We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Imagine a blank canvas stands in front of you. In one hand you hold a palette with varying colours of paint. In your other hand, a paint brush. Now, you proceed to paint. A dab here, a twirl there, a dash running through… soon you’re a whirlwind with the brush, a Rembrandt in the making, a Picasso in the foresight…
Your work is done and that which lies before you is truly something. A masterpiece of accents and cultures, and a psychedelic patchwork of colours to boot. Almost as if every colour brings its own language, experience, and style.
That is how I felt on the first day of Ignition Week when I saw the Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology (MBET) Class of 2017 gathered—a truly unusual masterpiece in the making.
It is one thing to speak of a multicultural campus or country, which Canada certainly is; it is another thing to have most of the entire world represented in a class of 38 people. You could literally throw a dart at a randomly chosen land mass on a map of Earth, and I would bet with absolute certainty that either there is someone from that continent in the MBET class or someone has been there.
Building an MBET community
The first day of Ignition Week started with classmate bonding, a reunion of acquaintances, and most importantly, being introduced into the Conrad Centre family and meeting the professors, staff, and mentors.
With the amount of information pitched our way, it was only natural that the day culminated with a group activity. A once in life-time group activity it was, where design ideas ranged from autonomous air cleaners to hybrids of fishing vessels and hot air balloons.
Immersion in the entrepreneurial mindset
The next few days were a whirlwind of tours that brought us in touch with the heartbeat of Waterloo’s startup scene: the Accelerator Centre, Communitech, and the Velocity Garage.
One of the core pillars of being an entrepreneur as we will later learn is networking, and in keeping with this, Ignition Week included a networking barbecue with the Conrad Centre. The professors learned more about their new, still bright-eyed students, and the students had the chance to interact a bit more with their professors and the Conrad staff.
You might think that would be the end of the welcome week, but you would be sadly mistaken. What better way to end a welcome week than a futuristic problem solving group challenge with a video presentation due the next day? Seriously, what better way? Perhaps, a hike through a forest trail led by Professor Howard Armitage?
Each and every student in the MBET Class of 2017 is here with a purpose. They have come from all over the world, with families moved and friends left behind — so take heed Waterloo, there’s a storm brewing.
Eyram Dornor is a current MBET student. He is fascinated by technology and motivated by a passion to positively impact the lives of others. Before MBET, he obtained his undergraduate education in Computer Engineering with an Option in Entrepreneurship from the University of Waterloo.