Lazy Chat with Rachel Bokenfohr
Written by: Cleo Williams
As seen in the January 2019 issue of Lazy Faire magazine
After a busy undergraduate degree at the Alberta School of Business, with accomplishments such as placing 5th in the EY challenge finals in Toronto and being a member of the BSA, Rachel Bokenfohr is a student who made a competitive edge for herself. This month, Lazy Faire caught up with her to discuss her experiences in the working world and her plans for the future.
So, you’ve recently started working at EY. Could you expand a little bit on that hiring process and how you created a competitive edge for yourself in the job market after graduation?
I mean I guess there was a few things, and to preface this, I don’t think I was ever intentionally like “I need to be competitive”. That’s not really how things happened, they just sort of happened. I was involved with a few things at school. I was involved in the roteract club and then I got involved in business and I got in the leadership certificate program and I was in that for a year before I found out about things that I was really passionate about. So, everything I was involved in, I felt like I had a purpose for it. I got involved with the BSA and ran for elections because I noticed that the BSA had a culture that, at times, didn’t seem approachable and I thought for the faculty’s association, that should change. I felt compelled to run and be involved so that I could hopefully change that. Then I got involved with AIBC, I worked on writing the cases and that was just something I was really interested in. A friend of mine was the VP and I really wanted to work with her, so through that, I met some other people at the competition who came to judge who were also from EY. So, it just kind of all worked out. Then I was involved with JDC west because I love doing cases. I really wanted to be constantly learning, I’m still that way. My connections with EY began when I did some cases in my second year of business. I did the EY challenge where my team was fantastic and we were able to make it to the finals. We went to Toronto and competed where we came 5th out of 10 teams. I was able to make some connections there that I think really helped during the recruitment process as well.
What advice would you give to current students for them to have more value in the job market than just their degree?
I think it starts with your passion and your purpose really. For me, I really saw some things change in the BSA and that’s why I wanted to be involved with it and I saw an opportunity to learn so much about marketing and other things through cases. I got involved with things that I really was interested in and that’s really my advice to anybody who is looking for a competitive advantage is that you need to find things that interest you.
For example, you’re a part of the finance club just because you want a job in finance. I don’t work in finance myself and I’m not exactly sure of their hiring process, but I think that they would be more compelled to hire somebody who has a growth mindset and has a passion for what they’re doing versus involvement just to say involvement. I think it’s important to be involved with things you really, really care about.
I was involved a little bit with some campus recruitment initiatives this year at EY. We obviously want people who have the knowledge baseline to fill the positions, but we also look for people who will fit in among us. An important part is that you’re a team-player and that goes beyond academics. I never had stellar grades, I’ll be the first to admit it, but what I did have was a few connections because I was involved with things I really cared about and that fed in to me really being able to fill those positions.
Where would you ideally see your career going from here?
I have no idea (laughs). You know, I’m really enjoying this stage. It’s tricky, but I’m learning so, so much about consulting. I work in People Advisory Services, so it’s sort of the change management side of consulting. I am really interested in culture dynamics and there’s a lot of consulting involved with that as well. So, I think I’d like to do something in that realm.