Practical training was the competitive edge I needed to land my first job in international trade. It can be yours too.


practical training FITTskills international trade job

practical training FITTskills international trade jobAs an undergraduate student, I studied political science at the University of Windsor. During my studies, I really enjoyed my political economy classes, which dealt with concepts such as monetary policy and international trade. However, these courses were very macro-level, focusing on the theoretical aspects of trade and the “big picture” view. I found that I needed more practical, detailed business concepts to help me tie everything together.

I also found that business students ran into many of the same problems, even though one may expect them to have learned about international business in detail. I was surprised to find out that, while many undergraduate business programs have courses in international commerce, they typically serve more as high-level introductions than detailed, practical instructions on how to succeed in the global marketplace.

When I discovered the FITTskills program, I appreciated that it is designed as a practical how-to guide for professionals in international trade.

The online courses move beyond theory and are designed for practitioners. The course textbooks often include checklists of what needs to be done in any given business scenario.

As a result, I decided to complete the FITTskills program as an undergraduate student, and I found it to be incredibly beneficial as a supplement to my existing studies. FITTskills brought the economic concepts I learned to life, provided the details and practical step-by-step instructions I was looking for, and gave me a sense of the real problems and opportunities that businesses face.

While many people wait until they’re already in the workplace to take training like this, I believe that students too, not just professionals, should take the FITTskills program.

FITTskills helped me get a job

Completing the FITTskills program while I was a student required multi-tasking and time management skills. Furthermore, I had to pay for the FITTskills courses, in addition to my regular tuition payments.

However, it was well worth it. I saw it as an investment (of time and money) in my future, which has now paid off. I’m new in my career, at just 24, but I firmly believe the program helped me become more competitive in the job market and get my first post-university job.

When I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts at the University of Windsor, I applied to an opening at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, the leading think-tank on Canada-Asia relations. When I applied, I was nervous because I only had a Bachelor’s degree—I assumed most applicants would have a Master’s degree or other qualifications. Nonetheless, I was grateful to be hired on.

While many factors went into my successful application, the FITTskills program was a major benefit.

The project I was to work on dealt with export promotion to Asia, and I touted the FITTskills program (and particularly the International Market Entry Strategies course) several times in my interview. FITTskills added something to my resume that most other applicants did not have. In an ultra-competitive jobs market, every extra qualification can set you apart.

FITTskills helped me build my career – and will help you too

The FITTskills program is great for professionals who are mid-career and want to re-focus their attention on international markets. However, I wanted to focus my attention on international markets from the beginning of my career. Having the background knowledge from the FITTskills program gave me a running start, and the opportunity to enter my career with a practical understanding of international business from the beginning. This benefited me when I entered the world of global trade—but it will also benefit me if I enter domestic markets too.

Students today, as I did, graduate in an international world—their careers are impacted by global forces. Understanding the minutiae of international business at the beginning can be incredibly helpful, and can play an important part in getting your first job.

About the author

Author: Trevor Fairlie

Trevor Fairlie is a former researcher at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, specializing in Trade, Investment and Innovation. Trevor is currently working towards his Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation, and is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. His expertise includes trade and investment in the Asia Pacific, as well as Japanese and Korean domestic politics. Trevor can be reached at or @trevorfairlie on Twitter. The views expressed in this article are Trevor's alone.

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