Business - Marketing Stream
Business Development Consultant
Canada offers immigrant professionals a magnificent environment to help improve their skills and the IEP program is proof of it, says Savio Nassar, who took advantage of this program at York University.
“I decided to create a short cut in my journey to success and joined the York University Bridging program for internationally educated professionals (IEP),” says Savio. He recently completed his Certification in Management and is now working as a business development consultant for IBM/Geodis.
“A bridging program is the key to achieving success faster, to excel faster. It helps you know the unknown about the Canadian market.”
Having studied in his native Lebanon and in France and worked in Kuwait and Nigeria, Savio’s experience of different cultures had prepared him to expect the unexpected. “Living in any country has its own challenges and Canada is no different.”
When he started looking for a job in Canada he realized that he was a stranger to the Canadian market, “which you can discover on your own or learn from professional instructors.” He chose the latter.
Of his initial inability to land a dream job, Savio blames it on differences in culture, his lack of knowledge on what drives local business and his inability to communicate clearly in the Canadian context.
“I realized that I had to educate myself about the differences, respect them and leverage them to excel. It was not easy. But York’s bridging program was the right solution to the challenges I faced.”
One of the foundation courses, ‘Professional Communication’, helped me to understand and expect how workplaces in Canada function. It is different here compared to where I came from and where I worked. Here my boss comes up to me and informs me if he is taking a day off. It is totally non-hierarchical system here. “These are small things, but important to understand. We discussed many such cultural differences in our class at York University.”
I had multiple gains from the program, he says. “A good understanding of Canadian business sector was one. In addition, I built a good network with other students. Because I have lived in different social and cultural settings, it was not very difficult for me. However, what differentiated this experience was the nature of data, the environment and the context the information was delivered.”
Interacting and learning from other professionals from different countries, from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds was a significant upside of this program, he says.
“Networking with them was another lesson in managing diversity. It is intellectually enriching and socially healthy, especially for newcomers. While the courses themselves were interesting, the program allowed me to engage in class discussions, know the new generation, and understand the Canadian way of thinking. Group projects were extremely beneficial.”
Savio is a major advocate of continuing education. “What I liked most about the York program was that it is outlined to help newcomers overcome difficulties in adjusting to a new country.” He found the Jump Start and foundation phase very helpful because they concentrated on the Canadian market, Canadian law, ethics, and proper communication skills.
‘Live in the present’
Savio also feels that having a full time job should not stop one from pursuing other ideas. He gave in to his entrepreneurial bug when he launched his online business of selling high end fashion accessories.
How did he get interested in the business? “When I was studying in Paris, I did my internship in fashion boutiques. That’s when I developed an interest and when I came to Canada I realized that this country provides a great opportunity to discover oneself, and to pursue dreams.”
Savio is keen to share his experience and knowledge with other newcomers. Personally, he aspires to grow in his career and continue building his e-commerce company.
His advice to newcomers is not to live in their past. “This is a new opportunity. Seize it, educate yourself about the present and trust your skills. And you are sure to reap the benefits.”
A bridging program helps you know the unknown about the Canadian market