As a student at U of T, chances are that your daily routine contains too many hours of screen time, between virtual lectures, assignments, and Discord chats. Keeping up with the influx of information becomes more and more challenging. 

The Down the Pipeline podcast by Rotman Commerce provides a way to stay knowledgeable with insightful conversations, without having to stare into your digital screens any longer.

The Varsity sat down with the show host, Aman Chohan, who also serves as the Assistant Director, Student Life – Community & Student Development at Rotman Commerce, to discuss the podcast’s creation. 

Helping students keep up to date

Down the Pipeline aims to bring business students across North America up to speed with what is going on in the business world. It invites topic-specific experts, such as professors and industry leaders, onto the show to explore trending topics through insightful conversations. 

The podcast, which has released five episodes and accumulated a double-digit number of listeners, has already covered topics such as career prospects, work-life balance, opportunities and challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and students’ anxiety toward job searching. Until now, all the guests have been from Rotman. More professors, industry leaders, and even students will be invited as the show grows.

Chohan explained that the podcast is designed using a student-centred approach. The initial intention behind creating the podcast was to not add more tasks that require screen time onto students’ to-do lists. As its name entails, Down the Pipeline funnels trending topics around the world to business students to help them process new and relevant information from subject areas that they may not have ever come across before.

The show also focuses on explaining why, as business students, social issues that go beyond the business world like climate change or biodiversity should matter to its listeners. Chohan explained that this was part of the show’s goal. “We want students to know that just because you are studying business doesn’t mean you cannot be a future leader and change the world. The only way we can do that is [to] give them that information,” he said.

Entrepreneurship opportunities 

Not only is Down the Pipeline a business podcast made for business students, the show itself is an example of entrepreneurship. From designing the logo and website, to inviting the guests and scheduling, to recording and editing, the show is entirely done by Rotman work study students. 

The podcast started as Chohan’s passion project, and he created this podcast as an opportunity to “[put] students in the driver’s seat.” 

“One of the main points of the work study process is to provide students with the opportunity to build competencies [and] to build skills that they can [use] to market themselves when they’re [looking] for jobs outside of the university,” said Chohan.

Chohan mentioned that one of the biggest challenges of creating the podcast was that none of the team members work full time on the show. “And at the end of the day, my work study students are also students… And so sometimes it’s hard to stay on schedule. Sometimes it’s just hard to get a [guest] to show up on the podcast.”

Nevertheless, the hiccups with scheduling do not impact work experience with the team, as Chohan spoke highly of the two student assistants that he is working with, Kitty Lu and Katrina Lai. “They’re just awesome people to work with. And I think anybody who works with them will see why. They care about what they do [and] they take responsibility for what they do,” said Chohan.

In the future, Chohan hopes to leverage the 30 official student groups at Rotman Commerce to create a student-centric engagement loop where students both run and benefit from the podcast to help more business students build marketable skills. As the podcast grows, Chohan hopes it will become an entry point for Rotman students who are passionate about podcasts and media. “My dream for this is to be able to lay the foundation and then hand this off to a [future] student,” he said.