I attended Concordia University's John Molson School of Business. I majored in international business with a minor in finance.
I attended a career fair where I met representatives from Imperial Tobacco Canada. After listening to them speak about the tobacco industry and their company, all others seemed mundane.
I researched various management trainee programs on the web and hundreds of companies, both in Canada and abroad. After hearing representatives from Imperial Tobacco Canada speak so highly about their company, the responsibility of working for a tobacco company, the opportunities within Canada and through British American Tobacco, and the dynamic and challenging day-to-day working environment, I investigated further and applied for my current position.
In my first phase of the management trainee program, I am currently a brand associate. As such, I am involved in all activities related to the company's brands. My responsibilities include monitoring weekly, monthly, and yearly performance, evaluating trends, engaging in discussions with our legal counsel, identifying opportunities and threats, briefing agencies on new designs, attending focus groups, brainstorming to generate new ideas, meeting with suppliers for merchandise and hardware, and evaluating artwork. If I had to sum it up, I would call it project management.
Before starting the management trainee program, I was an account representative. In dealing directly with retailers, I had to constantly adapt my style of communication to accomplish my tasks. I learned how to negotiate and manage contracts, work with a budget, increase product distribution, manage pricing and credit policies within my territory, and execute programs. As a management trainee in marketing, I am now learning to create the programs that will be executed in the field. I have to interpret data, monitor performance, brief agencies, generate new ideas, evaluate artwork, and develop launch plans and programs. I learned so much that I felt like I had a lifetime of experience within the first six months of my employment.
You have to be a very hard worker, be able to adapt to change, be up for a challenge, and be confident. Over the course of the management trainee program, you will switch roles several times. This means a new manager and new expectations every few months. In addition, you will work in another country for a time, meaning that you will have to accomplish these tasks while adapting to a new culture. You will frequently find yourself outside your comfort zone.
I would ultimately like to work in the brand management group, hopefully in an end market outside Canada.
Never settle for anything beneath your standards. It took me many months after graduation to find my job. I had numerous interviews and job offers,but none felt right. I have been working for Imperial Tobacco Canada for 18 months and I could not be happier. Not settling is the best decision I ever made. jp
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