On October 15th, TalentEgg hosted Office Hours with the team from the RBC Career Launch Program! Office Hours is an hour-long chat with career experts and recruiters for TalentEgg members.
The RBC Career Launch Program is a top first career opportunity for recent graduates from across Canada!
Together, the team from RBC discussed the program’s 3 unique rotations, what makes it a top learning experience and how you can get involved.
If you missed the live event, you can read the complete transcript below.
Welcome to Office Hours, TalentEgg-ers! My name is Elias and I’ll be moderating today’s chat.
Over the next hour, you can share your questions with the team from the RBC Career Launch Program, learn about the program’s 3 unique rotations and find out which skills will lead you to success in this top first career opportunity!
You can start submitting your questions now.
Today’s experts from the RBC Career Launch Program team are:
• Rehana Ciriani, RBC Career Launch Program Director
• Kelly Hall, RBC Career Launch Program Associate
• Joshua Whittingham, RBC Career Launch Program Associate
The team from the RBC Career Launch Program is going to address several pre-submitted questions from TalentEgg-ers like you, as well as a number of live questions!
You’ll learn a lot over the next hour.
During the chat, we’ll also be sharing some expert profiles and behind-the-scenes content from the RBC Career Launch Program. Make sure to check this content out after the chat!
Let’s meet Rehana, Kelly and Joshua! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your RBC Career Launch Program experience?
Hello everyone my name is Joshua Whittingham and I am an Associate with RBC’s Career Launch Program. I graduated with a degree in Political Science and East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto and a Master’s Certificate from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). I’m really excited to share my experience with RBC.
Hi guys! My name is Kelly and I am an Associate with the RBC Career Launch program. I studied English and History at Wilfrid Laurier University and Public Relations at Conestoga College. I began my Career Launch program journey working in a RBC branch.
Hi everyone. I’m Rehana Ciriani and I’m the Director of the RBC Career Launch Program. I have the amazing opportunity of working with a talented team who brings this innovative program to life. I’ve spent my entire career in the banking industry and yet I’ve had so many different careers. I started out in retail banking experiencing many interesting roles serving clients; and then shifted my career to HR where I’ve had opportunities in Talent Management, Leadership Development, Recruitment and now RBC Learning. I’m excited to be here with you to share details about a program that we’re all very proud of.
As you plan and prepare your application, it’s important to understand the qualities and skills that will drive your achievement.
Heng-Kiu is completing a BBA at Wilfrid Laurier University, and asks:
How would you describe a person who is a model of success in this program?
Hi Heng-Kiu, we’re looking for candidates with the following attributes: professionalism, positive attitude, commitment to work quality, ability to set and achieve goals and team-focused.
There’s a lot of real opportunity in the RBC Career Launch Program, and being ready for a challenge is the best way to be prepared.
Zenas is studying Business Administration at Wilfrid Laurier University, and asks:
What is the most difficult aspect of the Career Launch Program that many Associates did not expect?
Thanks for the question Zenas. For me the most challenging part of the Career Launch Program is the quick pace that Associates need
to integrate into a new team, learn new skills and make na impact in each of the rotations. That being said, you are supported every step of the way and adaptability is one of the very important soft skills I gained in the process.
Want to learn more about the career skills you’ll learn in the program? Here’s a great question that was submitted in advance.
Shawn, a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Master of International Public Policy program, asks:
How will the experience acquired within the program prepare me for future roles?
Shawn, the most valuable thing I have acquired through the program is a much stronger professional network. A strong professional network doesn’t just mean knowing who to call when you need a job. It can be knowing who to ask for advice when dealing with a tough problem at work. The program has also given me the opportunity to develop professional skills which are crucial to any roles. Through the Career Launch Program I have also been given opportunities to demonstrate these skills, showing future employers that I do have these skills. Transferable skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving are necessary to succeed in any role whether it is in HR, finance, IT, operations etc.
The RBC Career Launch Program is open to recent graduates from a wide variety of backgrounds! Here’s a timely question…
Eirene, a student in the BBA program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, asks:
Does RBC prefer to hire university grads over polytechnic grads?
