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Larissa Hildebrandt

SFU Co-op Student

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Portrait of Ronil
I have a new appreciation for the industry and everyone in it. They’re all so passionate about what they do. This reaffirmed my goals, and I’m more confident now that I have this experience.

Recent communication graduate Ronil Desai has proven that hard work does pay off, by landing not one, but two back-to-back co-op placements at his dream organization: The Vancouver Canucks.

Since starting at SFU in 2007, Ronil’s long-term goal has been to work in television broadcasting, specifically in sports. He initially applied to a co-op position with the Canucks in the summer of 2010, and even interviewed for the role.

“It’s very competitive,” he explained. “You’re competing with students from broadcasting programs who have more experience.”

Although he was not hired, his tenacity and willingness to accept advice would eventually pay off.

“I asked them what I should do and they told me to gain more experience and even start a blog. I started regularly writing for the Peak in the sports section, and made a point to only write about the Canucks. I did start a blog, and put all of my articles there.”

One year later, he returned to the organization, this time armed with a binder of his work. He interviewed for the same position, and they not only remembered him, but they were impressed with the work he had done.   

After finally accepting his dream internship with the Canucks’ web team, he received a surprise phone call some time later: an interview request with the marketing team.

“I already accepted the web internship, so I didn’t think I had a chance,” he said.

Desai ended up becoming the first student to be placed in both co-op positions, taking back-to-back contracts for both the fall and spring terms, in completely different departments.

“Originally I was going to take my last four classes in the fall, and then work full-time in the spring. The co-op department helped me figure out an alternative.”

The hard work continued, as Ronil completed eight months of full-time co-op along with two classes per semester. He was able to combine distance education with evening courses at Harbour Centre, coming to his classes straight from Rogers Arena. Even though he was working long hours, between weekdays, game nights and weekends, he will still be graduating as scheduled.

He compared the two positions:

“The marketing role was a lot more business, and I learned a lot because it was all new to me. I spent a lot of time preparing for the web role, so this one was more of a challenge.”

Although he had no expectations for the marketing placement, his time with the web team was all he had hoped for.

“I was so involved in everything. I went to the media scrums, went to practices and got quotes from the players, and interacted with the fans. Before I started, I had no experience in web formatting, design, or code. Now I feel comfortable with all of it.”

Ronil frequently wrote content for the Canucks website, engaged with fans on social media, and got to experience the excitement in preparing for the playoffs.

“The best moment for me was game one of the playoffs. Usually I’m downtown with my friends waiting for the game to start, but this year I was actually working there, in a suit, looking out of the building.”

His dream co-op job has also prepared him for his upcoming graduation:

“I have a new appreciation for the industry and everyone in it. They’re all so passionate about what they do. This reaffirmed my goals, and I’m more confident now that I have this experience.”

About the Author

Larissa Hildebrandt

SFU Co-op Student

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