Jeremy Bekar, BSc(Biology)’01

What was your first job after graduation?

Following Graduation, I was living in New York and needed a job which could also supply a work Visa. Luckily, my UBC BSc allowed me to work in the pharmaceutical industry; however, I ended up on the marketing/education side of the business in a field called CME. Using my background I would help organize continuing education programs for MDs, nurses and pharmacists. The lesson I took from this strange career change was always keep your eyes open for new challenges. You may find your dream career is something you have never heard of before.

What would you tell your graduating self?

I would tell my graduating self that your first job is the foundation from which you will build your career. Make sure to choose wisely and to ensure you take a job in the field that you love. Your starting position does not matter as you can always move up through intelligence and hard work.

Changing fields requires hard work and a lot of long days at the office so try your best to pick the field you love as your starting point.

If you weren’t in your current job field, what would you be doing?

If I did not currently have my own companies, I would still be in the pharmaceutical/marketing fields. The combination of the two let me indulge my love of science and learning while also giving me the ability to innovate and create new ideas. It is a fast pace environment which gives any graduate unlimited potential for growth.

What was the best advice that you received?

The simplest and best advice I ever received was, when asked to complete four tasks ensure that you do but with ten percent of the time required left over. Use this time to create a fifth task which complements the first four.

You will be amazed how many people only do what is asked of them and usually present it late. When you unveil the fifth task you will see people's eyes light up and promotions will fall in your lap. I was VP, International Business at 28 years old. Most of my peers were in their 50s or 60s and had Masters from Harvard, Wharton, or Princeton.

What was the lesson you learned the hard way?

Another simple lesson, I learned was that no matter what you are told, get everything in writing. Attitudes and people change. That affects their views. If you have a signed contract, everyone's ideas must remain the same or get renegotiated.