Thank you for joining our chat today Eirene. Our program is about providing a first career experience to a broad group of young graduates with different educational backgrounds. There is no preference given to certain types of schools. We encourage everyone who meets the eligibility criteria to apply!
Learn more about the hands-on experience of the program!
Towaki, a BA graduate from the University of Toronto who majored in Economics and Mathematics, asks:
What would a typical day for someone who is accepted into the RBC Career Launch Program be like in each rotation?
Hi Towaki, I am not sure if there is a “typical” day in the RBC Career Launch program – each rotation is unique but even more so, each Associate’s experience is unique. Rotation one is where you will find the most consistency in your days because you know you are going to go into the branch and serve clients but even then you will run into different challenges and experiences each day and will have countless opportunities to make the most of. That’s really what this program can do for you – allow you to go to work each day and make the most of it.
Let’s tackle a top question many of you wanted to hear about!
Darrel, a Math/Business graduate from Waterloo University, asks:
What’s the single most valuable part of participating in the RBC Career Launch Program?
Darrel, I think this question is a very personalized one – it really depends on the type of experience you want to have. For me, the
single most valuable part of participating in this program has been the network I have been able to build. Networking is a skill that is not easy to develop but is completely invaluable. While in this program I have received guidance surrounding networking and as a result have made strong connections to carry forward.
Egg-citing discussion! Here’s a question about the structure of the RBC Career Launch Program.
Rulla, a graduate of the DeGroote School of Business, asks:
How were the program’s 3 rotations designed and chosen?
Great question Rulla! We wanted to be able to provide Associates with a diverse first-career experience. Many students graduate from school and think, “Now what? What do I want to do as a career?” It’s a tough decision to make, and not everyone knows which career direction they want to pursue. By offering a variety of experiences in different areas during the course of a year, Career Launch Associates can determine which areas and fields interest them the most. We want to provide a diverse experience so the Associates can learn the ropes, help the community and gain exposure to RBC’s broad-based business areas.
Here’s a great question!
Stacie is completing a BBA at HEC Montréal, and asks:
I’d like to ask the program’s leaders: why do you wish the RBC Career Launch Program had existed when you began your own banking careers?
Absolutely Stacie. Who wouldn’t want to be part of such a diverse program that encompasses all the components that can help fast track your career?
This TalentEgg-er has a question about RBC’s resources and experience!
Dominique, an education graduate from l’Université Laval, asks:
How (or why?) is RBC in a good position to offer this kind of top career experience?
Hi Dominique! The program is part of RBC’s five-year $100 million Believe in Kids Pledge to support a wide range of programs for developing the whole child – in mind, body and spirit. RBC already hires more than 2,400 young people annually into positions and provides more than 800 internship, co-op and summer experiences so we have experience working with young people pursuing their first career experience.
Hello: How has this experience changed or shaped your career plans?
When I entered into the Career Launch Program I really did not know what to expect. I had gone to school for Public Relations and knew I wanted to work in that field but still had a lot of growth to get there. This program has allowed me to develop my skills and spark new interests in areas I had not even thought of before such as Public Speaking and work in the charitable sector.
When did you know the program was right for you?
After the first interview I knew the program was what I was looking for. During the interview I was able to get a better sense for what the program was about. I wanted to gain professional experience at a leading Canadian company, apply my education and expand my networks. From the interview I could tell that the program would allow me to do just that.
There are a lot of unique placement opportunities in the RBC Career Launch Program!
Tom is a politics graduate from Saint Mary’s University who asks:
How are student Associates matched with areas or programs or locations in each rotation?
Thanks for joining the chat Tom! Throughout the program, Associates will have the opportunity to identify their areas of interest and
work closely with their Career Launch Program manager to learn more about that business area. We do make efforts to align the Associates’ interests but there is no guarantee of alignment due to availability of placements. All the Associates are required to be flexible and available to commute to the specified work location within a one-hour timeframe.
It’s important to put your best foot forward when you’re completing the application process.
