Students

2015 University Grads! How does the future look?

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  • Sep 9th, 2017 2:04 pm
Member
Nov 26, 2013
364 posts
191 upvotes
Winnipeg
Do you have a job? Yes. Starts May 11, and I'm very excited!
What is the job? Accountant/CPA Articling Student. I won't mention the name of the firm, but it is well established across Canada.
What is your degree? 4-year BBA with a concentration in Accounting. Basically it's an accounting degree.
What school you from? University of Winnipeg. It is literally the bottom of the bottom tier for business schools. Typically accounting students are usually the best students in the faculty of business, but not at this school. The problem however is the quality of the students, not the faculty. One thing that I found interesting however, is that the prestige behind your alma mater has little to no weight, as I got offers from several firms (mostly Big 4) in Toronto and Vancouver at the end of the recruiting period (I was willing to move for work).
Would you recommend your major? Absolutely not. University was a worthwhile experience for me personally, both from an academic and employment standpoint. It opened up a lot of opportunities because I put in the time and effort. The market for entry level accounting positions is oversaturated. Only go into accounting if you're a dedicated student, have the aptitude, and actually like accounting. Unless you're at or near the top of your class at any school, involved in community and school, AND have relevant work experience, your chances of getting a Jr. position are zero unless you know someone. Unfortunately, when it came time for recruitment, I didn't know anyone at any firm, so I fell in the former category.
Newbie
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Jan 20, 2015
57 posts
5 upvotes
Halifax, NS
Do you have a job? Yes.
What is the job? Play online poker (main income source) & work in a pharmaceutical research lab for the summer (back to school in sept 2015).
What is your degree? BSc. Microbiology & Immunology.
Would you recommend your major? Depends on your goals. If you want to do research and go the Masters+Ph.D route it's not a bad option, but generally speaking I'd avoid any basic BSc. programs. Unless you're super competitive academically it's hard to get any external funding for research, and if you're not competitive for funding it's much more difficult to find a supervisor. If your goal is med/dental school or pharmacy or something like that I'd honestly recommend a more practical degree (i.e. comp sci, stats, etc.) such that if you fail to get in at least you'll be semi-likely to land a job.
Deal Guru
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Dec 7, 2009
13357 posts
1210 upvotes
Do you have a job? Not at the moment, but then again I took my degree over 7 years.

What is the job? I had a FT job as a BA in clinical trials up until recently

What is your degree? BSc. Astronomy w/ French minor

Would you recommend your major? My university experience was a cobbling together of courses over a long period of time. I could have just as easily went toward life sciences instead, as I have a lot of credits there. I took what I liked, and figured out how to turn it into a degree once I had been taking courses for a few years. I say if you're interested in learning and getting a degree on your own terms, absolutely. Just start taking courses and figure it out.
In a perfect system, corporations would fear the government and the government would fear the people. - David Wong

Check out caRpetbomBer's picks in this thread.
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Feb 25, 2014
2131 posts
307 upvotes
Mississauga
Do you have a job?Yes
What is the job?Merchandiser at BestBuy
What is your degree?BSc. Chemistry
What school you from?York University
Would you recommend your major? Super strong no!!
Sr. Member
Aug 7, 2011
542 posts
79 upvotes
Maybe adding one more category would be a good idea:
"Why did you decide to study this major?", esp since so many people are now saying they would not recommend studying this.
Deal Addict
Oct 19, 2006
1868 posts
122 upvotes
A few folks here have suggested people should look for less challenging schools because they feel there's no benefits to going to a good one.

That's not entirely true.

Having worked in engineering with people who came from colleges and lower tier universities and ones from the top schools, the differences is night and day. This might not be true for accounting, but the biggest differences is that people who goes to top schools and get top grades there they have good habits. So it's a learning experience just seeing these people operate.

In the end it's what you are aiming for that makes the better school matters or not. If all you want is a job as an engineer for example, yes you can get jobs with degree with any engineering program. If you want to work with the best people and go places then earlier (as experiences matters so where you start out is not that important in the long term) the pedigree school will help.

