Volume 93, Issue 92

Thursday, March 23, 2000


Haskett says sorry

Pill accessibility increases

Eye disease put in focus

Study links number of car passengers to teenage accidents

Gas study criticized for being a smoke-screen

Head hunter talks about importance of high-tech skills


Caught on campus

Head hunter talks about importance of high-tech skills

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

A Western alumnus returned to the university yesterday – 18 years after he graduated from law school – to talk to a group of social sciences students about the importance of having high-tech skills and languages.

Tom Long, a corporate partner with Egan Zehnder, an international head hunting company specializing in top executives, held a question and answer period for approximately 30 minutes in the Great Hall. Long's opening speech centred around the growing need to have high-tech skills and languages in the rapidly changing world.

Fourth-year scholars electives student Mary Velpel questioned Long on why he chose a topic which had little to do with the study of social sciences. She also asked how he felt about Premier Mike Harris' attack on the post-secondary liberal arts degree.

Long, who worked on the political campaigns of Brian Mulroney and Harris, responded bluntly with his reasoning for centring his discussion on the need for high-tech skills. "Because that's the truth," he said. "Jobs of the future are going to be driven by technology."

John Santos, VP-communication for the social sciences council and third-year administrative and commercial studies student, asked Long his opinion of the importance of staying with a firm for the long-term.

Long discussed the need for students to be prepared to switch jobs every few years and said companies in the future would be looking for the flexibility and adaptability which comes with moving between jobs.

"Firms 15 to 20 years ago valued loyalty. That doesn't exist anymore," he said, adding he didn't recommend short terms at companies but said once an employee makes their impact, they should think about moving on. Long himself will be leaving Egan Zehnder next month after 10 years with the firm.

With respect to education, Long said firms were looking for graduates who have a range of skills and a good way to obtain this was to enroll in joint programs.

He said if he could do it all over again, he would have graduated with a masters in business administration instead of law, but added Western's joint business/law program provided some attractive skills.

Long also stressed the importance of learning languages at a young age and recommended Spanish as beneficial to learn. "When you're in your early '40s, trying to pick up a language is like going through a root canal," he said.

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