Like most high school students, Kyle Simon wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to study after graduation. That was, until he discovered Cape Breton University’s Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies. When Kyle was in grade eleven, he was invited to participate in a program for high school students developed by the Purdy Crawford Chair. The aim of this program was to teach Aboriginal students about business and encourage them to pursue it at the post-secondary level.
Motivated by the small campus size and how close it was to home, Kyle eagerly applied to the Bachelor in Business Administration at CBU. Once enrolled, Kyle gave back to the program that brought him to CBU by becoming a peer mentor.
“As a peer mentor I would give advice to students within the program. Because I was learning about business as well, I was able to offer guidance and support to students who were interested in the same things.” Kyle says.
Kyle believes he has grown immensely during his time at CBU, from a shy and slightly-unorganized high school graduate, to a responsible university student who has come out of his shell. Like most students, adjusting to the world of academic research was a bit of a bumpy road, but he credits resources like the Student Life Centre, and Unama’ki College with offering him constant support throughout his journey. For Kyle, Unama’ki College became a second family. “No matter where you’re from, whether it’s the other end of the island, the mainland, or across the country, they welcome every Aboriginal student. They’ve been a big help throughout my degree and I felt like I could turn to them with anything.” he says.
Another thing that stood out to Kyle during his time at CBU was the amazing relationships he developed with his professors. “Elaine MacNeil had to be one of my favourite professors. Every single class she would not only teach us about the material, but she would bring in personal experience and stories about the real world of marketing.” Her guidance helped Kyle realize his interest in marketing, and he says he could turn to her for advice both inside the classroom, and out.
While Kyle is excited to graduate and begin the next chapter of his life, he says it is bittersweet to be leaving the university he has come to love. “I’m going to miss being here at CBU for sure. It’s home away from home. I met a lot of great friends here, and the professors always made me feel so welcome. It’s going to be difficult to leave all of that behind.”
But this might not be the last CBU sees of Kyle, as he says he will be back some day to complete a Master of Business Administration, with the hopes of contributing to future economic development in his community. “I’m excited to get out there and get a bit of job experience,” he says. “But I know I’ll come back to CBU when I’m ready to take on my MBA.”
When asked about his advice to high school graduates choosing their next steps, Kyle says, “CBU should be your top choice. It’s a small university which guarantees one-on-one experiences with professors, the people are so welcoming, and I know you’ll have a great time here.”