Patricia Carvalho Masters Networking
As Patricia Carvalho completed Centennial College’s Project Management program, it was impossible not to worry about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic would have on job prospects. Even though she was working on campus at Career Services and Co-operative Education, Patricia decided to reach out to her professional network about career opportunities in her field of study. After just one phone call, she had secured an interview, and a month later, she started a project coordinator position at a construction company.
“When I came to the interview, my employer was interested in hearing only about my Canadian experience,” says Patricia, who, prior to attending Centennial’s Project Management (PM) and International Business Management graduate certificate programs, was a senior human resources manager with a Master of Business Administration in her native Brazil. “I didn’t have job experience in project management, but I had the skills and knowledge of processes and PM tools from the program. I had also heard a lot at Centennial about using my transferable skills to demonstrate I was the right person for the job, which I did.”
The combination of relevant competencies and interview skills Patricia employed during the hiring process were acquired as part of the holistic experience available to all Centennial students. As a staple of the college’s approach to education, learners are encouraged to not only take advantage of practical program experiences, such as internships, but also of external volunteer opportunities and resources such as Career Services. All of these, says Patricia, came together to play a role in her hiring.
“In both programs I took, I got to learn about having a global mindset, and about Canadian workplace culture. Both were helpful,” she says. “Having professors who are also professionals in their field was also very valuable in getting tips about the industry.”
“Working at Career Services, I also got to experience some of the resources like mock interviews, workshops and résumé building, which was all new to me in Canada. I think students sometimes aren’t aware of all of the college’s resources, and it’s important for them to know they exist.”
While Patricia’s experience in the International Business Management program was part of a planned sabbatical through which she hoped to advanced her English language skills and acquire additional competencies, her decision to enroll in Project Management signalled a new career direction. In addition to program curriculum, her previous Centennial learning experience as well as her on-campus job, the college’s focus on inclusivity through initiatives such as the Centre for Global Citizenship, Education and Inclusion factored into Patricia’s decision to take Project Management.
“The college really aligned with my values and I was delighted at the inclusive environment,” she says. “Project management, in my case, was extremely useful because I didn’t have experience following the Project Management Institute approach, which the program covered. We got to work on real cases and working in groups showed us different perspectives. That was really beneficial. In my new position, I am using a lot of skills and project management tools that aren’t new to me because I learned and experienced them in the program.”
Written by: Izabela Szydlo