You’ve made it! You put in the long hours of studying and passed your exams. Maybe you’ve already donned your cap, walked across that stage, and received your hard-earned diploma. Or perhaps you’ll be returning for your final year in the fall. In either case, you’re probably considering that upcoming transition into the “real world” and wondering… What’s next?
Have you considered Bell’s award-winning Graduate Leadership Programs? It is a great way to gain experience, develop skills, and meet awesome people! Now offering 8 different program streams, you can find the perfect program to fit your professional skills and your passion! Each program places a strong focus on developing the next generation of leaders. Grads are able to work on impactful projects, to network, and to build connections with their peers. The support and professional development opportunities offered aim to guide grads to become company leaders – innovating and working together in order to continue to make Bell the top telecommunications company in Canada.
We had the chance to chat with four grads from different program streams to learn about their journey to Bell. Read on to hear their stories!
Nicholas Garrett | Finance
Pursuing your CPA at Bell vs at an Accounting Firm
Nicholas Garrett’s story with Bell began at a retail store where he worked part-time while pursuing his undergrad at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He graduated with a BBA in Accounting.
Why Nicholas chose Bell: Nicholas had always demonstrated a natural talent for numbers and strategy so, for him, deciding to pursue a career in Finance and to achieve his CPA was a no-brainer. And the decision to achieve these professional goals at Bell? Also, a no-brainer. “I was already aware of the company’s culture and appreciated the way they treated their employees, especially while working as a student. I decided to pursue my CPA through Bell instead of an accounting firm as I thought it would provide more growth opportunities.”
Nicholas’ insights: Now a Finance Manager with Bell, Nicholas believes his analytical, critical thinking and communication skills have helped him to not only land the job in the first place, but continue to be successful in his role today.
Monika Palinkas | Marketing, Operations, and Applied Technologies
Engineering to Business: how holding a non-traditional degree can help you succeed
Monika Palinkas took a unique path to get into the Marketing, Operations and Applied Technologies Stream of the Grad Program at Bell. Instead of holding business degree – most common for those in the MOAT stream – Monika graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in Chemical Engineering.
Why Monika chose Bell: She had heard about Bell’s Leadership Program through a Bell career info session on campus held for women in engineering. “I was immediately impressed by what the Grad Program offered and I really connected with the Bell representatives. This was a good indication to me that I would fit in well within the company’s culture. I also appreciated that the Grad Program was designed in such a way that we would really get to understand the front-line of the business first.”
“I was interested in the program because Bell is a leader in the communications industry with a strong leadership team, and they invest so much in their grad program. It was appealing to me that I would get to rotate through various roles before making a final “landing role” decision. In fact, I ended up enjoying my second rotation so much that I recently landed on the same team as a Loyalty and Retention Specialist.
Monika’s insights: We asked Monika how she found that her degree in engineering helped her to achieve success in a business-focused program: “My engineering background provided me with the ability to be a problem solver and to have resilience and perseverance through difficult problems. The demanding nature of an engineering degree taught me how to prioritize projects, time manage, and work efficiently, which are all keys to success in my career today. Especially as I realized that I wanted to shift gears from engineering to commerce and wanted to experience and learn about the different business opportunities available. The grad program at Bell allowed me to do just that.”
Bahar Demirli | Network Engineering
How Attending Networking Events Can Open Doors
Similar to Monika, Bahar Demirli also discovered Bell’s Graduate Leadership Program through an on-campus event. “I was so tired that day and my friend convinced me to go,” she says, and she is so happy that she did. As a student pursuing an Electrical Engineering degree at McGill University, Bahar was very interested in learning about technology and how it fits into everyday life. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the Network Specialist role in the Network Stream of Bell’s Grad Program caught her eye.
Why Bahar chose Bell: Throughout her four-year undergrad, Bahar felt the effects of gender disparity in tech firsthand. This experience prompted her to start the “Women In Tech” club, which aims to encourage more women to pursue careers with tech companies. She recalls that at the Bell info session, her first impressions were extremely positive and friendly; she became convinced that this was a company where she could find her fit.
“That’s what I love about Bell – it’s so diverse, accommodating, and welcoming. I’ve worked at other companies during internships, but the culture that I feel at Bell is so welcoming and inclusive.”
Bahar’s insights: She believes that making that initial connection at the event helped her during the interview process. “I love networking events and know how beneficial they can be. Attending events is a great way to really learn about companies: what they do and if your values align. Building those connections, talking about the industry and the work they do [as well as] the opportunities [available] is really important,” she says. “If I hadn’t gone to that networking event, it might have not even crossed my mind to look into the Grad Leadership Program with Bell.”
Jennifer Zhang | Human Resources
Finding your true passion
Jennifer Zhang felt lost in University and unsure of which area of business she was truly passionate. She took time to reflect on past experiences to determine what it was about her previous jobs or volunteer activities that she liked or disliked – looking for patterns to help her narrow down her options. Jennifer decided to find opportunities on campus at the University of Toronto where she could test the waters while completing her degree. Jennifer joined student clubs offering positions in marketing and human resources (HR). She discovered that her passion resided in helping to develop the people around her. After graduation, armed with her Bachelor of Business Administration and a new focus in HR, Jennifer was ready to start her career.
Why Jennifer chose Bell: Jennifer heard about Bell’s Leadership Grad Program through a friend, but initially missed the application deadline. She ended up joining the Bell team as a Contractor through a program called Career Edge where she supported the campus recruitment team during the internship. She was able to learn more about the Grad Leadership Program and to make connections with the grads who were already a part of the program.
Even within the internship, Jennifer recalls how open and supportive the leadership team was. “Since day one, my manager sat down with me and asked me what I wanted to develop, what my career goals were and how she could help me. At that point, I was a fresh grad and intern thinking I wasn’t going to make a big impact. This made me feel very important. Bell really advocates for continuous improvement and growth.”
So when the opportunity came up again, Jennifer applied right away. She was hired into the HR Stream as an HR Consultant in Workplace Health. A large part of her role involved working on the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, as well as other internal total health awareness initiatives.
Jennifer’s insights: A skill that Jennifer has developed since working for Bell is her ability to think more strategically, which has helped to build her business acumen skills. “Contrary to popular belief, HR strategy is all driven by metrics and numbers. It’s so important for new grads to familiarize themselves with Microsoft Excel and analytics,” she stresses. “Be familiar with functions, pivot tables, look-ups and logics on Excel, so at least you know the basic cell formulas.”