On March 6 in the Wells Conference Center, the University of Maine hosted its fifth annual Etiquette Dinner. The event was sponsored by the UMaine chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) in connection with the University’s Career Center and is the AMA’s largest and most formal event of the year. Students who were able to attend the dinner had the opportunity to learn important business practices that will benefit them in real-world settings.
The Etiquette Dinner began with opening remarks from both AMA President Haley Cadran, a third-year marketing and management student, and AMA Vice President Sai Krishna Katta, a second-year business administration master’s candidate, who acted as the event’s committee chair.
Consisting of four separate courses, the dinner was provided and distributed by Black Bear Catering.
“This programming was first developed by [alumna] Paula Paradis and adapted by the Career Center during the presentation,” Cadran said. “The Career Center worked closely with AMA students to enhance the goals that AMA had created for the event.”
While the dinner was being served, Kate Axelsen-Foster and Samantha Wheeler, employees of the Career Center, provided the attendees with practical information regarding business etiquette. A good deal of the discussion involved table manners, such as the proper way to propose a toast, and the correct silverware to use for each course. The presenters also shared information about how to best introduce oneself and offered tips on how to hold conversations and make memorable business pitches.
Each table in the Conference Center was composed of seven or eight students and a distinguished guest host, who was either a faculty member of the Maine Business School, a UMaine alumnus or a local business leader.
Nearly 200 students and guests attended the event, more than last year’s dinner, making it the largest AMA Etiquette Dinner yet.
Professor Susanne Lee, an executive-in-residence of the Marketing Department and one of the dinner’s organizers, said that students benefited from learning “valuable networking, business social skills and basic etiquette that will allow them to present themselves professionally in all situations — but especially in career-related situations.”
“It also helps the students network with current working professionals as well as students from other disciplines to broaden their thinking in a professional environment,” Katta said.
As the AMA’s vice president and committee chair, Katta played an important role in the event’s organization. He was responsible for organizing logistics, like securing the venue, coordinating with guests and leading the event’s planning committee.
“This was the first formal event I attended in my first year at the University of Maine and as such, holds an important place in my heart,” Katta said.
Haley Cadran, in her position as AMA president, was likewise responsible for organizing the event.
“My main role was to make sure that everything ran smoothly and to assist other members to lead a cohesive team,” Cadran said. “After registration was filled, I was the registration coordinator and was in charge of following up with 200 students to confirm that they would be present at the Etiquette Dinner.”
In addition to the Etiquette Dinner, the UMaine AMA hosts a Halloween Fun Run, a LinkedIn workshop night — during which students are taught the basics of online resume building — and a Back-to-School Bar Crawl. The most recent bar crawl was held in collaboration with local establishments including Orono Brewing Company, Woodman’s, Marsh Island Brewing Company and Slice Bar.
These events, according to Cadran, allowed the AMA to raise the money necessary to present this year’s Etiquette Dinner.
The Fifth Annual Etiquette Dinner was made possible through support from the Maine Business School, UMaine Student Government, the Alumni Association, the University Credit Union and the UMaine Foundation.