Peter is a graduate of Brandon University who asks:
What should I watch out for when I’m putting together my application?
Hey Peter, great question! Don’t be afraid to let your personality come across through your writing when you are putting together your application. It is wonderful to have a great answer to the essay question but you also want those reading it to get a feel for who you are. You only have 500 words to do this so plan and revise! Please check our website at www.rbc.com/careerlaunch for some valuable essay-writing tips.
Here’s a question about building towards future success.
Ziina, an engineering student from the University of Windsor, asks:
What are some examples of career paths I would be more ready to explore after participating in the RBC Career Launch Program this year?
Hi Ziina, this comprehensive experience will help Associates make decisions about their career path and increase their attractiveness to future employers. The program will help to better prepare the Associates for long-term career success in a number of fields.
The program’s openness is one of its most unique features!
Diana, an Arts student from the University of Manitoba, asks:
I think it’s great that RBC is supporting all students regardless of backgrounds. Can you describe some of the academic backgrounds represented by current Associates in the program?
Absolutely Diana. Our current Associates have a wide range of educational backgrounds; including Business, Arts, Science, Engineering, Marketing and Political Science just to name a few!
Egg-ceptional discussion! We interviewed Rehana to learn more about the RBC Career Launch Program and her experience with the program over the last year. Check it out in “Inside The RBC Career Launch Program”: http://talentegg.ca/incubator/2014/10/06/rbc-career-launch-program/
The RBC Career Launch Program is a top opportunity with a big-picture focus.
Jon, a politics graduate of Concordia University, asks:
Can you describe the objective of the RBC Career Launch Program in 1 sentence (or 2)?
Hi Jon. The objective of the RBC Career Launch Program is to demonstrate a solution that can break the ‘no experience – no job’ cycle for youth in Canada. And that we provide young people in Canada with a first-career experience that utilizes their talent and optimism and builds their confidence for the future.
How has the program helped you use your degree?
I was able to apply soft skills I developed in university like communication, and teamwork, but I’ve also been able to utilize some of my language skills. For example while working at the branch in Toronto I was the go to person on the team when assisting Mandarin speaking clients. These skills were appreciated by my team and our clients.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in RBC Career Launch?
The most valuable thing I have learned so far in the Career Launch Program is how to evaluate myself. I value being able to receive feedback from those I work with but also have time to reflect on areas of personal growth. There is a strong support system present as you journey through the Career Launch Program and whether it is your fellow associates, NextGen Mentor or your managers, there is always someone there to help you reflect and grow both professionally and personally.
One of the program’s 3 exciting rotations gives you the chance to work at a registered Canadian charity.
Lalicia, a commerce student at the University of Toronto, asks:
I’m very interested in the charitable rotation, in particular. How would this experience set me up for success in the not-for-profit and/or charity sectors?
Hi Lalicia, you are completely absorbed into the charity and quickly learn the inner-workings of the charitable organization you are working at. A huge benefit is the fact that the charitable organizations apply to RBC to receive an Associate for second rotation which means they have a specific project in mind for you to work on. This will not only provide you with relevant skills training but will provide you with a resume-building opportunity that is completely unique to this sector – gaining that crucial yet seemingly allusive experience in your field of interest after graduation.
One of the most exciting elements of the RBC Career Launch Program is the opportunity to connect!
Kate is a sociology graduate from the University of British Columbia, who asks:
In what ways does the RBC Career Launch Program empower Associate networking? What makes this of value?
Hi Kate. With this program you really determine the kind of experience you have so if networking is a priority for you (and it was for me as well) there are definitely options to help you become a strong networker and make connections. For me, my RBC NextGen mentor – who was paired with me close to the beginning of my internship – was a great resource and encouraging force when it came to networking as he provided me with tips, connections and guidance to make the most of my professional relationships. Beyond that, the people at RBC have been so welcoming to us in that when we have reached out for a chat or a coffee they are more than willing and receptive.
Let’s talk about Associate feedback!
Terique, an arts graduate of the Université de Montréal, asks:
What have this year’s students said they liked the most about being in this program?
