The RBC Career Launch Program: Is It Right For You?


“Many college and university students graduate from school and think, ‘Now what? What do I want to do as a profession?’” says Vanda Hudak.

Vanda Hudak
RBC Career Launch Program Manager

As the Manager, RBC Career Launch Program, one of Vanda’s top responsibilities is selecting, coaching and managing the program’s Associates.

The program is a one-year, paid work experience that engages program Associates through three unique rotations, both within business areas at RBC and externally at a Canadian registered charity.

Vanda has first-hand experience working with recent graduates facing the school-to-work transition – and personal insight into what makes the RBC Career Launch Program a top opportunity for a recent graduate.

Is the program right for you?

With a wide range of opportunities to learn, build experience and network, the RBC Career Launch Program has something to offer any recent graduate.

“The program is designed to provide recent graduates from any college and university program with a broad range of practical experience,” says Vanda.

That’s part of what makes the program so special – it’s open to recent graduates from any discipline.

“The RBC Career Launch Program considered my skills and educational background to tailor opportunities to my personal interests and place me in roles where I could maximize my success.”
Shaliza Karim Ladhani
2014 RBC Career Launch Associate

“If you’re a young graduate who wants to get your foot in the door and kick-start your career, then this program is right for you,” Vanda adds.

To participate in the program, you must be:

  • 24 or younger as of December 31, 2014
  • A recent university or college graduate by October 27, 2014
  • Legally eligible to work in Canada for the duration of the program (January 2015 – January 2016)
  • Not currently employed by RBC
  • Not the child of or under legal guardianship of an Executive or Managing director at RBC as of the date of application

Learn more about the eligibility requirements for the RBC Career Launch Program here.

Applying to the RBC Career Launch Program

Before you apply, it’s important to understand the application and interview process for the RBC Career Launch Program.

“Knowing what is expected of you and being fully prepared will help you put your best foot forward when applying,” says Vanda.

Applications open on October 6, 2014 at 8:00 AM (ET) and close on October 27, 2014 at 8:00 PM (ET).

You can find the application form and more information here.

If you’re successful in the initial round, you’ll receive a phone call from the RBC team on or before November 21, inviting you to participate in an online video interview.

Next comes an in-person panel interview, which will take place between December 1 and December 5, 2014.

The final decisions will take into account and evaluate your application, essay and interview results – so it’s important to excel at every stage of the process!

A great candidate

According to Vanda, there are a number of attributes that will lead you to success as an RBC Career Launch Program Associate.

These traits include, but are not limited to:

  • Professionalism and a positive attitude
  • Commitment to quality in performing work
  • Experience serving people
  • The ability to communicate well and express ideas clearly
  • A commitment to setting and achieving goals
  • A team focus

“Participants will be able to leverage these traits within each of the three work rotations and maximize the learning and development opportunities,” she explains.

This list of traits reflects the inclusive application process that differentiates the RBC Career Launch Program – any recent graduate can draw on their past experiences to reflect these skills.

“Demonstrate your top skills by providing examples of situations where you used them,” says Vanda, “including your experiences from previous jobs, internships, school activities, and community involvement.”

Together, there are a lot of different ways for you to communicate your skills!

Writing a top essay

Looking to get ahead in the initial application process?

Standing out in the essay portion is important.

“Writing an essay is an excellent opportunity to set yourself apart from other candidates,” says Vanda.

“Show us your personality. We want to read an essay that shows us your creativity, critical thinking and communication skills.”

She broke down the process, step-by-step:

1. Define the angle of your essay

This can be as simple as asking 3 questions:

  • What’s the format?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What are the most important points you need to get across?

2. Do your homework

“Do some research on the essay topic to help you put it in context,” says Vanda.

She suggests looking at how RBC has approached the topic of the essay, as well as comparing their activities to what other companies have done.

3. Plan your essay in advance

Don’t be too quick to dive into a draft.

“Before getting wound up with information overload and an impending deadline, prepare what you’re going to say and when,” recommends Vanda.

“That way, your thoughts will be clear, organized and will impress anyone who reads your essay.”

4. Build your framework

Once you’ve worked out the big picture, start connecting the different pieces together.

“A good idea is a good starting point, but make sure you have the substance to support your reasoning,” says Vanda.

5. Revise

Completed a draft? Get some distance.

“Give yourself a day or two to look it over – and make enhancements.” Vanda says.

“Look for ways to make your argument stronger, your thoughts clearer and grammar better!”

With expert advice from the inside, you’re well on your way to an excellent application essay!

Interviewing for the program

Once you’ve succeeded in the application-based portion of the selection process, you’ll want to put your best foot forward and make a lasting, good first impression when you interview with the RBC Career Launch Program team.

“Be prepared to discuss how your skills and experience align with the role, and how you might approach success if selected,” Vanda recommends.

“The RBC Career Launch Program offers a great core experience as well as the ability to proactively pursue projects and opportunities relevant to the participants’ career interests.”
Joshua Whittingham
2014 RBC Career Launch Associate

This means finding the best examples, so be ready to look at different options from your diverse past experience.

The same approach to planning and organization that helps you plan a top application essay will serve you well here.

“When asked a question, frame your answer in three steps,” says Vanda.

First, talk briefly about the situation you’re presenting as evidence of your skills. Make sure to establish any key details before proceeding. Next, detail the situation that arose – and how you handled it.

Finally, discuss the positive outcome that resulted from your actions.

This approach (moving from situation, to action, to result) is the best way to provide relevant examples that clearly reflect your skill set.

Making connections

Vanda is excited at the opportunity to equip a new cohort of recent graduates for the future.

The RBC Career Launch Program is both a good way to figure out your next move – and build the experience to get there.

“Not everyone knows which direction they want to take with their career right away,” explains Vanda. “By offering a year-long paid experience, the program propels participants into the career phase of their lives, positioning them for long-term professional and personal success.”

“In short – it puts the careers of recent graduates on the fast-track.”

Ready to get started? Learn more about the RBC Career Launch Program here!

RBC is a Top Employer for Young People – Employee pride is the result from fulfilling a promise. We’ve won Top Employers for Young People and are proud of being able to make a difference, knowing that our contribution matters and that we have the opportunity to reach our potential. View more awards here.

Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We employ approximately 79,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 40 other countries. For more information, please visit

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2013, we contributed more than $104 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $69 million and $35 million in sponsorships. Learn more at