Originally posted by Jordan Fujiwara.
Joanne Yeung counts herself as pretty lucky. Her corporate residency experience started off a little stressful but has ended up being a life-changing experience. She has unexpectedly found a wonderful career fit and is very well positioned to seamlessly shift gears into the working world immediately upon graduation. It’s a great story! Read on…
Joanne is originally from Toronto. She received a BSc from York and a Master’s of Science from Waterloo, both in Chemistry. With that background, when she shifted into business with the Corporate Residency MBA her thoughts were on the big pharmaceutical companies. In September 2009, we had the first round of interviews with companies for our residencies. There was going to be at least one pharmaceutical firm there, but unfortunately they had to back out.
So began the task of finding a placement with the help of Management Career Services. “It was very stressful,” she remembers, “especially with five or six courses piled on top. But I gained a lot from job hunting too. For example, I had never cold-called before and I definitely improved my networking skills through the process.” During this time, Joanne sought the help of another JoAnne: “I have to say thanks to JoAnne Akerboom especially. I went to see her every Friday and bugged the hell out of her… she was very encouraging and supportive. Knowing she was there to help was very comforting.” JoAnne Akerboom is the Executive Director of External Affairs for the Faculty of Management and is involved with a lot of the marketing for our new program here. This just goes to show how involved our staff is!
Although Joanne didn’t end up working with a pharmaceutical company, she landed a position with Environment Canada, stationed in Gatineau, Quebec, as a Junior Policy Analyst. “I’m on a planning team that works on the renegotiations of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. There are different issue groups and ours deals with chemicals. My main focus is on stakeholder engagement and analysis of comments received in relation to the Canadian/Binational [USA and Canada] position. Through my experience, I have gained vast knowledge about environmental protection policy as well as regulatory management.”
You can see how Joanne’s chemistry background might come in handy here… but she certainly didn’t expect to end up working for the government at the start of her MBA! However, through the experience with Environment Canada, she has found her niche: “participating in the renegotiation has definitely been an eye-opening experience! In addition, the fostering of support and the work-life balance has definitely aligned well with my personal values. Knowing that I am part of an elite team of public servants who are dedicated to providing Canadians a better future definitely confirms my career aspiration in the federal government.” Joanne notes how each seemingly disconnected point along her so-called career path has played its part: “I started with the science degrees; if not for those I wouldn’t have gotten this position. But if not for the MBA, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity of working here.” Even though her residency is over, she has arranged to continue to work part time at the Dartmouth Regional office. She’ll be in a totally new field (no Great Lakes out here), and is very excited to get started. Her work in Quebec involved connecting with a lot of people in Toronto, and with the government’s vast breadth of different positions and fields (and the relative ease of being able to shift from one to the other) she can breathe easy when it comes to figuring out what to do after graduation.
See? Pretty sweet story, huh? Joanne’s message to the new and future classes: “One thing I want to say is: if you don’t get a job right out of the first round, don’t be discouraged. The staff is very helpful and they have lots of connections. Take it has a challenge and see it as a learning opportunity. Your hard work will pay off at the end.”
I can certainly relate to that one, Joanne. We’ll be back next week, see you then!