Office Hours: Exploring Bell’s Career-Hatching Graduate Leadership Programs

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The job market can be a daunting place for someone who just spent the last 20-something years in a classroom. There are a multitude of directions one can go in, with no guarantee of success. Luckily, employers like Bell are responding with highly sought-after talent programs to help new graduates with this tricky transition.

On August 19th, students and grads gathered online for TalentEgg’s Office Hours live-chat, where 4 professionals from Bell answered their questions about the Bell Graduate Leadership Programs. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, be sure to check out the transcript below!

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Hi everyone – Office Hours will be starting at 4pm (EST) so stay tuned!

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Hi TalentEgg-ers! We’re very egg-cited to have you with us today. My name’s Veronica and I’ll be moderating this event.

Now, many of you have submitted advance questions, which is great! If you haven’t, don’t worry – you can submit them during the chat, and we’ll try to answer as many of them as we can!

Before we get started, let’s introduce our guests. Can you tell us a little about yourselves?

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hello! My name is Sara Robertson and I am a Talent Acquisition Consultant at Bell. I connect with students and recent grads to help them learn more about career opportunities at Bell.

Comment From Abdullah Saboor
Hey! My name is Abdullah Saboor and I’m a Solutions Integration Consultant for Bell Business Markets Professional Services team. I’m involved with the design, configuration, and implementation of customer contact solutions for large enterprises, and I’m looking forward to answering your questions!

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi there! I am Patricia Melville and I am the Senior Consultant for Talent Acquisition at Bell, specializing in campus recruitment. I joined Bell in 2012 as a new grad and have had such a great career in just 3 short years!

Comment From Ali Telya
Hello! Manager in Strategy and Planning. Joined LDP at Bell in 2012. I am currently in my 5th role since I started the program. I have a B.Eng in Mechanical Engineering from McGill. I enjoy sports and hanging out with friends.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Egg-cellent – let’s get started!

Bharat, a student from the University of New Brunswick, asks:
“Could you please explain the steps involved in the Graduate Leadership Program application process?”

Comment From Sara Robertson

  1. Apply through bell.ca/campustocareer AND your campus career centre
  2. Apply for no more than 2 positions, indicating your preferred position and location
  3. Resumes will be screened and shortlisted candidates will be sent links to complete a video interview
  4. Videos will be screened and shortlisted candidates will be forwarded to our hiring managers
  5. A behavior-based interview as well as case study interview will be held with hiring managers and team
  6. Successful candidates will receive an offer

Veronica (TalentEgg)
A Concordia University student asks:
“What does it take for a resume to attract your attention?”

Comment From Patricia Melville
We’re looking for smart, curious, team players and your resume is your opportunity for us to get to know you. We’re looking for bachelor’s degrees or equivalent, having graduated no earlier than 2013 and no later than 2016. A good variety of extracurricular activities or volunteering experience outside of your school activities as well as any relevant work experience.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Sarah, an Accounting major from UofT, asks:
“What sets an accounting career at Bell apart from what I may experience joining a firm?”

Comment From Ali Telya
Hi Sarah, thanks for your question. The variety of jobs available to you while in or out of the program. Our Finance ATO program allows grads to become a CPA while gaining industry experience through a variety of different areas; Internal Audit and Risk Advisory, Business Finance as well as working in Bell’s Controller’s group. In addition, the Bell network has over 500 grads that are there to help transition you from university which is a great bonus of working at Bell.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Medha, a student from Wilfrid Laurier University, asks:
“Are there the same amount of openings available in all of your Graduate Leadership Programs?”

Comment From Abdullah Saboor
Hey Medha, our programs have different number of openings across Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic regions. The Bell Consumer Markets and Media program has 30-40 openings. The Field Leadership has 16 openings. The business intelligence program has 30 openings. Network has 40-50 openings. Information Technology has 11 openings. The Finance Approved Training Office program has 3 openings and the Bell Business Markets program has 19 openings. Additional details are available in our brochure that will be available for download on the TalentEgg and Bell website in the coming weeks!

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Karamveer, a Business Management major at Humber College, asks:
“Could you tell me about entry level opportunities in marketing, sales and customer service at Bell?”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hey Karamveer, Awesome question! Some good opportunities for these are in our Consumer Markets and Media program if you would like to try different areas and rotate or in our Bell Business Markets program if you would like to start working in these areas right away.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Victoria, a student at the University of Alberta, asks:
“I don’t graduate til June 2016. When can I start applying with Bell?”

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi Victoria! Your graduation date is perfect for you to start applying now to one of our Graduate Leadership Programs. Our job applications will go live on the Bell and TalentEgg website before the end of August until September 30th and you can apply for up to 2 positions. The start dates range between June and September of 2016.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Akinrinade, a Telecommunication & Computer Engineering major/Project Management minor at Concordia University, asks:
“What does Bell look for in its employees within the technology space? And what are the factors that determine success in those technology-inclined roles?”