Also for students here and new grads, the weeding process between the strong and weak does not end after school. You'll be evaluated from now till you retire. It can be a yearly review where lots of companies use a bell curve (and you thought you were done with that, ha!) but where the lower parts gets chopped (why do you think top tech firms always have jobs postings?). Or it is the interview which you get asked questions that are harder than any you'd ever face in an exam over days for interviews. And finally some places just use the burn out method where people are loaded up with a lot of work and they let the natural selection process happen where people either make it past the entry level grunt work job, or burn out and leave.

So taking the easy path by going to an easy school? If it floats your boat but just remember in the end you'll still be working with and be evaluated against the same folks you avoided competing with in school by going to an easier school.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 23, 2010
640 posts
212 upvotes
Ottawa
gotak wrote:
Apr 10th, 2015 10:24 pm
A few folks here have suggested people should look for less challenging schools because they feel there's no benefits to going to a good one.

That's not entirely true.

Having worked in engineering with people who came from colleges and lower tier universities and ones from the top schools, the differences is night and day. This might not be true for accounting, but the biggest differences is that people who goes to top schools and get top grades there they have good habits. So it's a learning experience just seeing these people operate.

In the end it's what you are aiming for that makes the better school matters or not. If all you want is a job as an engineer for example, yes you can get jobs with degree with any engineering program. If you want to work with the best people and go places then earlier (as experiences matters so where you start out is not that important in the long term) the pedigree school will help.

Also for students here and new grads, the weeding process between the strong and weak does not end after school. You'll be evaluated from now till you retire. It can be a yearly review where lots of companies use a bell curve (and you thought you were done with that, ha!) but where the lower parts gets chopped (why do you think top tech firms always have jobs postings?). Or it is the interview which you get asked questions that are harder than any you'd ever face in an exam over days for interviews. And finally some places just use the burn out method where people are loaded up with a lot of work and they let the natural selection process happen where people either make it past the entry level grunt work job, or burn out and leave.

So taking the easy path by going to an easy school? If it floats your boat but just remember in the end you'll still be working with and be evaluated against the same folks you avoided competing with in school by going to an easier school.
You really think there is such a big difference between engineering programs in Canadian universities? I've always been told that accredited Canadian programs are quite comparable to each other because they are all regulated to a high standard. I would like to think that most of the people that end up working for a company are quite comparable to each other. After all, they went through and passed the same interview process. Despite that, you are right that people should strive to go to a "top" school since if nothing else you get some great connections. For instance, Waterloo is an amazing place to be if you would like to work in Silicon Valley after graduation. I've heard that the University has a really good reputation in the Bay Area and many "household name" tech companies recruit from there.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 23, 2010
640 posts
212 upvotes
Ottawa
ReaperEXE wrote:
Apr 9th, 2015 7:28 pm
Do you have a job? Yes. Starts May 11, and I'm very excited!
What is the job? Accountant/CPA Articling Student. I won't mention the name of the firm, but it is well established across Canada.
What is your degree? 4-year BBA with a concentration in Accounting. Basically it's an accounting degree.
What school you from? University of Winnipeg. It is literally the bottom of the bottom tier for business schools. Typically accounting students are usually the best students in the faculty of business, but not at this school. The problem however is the quality of the students, not the faculty. One thing that I found interesting however, is that the prestige behind your alma mater has little to no weight, as I got offers from several firms (mostly Big 4) in Toronto and Vancouver at the end of the recruiting period (I was willing to move for work).
Would you recommend your major? Absolutely not. University was a worthwhile experience for me personally, both from an academic and employment standpoint. It opened up a lot of opportunities because I put in the time and effort. The market for entry level accounting positions is oversaturated. Only go into accounting if you're a dedicated student, have the aptitude, and actually like accounting. Unless you're at or near the top of your class at any school, involved in community and school, AND have relevant work experience, your chances of getting a Jr. position are zero unless you know someone. Unfortunately, when it came time for recruitment, I didn't know anyone at any firm, so I fell in the former category.
You seem to have been quite successful so I'm pretty surprised you wouldn't recommend your major. Is the market really that over-saturated? You admit yourself that you didn't go to a top school and you managed to get a job (along with many offers) from a top financial company. So what is the problem? If it is the requirement for work experience, I think you will find that most fields basically require coop nowadays.
Deal Addict
Oct 19, 2006
1868 posts
122 upvotes
Applesmack wrote:
Apr 10th, 2015 10:56 pm
You really think there is such a big difference between engineering programs in Canadian universities? I've always been told that accredited Canadian programs are quite comparable to each other because they are all regulated to a high standard. I would like to think that most of the people that end up working for a company are quite comparable to each other. After all, they went through and passed the same interview process. Despite that, you are right that people should strive to go to a "top" school since if nothing else you get some great connections. For instance, Waterloo is an amazing place to be if you would like to work in Silicon Valley after graduation. I've heard that the University has a really good reputation in the Bay Area and many "household name" tech companies recruit from there.
What does accredited means really? I mean all Ontario high schools are also supposedly held to a provincial standards but everyone knows some places your kids will be studying with people of a certain social economic strata and others places they might get stabbed in the cafeteria. And we know that the social economic factor plays a huge part in how people turn out mostly because we are all monkeys and we do what we see others do.

