A not-so-newcomer’s journey to NBCC

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Miruna Timotin, a 2019 Business Administration: Marketing graduate of the Fredericton Campus of NBCC who immigrated to Canada from Romania 13 years ago, completed a five-week work placement with the College’s Community and Government Relations department. Part of her on-the-job training in communications included writing about her NBCC experience.

By Miruna Timotin

Originally from Romania, I was a high school graduate with a Language Arts degree, who worked for various international organizations in administrative and sales roles. I grew passionate about delivering the right messages from one individual to another while helping my family pursue different entrepreneurial ventures. Although I was prepared to follow an educational path, an opportunity to immigrate to Canada and start a new life postponed my plans.

In 2006 I arrived in Miramichi, NB, together with my ex-husband and three-year-old daughter. In October the same year, we celebrated the birth of our son.

I was a stay-at-home mother and enjoyed the benefits of raising my children until they were school-aged. In my free time, I started thinking about developing a career. With my earlier experience as a gymnast and some business background I decided to try and establish a gymnastics club and market this sport to the community. I went on to open the first rhythmic gymnastics club in Miramichi.

After I established my business, I began to apply my skills in the marketing and communications department. This experience led me to consider further developing a career in this field.

In 2013 I moved to Fredericton and reopened the rhythmic gymnastics club and, in addition, was hired for a sales position with a jewelry firm. For a few years I focused on growing the gymnastics club. My intention was to become one of the popular names in children activities in the city.

While the club was not yet ready to provide a sustainable lifestyle, I used it as a platform to engage with the business community. Growing my network proved beneficial, especially when I heard of the possibility of going back to school and acquiring a diploma in the business and marketing field.

I started researching different programs that offer business and marketing courses in the area. Among them was New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) Fredericton Campus. A diploma from NBCC is widely recognized across Canada, and also allows for the continuation of studies at universities across the country. As a Crown Corporation of the Province of New Brunswick, NBCC’s affiliation with the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labor enabled me to get valuable support when needed. I also benefited from having a regular schedule, which is a major difference between College and university programming.

Without hesitation, I enrolled in the Business Administration: Marketing program and proudly became an NBCC student.

As a mature student I felt insecure, worried that going back to studying years after my high school graduation may prove itself too difficult. I came to learn, however, after successfully passing a competency test requirement, that it was easier than anticipated. The classroom environment also made me feel at ease because I wasn’t the only mature student and the overall atmosphere had a good balance of seriousness and fun.

As an experienced learner, I feel that the program brought much value to my skills.  I was particularly impressed with the materials presented and the projects we had to complete. The instructors were always prepared for questions and encouraged discussions. I took part in hands-on experiences such as market research and social media coordination through NBCC’s Robertson Institute for Community Leadership.

One of the highlights of my journey at NBCC was the real-life project conducted by Oasis, an NBCC advantage. We were partnered with real-life entrepreneurs from around the province and were tasked to research and deliver customer service insights to improve their businesses. Both student and business owners agreed that this was a productive and inspiring initiative.

Another great experience was the collaboration with a local organization, The Ville. Our class was selected to conduct a market research study and determine feasibility for a project called “Intergenerational Housing” – students and seniors that are willing to co-habit in a mutually beneficial living arrangement. We were tasked to produce the research data by selecting our market, determining the type of research, forming questions for surveys, hosting focus groups, collecting and analyzing the data. We then compiled the information into a report and presented it to the Ville during a formal meeting. This assignment was a hands-on experience that allowed us students to participate and deliver as we would in a real-life job, a valuable addition to my resume.

The courses at NBCC teach a variety of skills that prepare students for any job in the business, marketing and communications field. I knew that once I graduated, I would feel ready and confident to pursue a job offer.

My future now looks brighter than ever! I feel like I have control over my career and my life and I am excited to work and apply my skills. I want to pursue my dream of becoming a marketing and public relations specialist and work with organizations around the world.

Communication is about creating a connection and fostering positive relationships between the members of a community; I like knowing that I can make that happen.

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