Alumni Stories – Sharon Bernal

Sharon Bernal full shot photo

Bachelor of Applied Business, Financial Services

Graduated 2011

One of the most valuable skills Sharon Bernal developed while studying at George Brown College’s Centre for Business wasn’t on any formal curriculum. I am not a very social person by nature,” says Bernal, who graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Business, Financial Services with a major in Accounting in 2011. “Being exposed to students and teachers from different backgrounds every day made me appreciate each person’s uniqueness and really made me come out of my shell.” That ability to network and socialize with ease on campus not only helped her land a job after graduation, but also made Bernal’s first years in Canada much more rewarding.

Originally a communications professional by training (she initially studied to be a journalist), Bernal moved to Toronto from the Philippines in 2006 to study accounting and get her Chartered Professional Accountant designation. “I chose George Brown because it offered a degree program in the field, and didn’t require me to go back to high school for course credits I felt were irrelevant to accounting.” Instead, she got to dive right into courses on accounting theory and study international financial reporting standards, a topic she particularly enjoyed.

When settling into academic life in a new country, Bernal found support and encouragement in her program’s faculty, even in the most everyday of moments. Once we had an exam in Accounting, and were asked to answer the multiple choice questions using a Scantron card,” she says. “I never had to use this back in the Philippines, and of course I filled it up the wrong way and the machine was not able to read my answers. It was a little embarrassing, but my professor still gave me the marks.”

Her last exam in the program was particularly memorable. After applying for a posting at E&J Gallo, she was offered a job right before graduation. “I went through a number of interviews and was offered the job the day of my final examinations which was amazing!” Three and a half years later, she still works as an accountant at the global winery firm’s Mississauga location today.

Sharon’s Advice for Success
“Have a clear goal. Outline what you want to be and how you will get there. Then stay persistent —not all things will go your way, but continue on anyway.”