I have studied at both a top school and one that isn't so much (yes Ryerson I am talking about you) and the difference is quite clear. Sure you get smart and motivated students at Ryerson too and they can be just as good, if not better than some student from the top schools. The bad ones though will leave you shaking your head.

As for the interview, it's not a precise science. For software jobs for example you can study for the interviews because programming questions that can be asked in the time available for an interview are generally going to follow certain patterns. In the end they actually do little for figuring who is the good candidate and who isn't. All they really do in my experience is to filter out the really incompetent ones. In our interviews over the last year we found that the average we were getting in our written test was about 50% and for my hard open ended questions it was down to 10% of people actually being able to make any headway towards even a really inefficient solution. And I wasn't even looking for code just asking someone to figure out a way to solve a problem they don't have experience with.

So who even gets the interview? Well like it or not everyone's going to compete with the big named schools. My interviews this year are all either undergrads from UofT or Waterloo, or experienced folks, or folks with advanced degrees. So as a new grad how likely are people with degree from lesser engineering school going to even get a chance to show their stuff? For where I work it's pretty slim.

Most companies don't need nor expect every employee to be awesome. So in any company you will get a spread of people of different performance. And some of the factors that differentiate between those who plateau and those who flies aren't related to hard skills. And while people likes to comfort themselves that A students are only book smart, I have found that the folks with the greatest soft skills also tends to be the A students ones as well.
Member
Nov 26, 2013
364 posts
191 upvotes
Winnipeg
Applesmack wrote:
Apr 10th, 2015 11:00 pm
You seem to have been quite successful so I'm pretty surprised you wouldn't recommend your major. Is the market really that over-saturated? You admit yourself that you didn't go to a top school and you managed to get a job (along with many offers) from a top financial company. So what is the problem? If it is the requirement for work experience, I think you will find that most fields basically require coop nowadays.
You bring up a good point. I am wrong in saying that you should not pursue an accounting degree. Though, you must consider: The market is great for designated individuals, but terrible for students coming out of University. There are simply not enough Jr. positions to go around. I'll give Manitoba as an example (you can base the scale for larger cities/provinces off this, the situation is the same or worse, yet on a grander scale).

The recruiting period is in Fall, and typically it's for 2-4 year students. Years 2-3 will apply for summer and coop positions, and year 4 students will apply for full-time positions. There are 18 approved training paths in Manitoba that recruit actively, 5 of them large, 1 medium, and the rest are small. Any of the Big 4 firms, and MNP because their HUB is in Winnipeg, will be looking for about 5-10 summer/coop students, and 5-10 (usually 5) full time students. A medium firm, Grant Thornton may look for 1 FT, and 2 summer/coop. Each small firm would hire 1 of either category, should they so choose (they do not have to hire FT). Generally speaking, if you get a summer/coop term with a firm, you are pretty much guaranteed a FT position after, however from what I hear from friends in Toronto and Vancouver, this is often not the case (If someone could verify/disregard this, please do). It is also important to note that getting into a coop program does not guarantee you employment, in fact this segment is the most competitive. Also note that coop is not the only way to get experience, and perhaps is the most difficult. There were over 300 eligible students applying for these positions (just from Manitoba!), with approximately 150 of that 300 applying for ~30-40 FT positions (less if small firms decide not to hire). A reasonable portion of the positions go to students who are out-of-province, at least in regards to large firms. With CPA now allowing students who don't have accounting degrees to enter the program, competition just got a little more stiff.

