Asper Students Spark Their Story at RMBS 2017

The following article was written by Sohni Tappia, Josh Griffin, Zacharie Fowler, and Lucas Szczepanski. They attended the Rocky Mountain Business Seminar (RMBS) in Jasper, Alberta through the CSA’s Conference Program.

The Rocky Mountain Business Seminar (RMBS) a unique, once in a lifetime reading week experience for the four of us who attended on behalf of Asper’s CSA. This conference hosted  students from all around Canada, cozily nestled away in the Rockies at a 5-star lodge. It provided an opportunity to seriously bond with students all the way from Halifax to Lethbridge, be inspired by business professionals and academics, and breathe in all the fresh mountain air that we so desperately long for when we’re back home in the Prairies. Oh my, we almost forgot to mention, we had five days of breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets prepared by a world-renowned Chef. Will the humble bragging ever stop? To be honest, probably not!

Before and after the conference week, the RMBS exec arranged for all of the external delegates to stay with billets – other University of Alberta students who would be attending the conference. This gave us a chance to get a head start on making friends, as all of the billeted students met up at The Pint before heading out to Jasper the next morning.

The theme of the conference this year was “Spark Your Story” and it started off with a keynote from Jared Smith – if you haven’t heard of him, look him up! Very cool professional. The best part about his address was that he spoke to the audience straight from the heart. He found the most engaging way to tie in a story from his personal life to the business world, and to leadership in general. This was common throughout all of the keynote speakers that we had each day. Their purpose was not to try and educate us on the “right” things to do in order to become “successful” but rather to focus on our own respective journey; to be confident, be different and focus on building our mental strength and emotional awareness. These skills can be often disregarded as students become narrowly focused on technical knowledge, but in a world like ours they are becoming more and more important. Saying ‘yes’ to new experiences and work opportunities will provide us with more knowledge than an A+ in a course will, believe it or not! It was messages like these that held the attention of all conference guests, and forced us to think outside our own student bubbles.

Throughout the rest of the week, we participated in a case competition, mini games and activities and attended breakout sessions: intimate speeches with professionals, with the chance for extended question and answer periods. These corporate guests stayed out in Jasper with us, dined with us during meals and took charge when it came to night time festivities! If there’s one thing we have learned, it’s to never underestimate the drinking power of an investment banker, ever. As well, there was plenty of free time to hike, explore the Jasper Park grounds and simply enjoy the reading week break.

According to Luc, attending RMBS was one of the best decisions he has made thus far in his University career. From a fun perspective, the hospitality suite was the best he has ever attended! The Exec team went above and beyond to make every night a party. Not only that, but the team was warm and welcoming. If they were ever stressed out for a moment, you would have never guessed. They were always smiling, having fun and were very approachable, whether you couldn’t find the correct room for a session or just wanted someone to share a bottle of wine with.

Upon graduation this April (for most of us) there are two main messages we intend to apply from the conference to our professional lives. The first is the importance of teamwork, and the ability to trust others to contribute to a project. Second, the ability to adapt to the world around us! It truly is changing faster than it ever has before, and this exponential trend is going to continue for the foreseeable future. If we, as individuals and organizations, are open to change and growth, we will never let any failure hold us back from realizing our true potential.

The Rocky Mountain Business Seminar is Canada’s longest-running and most prestigious student-organized business conference. For its 52nd year, RMBS bridged the gap between business executives and students from across North America pursuing a future in commerce. RMBS occured over Winter Reading Week in the beautiful Canadian Rockies of Jasper, Alberta.  Delegates enjoyed seminar and keynote speakers, a mini-case competition, fantastic nightly events, and three gourmet meals daily. It is the reading week experience to be remembered for years to come.

To learn more about RMBS, visit