“The students are in demand,” says program head, Bruce Anthony. “It’s the employers that need to convince the students – to sell their companies, sell their positions, sell the job opportunities.”
The students aren’t even graduates yet. The event was meant to help second-year students choose their practicum placements. They will spend ten weeks with a company, and many will receive job offers at the end of it.
The jobs are good ones. “For our top students who are 25 – 30 years of age with some sales experience,” says Antony, “even just restaurant serving experience, a few of those grads have been able to get jobs in business development or account management roles. They’re managing several clients as soon as they graduate, and they make over a hundred thousand dollars in their first year.”
Graduating into a vacuum can be a heady experience. “To be honest, it’s hard,” says grad Geevan Dhesi. “There are so many great companies out there who want to hire you. I recommend doing your homework and speaking to past grads about companies they have worked for.”
Alumna Marion De Guzman agrees it can be overwhelming but is happy about where she’s landed. She is now a sales development rep for SOPHOS. “I’m really fortunate to work for one of the fastest growing IT companies in Vancouver,” she says. “The company is great and the culture is great. As a recent grad, I feel lucky to be in the position I am today.”
Dhesi landed a job with ADP, a Fortune 500 company, right out of school. “There is no way I would be able to land this type of job at the age of 22 if it wasn’t for BCIT. The program taught me a lot about how to work well with other people in stressful situations.”
“BC needs more of these grads,” says Anthony. He points to one of the employers in attendance last night: Olympic Industries, a forestry and wood products company. “They realized the average sales person in that industry is 57 years old,” says Anthony. “They are now tapping into professional sales students at BCIT to see if they could convince them to come to wood products forestry, one of the traditional industries in BC.”
The BC Government agrees. Its 2024 Labour Market Outlook report states that the service sector – including ‘Sales & Service’ jobs – will provide more than four-fifths of the jobs in the province.
As if the competition between companies weren’t stiff enough, many of those present last night hoped to court multiple students. “We’re looking for 4-6 practicum students,” says Peter Barton, a Senior Manager with Hootsuite. “What we like from BCIT is that we get excellent work ethic, combined with a fearless entrepreneurial nature.”
Barton is fan of BCIT, as he puts it, “not just because I’m a grad, but because BCIT students come with very good tactical knowledge when they graduate. They have skills you don’t necessarily see in a four-year program.”
It’s not an easy program, but De Guzman has some advice for students considering it – “Just do it. It’ll be the best thing you ever did for your career and personal growth, I promise.”