Business Students Initiate New LUSU Club

New Lakehead BOSS provides stepping stone to real world of business

An enterprising student enrolled in the one-year Business Administration program at Lakehead - Orillia has initiated a new club to provide hands-on experience for students while offering value to the business community.

"What we want to do is minimize the gap between the business community and academia," explains Kyle Petterson, who formed the new Business Orillia Student Society (BOSS) and is also its first president. "It's like a stepping stone to the real world," he adds.

Petterson originally formed the club to act as a study group for business students, but it quickly evolved into something more. Fellow student and BOSS member, James Elliott, says, "We realized this could be an excellent way to gain leadership skills, learn more about business, and meet and network with the community's business leaders."

The group holds regular study group meetings and is making plans to become involved with community-based activities. BOSS members have already attended the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce Business After Five events, during which they have had the opportunity to form valuable community connections. "There's lots of experience that Chamber members can offer us. In exchange, we can share the information and knowledge we have gained through our program," says Elliott.

The new student society hopes to offer workshops and business-related seminars to meet the needs of the local community. Since both Petterson and Elliot are accounting majors, they could teach accounting principles and procedures. Elliot notes that another club member is a Human Resources (HR) major and is interested in conducting a presentation on HR policies. The group is currently working with the Chamber of Commerce to develop its seminar plans.

As part of their plan to promote learning, both inside and outside of the classroom, club members plan to host a meeting of the local Toastmasters Club (Sunshine Speakers of Orillia) in the new year. Petterson is a member of the group and says this kind of outreach initiative is something the Toastmasters group is interested in doing more of. The meeting will be open to all students at the University, not just business students.

One of BOSS's faculty advisors, Professor Jo-Anne Ryan, Coordinator for the Business Administration College Transfer Degree program at Lakehead - Orillia, thinks the new club is fantastic. "This group is setting the foundation for future partnerships between the University's business programs and the community. The networking opportunities developed by BOSS could lead to the development of many exciting ventures, such as business competitions, conferences, or even a small business entrepreneurship centre." Ryan sees the club as becoming a voice for business students. "If BOSS is able to create a voice and set a solid foundation for future years, they will have achieved success," she says.

Kyle Petterson (left) and James Elliott are the founders of Lakehead - Orillia's new Business Orillia Student Society (BOSS), a new campus club that provides leadership skills to students and helps them build connections with the local business community.

Lakehead - Orillia's one-year Bachelor of Administration degree program is open to students with a three-year college diploma in business. Petterson and Elliot say they were attracted to the Lakehead program because of the ability to complete their degree in just one year. "At other universities, it takes two to three years to get a similar degree," explains Elliott. The two were also attracted to the small class sizes at Lakehead and recognize that this feature helped in their efforts to start the club. "We get to know our classmates and have developed strong, supportive relationships," Petterson notes.

By adding a Bachelor of Administration degree to their qualifications, along with the BOSS leadership experience, both Elliott and Petterson feel they will be better equipped to achieve their goals. Elliott says he hopes to join the armed forces and become a pilot. With a degree under his belt, he can sign on as an officer. "If that doesn't work out, my business degree will help me with whatever I do." Petterson concurs. Like Elliott, he also aspires to work in the military, and has enjoyed being a reservist in the past. "I have applied to be a logistics officer with the navy," he says, adding, "but I'm also interested in banking, finance, real estate, running my own construction company, or being a yacht broker. Regardless, my business degree will make it easier for me, no matter what I decide to pursue."

With the initiative these students have taken within a few short months of arriving at Lakehead University, it seems clear they have what it takes to achieve success and realize their dreams.

The Lakehead - Orillia Faculty of Business Administration offers Honours Bachelor of Commerce and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) programs, in addition to the one-year college transfer program.