Posts Categorized: Work and Career

Enjoy the Journey

Name: Anthea Tang | Program: Mechanical and Industrial Engineering | Graduation Year: 0T5 |

I thought I needed to know exactly how my career would map out as I was looking for my first job as I neared graduation.

Little did I know as opportunities presented themselves and I embraced learning and trying new things, these created the richest years of my career. Our years in Engineering at U of T trained our way of thinking, how to uniquely solve problems, and not lock us into a singular career path.

Know that you will do great things and have confidence to take risks – pursue new opportunities that are interesting to you that may don’t fit squarely into the Engineering degree you got. See where it will take you!


Name: Rick Ross | Program: Industrial Engineering | Graduation Year: 6T6 |

Everyone graduates in a specific engineering discipline. Just remember that 50% of all engineers practice in a field other than the one they graduated in.  I graduated over 50 years ago and my graduating class still gets together for quarterly lunches! We found no two of our classmates ended up with the same career.  Be flexible to opportunities as they arise!!

Road to Real Success

Name: Brian Gaston | Program: Civil | Graduation Year: 7T8 |

If I knew then what I know now, I would work to keep my younger self’s ego in check. Graduation from U of T Engineering is a huge achievement and it’s hard not to flaunt it. I would make sure that I recognized the wisdom of those that have experience and, not necessarily, a U of T degree!

Get yourself well connected

Name: Kit Chau | Program: EngSci | Graduation Year: 9T4 |

There are all sort of problems outside the real world that we need to handle.
It would be nice if you can get the help and advise from professors after you graduate.
So please spend more time to build relationship with them as they will be your mentors for life and your career!


Name: Dennis Nabieszko | Program: Engineering | Graduation Year: 7T5 |

To be successful, you need to build relationships with others. You get things done through others. You do things for them. They will do so in return. So many things I was able to get done informally because of those relationships, both formal and informal.

Build a well rounded career and personal life. Do not sacrifice one for the other. Keep it balanced.

When things go badly, and they will, do not despair. I always remembered that in 100 years, none of this would matter. In most cases, none of it mattered in a few days or weeks.

Be willing to always learn, adapt, change, and be open to the impossible. I have seen things done that people said could not be done.

Above all, if you do not enjoy doing something, move on. Life is too short and precious to not enjoy it.

Congratulations to all of you!!!

Values and Resilience

Name: Andrea Stojcevski | Program: Chemical | Graduation Year: 8T8 |

Dear graduate,
As you start your future career path, it is important to know that you will face many challenges as well as opportunities. It is in the challenges that you really need to focus, the hard times will define you much more than the good. The most important thing that has kept me going in tough times is the foundation I have in my values. I learned too late that my values are the strongest roots in myself. When I worked in places that had values (or lack of) that conflicted with my own, I struggled and weakened. If I had known or recognized this, I would have cut myself from these places sooner. Don’t be afraid to do this as you go forward. Work places that don’t value the same things you do, are not the places for you and the sooner you know and decide to leave, the better. If values are your foundation, then resilience is your roof. You will not always be in control of your work and career. Indeed, many things will happen that will hurt you, shake your confidence, and attack your livelihood. But if you practice resilience, you will come out of it stronger and richer. I have been through lay-offs, been passed over for promotion, and faced a lot of nasty workplace politics. If I had known that my own resilience was much more important than other peoples views and opinions of me, I would have saved myself a lot of heart-ache and pain. More often than not, you can’t control the environment around you, so you must recognize that instead you can be resilient and believe that you will survive and eventually thrive.

Embrace the unexpected

Name: Graydon Bell | Program: Industrial Engineering | Graduation Year: 7T5 |

Congratulations on graduating from U of T Engineering!

Be confident your education has prepared you well for your career. Not so much in what you know now but more about your heightened ability to grow and develop yourself further. Realize you are starting over again on a new, unpredictable journey of discovery, learning and opportunity.
I joined an excellent large company where the initial career path was clear. However, in subsequent years my path morphed several times in unexpected ways and diverse work locations – including foreign assignments. I could never have dreamed of the path my life would take over the years. Be prepared to embrace unexpected, unfamiliar opportunities and run with them! They will take you far through a rewarding life and career.

It’s not about what you learned, it about how you learned to learn

Name: Sylvia Kudaverdian | Program: Chemical Engineering | Graduation Year: 9T8 |

When I first started out in my career, I was worried about forgetting “stuff” I learned in Skule, and not having answers when I needed them. Early on in my career, I realized that my education was not so much about what I learned, but more about how I learned to learn. My Engineering degree gave me the tools I need to learn anything I need to learn … find the answers I need, identify the resources I need. You don’t need to know everything – but you need to know how to find answers and resources to get you the answers you need. Throughout my career, being able to admit that I didn’t have an answer, but that I could definitely get one has been the most powerful tool in my kit.

Rookies and Rockstars

Name: George Nowak | Program: Civil Engineering | Graduation Year: 7T3 |

I received two great pieces of advice from the Dean of Civil Engineering at U of T and a senior (Rockstar) professor when I graduated in 1973: 1. “You don’t know anything – you leave here with a hopefully logical mind and everything you will learn in you career will be after you leave here”, and 2. “Go into construction first to see how things are constructed and then go into design”. I followed both pieces of advice and they have served me well. The other fine piece of advice is from Larry King: ” I remind myself each morning that nothing I say today will teach me anything – if I am to learn then I must listen”. So after 47 years since my convocation, and working in what is now 33 countries, I can say that its been blast and the advice is still valid – still working and enjoying my career.

Work Experience Matters

Name: William Cheung | Program: BASc | Graduation Year: 9T0 |

I’ve been in the software development business for 30 years now and when I interview for new hires at various companies I’ve worked at, I don’t look at the candidate’s academics. I look at their work experience. So even if you didn’t get honours, don’t worry. Work terms or PEY matter more if you’re looking for a career in programming, as I did back in 1990.

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