Terique, it is hard to speak for the entire group of us but because we are constantly in touch with one another despite distance and schedules I think there is a pretty good sense of what we have liked best. I would have to say it is the expansiveness of the program because we really had no idea what we were getting into when we arrived at orientation back in January. This program is so well thought out, the opportunities are endless and the way it is tailored to us as individuals makes it really special.
Interested to know how your skills align with the program? This TalentEgg-er wanted to know…
Diego, a literature graduate from Memorial University, asks:
What are some of the skills that you’ve found students from unique programs of study are able to leverage to be a success in the program?
Great question Diego! We are looking for individuals who are professional, have a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, the ability to set and achieve goals and someone who is a team-player. We have found that creative individuals and those who are analytical have brought unique perspectives and value to many of their assignments throughout the program.
Do you get the chance to thrive independently or do you primarily work with other Associates?
Hi Jim. Associates benefit from a combination of working independently, collaborating with colleagues within their rotational work assignments, and connecting with their Associate peers across the country during their learning and professional development opportunities. Associates also build a strong network amongst each other through RBC’s internal social networking site where they can share their experiences, learn from each other and help each other by providing ideas.
Make sure you check out this feature, “A Day In The Life: The RBC Career Launch Program”! It features some first-hand feedback from current program Associates, including Joshua and Kelly: http://talentegg.ca/incubator/2014/10/09/day-life-rbc-career-launch-program/
Many grads are interested in the opportunity to build experience with a Canadian leader.
Sima, a Master’s program graduate in System Science at the University of Ottawa, asks:
How is it possible to have a chance to work at RBC without having prior experience working in financial institutions?
Hi Sima, we all have to start somewhere and RBC’s Career Launch Program is designed to break the no job – no experience cycle for recent graduates. As one of the largest employers in Canada, RBC believes that investing in youth is the path to a stronger and more prosperous Canada.
Kate, Queen’s U:
What is the 1 thing you wish you had known when you started the program? Thanks everyone.
One thing I wished I knew prior to starting with RBC was just how dynamic this program is – there are so many possibilities and opportunities for you as a Career Launch Associate. For example I wish I had known about the countless learning opportunities we would have for professional development.
It’s important to know that opportunities to grow and challenge yourself come with the right support.
Neris is a MBA graduate of Queen’s University, who asks:
If you struggle in the RBC Career Launch Program, how are you supported by your team?
Hi Neris! The Associates receive support from an expansive network of individuals including training coordinators, onsite and remote managers, as well as an assigned mentor. They also have access to a variety of online and classroom learning tools to help them succeed.
Has being in this program connected you with workplace culture at RBC? Thanks for hosting today!
Through the program you are exposed to several different business lines through the work rotations, but you are also exposed to RBC’s work culture through personal connections. Each associate is assigned a mentor and they are a great source of organizational awareness. RBC also offers numerous volunteer opportunities for all employees and this offers associates great opportunities to network with other RBCers.
Your experience in the program will help you build key skills – but it will also help you learn more about your career priorities!
Rolanda is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto with a question for the current program Associates:
Did this program help you gain an understanding of which area of the banking industry you wanted to work in, if you were uncertain beforehand?
Hi Rolanda, when applying for the Career Launch Program I wasn’t even sure that I would fit in the banking industry. Now that I’ve been with RBC for several months I have a much better sense of how my skills and experience can be valuable to RBC. I can also better market my skills because I’m more familiar with the trends and issues within the industry. The Career Launch Program has given me access to information and individuals that I would not have had as an outsider.
How would you describe the long-term goal of RBC Career Launch?
Our goal is to breaks the ‘no experience – no job’ cycle for youth in Canada; and through our best practice example we encourage other leading organizations to follow suit and create similar programs that address the issues of inexperience and unemployment that impact a large number of youth in Canada.
Here’s a great question about multi-lingualism!
Michel, an engineering graduate from l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, asks:
As a French speaker, I would like to ask if this program will include opportunities to use dual-language skills, and if yes, how?
