What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?
As Business and Research Analyst at Invest in Canada, I am responsible of tracking, monitoring, and reporting data regarding relevant FDI markets, industries, and sectors across Canada. My role involves preparing and presenting FDI Flows Report for Canada, with an in-depth analysis, which would help the government understand the current direction of FDI and well as serve as a direction for our international partners. My work also entails creating research reports, factbooks and various data analyses to support my team, as well as Canada’s international partners, which mostly includes large multinationals, corporates and other governments. I also have had the opportunity to create novel databases in collaboration with other government departments (such as Statistics Canada, ISED) and private organization (such as KPMG), which have helped produce data points at a national level, forming the foundation for various government strategic projects, new articles and research papers. Moreso, this in-depth research work is also adopted into comprehensive research reports, ranging over various themes, specifically focusing on areas of interest to the Government of Canada. Some of my latest research reports have focused on the fintech sector, hydrogen industry, eSports sector and the talent potential of Canada.
How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?
Over my professional years of experience, post my graduate degree, there have been a number of times that I have gone back to my class notes and lectures. They help refresh my memory and to bring the most synthesized and efficient work style into my projects. The style and method of my research papers and documents is completely adopted from my GP Square project, which I did in my final year of the graduate program. From conducting interviews, synthesizing data, to writing findings and analysis; my style has been what was taught to me in school, for which I will always be grateful to my program and my teachers. The project helped me focus on bringing different research techniques into practical application and taught me how to better handle the real-world problems. It also helped me understand my working style better, being able to effectively work in my team while being able to produce the best results. Also, the knowledge that I gained from my data analysis classes comes in use regularly during my work routine. My work focuses towards crunching numbers and providing analysis, especially on reporting days, where I have a few minutes to provide data analysis to my team and seniors. The numbers that I produce are then quoted at various government levels, hence, the accuracy and timeliness of it is very important, which my graduate program certainly ensured that I realized.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
I graduated from my program during the peak of the pandemic, where my hiring and on-boarding was completely remote. So much so, that two years into my job, and I still have not met my team. I am also now working fulltime remotely, so it gives me the freedom to work in my comfort space. However, this also comes with its own challenges, where remote working keeps you disconnected from your team, and requires more of an effort at an individual level, to build working relations with others. This was much harder for me during the initial months of my job, where I was a fresh graduate, trying to get myself known among seniors and prove my capabilities. However, my team has been very supportive, and I do make an effort to interact with them socially and meet them whenever possible.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
I graduated from my program during the pandemic, at a time when hiring was closed, with most of the businesses and offices either shut or trying to function remotely, with a stop on all hiring positions. Before the lockdown, I had two positions, in different private and governments sectors, that I had interviewed for, and was in the final stage of recruitment, mostly waiting to hear back from employers, when I was told that hiring had been cancelled due to ‘unprecedented events of the world.’ It was a complete time of chaos, but now when I look back I feel I would have not been in the role I am currently, had I received acceptance from other positions that I had interviewed for. Due to the pandemic, I was able to secure a position in Ottawa, without having the need to move there. The current position I am at, is what the nature brought me to, and I cannot be more happy with it.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
UBC is one of the best universities not only in Canada, but across the world. Living my adult life in the east coast, coming to Vancouver and studying at the beautiful UBC campus, was always a dream. Moreover, the Policy Program at UBC was also highly ranked, with many of my professional colleagues appreciating the practical aspects of the program.
What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?
I enjoyed working with my colleagues in the program, getting the opportunity to study with a vibrant and diverse cohort, as well as the connections that I was able to create, which are still very dear to me. The support provided by my teachers and mentors was extraordinary, with their guidance still helping me pave way through my professional career. I also enjoyed the opportunity that I was provided to travel for my research project and participate in different conferences and meetings.
How did the graduate degree at UBC help you achieve your career and/or personal development goals?
The graduate program helped me gain the education required to advance in my professional career. It also groomed my analytical and leadership abilities, helping me balance my professional and personal life better. The mentors and the teachers that I met through the program helped me understand the direction I wanted to take in my career. The co-op program that my graduate degree offered helped me tremendously in landing the job that I have today. It not only aided me to take the first step into the government sector, but it also provided me great support and on-job guidance, helping me understand public service while I was still studying.
What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?
I think that I stepped into the graduate program with a very open mind, willing to try different jobs and career paths, take up different opportunities, and to try and test what I liked the most. I feel that attitude really helped me learn about my career goals and what direction I wanted to take. I also tried to make myself available for different conferences, seminars, professional events, and other activities on campus. That certainly helped me network and learn from other individuals in various professional fields as to what pathway they took, and seek guidance regarding my own career goals in a very pragmatic manner.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
I think all graduate students should remain persistent and keep a strong focus towards the direction that they want to take, while taking small steps towards it. The path of hard work does eventually wind up to success. Other than that, students should make best use of their time, and all the activities that are happening around campus, especially within their own programs. There is always something or the other happening, which fits everyone’s interest, while UBC is also very diverse, giving individuals an open platform to organize events and professional gatherings which interest them specifically, providing a leadership platform, which everyone should certainly make use of. Lastly, I feel career advisors and the jobs portals of the university, especially G+PS, are greatly underappreciated for the immense good that they do towards finding their students the right kind of jobs. The advisors are solely there to help you land the job of your dreams, and everyone should make the most of this consultation and support.