1) What are some of the key things you learned in your Political Science major that helped prepare you for the job you have now?
One of the most frequently asked questions I receive when recruiting on campus is “What did you study in university and how is that relevant to your job now?” Although working in campus recruitment at the largest tech company in the world may not seem like the most direct connection to a political science degree, I would argue that the knowledge I gained while studying Political Science at UW has absolutely prepared me for working in this fast-paced industry. I think back to when I was writing what seemed like my hundredth 15-page research essay but today I am ever grateful for the experience and knowledge gained in which I honed my intellectual and problem-solving skills, finessed my communication skills in upper year seminar courses and left with greater knowledge of the changing complexities of our society.
2) What were some of your favourite courses and why?
I look fondly back on my time in PSCI - some of my favourite courses included Dr. Esselment’s 4th year seminar on Canadian National Politics in which we had many thought-provoking debates as a class which sparked my passion for continuing to follow Canadian politics today. Another extremely memorable course was a special course offered on the Politics of Africa taught by Professor Robert Rotberg who was a visiting research chair from Harvard at the time. This course not only opened my eyes to an entire new area of politics but really challenged my world views and Professor Rotberg’s insights and experience were invaluable. In my final year, I had the opportunity to take Professor Boychuk’s seminar course “New Books in Canadian Politics” which was modelled on a book jury format - lots of reading but such a unique way to learn!
3) You were part of the PSCI/ARBUS co-op program. Do you think your work term experiences gave you an edge over others in the job marketplace once you graduated?
Absolutely - one of the main reasons I choose to study at Waterloo over other universities was the co-op program, and I’m so happy I made that decision. I was very fortunate to graduate with almost 2 years of work experience and I completed 5 different work-terms. My third work-term was working at IBM in Marketing and upon graduation I was offered to return full-time as the Campus Recruiter. I also had co-op experience working at companies such as BlackBerry in Government Relations, OpenText in Marketing and I also worked in Ottawa for the Federal Government in Campus Recruitment. I found that the combination of the Arts and Business program with my political science major and co-op experience provided me with the right skills to give me an edge in the current competitive job market.
4) What do you enjoy most about your job at IBM?
The best part of my job is interacting with students and helping them start their career at IBM. It wasn’t too long ago that I was in their shoes as a co-op student looking for my first work-term and having the opportunity to help shape the next generation of leaders at IBM is what excites me. I love working in the technology industry in Canada, seeing how our products are helping to change the world, in everything from disaster relief to cancer research. I recently had the experience of a lifetime going on assignment to India as part of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps in which I worked with a local NGO for 4-weeks as a pro-bono consultant. It’s extremely important for me to work at a company that is so passionate about corporate social responsibility, especially as a political science grad!
5) What advice do you have for current PSCI majors at UW?
My advice is to current PSCI students is to get involved (some of my best memories were on the PSSA exec), enjoy the experience and get to know your classmates and professors. One of the best things about studying PSCI at UW is the small class sizes and welcoming environment - don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start building your network!
Bridget obtained a BA Degree in Arts And Business - Coop (Political Science) from the University of Waterloo in 2015.