Vancouver Career Spotlight is an interview-style blog series that features the amazing professionals that live and work in the Greater Vancouver area. Our vision is to showcase the many career opportunities that exist in Vancouver and provide inspiration to the future generation of workers and career changers.
Kyna Ng is an Interview Liaison for the Engineering Co-op department at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She holds a Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Marketing from UBC. She is currently obtaining the Sauder Executive Education Certificate in Professional Administrative Leadership.
Why did you choose this career path?
I wanted to work for the Engineering Co-op Program as it is the largest and one of the most successful co-op programs in Western Canada renowned for engineering talent. I am pursuing a career in the Higher Education industry to add value to stakeholders and contribute back to the student community. I want to continue to progress to roles and gain education which enable me to make a tangible impact on Higher Education students.
What are your main responsibilities?
As an Interview Liaison at the engineering-co-op office, I am responsible for organizing and scheduling student interviews with employer representatives and students. I act as the central conduit for employers, students, staff and other campus units regarding current and upcoming interview schedules, student presentations, and employer offers.
I am involved in planning and scheduling special projects around the peak periods of interview scheduling and student rankings and placements, such as compiling employer and student evaluation data. I have also spearheaded and updated our database of systems and lists and performed audits of our company website in order to identify areas of improvement. Furthermore, I collated employer information for point of contact and smooth employer follow-ups.
How did you find your way to Higher Education?
I went into Accounting and worked in several roles before realizing that it was not the right fit once I started taking CPA modules. After that, I went into Marketing related roles at startups, but realized that you constantly need to be digitally connected and be hungry to gain industry knowledge, and industry burnout was probable due to the lifestyle and pace of the startup industry. I love continuous learning, but wanted to be able to switch off and draw clear boundaries between my career and personal life. This was when I realized that a stable career in the Higher Education industry would be fulfilling and stable, and a great fit for my functional skillset and professional network.
Another challenge I faced was the tedious job application and interview process in between my job changes. It was definitely time-consuming, and challenging to pinpoint the next suitable role, which would lead me closer to my objective. Sometimes, having to choose between multiple desirable offers was also a happy dilemma. I learned to adopt a long-term perspective by determining which role would have more longevity and security, and where I could gain more industry knowledge.
I love my role for the work-life balance, generous benefits, professional development opportunities such as tuition waivers for additional courses and workshops, networking opportunities, free personalized coaching and the security which a pension affords.
What are the opportunities for career growth and advancement?
At a large educational institution like UBC, there are many opportunities to move into other positions within the department, or move to another role within UBC, higher education, corporate or government.
What kind of person would like a career working in Higher Education?
Personality traits would include being open-minded, collaborative, and communicative. You would need to have good time management skills and be able to effectively liaise with various parties including employers, students, and the co-op team. People with previous experience in human resources, communications, business management and project coordination would enjoy working in Higher Education.
What school subjects would a person in this career typically excel in?
English, mathematics and business subjects would be useful when developing a career in Higher Education. As Higher Education is a versatile and broad field, your degree would have to be relevant to the qualifications and experience required of the role, which are outlined transparently on the careers page.
What type of education would you typically need to work as an Interview Liaison?
My role is quite versatile, so I think a Business degree would be quite handy. Business degrees emphasize the importance of being detail-oriented, time management and multitasking, tactful and professional. You are also given sufficient training and opportunities to learn on the job.
What are the best programs to get this education?
There are many business programs that you can take in Vancouver, including the programs at UBC, SFU, BCIT and Langara, to name a few.
What types of organizations would typically hire for your skillset?
While I work in Higher Education, my skillset includes a variety of transferable skills that would allow me to work in all sorts of industries, including technology, government and other educational institutions.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing a career in Higher Education?
Get a marketable degree, and be sure to build your resume with meaningful extracurriculars which demonstrate leadership, teamwork, communication, time management, technical skills. Learning does not ever stop even when you are in your dream role. Continuous learning and certifications are integral to your success and honing your skillset. Speak to professionals with similar career paths about the additional certifications or degrees they are attaining.
Be practical and always try to upgrade yourself and actively network such as conduct informational interviews to build rapport with professionals in the fields you are interested in as that is a good way to find your next role and build your network and career trajectory.
Don’t stress out too much and enjoy the journey. No role is perfect, and you will learn a lot from every role you are in to better determine your next steps.
Career inventory tests are amazing to determine and develop your key strengths. They will help you gain more insight into your strengths, weaknesses, and values.
Coaching or mentorship programs are a fantastic way to work with someone in your corner, generate action plans, keep yourself accountable and track self-improvement.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Stay eager and ride the ups and downs of your career. Keep investing in yourself.
Connect with Kyna on LinkedIn.
I hope you enjoyed this Career Spotlight interview. Below are additional resources if you’re interested in researching this career further. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you’re interested in seeing if this career is right for you, send us a message here, and let’s help you find a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and goals.
More information about student support roles in Higher Education in BC:
WorkBC – Administrative officers (earnings, workforce statistics, related careers, etc.)
Business Education Programs (in the Greater Vancouver area):
University of British Columbia | Simon Fraser University
British Columbia Institute of Technology | Langara College
Note: Not all post-secondary schools and training institutions are listed. To find a school in your area, you can use EducationPlannerBC.