Hi Michel. All associates working in Montreal are required to be bilingual, but Associates across the country may also have the opportunity to apply their language skills. As I mentioned earlier my Mandarin language skills were invaluable when working at the branch to assist Mandarin speaking clients.
Have you stopped by the RBC Career Launch Program page on RBC’s TalentEgg profile? You can find it here: http://talentegg.ca/employer/rbc/rbc-career-launch-program-1/
This Office Hours registrant has a question about the program structure.
Karine, an English graduate from McGill University, asks:
If the RBC Career Launch Program team were to add a fourth rotation, what would the individual focus of this rotation be?
Hi Karine, the focus would be extending the third rotation for greater exposure to a corporate environment.
One of the most exciting parts of the program is its ability to connect you with a diverse range of experiences.
Surinder, an Accounting student at Western University, asks:
Is the program better suited for someone interested in working in a more corporate/management role, or someone interested in a branch/account management role?
Hi Surinder, the program is not about developing a team of bankers. It is about providing that first career experience to a broad group of young grads. I’ve had exposure to both branch level and corporate level careers, and the learning opportunities have been diverse.
How is the program’s first rotation made to bring all participants up to speed, even if they have different (eg non-banking) backgrounds?
Prior to starting with the RBC Career Launch program, I did not have a background in banking and was unaware of the inner-workings of a bank branch. If you are like me – no worries! RBC provided each Associate with 6-weeks of Customer Service Representative training to get us ready to serve real clients from the front lines. Your learning will not end with the training but you have a great support system within your branch to make sure you are confidently working in a retail banking environment.
How can I make my degree skills shine in the written part of the application?
We opened the program to recent graduates aged 24 and under from ANY college or university educational background. No specific education discipline required! This program is about providing that first career experience. We wanted to provide opportunities to a broad group of young grads. The application will allow you to highlight your extra-curricular activities which will allow you to stand out.
Find out more about how you’ll grow!
Michael is an Honours Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan, and asks:
What are some examples of hard skills I would learn in the program?
Michael, in the first rotation you will learn customer sales and service skills in RBC’s retail banking branches. The skills learned in the second and third rotation vary depending on role area but may include skills like: fundraising, data entry, quantitative and qualitative analysis, accounting, financial and business analysis, marketing etc. These hard skills are developed in addition to vital “soft” skills like critical thinking, teamwork, communication; and problem-solving.
Let’s hear a little bit more about what current Associates have to say.
Catherine, a politics student from Queen’s University, asks:
How has the program changed to adjust to the feedback from current Associates?
Hi Catherine! The RBC Career Launch Associates are highly engaged and have told us that they believe RBC is delivering on our promise of providing them with a meaningful first career experience. Associates tell us that their experience at RBC has either met, or exceeded their expectations. We are pleased with the success of the program to date and we are not planning to make any major changes to its design.
The RBC Career Launch Program team has enjoyed the opportunity to meet graduates from many different backgrounds!
Olivia, a Computer Science graduate from Dalhousie University, asks:
What have you learned from working with students from across Canada?
Hi Olivia! We’ve learned that graduates are eager to learn, gain experience, and contribute value to their roles and assignments, to, RBC and to their assigned charities.
Want to learn more about the second rotation of the RBC Career Launch Program? Here’s your chance! We chatted with current program Associates: http://talentegg.ca/incubator/2014/10/14/notforprofit-rotation-rbc-career-launch-program/
Blaine Peters, BA13:
Will the 3rd rotation experience be like hands-on work in finance/banking?
The third rotation will provide participants with road-based business experience in areas such as finance, marketing, human resources, risk, technology and operations. Participants will have the opportunity to apply practical business skills to contribute value to the department and peers in a team-based environment. Throughout the program, Associates will have the opportunity to identify their area of interest and work closely with their Career Launch Program manager to learn about that business area. While efforts will be made to align the Associate’s interest to that RBC business area, we are not able to guarantee alignment due to availability of placements.
If I get accepted into the program at RBC, what would be the best way to prepare?
