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canadian university report

Christina Dixon, floor staffer at the Vancouver Mountain Equipment Co-op store, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from University of British Columbia.Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Retail isn't necessarily the first thing university students or grads think of as a fulfilling career choice. But it is one of the fastest growing sectors in Canada and the job opportunities go far beyond frontline floor jobs.

Graduates with a wide variety of degrees can find careers in retail. A few of the employees at the store and head office of Mountain equipment Co-op in Vancouver discuss their education, jobs and careers.

Christina Dixon, floor staffer

Fine arts, University of British Columbia

When Christina Dixon, floor staffer at the Vancouver Mountain Equipment Co-op store, graduated with a bachelor's degree in fine arts from University of British Columbia, she considered applying for an entry-level office job but decided to stay in her current role. "We all got attracted here because we want something more active than an office job," she said, explaining that she'll likely stay until moving on to graduate school. "I'm not ready for a grown-up job yet!"

Alexander Kozma, product development

Biology, Simon Fraser University

Design, Emily Carr University

Alexander Kozma started working part-time at MEC while studying biology at Simon Fraser University. "I was fresh out of high school and went to get a science degree because that's what you do," he said. He had no clear direction when he finished his science education, but discovered he was fascinated by design. With help from MEC's tuition reimbursement program, he returned to school and studied design at Emily Carr University, eventually moving into a product development role at MEC where he designs technical materials. "I love what I do."

Nadia Beaupré, marketing specialist

Communications, Université Laval

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in communications from Université Laval, Nadia Beaupré moved to Vancouver to improve her English and quickly scored her first job in MEC's call centre. "I did not think about retail as a career path," she says. But more than a decade later, she has risen through the ranks at MEC and is now a marketing specialist. "I did not expect to be here for so long, but it's been great. There is definitely room to grow."