Having trouble finding people who are into the same things you are? Don’t worry, they’re here—you just need to know where to look. Each week we’ll be featuring a few of the amazing student clubs at BCIT who are doing awesome things on and off campus. Visit bcitsa.ca for a full list of clubs, and don’t miss your chance to meet them all at Clubs Day, September 16th in The Great Hall.
For new students to BCIT, the first few weeks can be a bit overwhelming. Orientation day can be a terrifying experience: instead of welcoming you to your new life at BCIT, you will be told bluntly that you are going to have no life – social or otherwise – for the next nine months. Afterwards, representatives from the various student clubs at BCIT will bombard you with information and encourage you to join a club.
Should you join? As one of my partners on the BCITMA Executive Board said, students have only regretted not joining the BCITMA; no one has ever regretted joining. Every one of us can assure you that the experience is worth it. Nonetheless, with the sheer amount of information presented to new students, it can be difficult to make a decision.
This article tries to help you decide by answering a simple question: what exactly is the BCITMA?
What is the BCITMA?
The British Columbia Institute of Technology Marketing Association (BCITMA) is a collegiate chapter of the American Marketing Association, an overarching organization that oversees over a hundred student clubs – most of them are in the United States, with the BCITMA being the only major club located in Canada.
Thus the BCITMA is different from the clubs you will encounter in high school: it is formally recognized, career-oriented and meant to provide you with experiences you cannot get in the classroom. You will network with industry professionals, learn from some of the best minds in the business world and develop the practical skills you will need to succeed. Everything you do here is meant to prepare you for your future career – plus it just looks really good on a resume.
Nonetheless, the wide range of functions of the BCITMA – some better known than others – means that there are some misconceptions about what we do. Here are a couple common misconceptions and the truth about them.
BCITMA is not just about NOLA
When people talk about or promote the BCITMA, they will likely mention the annual NOLA trip. While NOLA is definitely the highest profile event for the BCITMA, there are problems with defining the club around it.
NOLA refers to New Orleans: select BCITMA members will travel down to the States and take part in an annual conference hosted by the AMA. During this conference, all MA clubs across North America are graded and assigned a ranking.
In other words, NOLA is an evaluation of BCITMA’s annual success. NOLA is a conclusion to the year, rather than an accurate depiction of what BCITMA members can hope to attain throughout the year. The real value of this club comes from everything that happens before NOLA: events, networking and real life experience.
Another problem is that most BCITMA members will not actually go to NOLA; it is an exclusive trip with limited space and eligibility requirements. A better view of the BCITMA would be to account for all the opportunities that we can provide, rather than focusing solely on NOLA.
BCITMA is not just about Case Studies
Another misconception about the BCITMA is that its members mostly work on case studies. While case studies are an effective tool for learning marketing, they are only a part of what the BCITMA does.
A component of the NOLA conference is the case study competition, where the BCITMA competes against other MA clubs across the United States. The chance for the BCITMA to face off against larger and better-funded universities across the border – and it can get very competitive – is one of the reasons why the case study is so well known.
The entire BCITMA does not work on the case study. Instead, a group of motivated individuals are selected to form the case study team, which will prepare our project submission throughout the year. This means that unless you specifically request to join the case study team, you are neither required nor expected to work on the case study.
The specifics about the case study is a subject for another time. For now, suffice it to say that the case study requires an immense amount of work and is not for everyone. The workload can be so demanding that many American universities treat the case study as an actual course for credit; our case study team must work on it with whatever spare time they have.
The case study is an important part of the BCITMA, but it is not all we do. There are many other ways for members to participate and the main way to do so is through the committees.
The BCITMA is split into a number of different committees – think of them as departments in a company. Each committee is responsible for a different aspect of operating the club. Thus the best way to begin experiencing the BCITMA is to join a committee.
There are currently eleven committees:
- Ads and Promo
- Digital Media
- Integrated Marketing
- Professional Development
- Community Relations
- Corporate Relations
Each committee is overseen by a Vice President and may include a number of directors. The specifics about what these committees do and their leadership structure will be covered in another article; nonetheless their functions are varied enough to appeal to many different interests and career paths.
Interested in sales and working with clients? Corporate Relations or Sponsorship would be right for you. Do you see yourself organizing events that make people smile and bring the world together? You will want to look at Events or Community Relations. Ever wanted to write promotional articles like the one you are reading right now? Then you’ll probably want to contact me in Communications (info at the end of this article).
Whatever your inclination, there will likely be a committee that can support your growth in that area.
The other cornerstone of the BCITMA is the various events that take place throughout the year. Events provide an opportunity to develop the professional connections and practical skills that cannot be done in the classroom – two things that are very difficult to do on your own.
Industry networking events such as Schmooze allows you to reach out beyond BCIT and connect with real business professionals. Most jobs in the market are not advertised: connecting with people, learning about them and forming your business network is key to finding the job you want.
Speaker panel events such as Marketing Week feature leading business minds talking about their industries, the challenges they face and how to succeed. BCIT programs are comprehensive, but they still cannot cover everything; speaker events provide valuable information that can only be gained through experience.
Finally, some events are just for fun. In between the serious career-oriented events are fun socials meant to enhance your BCIT experience. These provide a chance to unwind and mingle with your fellow students.
Your BCIT years will be some of the best years of your life – even if it does not seem like it when you are mired in projects and coursework. BCITMA events ensure you get the most out of these years while having fun along the way.
How to Connect with Us
Hopefully this article has provided you with a better understanding of what the BCITMA does. All of us are BCIT students, just like you – we want to help you succeed.
For more information and to meet us personally, come meet us at the upcoming Club Bazaar! This event is on Wednesday, September 16 from 10:30am – 2:30pm in the Great Hall (SE2). We will be here to chat with you and answer any questions you may have.
We will also be holding an information session on Wednesday September 23. All thirteen members of the BCITMA Executive Board will be here to talk about our respective committees as well as leadership positions that will be opening up – details are still being finalized for the info session, so stay tuned to our website and Facebook page (links below).
As for myself, my name is Matthew Kwong: I am the VP of Communications and a member of the BCITMA Executive Board. There will be more posts about the BCITMA coming up – to give you a sneak peek, the next one will be about the committees – so be sure to keep checking Link Magazine!
Finally, remember to connect with us online – it is the best way to stay updated on what is happening with us:
Thanks for reading, and hope to see you soon!