My point is that it's very competitive. All of these students have similar GPA's, work experience, and at this stage in their life, similar life experience. Firms are looking for candidates who not only excel in all of these aspects, but are willing to jump through the hoops of recruiting, have a high capacity to network effectively, and above all, fit with the culture of the firm. Don't take this the wrong way, but a lot of people who enter university for accounting are terribly dull (See: lion tamer sketch). It is not merely the work experience, as that aspect is but a small part of overall fit. In an accounting firm's eyes, they can train you from the ground up anyways, regardless of your work experience, or lack thereof. Manitoba is a small segment, imagine that same race for a job from the thousands of accounting/business majors in Ontario. Sure, there are more accounting firms with multiple offices in larger provinces, but the ratio of students to jobs is worse there than where I am.

While I did not go to a top school, I am at, or really damn close to the top of the class (there are over 300 registered/active accounting students at the U of W). Oddly enough, I have NEVER done a coop position, I'm not even in the program. My work experience is in sales and accounting, with hands-on accounting/auditing experience in countries like Trinidad & Tobago, Japan, and New Zealand (unique opportunities that arose from my travels and meeting the right people). My capacity to balance life while achieving academic, professional, and extracurricular objectives is high. I have enough (I really shouldn't say that, you can never have enough) life experience that it's easy to connect with others, and networking/dealing with clients comes easy to me. Most importantly, my attitude, personality, and composure is that of individuals who are typically hired into Big 4 firms or medium/large firms, and it especially clicked with the firm I chose. I'm not afraid to admit that I got completely and utterly rejected from every single small firm due to fit.

What I would recommend however, is students who do accounting in larger provinces, apply to other provinces as well. Do what you can to increase your odds. While fit is the most important thing, sometimes it boils down to a numbers game! You can also get in through the backdoor by knowing the right people. Of course, I've only scratched the surface of this problem, it runs far deeper than what I have mentioned!
Newbie
Feb 26, 2015
13 posts
4 upvotes
Guelph, ON
Do you have a job? No, but I am going to college next year
What is the job? *college program is an advanced diploma in Medical Laboratory Science
What is your degree? B. Sc. Molecular Biology and Genetics
What school you from? University of Guelph
Would you recommend your major? If you love research science, and have a drive to do the work it takes to get into grad school and more importantly get a decent job afterwards, then I would definitely recommend both Guelph and Molecular Biology over say, Microbiology. Biochemistry probably has more general (but still not great) employment prospects in Biotech, but if you want a job in that you're probably going to have to look continent wide. Even then, if you do get a job in research or even industry, you should love it for your work because you are not going to be paid lucratively compared to other education paths based on how much education is required (say, 40k if you are lucky out of school for a job you had to fight tooth and nail for, max of ~70k for a senior lab tech at a normal research lab after many years of exp and even then you likely need a masters).

Otherwise, I would recommend more "practical degrees", or directed, employable health science or trades college programs. The program I am entering into next year is required to be a certified MLT, and from all the information I can find the job market is about as good as it gets these days (can easily get FT work right out of school, or temp/part-time casual in the GTA), and it pays as well as if I had done a masters program and become a senior lab tech in a research or industrial lab somewhere, without the need to run the job-finding rat race that I'm told is the science field right now. That said, I find my degree completely worth it. Despite the fact that my program next year can be entered into from High School (with college stream bio/chem/math courses no less), above 80-90% of the people in the program have a uni degree or at least a few years university experience. Additionally having the B. Sc. in addition to the diploma bumps up your pay slightly, if only by 1-2 dollars an hour, but it is better than nothing. So from both a competition for top positions and job standpoint, for what I'm doing the degree is a good thing, though I imagine it might not be the same for say, radiation techs. Finally, just the life experience and critical thinking skills I gained from my degree, as well as the ability to interpret anything sciencey that is put in front of my face objectively, more than makes my four years worth it.

