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Nizaam Khawjazada

SFU Co-op Student
Beedie School of Business
Experience Faculty
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Asking, listening, and observing in that setting allowed me to extensively expand not only my sales knowledge but my understanding and intelligence in many other fields as well.
Preparation
Preparation

From the moment I knew I had secured a co-op position at Ritchie Bros. I began to do research on the company. I was mesmerized by pictures of the facility posted online. I read numerous descriptions about the company culture and the work environment and it all came together to make it seem like I was about to start a co-op at a giant tech firm in Silicon Valley.

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

In all honesty, it really did feel like I was about to start a co-op at a giant tech firm in Silicon Valley on my first day. The training program for the sales team was well set up. I learned a lot about all the different software and CRM’s that were used to keep a global business connected and moving forward. Also, I was educated in some fantastic sales techniques that have been perfected over the years in order to effectively solicit and offer products to customers. This thorough training allowed me to hit the ground running and start generating revenue for the company. In my first week, I was able to close deals that were worth upwards of $250,000 which caught the attention of some managers, earning me praise.

Day to Day

My primary duty was to call Ritchie Bros. customers who had recently purchased equipment or watch listed an item and pitch to them the company’s financing solutions for heavy equipment called PurchaseFlex. It was a great experience because I had the opportunity to call and connect with people from all over North America and help them grow their businesses. It was cool to hear about all the different people’s stories and backgrounds. In some cases, you could be calling a person who is just starting a small trucking company in Northern Alberta looking for a small loan. In another instance, you may be talking to the CEO of a multi-million-dollar construction company in Texas that needs to purchase 50 excavators for an upcoming project.

The variability in the position is something that always keeps you engaged. Each call you make is a unique situation that brings with it its own challenges that you need to navigate to close the deal. It keeps you stimulated and your mind is always trying to find new ways to come out on top.

Learning and Adaptation

After my initial training, every couple of weeks I would be placed in call labs to listen in on some of the experts and how they go about handling different sales scenarios. From this, I learned a great deal about the many different techniques that can be utilized to close deals. Some of the things I learned in those sessions can even be applied to daily life situations. Outside of formal training, there is a lot to learn through pure observation. Being able to witness and be a part of how a publicly-traded company operates is fascinating. All of the different components and people placed all around the globe that seamlessly comes together to run the business are amazing. You see and learn from salespeople, tech people, and other professionals and experts in their fields. Asking, listening, and observing in that setting allowed me to extensively expand not only my sales knowledge but my understanding and intelligence in many other fields as well.

Accomplishments and Challenges

Clearly, I learned a lot and had an amazing time during my 2019 placement at Ritchie Bros., but my 2020 placement was quite different. This time around I was fully remote, working from my home office on my own computer. I really did miss being in a beautiful building, surrounded by people around my age, all eager to succeed. I missed the hustle and bustle of the office environment, oddly, I even missed the early morning commutes and drives home stuck in traffic. What did not change, however, was the amount I was able to learn from working for Ritchie Bros. I was still able to take in so much new information that would help me grow and succeed.

The support I was getting from my colleges and management did not waver either. I was able to ask for help whenever I needed it and was even being given tips and tricks throughout my time there that would help me be more successful at my job. Managers were also very good with checking in and ensuring I had everything I needed to get the job done. They were always available and eager to help.

Cultural and Environmental Observations

I was astonished by the architecture of the office building and mesmerized by the way a real corporate office environment operated. The people were always busy, but at the same time, everyone was willing and eager to lend you a hand if you ever needed it. The culture at Ritchie Bros. made you feel like you were part of a big happy family, and the support you got from management was unparalleled. The policies and procedures were set up in a way that anyone who was willing to put in the work would be successful, and at the same time, there were goals and targets in place for you to help keep you motivated and on track. Working at the office itself was a dream come true, I never thought I would be able to get to experience something like that while I was still in the process of completing my degree.

Everyone at Ritchie Bros. was very welcoming and friendly if you have any questions or concerns. Everyone was eager to help and people offer tips that really help you develop and learn in order to grow. After being given my targets and goals, I was left to achieve them however I deemed fit. I truly enjoyed this flexibility and hands-off approach. Ritchie Bros. looks for many different people from all kinds of backgrounds and unique personalities. The workplace is diverse and dynamic and everyone is encouraged to be themselves. This allowed me to excel in the tasks that were assigned to me because I was able to work however I thought would work best for me. There was no need to conform to set conditions where I may not have been able to adapt well.

During the pandemic, Ritchie Bros. went fully remote in order to protect its employees and when my co-op started, I was working from home.

Reflection & Tips
Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

My favourite part about working at Ritchie Bros. was the company culture. The comradery and support of those around me really made me enjoy working there and even though I was no longer there in person working with others around me, I still somehow felt the feeling of a close-knit family. The company itself has gotten a lot larger over a year and the fact that everything was done virtually and digitally should have made it feel a lot more distant, but the managers and my colleagues still allowed me to feel the same way I did during my previous placement. Ritchie Bros. is a wonderful workplace, and I could definitely see myself working here long-term.

Reflection

This was my third and final co-op placement, and the second time I was able to secure a position at Ritchie Bros. I want to highlight how much difference a year can make in terms of a workplace, a career, the economy, and society as a whole. This co-op term turned out to be completely different from my previous experience, but at the same time, it still felt very similar in certain aspects.

It was truly a great time, I learned a lot, and gained so much real-world experience that I can now apply to my future career. The summer of 2019 was fantastic, and after confirming I will be returning for another term in the summer of 2020, I was ecstatic and looking forward to getting right back into the office and picking up where I left off, but then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything came to a halt.