Like commerce students across Canada, recent Queen’s University commerce graduate Jane Traversy had many potential career options to choose from starting right in first year.
Originally, she thought she wanted to go into accounting, but after a series of informational interviews with a number of Queen’s alumni, she realized that her skills and personality were better suited for a career in sales and marketing.
“We don’t go store-to-store selling products to store managers. We work directly with the senior management of Canada’s major retailers to build national plans.” —Jane Traversy, Account Executive, Procter & Gamble
At the beginning of second year, Jane had the opportunity to speak with even more Queen’s alumni, some of whom worked at Procter & Gamble (P&G).
Despite the fact that she had never worked in a corporate office environment before, they encouraged her to apply for a Customer Business Development (CBD) – also known as sales – internship with the company.
“I was most attracted to P&G for its great training reputation and history of developing leaders,” she says. “I chose CBD because I love developing relationships with people and I am specifically interested in Canadian retail.”
Applying for a Procter & Gamble internship
Jane applied for the internship online by submitting a resume, and then completed two online assessments which measured her problem-solving skills and fit with the company.
She was invited to participate in a screening interview and to write an in-person reasoning test that is administered to all P&G applicants globally. Then there was a final round of behavioural interviews at P&G’s Toronto office.
“In my resume and interviews I focused on highlighting the results I achieved in leadership positions in student clubs, conferences and government; my experience running a successful dog treat business; and even the lessons I learned from my days as the director of a leadership program at my summer camp,” she says.
P&G’s industry-leading training
One of the things that makes P&G’s sales jobs different from the rest, Jane says, is the extensive training, resources and support the company provides its new hires. “P&G will actually recruit from any university program because they believe that the technical skills can be taught on the job.”
According to Jane, the most important abilities students and new grads can bring to P&G are the soft skills that you can’t learn in school, such as how to work in groups, solve problems, think critically and manage people. The rest you can learn in training.
“In your first month, you’re almost exclusively in training, and then you go on to participate in a full 52-week training plan,” she says, adding that, throughout her internships and entry level job, she has been encouraged to continue learning and participate in additional training. “In CBD there is a Canadian-specific new hire training leader whose sole job is to ensure that you’re ready to perform.”
With so much going on, it can be challenging to decide where to direct your energy. “There are always a thousand opportunities to pursue, but the key to being successful is knowing which ones will actually move the needle for your business,” says Jane. That’s why she continuously works with her manager and other experts to better understand where she should focus. “Over time, and as I’ve built experience, this has become much easier.”
The work environment at P&G
Fast-paced. Supportive. Collaborative. New challenges every day. That’s what it’s like to work at P&G according to Jane.
Even entry level employees get to take advantage of sweet perks like flexible work hours and the option to work from home up to half the time. However, she says, the coolest thing about working at P&G is the people. “Everyone is very smart and motivated succeed.”
Jane also enjoys getting involved in some of the many clubs and organizations that exist within P&G, kind of like the groups you might be involved with at school – only at work. “For example, this past year I led our CBD New Hire Network and volunteered extensively with the United Way,” she says.
Working in Customer Business Development at P&G
Jane went on to complete two sales internships at P&G as a student and started an entry level Customer Business Development role upon graduation. She says working in CBD at P&G isn’t a typical sales job. “We don’t go store-to-store selling products to store managers,” she says. “We work directly with the senior management of Canada’s major retailers to build national plans.”
On a day-to-day basis, she spends a lot of time analyzing information and building strategies for the retailers she’s responsible for with an internal team that includes colleagues from many different departments, including finance, marketing and consumer knowledge.
Jane and other CBD Associates often work at the head offices of retailers to help them build their businesses. During her very first presentation at P&G, she found herself pitching a senior manager with more than 20 years of experience on his company’s national strategy! “You’re given a lot of responsibility right away.”
Working in CBD also means you have the opportunity to make a huge impact very early on in your career. “After working full-time for a year and a half, I realized that the strategies I developed with my retailer were actually enabling their business to grow for the first time in years,” she says.
Developing a career at P&G
Her hard work and dedication is paying off in other ways, too. Recently, Jane was promoted and she’s working on a different side of the organization with a new retailer that hasn’t yet entered the market. “The work is entirely different. In this role, I’m advising them on what they need to do to win and be different in the unique Canadian retail environment,” she says.
Here’s how Jane’s career has progressed so far:
- Account Manager Intern – Family and Baby Care
- Account Manager Intern – Fabric Care
- Category Development Manager – Family Care
- Account Executive
Eventually, she’d like to work internationally and pursue career opportunities in different areas of the company.
Jane’s advice for students and new grads:
- Talk to as many people as possible and research as much as you can before choosing a career path
- Do something you enjoy because you’ll spend more time at work than anywhere else in your life
- Take advantage of your school’s career centre – they introduced Jane to alumni, and provided free resume help and mock interview training
See Procter & Gamble’s profile on TalentEgg or visit the ExperiencePG Canada website for more information on internship and grad opportunities with P&G.