Comment From Abdullah Saboor
Hey Akinrinade, We are looking for an eagerness to learn! Bell is looking for grads who can demonstrate that they are interested in the field they are applying in and have an urge to learn more about the field. The main factor in determining success in a technology role as a grad is yourself! Tech roles always have a learning curve, time to pick up new technologies and get used to new concepts and their real world applications, therefore, the best thing you can do is be an active learner. Ask as many questions as you have to your coworkers and managers. Try to learn from the more experienced coworkers as well. A grad who is being proactive will definitely find success.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Annie, a Communications student at Carleton University, asks:
“What types of roles can I pursue full-time with Bell as a communications student?”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hey Annie, As a communications student, I would recommend reading up on our 7 different programs to see what areas you might want to work in. The best part of our programs is the variety and exposure you have to other areas of the business and grads often end up working in fields that they necessarily didn’t major in. If you do want to stick to communications though, I would suggest looking at our Consumer Markets and Media program or our Bell Business Markets program.

Comment From Nimish Bhatt
Could you kindly elaborate on employee engagement and development opportunities at Bell

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi Nimish! We have a variety of employee engagement and development opportunities at Bell. Each new grad is paired with a senior leader as a mentor who provides coaching and mentorship in terms of your personal and professional development. Also, each new grad gets to participate in a grad summit where they get the opportunity to network with senior executives and engage in team building activities.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Medhi, a student at Sheridan College, asks:
“Is there anything unique I should know about Bell’s interviews? Are there group interviews, case-study questions, etc?”

Comment From Ali Telya
Thanks for your question Mehdi. The interview process varies from program to program. Generally, we start with a video interview, followed by a behavioral and case study interview.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Shane asks:
“What are the working hours like for the Graduate Leadership Programs? Is it 9-5 or a flex schedule?”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hi Shane, Working hours at Bell depend on the program that you sign up for. Some teams work more traditional hours, like a 9-5 but some others may have different shifts depending on what area of the business you support. For example, our Field Services managers have varying schedules based on the needs of their technicians.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Daniel, a Public Accounting major at the University of Toronto, asks:
“What are the top 3 qualities that Bell looks for in a potential Graduate Leadership Program candidate?”

Comment From Ali Telya
Hi Daniel, I would say the top 3 qualities are as follows:

    1. Smart – we are looking for out-of-the-box, creative thinkers who are looking to lead change
    2. Curious – we love questions and are looking for individuals who are excited to learn and grow within our industry
    3. Team player – working in cross-functional teams is a big part of who we are at Bell, being able to work with others is a major success factor for us

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Olumba, a Business/Marketing Major, asks:
“For IT roles, are there any compulsory questions we need to know the answer to in order to be considered?”

Comment From Abdullah Saboor
Hey Olumba, Some IT roles are in more specialized fields, so a background in that field or some prior knowledge would definitely be an asset however most roles will provide the adequate training and onboarding necessary to get up to speed with the role.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
An MBA at Ivey School of Business asks:
“How can I get into Product Management at Bell?”

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi there! Two of our graduate leadership programs help prepare you for a career in product management at Bell. The Bell Consumer Markets & Media program allows you to do rotations in different areas of the business, including product management in our Residential and Mobility businesses. Our Bell Business Markets program allows you to launch your career as a product manager from Day 1!

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Lester, an Accounting Specialist (Major in Economics) at the University of Toronto (Mississauga) asks:
“How can I apply for the CPA training position?”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hey Lester, all of our programs go through the same application process. Visit our website at bell.ca/campustocareer for the Finance ATO program and all other programs.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Allesandra, a Marketing Management major at the University of Guelph, asks:
“What is the corporate culture like at Bell?”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hi Alessandra, Bell is a telecommunications company, so it’s fast-paced and exciting. There is always something new around the corner and people are usually buzzing with new ideas or opportunities to get involved. With the addition of the new grad programs, it’s also becoming an environment that promotes the ideas and input of young people. You can see the faces of new grads from all our different programs around our various offices, making it an exciting place to work and network with others. We also do business through The Source, Virgin Mobile, CTV, TSN and many others, making us extremely diverse in our business offering and talent.

Comment From Nimish Bhatt, HR Major at University of Toronto
What kind of opportunities I can pursue at Bell with a background in Human Resources?

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi Nimish! One of the best ways to start your career in human resources is to join the Bell Consumer Markets & Media program that allows you to try rotations in different areas of the business, including HR. I joined this program and did a rotation in Leadership Development that allowed me to gain the necessary skills and competencies needed for my career in HR!

