In conversation with Jordan Cowie, valedictorian for the Management ceremony

"McGill has provided me with a network of absolutely brilliant, wonderful, amazing mentors. I thank them for believing in me, taking a chance on me, and helping me develop the tools I need to succeed."

In this special series of Q&As, McGill’s 2024 valedictorians share their insights and perspectives as they reflect on their academic journeys and look back at the moments that defined their time at McGill, from navigating the challenges of entering McGill during the COVID pandemic to finding and fostering a sense of community.

Today, we feature Jordan Cowie, valedictorian for the Desautels Faculty of Management. Cowie, who has earned a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Labour-Management Relations and Human Resources, delivered the address at the Management ceremony on Wednesday, May 30, at 10 a.m.

Please note, the answers have been edited for brevity.

Why did you choose McGill? 

I decided in Grade 9 that I wanted to go to McGill because I would still be close to home [in Westchester, N.Y.] but it would feel like I was studying abroad.

At first, I was only wait-listed for Desautels, so had fully committed to another university. When McGill took me off their wait list, I chose McGill, because it had good brand recognition, was affordable and I would still be near my family.

What were some of your impressions when walking onto campus for the first time?

I loved being so close to nature. Montreal has an urban feel, but also a very calming vibe with Mount Royal right next to the campus.

What are some of the highlights of your time as a McGill student?

Working with Alexa Infelise to revitalize the Student Nutrition Accessibility Club was a highlight of my McGill experience.

After a lot of hard work, many setbacks and countless emails, we transformed the club into a full-fledged service that provides 160 students with fresh produce each week and hosts monthly nutrition workshops. I’m so honoured that our work is now institutionalized on campus and will continue to provide McGillians with access to free produce.

Another highlight was winning Les Jeux du Commerce as part of the Human Resources Management team. I had never participated in a case competition before, but doing JDC made me wish I hadn’t waited until my final year to become involved! The opportunities I had to network, learn and connect with fellow Desautels students, potential employers and wonderful mentors couldn’t have been replicated anywhere else. Hearing McGill’s name called as first-place winner during the awards ceremony is a feeling that remains close to my heart.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced at McGill?

For me, balancing commitments was a massive challenge. I was blown away by the number of opportunities McGill offers, and I found myself wanting to get involved in everything, from the McGill Students for Geriatric Health to intramural soccer.

Unfortunately, you cannot say Yes to everything.

After developing severe insomnia, I had to make some tough choices. This taught me valuable lessons about energy, commitment and balance.

What’s next for you, both short and long term?

I will be heading to McGill Law School in the fall to pursue labour and employment law. I’m passionate about improving the lives of employees, and I see labour law as a concrete way to achieve that.

How has McGill helped prepare you for your next chapter?

McGill has been instrumental in helping me become who I am today.

The Desautels Career Management team helped me develop my career-related skill set; in turn, I helped other students build theirs, through my work as the Lead Peer Advisor.

I’ve honed my organization- and event-planning skills through my involvement in many events, inside and outside our faculty.

I developed a passion for labour law thanks to two law courses taught by Professor Stephen De Four-Wyre.

But, most important, McGill has provided me with a network of absolutely brilliant, wonderful, amazing mentors. The faculty and staff are some of the kindest, smartest and sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I thank them for believing in me, taking a chance on me, and helping me develop the tools I need to succeed.

 

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