As a side note, in general I think that something needs to be done to further educate high school students to think deeply about what education path they should choose. I don't know what it is, but the "follow your dreams" approach I hear spouted from a lot of people/pop culture isn't the best option. In the end, everyone wants to be happy, and a BA/B.Sc just because you love English/Music/Art History or because in my case because I didn't know what to do and got good marks in science isn't a formula for happiness. Finding a job that you can get into that aligns with your life goals/allows you to do what you want to accomplish in life is what is going to make you happy.
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Dec 7, 2009
13357 posts
1210 upvotes
Applesmack wrote:
Apr 10th, 2015 11:00 pm
You seem to have been quite successful so I'm pretty surprised you wouldn't recommend your major. Is the market really that over-saturated? You admit yourself that you didn't go to a top school and you managed to get a job (along with many offers) from a top financial company. So what is the problem? If it is the requirement for work experience, I think you will find that most fields basically require coop nowadays.
I suspect he perceives himself as exceptional, whereas many of his classmates likely fall into the same category.
In a perfect system, corporations would fear the government and the government would fear the people. - David Wong

Check out caRpetbomBer's picks in this thread.
Deal Guru
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Oct 3, 2006
10220 posts
627 upvotes
Toronto
You guys should post your salaries too so people know what this year's new grad salaries are.
Sr. Member
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Dec 25, 2010
666 posts
84 upvotes
Toronto
Do you have a job? Yes
What is the job? Digital Media Marketing
What is your degree? Political Science + History
What school you from? UTSG
Would you recommend your major? NOPE! Don't recommend going to university if you're clueless and lost. It is not worth the financial and time commitment to discover yourself. You should have clear goals, ambitions, and idea of what you want out of this, why you're doing this, and what you plan to do afterwards. I am lucky that I knew what I wanted and why I was attending. A lot of my peers right now are either looking to continuing their education, taking another year, taking a year off, or going to a different school to get into a program they cared about. This happens from wide range of fields and discipline. I hear it all the time in my classrooms in 4th year, a lot of "kids" (I call them that cause they're clueless) that take Arts or Science seem to be lost in their 4th year. Not saying that this is a bad thing, they're all smart individuals and highly talented, rather they just don't really know what they want out of life and by taking uni courses they often end up more confused as their hopes of going to med school/law school gets rektd by school.
Jr. Member
Sep 29, 2014
156 posts
88 upvotes
Toronto, ON
grumps312 wrote:
Apr 17th, 2015 12:35 pm
Do you have a job? Yes
What is the job? Digital Media Marketing
What is your degree? Political Science + History
What school you from? UTSG
Would you recommend your major? NOPE! Don't recommend going to university if you're clueless and lost. It is not worth the financial and time commitment to discover yourself. You should have clear goals, ambitions, and idea of what you want out of this, why you're doing this, and what you plan to do afterwards. I am lucky that I knew what I wanted and why I was attending. A lot of my peers right now are either looking to continuing their education, taking another year, taking a year off, or going to a different school to get into a program they cared about. This happens from wide range of fields and discipline. I hear it all the time in my classrooms in 4th year, a lot of "kids" (I call them that cause they're clueless) that take Arts or Science seem to be lost in their 4th year. Not saying that this is a bad thing, they're all smart individuals and highly talented, rather they just don't really know what they want out of life and by taking uni courses they often end up more confused as their hopes of going to med school/law school gets rektd by school.
Exactly this. Decided to do my BA at York for the more lax marking standards, with a clear plan of going to law school afterward and that is where I am now. However, many others I know who are equally as intelligent, but without a clear path in mind, went into competitive programs at schools that butchered their GPA. High schoolers need to be more informed of what they are getting into by pursuing an arts or science degree in university.

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