Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A library student "goes" to business school

This week I got the amazing opportunity to speak to students with interest in business and entrepreneurship. It was the launch of a new entrepreneurship club, Micro-Tyco at Western Univeristy (formerly University of Western Ontario). In this post, I want to describe in brief my experience and make some points that I think are relevant for my fellow library students and administrators of library schools.

The Ivey business school building, the setting of the event was very impressive. There were lots of rooms for small group collaboration, great space and decor, with lots of natural light. It did indeed seem like a great place for learning and a place that library school student would be envious of. It was within this pleasant setting that I saw the pleasantness also reflected in the faces and interactions of Ivey students.

After finding my way to the room of the event, I had a pleasant evening of learning more about the club initiative from the executive presenters, sharing my limited "knowledge" of entrepreneurship with other young entrepreneurs and interacting with those present. The atmosphere felt very comfortable and supportive. I felt comfortable as if I was among kindred spirits. Both among the young entrepreneurs there and the business school students there. Most importantly, I received positive feedback about ideas I shared there relating to entrepreneurship that made me feel really appreciated.

Through one on one interaction, I also found that the way that the Ivey students spoke about their teachers and their classes was very positive. They seemed very positive about their learning experiences at Ivey, which made me in turn wish I could experience being a student there.

That said, I want to turn my reflection to what I think about these issues as it relates to library schools.

1. Library schools need to ensure that students are pleased with the quality of their teaching, the building and facilities and have many positive things to say about their learning experiences. As one of my colleagues said to me this month, the best marketing for a department comes from its students. The more students feel positive about their experiences at library school, the more they will share and spread such good reports to others outside. This in turn will automatically pay off in recruiting new students to library schools.

2. By hanging out at Ivey Business school with these young entrepreneurs and business students, I felt that I had an opportunity to make them appreciate my skills and area of expertise in information. This got me thinking that the more opportunities I could get like this, could pay off in the future, as these persons may be my next network contacts to lead to future contracts for my services. My take home point from this thought is that library students need to seek opportunities to network more with business school students. In a previous blog post, I have raised the point that:
LIS schools need to help students learn the same networking skills that business students learn and practice, which can help them get jobs in any field or industry. Hence, we can not afford to isolate our students to talking solely with library professionals, but must also push our students to share what they are learning in library school with persons in other sectors, and get feedback about how what they are learning may be transferrable to jobs outside of traditional librarian jobs.
Well, these are my thoughts for now. 

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