Paurali Rahevar was just 17 years old when she flew over from India to study computer science at TMU. Jolted by a strange, new culture, she quickly found her bearings, dove into campus life, and graduated on the Dean’s list. After managing multi-million dollar technology deployments and migration projects at Bell, she’s since moved over to IBM. The once international student now thrives as a working professional and will soon take her oath as a Canadian citizen.
What’s it like managing tech projects at enterprise-level corporations?
My managers at Bell were very supportive. They saw my potential, threw me into the water almost immediately, and I learned to swim! Bell buys solutions from big-name vendors like Google, Amazon, and Oracle and I implemented projects related to data security, privacy compliance, and cloud infrastructure. It’s a lot of cross-functional team interaction, negotiation and influencing stakeholders to prioritize your project. After being promoted to Senior Project Manager and maxing out my learning curve in telecom, I joined IBM. Now we’re the vendor and I manage IBM security suite implementations for CIBC, Scotiabank, TTC and other major clients.
How did your degree prepare you?
In this line of work, you typically start off as a coordinator or business analyst. But with a minor in IT management, I understood the theory behind the practice, and co-op placements at TD and Manulife showed employers that I had real industry experience. This positioned my resume well and Bell offered me a Project Manager role right away.
Also, with a computer science degree, I have solid foundations in databases, networking, cybersecurity, programming, etc. I understand how infrastructure systems work and can challenge developers, solutions architects, and network specialists on technical issues. This knowledge guarantees respect from them!
Fond memories as a student?
I come from an Asian background where grades are important, and there’s extra pressure to do well after paying international student fees. When my hard work got me on the Dean’s list and we were invited for a celebratory luncheon with the Dean, I felt such a sense of personal achievement — I’d really made it as an international student!