Madeleine Fraser Burke and Madison Longmire are 4th-year Bachelor of Commerce students who were chosen to represent Dalhousie University at the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) Symposium in Boston. The ISCEBS Symposium was an opportunity to learn about the corporate benefits industry and attend workshops and network with professionals within the insurance industry. If you are thinking about working in a particular business sector, gain insight into why Madison and Madeleine believe attending an industry conference is a great learning experience.
Both Madison and Madeleine are accounting majors who have developed a passion for the insurance industry through their work term experiences. Madison says that during her time in the Commerce program her interest in the industry has grown. Her family has worked in the employee benefits and insurance industry for years and she has always been curious to learn more.
“I wanted to gain exposure to the employee benefits field, especially internationally, which would have been challenging as a co-op student. I knew this was an area that was not highlighted much in the Commerce program, so I was excited about the opportunity to learn more and attend the sessions offered during this conference.”
“I have attended many networking sessions where there were mainly students present and the goal was recruiting, so it was interesting to attend a conference where there were only a few students and an opportunity to learn how to network and make connections in an environment that was geared towards professional development.”
For Madeleine, her interest in the industry began with her passion for mathematics and actuarial sciences. A switch into the Commerce program only increased her curiosity to learn more about the insurance industry and how it is influenced by tax reforms. Aside from expanding her knowledge and the experiences she gained while working for EY that increased her interest in the industry, she says that the conference’s networking opportunities were the most beneficial to her professional and personal development.
“I believe the most important factor in personal and professional development is achieved through networking, and getting involved in new opportunities that allow for doors to open to roles you never even imagined yourself working in. The conference was a great opportunity to hear stories from industry professionals and understand the steps they took to reach the position they are in today.”
Although it can be intimidating to get involved in conferences and other extra-curricular activities, both Madison and Madeleine agree that engaging with professionals is important for future career success.
“Academics are not the only answer to discover what your passion is. Keeping an open mind in new jobs, volunteer positions and various student activities provides an opportunity to expand your knowledge and gain insight into new interests that you were not aware of.”
If you are interested in getting involved and looking for ways to enhance your career development outside of the classroom, make sure you are regularly checking your Dal email for notifications regarding opportunities for professional growth from Management Career Services.