For many college and university students, graduation marks the end of one exciting chapter in their lives and the beginning of another: entering the workforce.
The RBC Career Launch Program is a fantastic opportunity for ambitious new grads to test their abilities in a real, professional environment. Over the course of a year, they work closely with professionals and develop valuable skills that will help them succeed in their future endeavours.
By the end of their programs, these Alumni are ready to face a challenging job market. But what does success look like for these aspiring professionals? Read on to find out!
After graduating with Honours from Western University’s International Relations program in 2012, Andrea Sarenac learned that she would need more than a killer application to land a top job in her field.
“I quickly realized there was a disconnect between my expectations of obtaining financially stable employment in my field and the realities of the job market,” she says. “I knew that without relevant experience, obtaining a job interview would be next to impossible.”
The Career Launch Program was designed to bridge that gap, and Andrea was eager to become a part of the experience. On the very first day of her program, Andrea remembers receiving a book called “The Start-Up of You” by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. In the book, the authors discussed the importance of building competitive advantage – something that Andrea took to heart for her career journey.
“What stands out to employers are graduates who have relevant work experience,” she says. “The Career Launch Program provided this work experience. In addition to gaining specialized skills, it also allowed me to develop transferable skills.”
After graduating from her program, Andrea was able to obtain a great entry-level role in the defence industry with General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada. As an Internal Auditor, she works to support the company’s business operations. She truly considers the RBC Career Launch Program “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
“The people I met were utterly incredible, and the skills I gained are becoming increasingly useful as I have entered the business world,” says Andrea. “I feel so fortunate to have been a part of the Career Launch Program.”
“RBC is one of Canada’s – and the world’s – largest and most reputable banks. I viewed the Career Launch Program as an incredible opportunity to work with them.” – Andrea Sarenac, Career Launch Program Alumnus
Carole-Anne Danis graduated from HEC Montreal in 2012, and began her career hunt almost immediately after. As a self-proclaimed globetrotter, she has a passion for learning and experiencing new things – qualities that made her a great fit for the Career Launch Program.
During her time as a Career Launch Associate, Carole-Anne was able to push her limits and immerse herself in roles she never thought she’d try. She says her favourite part of the program was her second rotation, where she worked on an events team at the Cancer Research Society.
“I have a background in finance, so I would have never applied to work in event planning without this program,” she says. “It made me push past my comfort zone, and it was completely worth it in the end.”
During her third rotation, Carole-Anne moved to Toronto, where she fell in love with the big city. She worked as an Analyst with the team, where she sharpened her communication skills and made valuable connections.
“The one thing that surprised me was how willing people at RBC were to offer advice and discuss their own professional experiences,” she says. “This program really helped me gain the confidence to approach people and ask questions.”
After she completed her program, she was offered an opportunity to continue her work as an Analyst at RBC. Today, she works full-time with the Risk Capital team in Toronto.
“I think the Career Launch Program gave me more than just a great year on my resume,” says Carole-Anne. “It helped me improve my business acumen, and I’ve learned how to navigate different business situations.”
“The banking industry is such an impressive system with many working parts. Getting to know it better will really help your understanding of the business, and the Career Launch Program is the perfect opportunity to do so.” – Carole-Anne Danis, RBC Career Launch Program Alumnus
Doug Paton wasn’t too sure what his future had in store for him upon graduation. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce at McMaster University in 2013, and soon after landed a role as a Career Launch Program Associate. He says his goal was to get exposure to a variety of positions with a major Canadian company, which made this program a great fit for his aspirations.
“There really isn’t a ‘typical day’ in the Career Launch Program,” says Doug. “Each day can vary depending on your current role, what you focus your time/effort towards, and on who walks through the door.”
Doug says that his time in the Career Launch Program helped him build and improve a wide array of career skills, including networking, time management, and relationship building. He was also able to create a valuable network of professional connections.
“The most important thing I learned was how to effectively reach out to and stay in touch with colleagues, mentors, and key individuals,” says Doug. “The Career Launch Program helped me develop a strong network of contacts within RBC and a strong understanding of many corporate dynamics.”
Doug’s time as an Associate eventually led to his current Banking Advisor role with RBC. As an Alumnus, he was able to transition seamlessly into his new role and continue his career journey with the company that gave him his start.
“I’m still trying different things and learning as much as I can,” says Doug. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the program.”
“Being proactive and engaging yourself in the things that interest you is the best way to learn about them.” – Doug Paton, RBC Career Launch Program Alumnus
As a new graduate, Katie Hanratty was looking for an environment where she could cultivate her professional skills and gain experience. The RBC Career Launch Program’s rotational set-up caught her eye immediately and after acing the hiring process, she was excited to begin her year as an RBC Associate.
One of the biggest highlights for Katie was her second rotation, where she worked as an Event Lead for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). She spent a lot of time communicating with sponsors and donors and coordinating ticket orders.
“It was always exciting and busy,” says Katie. “I had a great deal of support from my wonderful manager Isla. But I was also given a refreshing amount of freedom, which gave me the confidence to step up to the plate and get my work done.”
Outside of work, Katie says her favourite part of the experience was making new friends and connections. She says she has made lifelong friends from the Career Launch Program and continues to stay in touch with them.
Today, Katie works as an Inside Sales and Support Representative at a tech company called CoreAVI. She is responsible for working with customers, preparing marketing and legal documents, managing international sales representatives and more. She describes her career as “a new and exciting place.”
“I am incredibly happy to be doing what I am doing today,” says Katie. “The Career Launch Program was a whirlwind of a year, and I was able to develop a great deal as a businesswoman and as a person… I feel that I have more value as an employee and that I am confident in my ability to take on any role.”
“Being chosen as one of one hundred Associates gave me a sense of pride and confidence in myself that I have carried through each role since then.” – Katie Hanratty, RBC Career Launch Program Alumnus