Alumni return to mentor Finance students


Take up an opportunity as soon as it comes knocking, try to be different and never judge or stereotype those you meet. This was just some of the advice given to 16 Accounting and Finance students during a mentoring event organized by Sheridan’s Career Centre and Alumni Office at HMC last Tuesday. “It’s sort of a day-in-the-life of an industry professional or alumnus,” explained Kerri Zanatta-Buehler, employment development specialist at the college.

“We hope [the] connections students make can be called on afterward for questions.”

Mentors included eight industry specialists (seven of whom are Sheridan alumni) in the field of accounting and finance.

Each table seated three students and two mentors, and they were given 10 minutes for each round of consultation. Once their time was up, the mentors moved down to the next table to talk to a new set of students. The rotations continued until everyone had a chance to mingle.

“It helps connect students with experienced mentors,” said Karina Butzek-Morris, alumni associate with the Sheridan Alumni Office.

“For us, it is all about getting to meet the grads in the field, getting to know them and letting us tell their stories.”



With a short list of icebreaker questions provided by Zanatta-Buehler, students quickly warmed up to the concept and soon the room was abuzz with chatter.

“They should take it one step at a time and aim for a designation,” said Justin Cote, senior financial analyst with Ecosynthetix in Burlington. “They shouldn’t look too far ahead, but definitely have a goal they can work toward step-by-step.”

He added that in his experience, it is easier to work with younger employees “because they’re eager to learn and are hungry for experience.”

Themes that emerged from the discussions included preparing for an interview by researching the company, asking questions and taking notes during an interview. Mentors also advised about the importance of soft skills that are transferrable in any situation.

First-year Finance student Sepher Farahmand felt relieved that it wasn’t the end of the world if he hadn’t decided what he wanted to do yet, but the 23-year-old added that “It’s useful to learn about co-op, though.”

Nam Vu, 21, a second-year Accounting student, said, “I have done a lot of networking today. I learned about the hierarchy of accounting and software people are using. I also learned that following your gut and putting it into action is important.”

This advice came from Paul Latour, who runs his own accounting business in Acton.

“I’m not worried about those graduating from Sheridan, because the school has a good reputation, and at the end of the day, everyone needs an accountant.”