Olde Student Club Faire.

It was a lot more fun than anyone thought it would be, despite our bitch-like position at the back of the basement squashed in beside rows of lockers and despite the fact that we really don’t need to do any recruitment. The club week did provide an interesting opportunity for me and the other B!G execs to practice our sales pitch. By the end of the week we were spilling lines like “we’re a student marketing agency and we deliver real solutions to real clients” like nobody’s business. Here are a few of my favorite pitch lines:

“Unlike a lot of the other organizations here, our members actually stay active”
“Networking and info sessions can only get you so far. In marketing, it doesn’t matter who know you, it matters what you know”
“Read the blog! Today’s post is about pubic hair marketing!

The last line was perhaps the most effective and generated some of the highest blog traffic we’ve ever seen. I guess fiffi trimming is a big selling point for the undergraduate students here at Schulich.

In addition to refining our pitch, the club fair had a few lasting impressions on us. Here’s what we learned:

1. FEAR!

There’s a lot of trepidation and uncertainty among the undergrad population, especially the first years. However, this anxiety seems to mutate into an untested, ballsy arrogance in second, third, and fourth years!

2. Self-assuredness should never be confused with rudeness

Walking up to the B!G table and demanding that we “tell [you] about our club” will is not a good tactic to win us over with your confidence and drive. It will be met with a cocked eyebrow from me and a suggestion that you go apply to another student organization that can deal with your sickening ego.

3. Experience should not be confused with skills

We really liked a lot of the people who came and talked to us who had no substantial work experience but effectively demonstrated that they had the relevant team and analysis skills necessary for a position in B!G. Similarly, plenty of students gave windy pitches and droned on about irrelevant experience without really showcasing their unique skills. Let’s make no mistake here: in B!G, we want your skills. Your experience matters, but it’s not the only attribute you can sell yourself on.

4. The other clubs have no clue how to market themselves

Awful logos, awful sales pitches, awful collateral being handed out. To you student organizations which are feeling ‘not so fresh’ or perhaps are not effectively leveraging your unique value proposition, we’d like to talk to you!

5. Schulich has some seriously clever students

It’s obvious to me now that Schulich is an undergrad school with a stronger focus on the BBA students than the MBAs. The undergrad students here are unlike any other breed I’ve seen before and they’re hard to describe objectively without inferring value-laden descriptions. The BBAs are smart and very knowledgeable, but lacking in important work-with, team skills. There is a strong culture of ‘me first’ and I cannot easily remember an example a BBA has provided to me about when they motivated others and put other people’s best interests first. They can vociferously defend an idea and integrate all their classroom theory, but they fall down on important social skills, especially when they join the workforce and realize that not everyone is as smart or fast as them.

Remember in grade three when the teacher brought in chicken’s eggs and, as a class, we incubated them under a high-intensity lightbulb and in a nest of newspaper shredding? Those eggs hatched and all the students got to see the chicks grow and become fluffy, chirping, adorable poop machines.

That’s how I imagine the experience is at Schulich for BBAs. It’s an incubator for their ideas, preparing them for their careers but not providing a lot of social context to mute or soften their uncooperative Gen Y attitude.


Robyn Hughes said...



My personal observation: Handshake confusion. They don't know when they're done talking if they should go in for the handshake or not. Personally, I like to confuse them by making the motion for a handshake, but stopping halfway through.

Oh, and talking with hands. BBAs do that almost as well as the MBAs do.

Rickey Henderson said...

Hah, well done sir. Rickey approves.