Comment From Obiora
I am looking for a fall coop position in bell and i will like to know if there are any open opportunities for a student in embedded systems development and what the requirements are

Comment From Abdullah Saboor
Hi Obiora, for co-op opportunities please check http://www.bell.ca/campustocareer. Concerning embedded systems, we don’t have anything that is specifically in that field, however there are other related positions that could be found in IT or Network fields.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Raj, an Economics student at the University of Winnipeg, asks:
“Does Bell help support with relocation? I’m considering moving to another province if I get a job, and I was just wondering.”

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi Raj! We have several Bell locations across Canada so we typically try to accommodate your location! We will look at each applicant on a case by case basis.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
This seems like a great time for our poll!

What part of the Bell Graduate Leadership Programs interest you most?

  • The opportunity to work with an industry leader (23%)
  • The chance to gain career experience (31%)
  • Working in a supported and structured environment (46%)
  • Networking with professionals and other grads (0%)

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Gurtej, an Electro-Mechanical major at Centennial College, asks:
“Do you have any opportunities for new graduates with an Electro-Mechanical background?”

Comment From Ali Telya
Hello Gurtej, thanks for your question. I personally have an Engineering degree, however I joined the program to develop management and operations skills. The opportunities in our Leadership programs are not targeted towards specific technical skills, but are open to students of all backgrounds who are looking to develop a variety of business knowledge.

Comment From Sudin Garai
Are there opportunities available for the MBA graduates?

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hey Sudin, great question! We definitely look for MBA graduates in our programs. Our roles tend to be entry-level in nature but with an MBA, the skills you’ve developed and experience acquired will help you be successful and move up within Bell.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Vivian, a student from Queen’s University, asks:
“Have any of you gone through the Graduate Leadership Program? If so, what one piece of advice would you offer?”

Comment From Ali Telya
Hi Vivian, thanks for your question. We’re all successful graduates of different Graduate Leadership Programs. One piece of advice would be to not be afraid to share your ideas and to make mistakes. There will be a huge support system in place to help you through your learning process, so don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard and ask for help if you need it!

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Melanie asks:
“Which is better… applying for a direct entry-level position with Bell or applying for the Graduate Leadership Program?”

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi Melanie. Thanks for your question – it’s a great one. Joining a rotational and non-rotational program can seem like a big decision to make however it really depends on what your personal interests and preferences are. Both programs allow you to gain access to senior leaders as your mentor and join a large grad community. The rotational program allows you to try different areas of the business before selecting your permanent role. You can experiment in new areas that you’ve never worked in before. Joining a permanent role allows you to launch your career from Day 1 and become an expert in your role.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Ben, a student from Memorial University, asks:
“Are all of your Graduate Leadership Programs the same time in length?”

Comment From Ali Telya
Hi Ben. Depending on the nature of the program. Our rotational programs range from 2-3 years in length. Our non-rotational programs allow you to gain access to all new grad experiences in your first year at Bell.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Carrie, a Business major at the University of Saskatchewan, asks:
“Hi there. I was just wondering how often students are offered full time positions after their programs.”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hi Carrie! Students who go through our graduate leadership programs are always offered a full time, permanent position. Whether you choose to take on a non-rotational program where you head into a full-time, permanent position or take on a rotational program, you will always find yourself with something at the end.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Alison, a Commerce & Computing major at Queen’s University asks:
“Hello, thank you for taking the time to answering these questions! Continuous learning and development are important to me, so I would love to hear about how employees are evaluated at Bell. Are there any programs or systems in place to support personal improvement?”

Comment From Abdullah Saboor
Hey Alison, development is also one of my priorities in my career which is why I chose Bell. You have evaluations with your manager twice a year where you discuss your career goals and how to reach them. Bell has a great system in place called the personal growth plan where you can target specific skills and career development goals, and set objectives to meet them. Many courses and certification opportunities are available to further enhance your skills, including online courses in a wide variety of fields, both technical and non-technical.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Alma, a Mathematics & Computer Science major/Economics minor at St. Francis Xavier University, asks:
“Are there any upcoming employment opportunities for new graduates with a degree in Mathematics and Economics?”

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi Alma. If you are studying mathematics and economics I would recommend applying to our Business Intelligence and Field Leadership Programs. These programs are looking for “treasure hunters” to analyze big data and provide actionable recommendations to improve our business. You can work with some of the brightest minds in Canada and work on really big and meaningful projects that support all areas of our business.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Jinlee, a Commerce student at Ryerson University, asks:
“What’s the most common mistake that you see on applications for the Graduate Leadership Programs?”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hi Jinlee, We get a lot of people who don’t fill out the right graduation date. This is an important step in our process since it verifies if you’re eligible for our programs. This year we’re looking for students between 2013 and 2016 graduation dates.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Jason, a student from McGill University, asks:
“What experience would you recommend getting while still on campus in order to make an application stronger?”

