For students interested in applying for Co-op, our lovely CMP executives Vincent, Ruby and Andrew have graciously agreed to share their experiences with the program. These three are currently finishing up Co-op work terms at WorkSafe BC, the Sauder School of Business and J. Wang CPA, and fully understand the rewards (and challenges!) of being a Co-op student. Hopefully, their unique insights will improve your understanding of the possibilities offered by Sauder’s Co-op program. If you are in second year and interested in applying for early intake into the Co-op program, the application deadline is Friday, April 1st.
Q1: What are you doing at your current job?
Vincent: I am currently a Business Intelligence Analyst for WorkSafeBC. A big part of my job is to create reports for internal and external clients through data analytics. I also help build dashboards and operational reports for clients if it is a commonly reoccurring request.
Ruby: I’m representing Sauder to manage our alumni activities in Hong Kong and provide communication support for events happening in the Asia-Pacific region. I research HK alumni on LinkedIn and flag prospects to our Development Managers. I also meet alumni individually to update them on Sauder’s initiatives and plan events with the Sauder Alumni Club of Hong Kong.
Andrew: I am wrapping up my final term at J. Wang CPA, a small accounting firm located in downtown Vancouver. It is currently is tax season, and I am specializing in corporate taxation. I conduct a variety of tasks depending on my clients’ needs, such as personal tax, bookkeeping, payroll and cash flow projections.
Q2: Why should I apply for Co-op?
Vincent: Co-op is the best way for students to apply their knowledge learned through courses to solve actual business problems. It is also a great way for students to explore different work cultures and take on different positions to discover what they want to do in the future.
Ruby: Well it ultimately depends on you. If you have a clear idea of what job do you want and you already have relevant experience (or confident that you will get it), I say you should graduate ASAP and start your dream job. But if you want to explore different options, broaden your network and develop your skill set, Co-op is an excellent option.
Andrew: The work experience I gained was definitely priceless at this stage of my life. The ability to perform real meaningful work while applying concepts learned at school is something that I value. For instance, I would learn about amortization schedules in school, but performing them for clients as part of their year-end files allowed me to “connect the dots”. As well, the money isn’t bad too, paying off my tuition.
Q3: How has Co-op benefitted you so far?
Vincent: Through Co-op, I was able to experience different corporate cultures and observe a variety of different business operations. I was able to contribute to a successful product launch project and use new software and tools to create my own reports and dashboards. Moreover, I was able to enhance my existing knowledge in data management and learn new techniques for data analysis.
Ruby: My Co-op placements have given me a better idea of what kind of work and culture is the best fit for me and helped me identify my own strengths and weaknesses. I also developed great relationships with my managers and colleagues and got to live in Hong Kong for 6 months!
Andrew: Working in a professional environment was something new to me. My previous experience was mainly club activities, and camp leader work. I had to prioritize, manage my time with the tasks, and perform them with high accuracy and attention to detail. I also obtained many technical abilities, such as working with Caseware, Quickbooks, Jazz-it, Doc.it, and Taxprep. These technical concepts were extraneous to my studies at Sauder, including payroll (we don’t have payroll classes at Sauder!).
Q4: What support did I receive from the BCC?
Vincent: The Business Career Centre helped me tremendously when I was seeking my first Co-op term. They provided a lot of constructive advice to help you to discover your own unique style and story. Moreover, they will give you tips of what other Co-ops have done in similar situations as well as connecting you with senior Co-op students for additional advice. I highly recommend Co-op students to utilize the resources that the BCC has to offer.
Ruby: BCC is a great resource for career coaching, getting contacts for informational interviews and improving your job search strategies – much more than just resume reviews and mock interviews!
Andrew: The BCC was very helpful throughout the whole work term. I have to give shoutouts to Conny, Nicole, Lynne, and Mursal. They’ve done a fabulous job preparing me with mock interviews and resume proofing, and I valued the time they spent checking up on me to ensure that my work term was going smoothly. The meetings I had with them during my work term has really helped me shape what I want to do after I graduate.