Thompson Rivers University

Business leader shares tips for student entrepreneurs

  Posted on: March 31, 2021

James McCreath

By Gaurav Mishra, student ambassador

Apart from your education, what else positions you to win? This is something James McCreath, portfolio manager at BMO Nesbitt Burns and recent Learn with Leaders session speaker, asked students to think about. It’s not just about what you do in the classroom, but also the importance of activities outside the classroom.

McCreath, who received a TRU Distinguished Alumni Award for community service, shared his insights on the importance of resilience, an entrepreneurial mindset and extra-curricular activities with School of Business and Economics students. Here are the three things that stuck with me.

Stay resilient

Resilience is an important attribute that grows over time. In response to a student’s question about how to engage with the community when we are not on campus, McCreath responded that while things are more difficult during the pandemic, do things that excite you, try to learn new digital technologies and pursue opportunities to learn outside of class. Try to develop a positive outlook and take active steps to make this time fruitful. 

Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset

A constant need to improve your skill set, learn from your mistakes and explore new ideas makes up an entrepreneurial mindset. McCreath recommended students develop this mindset during their time in school. Thinking about and exploring ideas that other people aren’t will strengthen your resume, he said.

“People who will hire you know that you and your peers all are proficient in the courses. It’s the unique aspect of what you are doing that allows you to win,” he said.

Get involved in extra-curricular activities

McCreath made one of his first business connections as a soccer coach. He recommends doing what you love outside of school and even when you’re unable to meet people in person, attend online events or other safe extra-curricular activities. Many jobs never get advertised, so it’s vital to network with people who can open doors for you.

“Always go and ask for help, people love to help at TRU,” said McCreath, adding that students shouldn’t be shy about booking a meeting with the dean. Students can also get involved in TRUSU clubs or contact Career and Experiential Learning to find work or volunteer opportunities.

The Learn with Leaders series, which was McCreath’s idea, has been a valuable way for students to connect one-on-one with business leaders this school year. Serial entrepreneur, author and TRU Entrepreneur-in-Residence Adam Miron will be our guest speaker at the final session this semester. Students can RSVP at the School of Business and Economics events page.