UTM graduate, Carl Seleem, class of ’12, talks to IMI about the importance of educational leadership and engagement
I graduated five years ago from the Commerce Program.
I started working for a Canadian retail company and two years later I was hired as an analyst for a multinational retail corporation. I knew at that point that I wanted to have a career in merchandise marketing. Currently, I am a marketing manager for a Canadian distributor of fasteners, tools, safety supplies, abrasives and more. We serve customers in the construction, industrial and institutional markets. I manage a marketing team of four.
Too often I mentor people that overthink situations and are overcome by intimidation.
They are their own worst critic and judge. If you focus solely on academics, you could be overlooked by someone who is well-rounded even though they may be a few points below a 4.0 grade point average. But if you make the most of your time at UTM and strive to be well-balanced you will be successful.
I’m a big believer of paying it forward.
If I get the chance, I will do what the senior Undergraduate Commerce Society (UCS) executives at the time did for me when I was a freshman. They told me about the wrong and right courses to take as electives in terms of best practices. They reminded me that their office has an open door policy and I can ask them about anything. They offered tips on how to study for different courses.
Eventually, I became social director of UCS.
I was given this role where I was expected to be a source of energy. There was a side of me that was cascading that energy and engaging students and getting them pumped up about a certain activity. At the same time, you create a level of community where they can approach you. We developed a mentorship program in which they partnered up a first-year student with a third- or fourth-year student.
Mentorship programs are important because they strengthen community.
When I first got into the workforce, having a great manager made all the difference. If you look at any great leader that has inspired you in the corporate world, usually their best assets are the people that surround them. How can you be as great as you want to be without trying to be a person of influence and a team player. You don’t get through any project or job alone, even as an entrepreneur.
Everywhere I go, I carry the reputation of where I’m from.
The greatest level of pride that you’ll have on your resume is going to be where you’ve invested your time and your resources at your school. Upon entering the workforce, I was proud to showcase the U of T name. I have a lot of gratitude for the time management and academic skills, the networking and the confidence that was fostered at UTM.
This is the second in an occasional series in which commerce and management alums discuss their careers, offer advice for current students and recall their Business School experiences.
Story and photo of Carl Seleem taken by Sarah Jane Silva for the Institute for Management & Innovation