The transition from school to the working world can be challenging. However, Juliana Ali is another example of hard-working and dedicated students reaching their goals. Juliana is one of our newest WIMTACH alumni to move on to a job in their field of study. She is a Centennial College graduate who studied in the International Business Management program. Her program contained an internship semester, which allowed her to be paired up with a company that best matches her previous experience in project management. She went on to join WIMTACH and be a part of projects such as the Alpha Global Project, the Toronto Zoo application, the Sparker application, and the Virgo Plant Project. At WIMTACH, she performed administrative work, such as supporting the project manager in the onboarding processes of professors and students, maintaining invoice tracking, raising invoices, and maintaining EPAF tracking and initiating requests for EPAFs.
“My favourite thing about working on these projects was working with a variety of people. I was able to collaborate and learn from the WIMTACH PM team, students, professors, research associates, and external clients. I got to be a member of different teams with a goal of creating something that is innovative and has a positive impact within the industry and Canada,” Juliana explained. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a challenge for Juliana at first due to the lack of face-to-face interaction. However, she states that all WIMTACH team members were incredibly receptive, friendly, collaborative, and willing to help her to get up to speed with the projects while working from home. She also doesn’t come from a background of technical development knowledge, which was present in IT software and applications. “However, I took it upon myself to do some self-study. I attended training sessions and meetings with students and professors on the project where they shared what their tasks were and how to perform them. This helped me immensely to gain knowledge and work effectively,” she shared.
WIMTACH takes pride in students becoming equipped with the relevant skills to bring to further career milestones. Juliana has gained skills that she finds crucial to her new career ventures. “I learned about different project management tools and was able to implement them effectively. I also gained skills in adaptability which went towards my communication. Due to working from home, I had to utilise online platforms such as zoom and slack. I had to create presentations and project proposals while ensuring my message was clear and articulate when communicating instructions and sharing ideas to avoid any ambiguity or misunderstanding,” said Juliana.
When asked about her favourite aspect of working at WIMTACH, she said that sharing her ideas with the WIMTACH team was a delight. “It was a pleasure to work with such great people. In addition, you can learn so many different things from a variety of industries and clients. Each project is unique and therefore, you are exposed to multiple industries such as IT, Healthcare, Engineering, and Biotechnology,” Juliana stated. An example was when she was assigned as project management intern for The Toronto Zoo project, in which she contributed to the development of the idea.
Working at WIMTACH has been very fruitful for Juliana, with skills gained and what she learned about herself. She shared, “I learned to be a sponge. I tried to absorb everything as I was learning from everyone within WIMTACH. I was able to improve on my skills, which contributed to increasing my confidence and ability to overcome future challenges faced with ease. Also, now I can add the new skills I learned on my resume.” She then mentions how she handled the position with her mindset. “My positive, and driven mindset approach allowed me to look at things differently, and it rewarded me with great results. Any experience can be enhanced if you can look at where you can add value to what you are doing, and not just perform the job well but excel. You have to ask yourself, what could I do to improve the process? What can I contribute to make this project better? I tried to always go above and beyond what I was delivering, which was appreciated by my peers and whoever I was working with. This allowed me to gain more experience, increase my responsibilities, learn new skills, and create a great network,” she stated. She says that the experience and exposure gained from working on WIMTACH projects have allowed her to apply for positions in industries and sectors she couldn’t before. Juliana has adapted to technical projects, gained experience in different sectors, and created a network of people to help her progress in her career.
Juliana is currently working at the Centennial College Project Management Centre (PMC) as a Project Coordinator. “My experience gained at WIMTACH prepared me for this position, and was a large contributing factor in getting this role. I would like to continue working at the Centennial College PMC for the next few years to master my skills within the Project management field, and I feel this department will allow me to do so and contribute my experience,” she stated. When asked where she sees herself in 5 years, she says that she sees herself as a Project/Programme Manager working internationally and travelling the world with her career.
For more stories, please visit: https://wimtach.centennialcollege.ca/news/