Shahzia Noorally, MEd’13

What would you tell your graduating self?Shahzia Noorally

You’re going to have to fake it ‘till you make it, a lot. I remember back to my first semester in grad school where I would have sleepless nights about what is commonly known in the academic world as the “imposter syndrome”. The feeling that you somehow got into the program by some administrative error and that any minute, someone was going to discover that you really had no idea what it was that you were doing. I was that bewildered student with a business undergrad entering a philosophically based education program that challenged every bit of my logical and pragmatic way of thinking. I went from reading case studies and learning about micro and macroeconomics to reading intense philosophical theories by John Locke and Immanuel Kant. For the first few months, absolutely nothing made sense. I felt like I was reading a foreign language, like any minute they were going to get I didn’t have the chops to do it and that I was going to end up a grad school dropout. It was in those sleepless nights that I realized the journey I signed up for was never meant to be easy, but it was meant to push me to realize my potential and that a number of things had naturally set me up for success – my “home training,” as I like to call it – the life lessons and example parted onto me by my hard working and determined parents and uber admirable big brother, my perseverance and tenacity to get through my undergraduate degree even while working full time and the simple fact that I was one stubborn young woman, determined not to fail.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Continuing to make an impact in the community by supporting job seekers through the process of finding meaningful work – whether it’s through my 9-5 job as a Talent Partner for ATB Financial or through my Career Coaching business or my blog, my mandate is to spread the gospel on the company that has set me up for success and help people align their passions with careers they can be proud of.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made at your job / a job interview?

Being afraid to ask questions in an effort to sound like I knew what I was talking about – one of the best things about being new to an industry or a line of work is that you have a rookie advantage in that you’re meant to be curious and a knowledge hoarder. The best place to uncover that knowledge is by asking everyone around you about their experiences and pain points and I often neglected to do this enough when I first started out in my career for fear of not looking credible.

What is your best memory from your time at UBC?

My first 6 months probably encompassed my most fearful time that eventually turned into my most memorable time. I was the classic deer in headlights student that had no idea if I was going to sink or swim and it was those moments of being out of my comfort zone that really pushed me to test my own capacity and truly set me up for the success I enjoy today.

What did you envision your job or career to be when you started university?

I took a Master’s degree in Adult Education in order to set myself up for a career in Corporate Training and Workplace Learning. Although I don’t use my education in a direct way, I get the pleasure of utilize everything I learned in more unconventional ways now. I get to write and teach through my blog, acareertolove.wordpress.com, which is targeted at job seekers trying to navigate the recruitment process from the perspective of a recruiter. I get to have many moments of teaching in my current role at ATB Financial working with hiring leaders and internal employees to help support them either seeking and assessing top talent or positioning themselves as top talent through webinars, lunch and learns, and in 1:1 coaching.

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