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Small start-ups offer opportunity

Having always had a flair for marketing, I went into universitythinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated: work fora consumer packaged goods (CPG) company.

Having always had a flair for marketing, I went into university thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated: work for a consumer packaged goods (CPG) company. While completing my degree in business at Wilfrid Laurier University, I was able to partake in the co-op program that allowed me to gain real world experience.

I was fortunate to get placements at Disney Consumer Products and Unilever, both great CPG companies. Though I loved the brands and products that I worked on, I never felt in control of my projects and I found that myself and my ideas often got lost.

It was my third co-op term at QuickPlay Media that really opened my eyes to the start-up environment. I excelled in the small environment and felt like I was contributing to the company’s bottom line.

I grew up believing that the more popular the brand and the company, the better the opportunity to learn and succeed. However, through my co-op experiences, I learned that there are equal, if not greater, learning opportunities to be had in smaller, start-up companies.

I did some research on people who I had admired and realized that they were all entrepreneurs who had formed or been a part of a start-up. It was these people who had learned the most by going against the grain and taking risks. Upon graduating, I simultaneously took two different job positions at two very different start-ups.

Where Amira is now
I am currently working as a Community Manager at My City Lives (mycitylives.com), a digital platform for individuals to share stories and experiences about their city through videos.

I am very passionate about Toronto and, in my job, I am able to help showcase why my city and the people are great. I love my job and I’m thankful to all my previous experiences that have led me to where I am today.

Key take-aways from Amira’s school-to-work transition
• Take advantage of internship and co-op programs offered by your school. Your school’s existing relationships with some of the world’s biggest and best companies will help you get invaluable work experience before you even graduate.

• Pay attention to how you feel about the style of work you’re expected to do and ask yourself if it’s your ideal work environment. If it’s not, try out other opportunities until you find something you like.

• Don’t discount small businesses and start-ups: They often allow even young, inexperienced employees to contribute their ideas and can give you much more responsibility and control over your work than larger companies.


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