Sarzana Zafar

Company: Waste Management
Position: Pipeline Analyst

What led you to get involved with the GCSC?

I first heard about the GCSC in November 2016, when I was in my last year finishing a double major in biology and chemistry at University of Toronto - Mississauga. One of the GCSC Campus Ambassadors approached me and asked if I would be interested to participate in a competition where I had to make a 30 to 90-second pitch about anything I was passionate about. Initially, I was hesitant because the word ‘sales’ made me think that it was a competition for business and marketing students - and I had a science background.  Nonetheless, I had always enjoyed participating in impromptu speech competitions, so I was curious to have an opportunity to test my speaking skills and see how far I could get in the competition. It pleasantly surprised me when I got selected for the Semi-Finals. That was also when I decided to explore my interpersonal, communication and speaking skills more rigorously, and to take this competition more seriously.   


How did participating in the GCSC help you land your current role at Waste Management (WM)?

What’s amazing about the GCSC is that it gives students studying in  Canada, from any academic background, the equal opportunity to explore their selling skills and make the right connections. Participants are given resources to help them succeed in each level of the competition. In the final round specifically, the competitors are teamed up with an expert professional from one of the companies to coach them. This was a great opportunity to network with an amazing professionals in the field and learn from their expertise. During this round, I was also able to discuss a potential career in the sales industry with my coaches. They believed that  my science background would complement a sales profession. Maintaining relationships with the Waste Management Team propelled me to land my current role at WM.


What advice/tips do you have for new grads coming out of school slowly entering the workforce?

I have 5 tips:

First, get out of your comfort zone to get to know yourself better and discover your strengths and talents. Second, explore different career paths where you can apply your strengths.Third, take advantage of the opportunity to network with professionals. Ask the right questions (about the talent they seek and their hiring process) and request if you can stay in touch. It is an added bonus if you find a professional to mentor you. Fourth, you want to follow up, follow up and follow up! Staying in touch with the right connections (the recruiter/manager) is crucial to build quality relationships. It proves your perseverance and shows your determination. Finally, be open and take chances in different things. Remember that a rejection is only a redirection.