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Photo - Laura Gowling

Laura Gowling

VP Public Relations, Ted Rogers Management Conference
EducationSenior Student - B.Comm Retail Management

1. What was your favourite course and why?

My favourite course was Omni Channel Retailing (RMG 910). The reason I loved this course so much was a combination of the structure and the content. It was taught in an incredibly dynamic way, focusing on case-style format, with half of the course being dedicated to working in teams to cut cases and present recommendations. I found this method led me to retain more course content, and feel excited each week to tackle new problems.

The course content was extremely interesting, as this topic is becoming an integral part of the retail industry. Ultimately, this became a course that I will always remember, and I think it gives our program a competitive edge as a unique offering to our students.

2. What was an interesting class project that you worked on?

While in RMG 806 - Retailer Perspectives of Category Management, I had the opportunity to work on a very challenging but interesting project in partnership with Red Bull and Petro Canada.

In this project we used a combination of Nielsen Data, Microsoft Excel and Tableau, which are all widely used in the retail industry, so it was a very practical project. For the project itself, we completed a category line review for Red Bull’s assortment in Petro Canada convenience stores. This project gave us the opportunity to experience what it would be like to be a Category Manager.

At the conclusion of the project, we presented our recommendations to the National Sales Managers for both Red Bull and Petro Canada. I found this particularly interesting, as I was able to use the skills I learned from the course while in my summer co-op as a Marketing Coordinator at Canadian Tire, applying the critical thinking skills when assisting my manager with our own line review. This course is particularly special to the Retail Management program because it concludes with all students having the opportunity to write the Certified Professional Category Analyst certification exam, which is a competitive advantage for us when we enter the retail or consumer packaged goods industry.

3. What was one reflection you recall having learned during your internship?

In my time as a Customer Development Intern at Unilever Canada the biggest thing that I learned was to always ask questions, and to make the most of the four months, as it goes by very quickly.

When going into a full-time position you have 3-4 months to get familiar and comfortable with the company and new role, but in an internship you only have a few weeks. Additionally, my role at Unilever offered me the chance to understand where my career interests lie, which is what lead me to pursue a role in Marketing at Canadian Tire. Although I loved my time working for such an iconic packaged goods company, I realized my true interests are in the area of Marketing, rather than Customer Development. Internships are a wonderful opportunity for students to gain an understanding for where they may see themselves working in the future, which is exactly what I used my past 2 summers for.

4. What was your experience and the value of getting involved with student groups?

I gained tremendous value from being involved in student groups at TRSM during my degree. I started my involvement immediately when I was in first year as a way to make friends, and it ultimately paid off in spades, as I not only made friends but developed myself as a leader.

The student group I was involved with was the Ted Rogers Students’ Society (TRSS),, external link, opens in new window which oversees all 30 student groups within TRSM and serves the academic, professional and social needs of all 9,500 undergraduate students. This group gave me the opportunity to grow as a leader, as I moved through a variety of roles toward ultimately becoming Executive Vice President after 4 years with the society. This role helped develop my leadership, time management and project management capabilities and set me apart from others when I would attend job interviews. Not only did I manage a number of students and projects, I also managed a budget, which is not something many students can say at such a young age. I will always be grateful for the way that TRSM empowers their student leaders, and allows us to become professional, well-versed students who are competitive and ready to tackle the industry upon graduation.

5. What are some tips you can share with future students?

I have several tips that I always give to prospective students and those are:

  • to get involved right away, 
  • get to know your professors, 
  • and to take advantage of the unique opportunities we have in the Retail Management program. 

The reason I tell students to get involved right away is because by doing this they begin creating a community for themselves at school with students who have similar interests. Additionally, by getting involved early on, it will lead to amazing opportunities down the road, like leadership positions and networking opportunities with top industry leaders.

The next tip, particularly for students in Retail, is to get to know your professors. Throughout my years, I have gotten to know many of my professors, and creating great relationships with them has really helped during my 3rd and 4th year studies. They were a helpful resource offering advice and guidance for internships and full time positions. A lot of our professors once worked in the industry so they are able to provide insight into how to navigate the recruitment world.

Finally, my last tip is to take advantage of the opportunities our program provides. These include scholarships, experiential trips, or setting up meetings with our career consultant at the Business Career Hub, opens in new window. At the end of the day, choosing to come to Ryerson for the Retail Management Program was the best decision I have made, and I hope that future students can see the value our program provides.