Coffee, With a Splash of Advice

Rotman Commerce Alumni Coffee Breaks bring our alumni and students together for drinks and conversation, providing valuable mentorship in an informal setting. Now in their fourth year, these small-group gatherings connect our successful alumni with students to share experiences, advice, and encouragement. By participating in these coffee breaks, alumni get the opportunity to shape future business leaders, gain access to an emerging pool of talent, and become re-inspired in their own work.

Photo of students participating in a Rotman Commerce Alumni Coffee Break

Students meet with Rotman Commerce alum Samantha Satish, BCom ’15, in this 2017 alumni coffee break.

While mentorship is often perceived as being quite time-consuming, the coffee break format offers an efficient yet highly personal way for alumni to connect with students. For Rotman Commerce alum Michael Duns, BCom ’13, participating in an Alumni Coffee Break offered a great opportunity for him to get to know students. “I felt it was a much more personal and relaxed way to connect with [them],” he says, “versus a traditional recruiting event where some students feel pressured to collect as many business cards as possible.”

This approach to mentorship allows alumni a more direct kind of access to our student community, which can be fertile ground for innovation and new perspectives. “It’s a good chance to learn what students are thinking,” said Rotman Commerce alumnus Luigi Bennetton, BCom ’91. “It’s also an opportunity to ask them provocative questions, to get them thinking about taking steps towards their entrepreneurial visions. The Coffee Break is a great chance to encourage potential young entrepreneurs to take steps they might not want to right now.”

For Rotman Commerce graduate Milena Braticevic, BCom ’00, the experience also provided an opportunity to stress personal growth as an essential part of the career-building process. “The topic the students found most interesting was how to develop their career in a way that is deeply reflective of who they are as people,” said Braticevic. “I always made sure to raise this as a topic of discussion, because I feel that this is what will make them successful. Many students were not aware that they needed to dedicate much time to their own interests, and proactively learn about the world so that they can find their niche.”

For their part, the students offered Braticevic encouragement and inspiration about how they are shaping the future of business. “I realized how important it is to work with young people on ideas that are important for our society at this time,” she said, “They seem to have an intuitive understanding of how businesses need to change in order to be sustainable.”

If you want to be connect with our students at an Alumni Coffee Break, please contact Bonnie Merchan-Douglas, Alumni Development Officer. Coffee breaks are flexible, and can be held at any location or time that works for you, allowing for a convenient, personal approach to mentorship.