Comment From Ali Telya
Hi Jason, nice to hear from someone from my Alma Matter. To answer your question, try to get involved in extra-curricular activities where you work as a team and have an opportunity to show leadership. Brush up on your case study skills and visit your career center to see how you can improve your resume.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Alex, a student at Acadia University, asks:
“If someone applies for one graduate program, and then wants to switch to a different one, would they be able to do that?”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hi Alex, all of our programs allow for the same grad experience; access to senior executives, mentorship opportunities and networking with other grads. If you did want to change programs we would look at it on a case by case basis.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Joshua, a student at Centennial College, asks:
“How can I stand out to recruiters? How can I get them to pay attention to my achievements?”

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi Joshua. If you are attending a campus information session, introduce yourself to each of the Bell representatives that are there. This helps them get to know you better and help answer questions that you might have about Bell and the Graduate Leadership Programs. When you’re submitting your application, highlight various work and extracurricular achievements that you’ve accomplished to showcase all of your great work.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Harvey, a Life Sciences major at the University of Waterloo, asks:
“What if you want to apply for more than one program? How would that affect the hiring process?”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hey Harvey! We ask that students apply to no more than 2 grad programs. I know it might be tempting to apply to all since they all seem so great, but really taking the time to read up on each program and see where your skills might best apply will give you a better shot at being selected for an interview.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Ashton, a student at Concordia University, asks:
“Other than basic training, does Bell offer their employees any other perks? (i.e. mentorship programs, classes, etc.)”

Comment From Abdullah Saboor
Hey Ashton, Bell does have a mentoring program in place which will guide you in every step of your mentorship with a more senior colleague. Furthermore, aside from the initial training, we have a great program for development of skills. For example, you have access to a wide catalog of courses in many technical and non-technical skills. Courses are available online and in-person, with various opportunities to get certifications in your domain.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Samvit, an MBA at the Schulich School of Business, asks:
“I have a varied background in IT, Sales, Business Development and Marketing. I am presently pursuing my MBA at Schulich, I would like to know if a Telecommunication background is required to be considered for the Leadership Program. Also what are the top skill sets Bell looks for in the candidates applying for the program. Thanks.”

Comment From Patricia Melville
Hi Samvit. That is a great educational background! You do not require telecom experience to join one of our Graduate Leadership Programs. On your application, highlight your past work and extracurricular experience in addition to some of your proudest accomplishments. We look for smart and very curious team players that are always looking for ways to improve our business. We value hard work, passion and dedication!

Veronica (TalentEgg)
Anne-Marie, Specialized Honours in Business Administration Studies (Business Management) at York University, asks:
“How can you make your way into CSR/corporate affairs at Bell?”

Comment From Sara Robertson
Hi Anne-Marie, interesting question! The best way to work your way into our CSR/Corporate affairs teams at Bell is through our Consumer Markets and Media program. This program provides the opportunity to rotate through our Corporate Services division where these opportunities exist.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
We have time for a couple more questions!

Mike asks:
“I was just wondering if there was someone who has done the Graduate Leadership Program before who could share their experiences.”

Comment From Ali Telya
Hello Mike. I have been through 5 different roles now at Bell, and each one helped me to develop a variety of skills. For example, I worked in Forecasting which helped me develop analytical and Excel skills. Furthermore, I had 2 roles where I had to manage a team, which enabled me to work on my relationship skills. Finally, working in Project Management taught me to be very organized and the importance of a strong change management plan. As can you see, through my career at Bell, I have had to chance to work on wide variety career skills that will stay with me through my life.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
And that’s a wrap! Thanks so much for your questions everyone – we covered a lot of topics today.

A HUGE thanks to our guests from Bell. Anything you’d like to say before we go?

Comment From Patricia Melville
Thanks so much for submitting your questions and joining us for the chat! Best of luck in the application process.

Comment From Abdullah Saboor
Thanks for all the questions and good luck in your applications. Be sure to check out Bell’s career website for more information!

Comment From Sara Robertson
What a great hour! Can’t believe it passed so fast. If you have more questions, please connect with me via linkedin and best of luck with your applications!

Comment From Ali Telya
Thank you all for your participation. Best of luck, and remember to always be yourself and you will surely find your way.

Veronica (TalentEgg)
If you missed out on part of the conversation, don’t worry – we’ll be posting the Office Hours transcript soon. In the meantime, I hope you’ve all gained some useful information for your careers.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@TalentEgg) for all the latest career updates. Have an egg-cellent day!

Comment From Jack tonye
thanks for your time

Comment From Anas A
Thank you for your valuable time answering all my questions and concerns. Good day!

Comment From Alison Wong
Thank you Ali, Sara, Abdullah, and Patricia for taking the time to give us such great answers!

Don’t miss out on our next Office Hours event! Check out the Office Hours Page for upcoming Q&A sessions with employers.

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