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Arts + Social Sciences
Co-operative Education

Ditij sitting at his desk
What are you studying at SFU, and what year are you in?

I'm completing an Honours undergraduate degree with a Major in Economics, Concentration in Economic Data Analytics and Minor in Political Science. 

What co-op work term(s) have you done?

I have worked 8 months as an IT Vendor Performance Analyst at BC Pensions Corporation.

How did you know this job was a good fit for you? Can you tell us about the interview?

I was seeking for work that involved working by myself and was data-related. I knew this was a good fit for me because they talked about how they wanted to create a vendor management program and I will be a part of that. Adding on, what really got me hooked was the fact that because it was a new initiative, I knew I would get to explore so many things.

My interview started with the interviewers trying to say my name the right way. They then talked about what role do they play in the company, followed by me giving them a brief summary of all my work experiences. Lastly, the wrap up question was “How would your friends or family describe you?” I told them an anecdote where I made some new friends in class after the lockdown and we went out for drinks. Towards the end of our meet-up one of the girls asked me if I was a Gemini? I said yes and her reaction was “yahh… knew it”. I asked her why she thought I was a Gemini, and her response was that I am very easy to get along with. Gemini are known for getting along with people very well!

What were your first weeks at work like? How did you feel about this new job?

My first weeks were literally learning about the company and the policies. Also, a lot of my time was utilized in acquiring the right tools on my hardware. 

I was very excited. My team only comes in every other week on-site but, I would try and go to office every single day just to meet people from other departments, socialize and get use to company’s culture sooner. 

What were some things you did to help yourself settle into the new workplace?

My co-op was not in one of the tri-cities, it was in Victoria. Therefore, one of the things I did settle into the new workplace was to move to Victoria. I think it benefitted me immensely as I got to meet people, and I understood company’s culture faster. Additionally, my supervisor and I would touch base daily for the 1st three weeks for ½ hour. Therefore, if I had any setbacks she could navigate me.

What was the workplace culture like?

I really enjoyed the workplace culture. Everybody was very open and happy to help me out when I was new, whether that be my direct or indirect teams. Furthermore, I was not micro managed as a co-op but instead was encouraged to manage my time effectively and be accountable to my team and priorities in an autonomous way. Lastly, each semester, we had three skills sessions where a hot topic in demand will be taken up by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The sessions had some excellent insights - we talked about topics like how to negotiate salary, how to negotiate salary in government companies, how to manage stress, resume pointer, HR’s perspective on Cover Letters, etc.

What are your day to day tasks in your co-op position?

I was working on a pilot project, where day-to-day tasks were to provide data architecting for data visuals, creating permission forms for data collection, creating platforms where targeted audience can come check out the Vendor performance from Contract requirements and KPIs to financials.

Has working as an IT Vendor Performance Analyst improved your leadership skills, and how?

I believe I have certainly improved my leadership skills as my team would always ask me to reach-out for help from other teams, and an excellent trait of a good leader is how efficiently they can communicate with different teams. Furthermore, each semester we had a leadership session where the panel speakers were the VPs and the CEO of BC Pensions Corporation. They gave us come good knowledge and insights on how to be a good leader.

What was it like working for a government business? Do you feel you had a unique experience in doing so?

Working with government business, on most important thing I learned was how to be patient.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from this co-op experience?

Opportunities are what you make of it. The VP said it to the co-ops in one of the two leadership session I attended.

Has this experience prompted a change or clarification of your academic focus or future goals, and how?

At school I never understood the use of optimization models, or the regression models in Economics, but when I started working at BCPC, I was able to pick on some complex models quickly. Also, at times I was able to generate dynamic models specially for date and time for data architecting. Additionally, even though you feel like school courses do not help or transfer knowledge in real world, what it does is the improves your critical thinking & creativity, and that is what is most important skill that one needs.

What would you tell seeking students going into their first co-op?

Always keep in mind that if you don’t outperform and show any company what you capable of doing, you will not get anything out of the experience. For a successful co-op term your performance should be at 200% and if you see yourself ever sitting ideal talk to other teams and offer to help them if it is something that you can do. These two things really skyrocketed my co-op work experience.

Co-operative Education

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