Student, Mining Engineering Technology at Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Leasing Agent, Block1 Premiere Rental Properties in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Afolabi Salami entered the University of Saskatchewan (Bachelor of Science, Physical Geography) as an international student from Nigeria. Salami started in engineering and soon switched into physical geography, where he merged his passions for physical sciences and earth sciences. In the years following his graduation, Salami took on an array of different jobs, from tire technician to leasing agent. Currently, Salami is pursuing a diploma in Mining Engineering Technology from Saskatchewan Polytechnic, completing a full circle from his early undergraduate days as an engineering student. Moving forward, Salami seeks to incorporate sustainability concepts into his future career in mining.
1. In what ways did your program prepare you for your career?
As a leasing agent, much of my work was understanding the competition as we entered the market. My responsibility was mainly to conduct market research on the prices of condos and apartments in a given area and suggest an appropriate price range to the company's management team. My statistic classes and prior research experience helped me to stay ahead of the curve since I had exposure to quantitative research, collecting data, interviewing people, and putting together a research project.
I can transfer much of my education in physical geography into my current studies in mining as there are many crossovers and similarities between the two. Both disciplines are interested in earth processes, environmental management, GIS, hydrology, hydrogeology, as well as surveying.
2. What resources offered by your university helped you to find a job?
At Saskatchewan Polytechnic, our instructors have all worked in their respective industries. The information they provide is practical and applicable to the stage we are currently at and to what we will be doing later, once we enter the workforce. In the back of our minds, we know we will eventually use their advice. The school also has an active job posting board. After graduation, students can refer directly to the job board and search for work opportunities. The school provides workshops on conducting interviews, writing resumes, and on other career planning topics. This year, we have had two career fairs where representatives from industry companies come in and speak with us.
3. Looking back, what would you have done differently?
I would have actively sought out ways to apply my knowledge while in university and not be content with merely accumulating knowledge. As students, theories and general knowledge need to be fashioned into a specific area so it can be applied. Specialization puts a spearhead on our education, which is especially true for a broad discipline such as geography. In my experience, even though my university was not deliberate in providing avenues to assist graduates in their job search, I would have taken the responsibility to be more bold and intentional about finding resources and work opportunities in geography.
4. Do you have any advice for students wishing to attain a fulfilling career in geography?
Geography is not a discipline where there is a specific job waiting at the end of your education. It is much different than accounting, for example, where you know what you will do at the end of your degree. I would advise students to explore the possible career paths within geography from early on in their studies. This way, they can be prepared to direct and apply their education once they graduate.