Leadership by Example: McMaster University

As the first Canadian AIS student chapter, the McMaster AIS intends to exercise leadership and become an example among other Canadian business schools, encouraging more schools to develop AIS chapters of their own.

With a focus on community service, the McMaster student chapter partnered with “Software Hamilton” in an effort to assist the community. During an e-commerce development session, the chapter established an online presence for a local artist, increasing her profits. Secondly, the chapter participated in a five hour ETSY developmental workshop with Hamilton area artists who received one-on-one consultation about increasing business growth online. “Having an AIS student chapter at McMaster has resulted in many benefits. For example, it encouraged students from various disciplines from across campus to come together at chapter events to meet and exchange ideas,” said Alycia Mazepa, former chapter president. “It also created awareness of what the Information Systems at the School of Business can offer students in terms of advancing their careers. The events held by the chapter also served to link our student body with key players from industry”

To promote careers in IS, the McMaster student chapter planned and hosted two specific events designed for their members. The “IS Designation Night” was created to make students aware of the possible career paths in the IS industry. In addition to the designation night, the chapter invited three professionals to the “IS Networking Night” to speak with students about the careers they have in the industry and how they came about their positions. During these events industry representatives, alumni and IS faculty act as resources for students who are interested in a career in IS. Other events the student chapter hosted included their first ever hack-a-thon, and an IS Career Day. “The Hack-a-thon that [we] held consisted of students from all over Hamilton. Students broke up into teams of three to four and worked for the evening on application ideas to be presented at the end of the evening, said Mazepa. “Some teams were able to come up with a presentation as well as a demo application. Students were judged based off of four categories. The structure of the application, the creativeness, the problem it helped solve, and the future ability for it to make money.”

During their first year as an active undergraduate AIS student chapter, McMaster built a solid foundation to grow their chapter upon. After careful planning and execution, their events promoted the IS profession, progressed recruitment efforts and built ties with academic and professional practitioners in the area. Mazepa also agreed that the AIS student chapter has benefited many individuals on McMaster’s campus and is very hopeful for their future as a campus organization. “Our AIS Student Chapter has grown substantially in the past, and we hope to continue this through reaching out to other faculties such as Geography with a Geographic Information Systems area. Through reaching out to these areas we will be able to further display the importance of Information Systems to students. This should help them see the advantages of specializing or complementing their degree with Information Systems Courses.”