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Negotiating in the office

Cross-faculty student-led event shows that despite the distance, students can come together for the benefit of all
May 5, 2021
By Katie Malazdrewicz

Experiential learning is a key element in getting the most out of a university experience, and student associations are crucial in this respect. With the advent of COVID-19 and the associated social-distancing protective measures, experiential learning had to be reimagined.

Concordia University’s John Molson Human Resources and Management Association (JHMA) and the Applied Human Science Student Association (AHSCSA) with the Faculty of Arts and Science rose to the occasion and looked for an opportunity to collaborate. Both associations felt that while they had expertise in their respective fields of interest, they each wanted to offer their members a more well-rounded experience, which could only be done via partnering with each other.

Brianna Keeley Brianna Keeley

“What really allowed our teams to thrive was when our teams broke the ice and started to connect on a human level," explains Brianna Keeley, a fourth-year student in the Department of Applied Human Sciences, in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and president of AHSCSA. “We started to laugh and joke around in meetings, and we realized how special that was, considering we only ever met online and never had any in-person contact.”

With a common goal to design a virtual and immersive event for students from both faculties, AHSCSA and JHMA put their human resources and teamwork expertise to the test and worked closely and collaboratively for almost two years to create the Negotiating in the Office event, which took place on October 20, 2020. Led by Gillian Leithman, PhD, assistant professor, Management, and corporate trainer specializing in health and wellness, students from both the John Molson School of Business and the Faculty of Arts and Science took part in a deep analysis and case-based workshop on how to negotiate in a professional setting. Students participated in mock job negotiations and were given a role to play before the event began.

Eric Thananayagam Eric Thananayagam

“Gillian Leithman was remarkable at facilitating the negotiation and providing us with real-life simulations of future job offers and situations,” says Eric Thananayagam, Speaker Coordinator for JHMA. “The well-roundedness of so many different perspectives of students during this experiential learning event was great to see, hear and reflect upon. All students present at the event had one common goal: to learn and better themselves both personally and professionally. Thanks to Gillian, this goal was largely met.”

“This event was the first step in changing our mindset of how we want to be supporting our students,” concludes Keeley. “JHMA and AHSCSA are moving in a new direction and we look forward to more collaborations.”

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