Marla Liguori is a Communications co-op student at SFU, and for her first Co-op experience she was able to spend the 2010-2011 season with the Vancouver Canucks as a marketing intern. She shared with us what she’s learned and why she thinks the Co-op program is a stellar addition to any degree.
Marla knew she needed to do something not only to help her stand out from other SFU grads, but also to see if she could apply the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to practical situations, which is why she signed up for the Co-op program.
“I needed to get out of the classroom and into the workplace,” she said. “I figured that 30,000 people are going to graduate with the exact same degree. I wanted to differ myself from everyone else, because not everyone else is going to have that out-of-classroom experience. Having this work experience even before you graduate is priceless.”
Marla had a pretty easy work search compared to others, crediting her organization and customization of cover letters and resumes for her excellent response rate (she submitted five applications and was asked to three interviews before landing a job).
“Once you get your resume completed it’s pretty easy from there,” she said. “You just customise your cover letter to each job description.”
Getting the job is one thing however, excelling in your role is an entirely different story. Marla lists the ability to prioritize, work and manage your time efficiently as well as asking questions and learning from the answers as crucial skills to have as an intern.
As far as classes go, Marla cited CMNS 323 – Cultural Dimensions in Advertising as the most valuable course of her degree, even more useful than any marketing or business classes she took in the past. Instead of looking at new ad trends, this class broke down memorable ad campaigns from the past. This theoretical knowledge changed the way she thinks about ads and the meanings behind them, which helped when asked for ideas on new ad campaigns.
She also confessed that good writing isn’t as easy as what you learned in the textbooks, and that the ability to accept and learn from criticism is key. “At first...some of them weren’t good,” she recalled, referring to an early brief.
“But you take that constructive criticism, you work on it, and your next brief is a million times better than the first.”
It can be tough, but in the end working in a place like Rogers Arena is completely worth it.
“It’s fun to work here, it’s casual, it’s fun,” Marla said. “For the interns, they’re always willing to teach you. It’s not as intimidating as you think.”
Being in a workplace where everyone has one common goal, and not having the pressure to compete with other offices around the country is another perk of working for the Canucks.
“I think they’re very good working as a team,” she continued, “They make it so that everyone knows what everyone is doing... everyone is working together for one solid goal, which is awesome because you’re not competing with other departments... Everyone has that one goal for the end of the year.”
Of course, this interdepartmental cooperation can also be the toughest part of the job, as Marla explained,
“I’ve taken on roles from business development, creative, ticketing and marketing, so I’m kind of diving into all these different fields... concentrating on all these different projects all at once while trying to keep updated on what my department is doing is the hardest part.”
Another benefit of working as the marketing intern is being invited to departmental meetings, which provided insights into where her career could take her.
“Meetings are the best,” she commented, “I think people underestimate the amount of information you get from meetings. Sitting there, absorbing what the reps are saying, what the company heads are saying, and how they’re strategizing for next season. All that inside scoop is the most important thing.”
Want to try your hand at becoming a Canuck insider as well? Then apply for Co-op now and one day you too could be sharing an elevator with Victor DeBonis, or maybe even a Sedin twin.