Even though RBC provides orientation and training, I found it helpful to prepare by reading about RBC and the banking and financial industry in general. This can help you increase your confidence when entering a new organization.
Stay tuned for our upcoming editorial feature: “The RBC Career Launch Program: Is It Right For You?” In it, RBC Career Launch Program Manager Vanda Hudak shares tips for the application and interview process and discusses the traits that make a top Associate.
Watch for it next week!
Everyone has particular skills that can lead them to success in the program.
Diran, an engineering graduate from Ryerson University, asks:
Have you found students from particular degrees/backgrounds experience higher engagement in particular RBC Career Launch Program rotations?
Diran, Given the diverse nature of the work rotations, Associates from different backgrounds tell us that they’re engaged by the opportunities presented to them and are eager to learn and experience new areas in business and their communities.
What are the people you’ve worked with like, as in the other grads but also RBC team?
Your fellow Associates within the RBC Career Launch program will be one of your greatest resources throughout your Career Launch journey. From day one in the branch onward, you are constantly sharing stories and words of support. All associates are from such diverse backgrounds that you really form a uniqe network that is invaluable in so many ways. Beyond your fellow associates are the colleagues you will work with in each rotation. It is always daunting to start working with a new team and new people but your fellow “RBCers” are extremely supportive and are also a great source of knowledge.
The RBC Career Launch Program is a great choice for someone who is ready to build the skills for career success.
Nana is a recent graduate from a BAh English program, and asks:
Can this program be a stepping stone to a long-lasting career with RBC?
Thank you for your question Nana. This is a great opportunity to learn from and work alongside professionals with a wide range of expertise. This program combines practical hands-on business experience, mentorship, learning and community engagement to help propel the participants’ career and position them for long-term professional success.
The RBC Career Launch program aims to equip you for success, and that idea is at the heart of our next question.
Perry is a film graduate from the University of Toronto, who asks:
Are there any success stories from the program so far you can share with us?
Absolutely Perry, in fact there are too many to share! Kelly Hall’s and Josh’s stories are two of many. They embraced each opportunity they were given to take their experiences to the next level. You can read about their experiences on the TalentEgg Incubator article: A Day In The Life and on the testimonial page on our website: rbc.com/careerlaunch
That’s all the time we have for questions today. Thanks for participating in Office Hours!
And of course, a big thank-you to the RBC Career Launch Program team as well for answering all these questions!
Do you have any final comments?
Thank you everyone for your questions! It was great talking with all of you today.
Thank you everyone for joining us today! You guys asked a lot of really great questions – good luck!
I’d like to thank Kelly Hall: and Joshua for joining the chat today. And thanks to all of you for participating in the chat. If you have any further questions, please email us at email@example.com. Good luck!
Egg-cellent! To learn more about the RBC Career Launch Program, check out the page on RBC’s profile (http://talentegg.ca/employer/rbc/rbc-career-launch-program-1/) and be sure to follow the #RBCCareerLaunch hashtag for insider info.
Jiawen Tommy Zhu:
Thanks for the session!!!
Cinthia Shunxin Lin:
Thank you for your time today.
Thank you for your time!
I highly appreciate the intent of the program to break the “no experience – no job” cycle. This is quite commendable!
Thanks for hosting this everyone, it’s been insightful learning from you all.
Thank you for the great opportunities provided by RBC!
Thank you for the session.
Thanks for the time!
Thank you for your time. Very valuable session.
Thank you very much for creating this Office Hour! It helped me understand more about the RBC Career Launch Program.
Thank you so much. This was really helpful. Thanks TalentEgg as well for setting this up.
Thank you for your time!
Thank you RBC!
This was great, learned a lot.
Thanks TE and RBC!
I’m really glad I signed up today, way to go everyone!
Fantastic chat thanks all!
Thanks all have a good one!
Matthew Wang, Recent Graduate from U of T in International Studies:
Thank you all!
Awesome. Thanks so much for taking the time.
Thanks for hosting! Thank you very much for this online chat, I have learned a lot in this hour!