How One Advisor Gave a Student the Confidence to Network His Way Into an International Bank
November 3, 2016
When Nisarg Shah first began looking for jobs, he wasn’t sure whether his background would land him the career that he wanted. Nisarg knew that his undergraduate degree in engineering and banking experience in India gave him a unique, analytical edge, but he wasn’t sure if he could easily break into consulting and business strategy in Canada. After some initial unsuccessful efforts to land a job, Nisarg found his confidence waning, and thought perhaps his engineering background—and status as an international exchange student—might be to blame.
As he finished his MBA at Ryerson University in 2015, Nisarg was referred to The Career Advisor Platform by the school’s career team. There, he first met his advisor Andrew Witzke, formerly a senior analyst at A.T. Kearney. Instead of settling only for a phone call, Andrew suggested that he and Nisarg meet up for coffee in person, where they discussed how to approach and apply for the types of jobs that Nisarg was most interested in.
“That really set me on the right path,” said Nisarg. “Andrew was really straightforward.”
“…you will find jobs, but this isn’t the right time. Be persistent.”
Andrew explained to Nisarg that, though the job market was difficult at the time, Nisarg still had an excellent resume and solid experience, and would simply need to make sure that he talked to more people in the industry to gain the contacts necessary to break in. Furthermore, he reassured Nisarg that his exchange student status was actually a benefit, rather than a drawback, given that many companies were looking to recruit diverse thinkers. Nisarg remembers that Andrew told him, “You will absolutely fit into these roles, and you will find jobs, but this isn’t the right time. Be persistent.”
This advice was a game-changer for Nisarg, who noted that in his own culture, something as simple as reaching out via LinkedIn and inviting an industry player to coffee would be frowned upon. Breaking through that internal barrier helped Nisarg gain access to a novel tool of connecting and networking—buoyed by the added confidence Andrew had given him by assuring him his resume was strong. Timing, emphasized Andrew, was more to blame than Nisarg’s unique background.
Andrew himself first heard about The Career Advisor Platform when Queen’s University, his alma mater, reached out to him to ask if he’d be an advisor for students on their platform. “I thought it was a great initiative, primarily because it formalized what was already happening informally,” explained Andrew. He said that with every advisee, he tries to focus on building out a specific plan that helps them understand the flow of recruiting and how to use their time most effectively.
Nisarg, Andrew says, was already an advanced candidate with an impressive resume. He viewed his key value as an advisor as his ability to explain the nebulous, often mysterious industry of consulting to Nisarg, who had had little experience thus far in such an industry. “I love the platform,” Andrew said. “I think it’s very valuable. I frankly wish that I had it.”
“It’s not about getting the job. It’s about getting the perspective on the job market.”
Now, Nisarg works as a business analyst for Scotiabank, where he also serves as a project and program manager for some of their retail projects, using his aptitude for numbers and analysis in the industry he had always hoped to break into. For that, The Career Advisor Platform has been key.
“It’s not about getting the job,” Nisarg emphasized. “It’s about getting the perspective on the job market. Those little things make a lot of difference.”
About the Career Advisor Platform
The Career Advisor Platform at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management connects students with industry experts for one-on-one career advice, mock interviews, and resume critiques.