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February 2014

Gaining career insight one step at a time

As a PhD student in the Department of Earth and Space Science at York University in Toronto, Junjie Zhang spends his days researching the application of GIS and LiDAR remote sensing on utility management and forest inventory. Junjie came to Canada four years ago (via China and then the Netherlands) to complete his PhD in geomatics engineering because he wanted to become part of Canada’s geomatics community. What he didn’t expect while completing his PhD abroad was the vital business and professional skills training he’s received through Mitacs Step.

In total, Junjie has taken nine Step workshops. Initially, it was the “the professional coaches and energetic peers” that persuaded him to sign up for more. However, he soon realized the workshops provided him with a broader perspective on his future career path, along with training to develop his soft skills.

Two Mitacs Step workshops really stood out for Junjie: Practice Your Interview Skills and Team Building. The first prepares students to take those first crucial steps from academia to the business world, while the latter trains students on how to interact and collaborate with people in a team setting – typical in a corporate environment. Together, he explains, they give graduate students solid and practical techniques to succeed the transition from academia to industry.

As he gets ready to embark on a career outside of academia, Junjie is grateful to have the knowledge and interpersonal skills provided by Mitacs Step to support his journey. He’s excited to see what’s around the corner.

Interested in taking a Mitacs Step workshop? Visit to see a calendar of our current workshops.

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario for their support of the STEP training internship in this story. Across Canada, the STEP program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities: