Getting workplace experience while you’re still in school is the best way to hatch your career.
With meaningful experience and the start of a professional network under your belt, you’ll have a good chance at a seamless transition from classroom to workplace – if you choose the right opportunity.
For both Nicole Bacci and Reema Surani, that opportunity was a summer role with Bell.
After returning to Bell for multiple summer terms, they each moved into Bell’s Graduate Leadership Programs (GLPs) and are both looking forward to nurturing a career with Bell.
Nicole spent three summers working in the Municipal Operations Centre at Bell as a Summer Student, completing technical tasks related to ongoing Bell projects.
“I had to study construction plans and confirm that work could go ahead without interference,” she says. “I had to communicate with other utility groups and make sure that our work wasn’t conflicting with theirs, sharing and comparing different construction plans.”
These tasks drew on Nicole’s educational background – she was a student in electrical and biomedical engineering at McMaster at the time.
In her second and third summers, Nicole was tasked with creating job aids to help full-time Bell associates understand new tasks and deliver a consistent final result. “I sat down with each person individually to make sure that the job aid helped them understand the task from start to finish,” she explains. “It’s really effective if you sit down with one person and learn what they do before you go in and show them something new.”
Reema was completing a commerce degree at Queen’s University when she started a Summer Student role with Bell in the Project Management Office, setting deadlines for project completion, prioritizing work and designing projects from first to final stages.
“As a Summer Student, Bell gave me work where I was held accountable. It was great to recognize that I was being trusted with important tasks.”
—Nicole Bacci, Field Services Manager
“My first job taught me a lot of skills,” she says. “From analysis of data, to planning and executing lots of different projects, I believe I got a strong grasp on a lot of different areas! Analysis is key and comes in great use in any role, be it in finance, marketing or HR.”
Like Nicole, Reema also got the chance to take on large-scale tasks, delivering project presentations to senior management – an experience that played a big part in leading her to pursue another summer term with Bell.
“Interaction with senior management helped develop my leadership skills and enhanced my natural willingness to come back and learn more about different functions at Bell the following summer,” she says.
Launching a career at Bell
With ample experience as Summer Students, both Reema and Nicole were drawn to Bell’s Graduate Leadership Programs (GLPs), a training opportunity which pairs participants with a mentor and allows them to explore different areas of Bell’s operations on a rotational basis.
“I really liked that Bell had a grad program that was designed to let me explore different areas of the company and see where I wanted to go,” says Nicole.
“I knew that I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this rotational program,” she says. “I was already a part of the company and this program will give me diversified knowledge of the different units within Bell!”
Today, Reema is working as a Quality Insight Analyst – Performance Management after exploring rotational positions in the retail and business areas of Bell’s operations, while Nicole is fulfilling her first rotation: a nine-month position as a Field Services Manager.
“Starting a career with Bell is definitely rewarding and it’s something you won’t want to let go of.”
—Reema Surani, Quality Insight Analyst – Performance Management
Each is confident that the GLP will help them grow the career with Bell they’re looking for.
“I want to establish a career in HR in the long-term,” says Reema. “Through the experience of these different rotations, I believe I will be well-prepared and have a solid grasp of the business, which will help me move into my field of interest.”
Nicole is looking forward to exploring work in network engineering and getting back in touch with her technical skills.
“I enjoy working with people and focusing on different kinds of projects, but I miss being able to design something from scratch,” she says. “I want to explore that challenge.”
“Before coming to Bell, I had never had a job with a lot of responsibility,” she adds. “I want to stay with Bell and move up as high as I can go.”
Tips from experience
Nicole has some choice words of wisdom for those looking to start a career at Bell. “Apply early,” she says. “If you are a student and looking to start a role in the summer or in the GLPs, don’t leave your looking to the last minute.”
What about applications themselves?
“Don’t seem too focused on one particular thing,” she says. “Show – as much as you can – that you are diverse and well-rounded in your application.”
Reema adds that it’s important to plan for the long term when you’re considering your career start at Bell. “There are lots of opportunities at Bell. No matter where your interests lie, there’s an opportunity for you to explore at Bell as we continue to be part of an emerging and evolutionary industry.”
“I would say there is no better place than Bell to start a career.”