Yasser Quraishi

Name: 
Yasser Quraishi
Grad Year: 
2006
Degree: 
BSc
Program: 
Computer Science
Mathematics
Political Science
Title: 
Project Manager
Industry: 
Natural & Applied Sciences
Organization: 
RIM

Q: Briefly describe your current position and responsibilities, including challenges/rewards. How did you go about your job search upon graduating -- what strategies were most successful and why do you think you were hired?

I'm a Project Manager at RIM. I work with a team of architects, system administrators, network specialists and software developers to create and test BlackBerry software applications/services before launch into production.

I graduated from U of T with a degree in Computer Science. After graduating, I worked in IT Sales (Software and Hardware), eventually moving on into a role as a Business Analyst in Business Intelligence applications in the retail sector. After successfully proving myself, I worked in IT Change Management for a couple of years before becoming a Project Manager. I believe my communication, teamwork and problem solving skills were instrumental to success.

A major challenge over the years has been resolving issues/problems in areas of which I had no prior knowledge. When faced with such types of problems, I always try to determine the root cause and then investigate various alternatives to resolve it. I then choose the best possible course of action and apply it.

Q: List the key positions you have held since graduation, and any post-graduate degrees/diplomas you earned after graduation. If applicable, list any other ways you are involved in your profession or in your community (member of a professional association, involved as a leadership volunteer, etc).

Positions held after graduating: Sales Consultant, Business Analyst, Service Assurance Lead, Project Manager.

Professional Designations acquired: PMP (Project Management Professional) Member of Project Management Institute (PMI).

Q: What personal characteristics/skills are most important for success in your job/field?

  • Clear communication and people skills
  • Problem solving
  • Collaboration

Q: During your university career did any key experiences assist you in making your career choices? If yes, how so? (Internships? Extern Program? Volunteering? Student clubs? Summer job? Mentorship?)

Volunteering in fundraising activities and campus clubs. I also worked part time as a sales rep in consumer electronics which allowed me to get a better understanding of people's needs and to develop customized solutions for them.

Q: What have been the keys to your success? What advice would you give to students who wish to pursue a similar career path? If you had the chance to plan your studies and your career path again, what would you do differently (if anything)?

  • Do what you love. Use your time in university to explore various subjects. Don't restrict your courses to the ones that are in your program. I minored in Political Science even though my major was Computer Science!
  • Nothing is impossible. A good colleague of mine has the following quote: "There is a way to do it...FIND IT!".
  • Discover your strengths and weaknesses. Capitalize on your strengths and work on developing your weaknesses.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. Take things easy but be determined for success.
  • Develop a long term plan - for the next 5 to 10 years. Ask yourself...If I could do anything or be anyone..what would that be? Ask yourself Why? Then develop a plan to achieve that.