Céline’s story

Venturing into the world has created opportunities for this student.

Céline’s story
CategoryStudent
NameCéline Grootes
FromZug, Switzerland
ProgramSauder School of Business, Marketing
ActivitiesCo-op, Arc Initiative

Internationally impassioned marketer. Early entrepreneur with fruit sales experience. Colour conscious careerist. Google employee.

What was it like working at Adidas?

Adidas was my first experience working abroad and for a multi-national company—actually it was my first real job. The Business Career Centre (BCC) at Sauder was really supportive when I was on exchange in Hong Kong and when I wanted to apply for a co-op position at Adidas. I didn’t have any work experience, but they believed that with my drive, my German language skills, and my passion for sports, that I would be a great fit. So I applied and got hired!

My co-op at Adidas gave me a taste of what my life could look like in a couple years, and if I could see myself working at a multi-national. I really loved working at Adidas. The people were great, my team was supportive, and the working environment was fantastic. I could not have wished for a better first internship! I was involved in some digital marketing and I knew that would be my focus.

How about your other co-op experiences?

My co-op experiences gave me a chance to explore different fields in marketing. From my very first internship at Adidas, I knew that I was passionate about digital space and was able to further pursue this passion at my next internship with Heineken. Being abroad helped because there is a challenge in simply getting used to new things, like public transportation systems, grocery stores, and different cultures. I think that having had these experiences really set me apart from all the other applicants when it came to Google.

Co-op gave me the opportunity to try different types of marketing. I was fortunate that I discovered my passion for digital marketing early on at Adidas, was able to continue down that path at Heineken, and finally to my career at Google. When I contacted the BCC about my Google interview, they immediately connected me with an alumnus who was further able to help me!

Why did you study Business?

I chose Business because I believe it has always been a part of me. Since I was a little girl, I used to charge my mom interest if she needed cash (and kept track of what I lent her in a little hello kitty book). I would also go around the neighborhood selling really overpriced apples. And on weekends, I would play “shop” with my siblings, where they came and bought empty product cans with fake money. The business spirit has always been part of my blood. So when it came to choosing what I wanted to study, it was easy. I was going to study Business.

How about Marketing?

I had a harder time choosing this. I always liked numbers so in first year I was convinced that I wanted to be an investment banker. But, as time went on, there were two specific moments where I knew marketing was going to be my field of work. First was in second year when a professor told us that in Finance you always have to wear black and white to work. As I like to wear colors, especially pink, I thought to myself: “I won’t be able to wear my pink blazer?!”

And then I went to Ethiopia with a Sauder organization called the ARC Initiative. There I met a marketing professional and he really showed me what marketing was all about. He knew right away that I had the personality, the drive, and energy to succeed in this field. I promised him that I’d enroll in marketing. So I did, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

What would you say to a student considering UBC?

Be open-minded, flexible, friendly, outgoing and willing to make new friends. Be willing to adapt, go a little crazy, and embrace the true University life. UBC is one of the best Universities around the world, which means you will also attend classes with some of the very best. This means you will need to be willing to work hard, to work very, very hard—especially if you want to stand out from the rest. But in the end, UBC is also a place to have some fun. Don’t always take life too seriously.

How did UBC prepare you for your career at Google?

I think UBC really equipped me with the skills, knowledge, and ambition to survive in this world. I think what ultimately made the difference for me was the people I met. UBC really equipped us with the skills to not only compete in the Canadian market but also to be competitive in an international setting. I think in Business that is so important.

UBC always pushed me to go further, be better, and never settle for less. There are many talented individuals at UBC. I knew if they could achieve their goals so could I. In second year at UBC after a conference with a speaker from Google, I knew that one day I wanted to work for Google. UBC helped me reach this goal by providing me with the skills, tools, and also the alumni network to get a job at Google.

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