How an international business program helped launch my supply chain career

25/02/2014

Upward buildings

Upward buildingsI started the job hunting process at least six months before I graduated from Fanshawe College’s FITT-accredited international business program.

The most important thing in the job hunting process is to identify your career goal or objectives first, and start to get ready early. Having my career goal set up long before I started the program, I knew I wanted to work for a company involved in international trade.

Getting ready for the job hunt

First, I worked to focus my resume around my career objectives. As we all know, a professional resume is key to attracting potential employers. I also fully utilized all the career services that Fanshawe College offered. Attending resume improvement and interview workshops, learning about major job searching websites and consulting career advisers got me in the right mindset and prepared me for the process.

“Maggie Huang is an inspiring individual who shared her international experience with her classmates, further developed her international trade expertise and unlocked her own potential at Fanshawe College. She also received the 2013 FITT Achievement Award, and I’m confident she will become an exemplary CITP.”

—Murray Morgan, Professor at Fanshawe College

Second, networking activities are also essential when we look for jobs. I treated every networking event as an opportunity to present myself in front of potential employers. I also made sure I was fully prepared before going to any networking event by researching about the companies that were present, dressing professionally and preparing well-written resumes and name cards. In this way, I decided on the potential employers that I wanted to meet, and when I talked to them, I could ask meaningful questions and showcase how my skills would be an asset to the company. That was how I made my first recruitment contact at StarTech.com, where I eventually landed a job and embarked on my new career.

Acing the interview

The most critical step is, of course, the interview.

Being well-prepared is the most important thing for a successful interview.

I received excellent advice from my professor and mentor, Professor Murray Morgan, who said that I should “treat the interview as a research project.” Fortunately, my interview happened during my Spring break, so I had enough time to prepare. I did thorough research on the company’s business and made sure I understood the skills and qualities they were looking for in a candidate. I also came up with a list of questions they might ask me during the interview, and I prepared my answers in advance. It was also helpful that I had prepared some questions about the position to ask toward the end of the interview. Afterwards, I followed up by immediately thanking them for the interview and expressing my continued interest in working for the company.

“Maggie demonstrates how our college and FITT can enhance Canada’s global competitiveness. By training a global-ready work force we ‘unlock the potential’ of determined students as well as local businesses trying to compete globally.”

—Murray Morgan, Professor at Fanshawe College


Finding a job is not easy. Like everything in life, we need to put a lot of effort into the process and treat it seriously. The truth is that finding a job is only the first step towards starting a successful career. There is much to learn on the job, and one must learn as quickly as possible in order to adapt successfully to the new role and work environment.

Adapting to being on the job

It’s been almost ten months since I started my job, and I have been able to apply what I have learned from the international business program to many areas of my work. For example, the Global Supply Chain Management course gave me the foundation that I needed for effective and efficient inventory planning. The Legal Aspects of International Trade course made me aware of different regulations and rules of importing and distributing products overseas, which is the core business activity of my employer.

Is the FITTskills program for you?

Developed by business for business, FITTskills meets the needs of those who are

  • seeking to enhance their import-export career standing,
  • new to exporting or importing,
  • and those who simply want add to their expertise or gain valuable educational credits.

Learn More about FITTskills

I’m grateful to have started my career in international trade, but there have been many challenges along the way. Although I have lived and worked in four different countries over the past ten years—including China, Thailand, USA and Canada—I still needed to adapt to the workplace as a newcomer to Canada. Every company has its unique corporate culture and special operating systems. I had a lot to learn in the beginning, and I sometimes felt a little overwhelmed during my first month on the job. However, I kept a positive and open mentality, and as each day went by, I felt the job getting easier as I learned more and more about the company and its operations.

Prior to joining StarTech.com, Maggie co-founded and managed Dusky Leaf Yoga, a manufacturer and distributor of eco-friendly yoga accessories!

Apart from the new operating systems I needed to learn, I also recognized how good communication and interpersonal sensitivity are crucial when working in an environment as diverse as Startech.com. As a recent immigrant from China, I took it on myself to better understand and appreciate Canadian culture. Soon enough, I found that I could communicate effectively with my co-workers, and I never hesitate to ask questions when there is something that I don’t know or understand.

I believe that positive thinking, open-mindedness, and an eagerness to learn and work hard are essential to success for any student who wants to start a successful career in international business.

Are you ready to embrace the challenge and start your journey towards a successful career in international business?

 Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

About the author

Maggie Zhaoxia Huang

Author: Maggie Zhaoxia Huang

Maggie Zhaoxia Huang is a member of the Supply Chain team at StarTech.com. StarTech.com, a leading manufacturer of hard-to-find IT connectivity parts, was named among the Best 50 Small and Medium Employers in Canada in 2013.

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