People Profiles

Zhila Pirmoradi, APEX Certificate Graduate

December 14, 2015

Zhila Pirmoradi (PhD, Mechatronics Systems Engineering) recently landed her dream job with the City of Vancouver as a Business Process Analyst. As a part of the project management office, she is now working alongside a diverse group of industry professionals towards one common goal — identifying opportunities for improvement.

With this goal in mind, Zhila and her team review specific business units in order to identify bottlenecks and brainstorm ways to help them improve efficiency and sustainability. Once they've identified potential areas for improvement, the team develops practical plans to optimize processes. Ultimately, their efforts will help the city provide timely services while maintaining the city’s excellent service to Vancouver's citizens.

Though she is now an integral part of this dynamic team, Zhila still remembers the struggle of figuring out where to start.

She says, "The APEX Certificate program played an essential part in helping me discover my ideal career. It also provided me with the necessary tools and confidence to start actively pursuing it."

Her doctorate in Industrial Engineering gave Zhila an interest in applying the optimization mindset to different industries, but she needed to figure out how it translated into a fulfilling and sustainable career. With the guidance of APEX facilitators, Zhila was able to identify companies and organizations that were in need of her specific skill-set. From that starting point, she was able to sharpen her resume and LinkedIn profile and develop the contacts she needed for the non-academic job hunt.

She points out that the skills she gained through the various APEX stages continue to help her daily. By utilizing components of the program to organize her goals and tasks, she finds that she is more productive — thus making her a more valuable asset to the City of Vancouver. 

All the hard work Zhila put into her professional development has clearly paid off. Zhila's advice to fellow students who are feeling overwhelmed: “Anyone can achieve their career goals if they engage in professional development. Whether it is going to conferences, modifying your online presence, or participating in informational interviews, there is no better time than the present to get started!"

Zhila took part in the APEX Certificate program and is now working for the City of Vancouver as a Business Process Analyst. The APEX Certificate Program is a structured professional development program run through the Office of Graduate Studies & Postdoctoral Fellows. The program equips grad students and postdoctoral fellows with strategies and support to help them navigate the transitions from academia to possible career paths.

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