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“Stick to the fundamentals”: how this Executive MBA student landed a new role with help from Rotman Career Services

July 16, 2020

When John Kapageridis (EMBA '21) received the sad news that his role was being eliminated because of a recent company restructuring, he reached for the phone. His first call was to his wife. His second call was to the Rotman School.

John Kapageridis (EMBA '21)


Kapageridis was in the final weeks of his first semester of the One-Year Executive MBA program, and he was preoccupied with his upcoming exams and the need to stay focused.

“I can’t tell you how supportive everyone was,” he explains. “My professors were quick to acknowledge that this was a difficult time for me and everyone encouraged me not to push myself harder than I needed to.”

His friends and contacts at Rotman wanted to make sure he got his career back on track. With help from his career consultant at the School, he developed a strategy for navigating the job search ahead. It worked. Despite a global pandemic and challenging course load, Kapageridis managed to land an exciting position with Rockwell Automation, where he’s currently building and leading a team of account representatives across Canada.

He learned a lot through the experience.

“Stick to the fundamentals. The tried, tested and true approaches to finding a job hold up in any market,” says Kapageridis.

How he got the job

Kapageridis arrived at the Rotman School with a wealth of experience. In the ten years prior, he’d taken on progressively more complex roles in sales and business operations. He was eager to pursue an MBA so that he could a establish a solid foundation in management. He knew that this knowledge would serve him in his current work and with tackling any complex challenges that he might encounter in the future.

When he found himself between jobs and unsure of his next step, he used the opportunity to leverage this network and put these skills to the test.

With the help of his career consultant, Rocca Morra Hodge, he broke down the process into two fundamental stages. He first needed to identify the types of roles he wanted. Then, he needed to reach out to his network and find opportunities that aligned with his objectives.

Kapageridis set up regular appointments with his career consultant, where they discussed his goal and interests, and went over tactical tips for networking, interviewing and revamping his resume.

“Rocca really helped me redefine my story in my own words,” he explains. “It was so valuable having someone coach throughout this whole process.”

The next part, networking, came naturally. When he saw postings that interested him, he reached out to contacts with relevant experience and knowledge for advice.

Things seemed to be going well. On a good week, Kapageridis would book as many as three interviews. However, the global pandemic threw a wrench in his plans. There seemed to be fewer postings, and HR recruiters were slower to respond.

“It was not an easy time to look for work, and perseverance was key,” he says. “I realized that the stars have to align for opportunities to materialize, all you can do is stay positive and be patient.”


“Stick to the fundamentals. The tried, tested and true approaches to finding a job hold up in any market.”

—John Kapageridis, Executive MBA '21


Still more to learn

Luckily, the stars did align for Kapageridis when he came across an interesting posting for a managerial role at Rockwell Automation. He immediately got in touch with a fellow classmate, Andrew D’Souza (EMBA '21), a longtime employee at the organization.

“We’d only spent a semester and a half together, but he was willing to take the call,” says Kapageridis. “It just shows you how Rotman students look out for each other. Andrew really helped me understand an industry that was new to me. And he vouched for me and introduced me to leaders in the company.”

Kapageridis was invited for an interview, and the rest is history. He’s now weeks into a role and using some of the knowledge acquired through the Executive MBA program in in his current work.

“Strategy, power and influence, and accounting are all coming in handy right now,” he says. “The timing couldn’t be better.”

The story came full circle when Kapageridis picked up the phone to the Rotman School again — this time to inform his professors and the program staff that he’d landed an exciting new role.

Just as before, his career consultant got in touch. She helped him think through what his first 30, 60, 90 days on the job should look like, how to make an impact early on, and how to structure his work to demonstrate that he was taking ownership of projects.

“A part of me thought that I achieved the end goal, that my work with Rocca and Rotman Career Services was over,” he says. “I’m realizing that there’s still a lot left for me to learn. Luckily, I know I have help.”


Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »


About
John Kapageridis

Class year

Executive MBA ’21

Industry

Industrial automation

Current position

Manager, Account Sales Representative
Rockwell Automation
Greater Toronto Area

Previous employment

Director, Patient Support
KMH Cardiology and Diagnostic Centres
Mississauga, Canada

Director, CBS Trials
Cambridge Brain Sciences
Toronto, Canada

Corporate Sales Executive
Medcan
Toronto, Canada

Previous education

Bachelor of Science (Biology, Psychology)
University of Toronto Scarborough


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