On Rotation: Building a Toolbox of Skills

“When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

I’ve heard this quote countless times but until recently, never considered its meaning. Six months into the Graduate Development Program at GALE, I’ve come to the conclusion that it perfectly encapsulates my perspective before entering the workforce. As a fresh graduate of the Honors Business Administration (HBA) at Ivey Business School, I had a firm grip on the fundamentals of business. But in reality, there was a lot I needed to learn. Defaulting to my educational background, I approached everything like a business problem in need of business solutions. It wasn’t until I spent time in GALE’s Graduate Development Program that I began to look at things differently. Having completed two of my four rotations (User Experience and Communications + Business Development with 2 more to go), I am already seeing how these experiences will shape my career in the long run.

A different perspective.

My first rotation was with the User Experience team, a creative department rather than a business-y one. I’ll be the first to admit I was unsure how to approach this new area. Three months later, I completed the rotation armed with a large range of practical skills. The most important thing that has stuck with me is a way of thinking – design thinking. Despite its name, you can apply the principles of design thinking to a multitude of areas. It is a human centered approach to solving problems, one that encourages understanding the context of the problem as much as the problem itself. It works great for designers and served me well during my UX placement. But it is also a valuable way to approach any problem in need of a solution, regardless of the industry.

Communication is key.

The Communications and Business Development team was my next stop. While my HBA gave me confidence on the business development side, I was still walking into the unknown territory of copywriting and content creation. Over the course of this rotation I learned how to craft a story and ensure content resonates with an audience. Some of my greatest takeaways have been the soft-skills. How you communicate is essential to getting your message across convincingly. Be it selling your services in a pitch or crafting the perfect copy lines in a LinkedIn or Instagram post – the words you use and the purpose behind them carries a lot of weight.

It’s big picture too.

Now, in the start of my Strategy rotation, I have a lot of learning ahead. I’m excited for the skills and experiences this department has to offer. But beyond the domain specific learning, I am beginning to recognize the importance of this program on a bigger level. Moving from one area to the next has given me an understanding of the differences in team culture and job responsibilities across GALE. It’s enabled me to contribute in unique ways to every new department I work in, with differing perspectives and understandings of how teams collaborate with one another. What’s more, it’s also helped me learn more about myself and understand the types of work I enjoy and excel at.

The Graduate Development Program opened me up to a variety of new learning opportunities. I’m no longer just offering the value of a business lens, I’ve added the depth of multiple perspectives. From approaching problems with design-thinking in mind to navigating daily collaborations in the workplace – I feel more prepared than ever for my career to unfold. If you’re looking to not only enter the field of marketing, but to become a well-rounded Marketer, GALE’s Graduate Development Program is a great place to start.

Mark Heeney

Marketing Consultant, Rotational Program

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