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Beedie School of Business › Accounting
SFU Co-op Student

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The most rewarding experience may come from doing something different and unplanned.

I remember the excitement that I felt days before I began my first co-op term as a business analyst at TELUS. This was also coupled with a sense of self-doubt – did I make the right choice?  As an aspiring accountant, I believed it was crucial to obtain accounting experience, and this felt far from it. Both TELUS, and the role of a business analyst was foreign to me. Fast forward eight months, and I’m left wondering what it was exactly that I was worried about.

Executive Client Relations

I had the privilege of working on the Executive Client Relations (ECR) team, which is part of the Executive Client Relations & Strategic Operational Programs (ECR&SOP). This is a unique team that directly supports Darren Entwistle, the CEO of TELUS, and the executive leadership team. My role entailed managing cases or escalations, that have reached the executive level and assigning them to 1 of 16 ECR managers on the team to ensure a timely response and resolution. This in itself, was no easy task. My other responsibilities included process improvement, and the reporting aspect of the escalations; I was surprised to learn that one of the reports that I worked on is sent to over 1000 management-level team members every Monday.

I found that I was immediately immersed in the world of TELUS. You would not believe how many acronyms the company uses.  There are a couple things that helped me take advantage of the opportunity and hit the ground running.

1. Stay Curious

Your attitude defines the experience that you will get.  This not only applies to your co-op experience, but with everything that you do. Going into this work term, I was prepared to learn, and this was the mindset that I maintained. I asked questions. Lots and lots of questions; it never hurts to keep a notebook handy. You may want to take a holistic view of what you are doing and ask questions about how a certain task is done and why it is done that way. You may find that the answer is because that’s the way it was always done, and this may be an opportunity for you to improve upon it.

2. Grow Your Network

Get to know your team as they will be one of your main resources. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and realize that you may provide value to them as well, in the form of a fresh perspective. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with your team, meet people outside of your team if possible, and learn about the different areas of the organization. I’ve come to learn that the efficiency of a task may depend on your network, and your ability to reach out to different teams for assistance.

One of the many things that improved my experience was the relationships that I developed with the other co-op students. It was simple things such as eating lunch together or chatting during downtime that made everything more enjoyable.

3. Take Initiative

This is especially important in extended co-op terms. Once you are comfortable with your day to day tasks, you may be asking yourself, what’s next? This is a good time to ask for more work; you may have something in mind that you are already passionate about. Finding tasks beyond the things that you normally do will make your day more meaningful and help strengthen your personal brand. For me, this was joining the ECR&SOP engagement team, a team that met weekly with the purpose of identifying areas that need improvement within the greater team and creating action plans to address them.

My TELUS Experience

The team that I worked with was spread out across Canada and was an interesting aspect of working at TELUS. There is an immense amount of collaboration, and I was able to work with different stakeholders, from other business analysts to directors. I dipped my toes into the different areas of TELUS, from the media and legal team to the front-line call center agents and learned about the role of the different teams.

I represented ECR and the engagement team at the ECR&SOP meeting on separate occasions, and this was one of the highlights of my term. These were meetings where the individual teams got together to present program updates. I presented to over fifty team members, and it was definitely something that I wouldn’t have gotten to experience elsewhere.

 An unexpected perk and one of my personal favorites, was the ability to work from any location, whether it be from home or any of the TELUS offices. If I was told that I could work from home eight months ago, I would’ve thought that it was a prank.

The most rewarding experience may come from doing something different and unplanned. There is opportunity for growth no matter the role you choose, but it is ultimately up to you to determine what you will get out of it. I’ve grown both personally and professionally through this experience, and I wouldn’t change anything about my time at TELUS.

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Jacky on LinkedIn. 

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