Inside sCo-op Fall 2011, Issue I
True Colours Dynamic Waterloo personalities shine in the workplace
INSIDE sCO-OP: Contents > The Inside sCo-op is a bi-term student e-publication released through Co-operative Education and the Centre for Career Action at the University of Waterloo.
Game of Numbers: <<< A The once disorganized Dhruv Patel has developed a
unique system to manage his life and succeed in co-op.
An Exercise in Loyalty: Active Kinesiology co-ops get a work-out at Ontario Police College.
to the Floor: <<< Pedal Meet members of the Midnight Sun co-op team.
Employer Feature: Toyota Motor Manufacturing Find out how Waterloo co-op students deliver end-of-term presentations TMMC-style.
Career Corner: Continuing Co-op
AIESEC Director of Marketing and Communications, Jenny Chan reveals how she transitioned into the â€œreal world.â€?
CREDITS: CREDITS: Editor and Creative Director: Andrea Banerjee, Media & Publications Associate, CECS Staff Editor: Olaf Naese, Communications & Public Relations Administrator, CECS Photography: Jonathan Bielanski, Andrea Banerjee Photo submissions: Dhruv Patel, Midnight Sun, Kirk Patterson
No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace As I have seen in one autumnal face.
Autumn is such a beautiful time because of the kaleidoscope of
changing colours that it offers. A palette of different hues isn’t just what makes this my favourite season; it’s also the secret to a dynamic campus and an effective workplace. Having a mix of personalities makes for a colourful and cohesive environment where everyone can find their fit. Working hard doesn’t mean sacrificing those distinctive personality traits that make you unique. Allowing your character, passions, and interests to guide you is an important part of success. Waterloo co-op students are always discovering how their diverse interests lead them to unique opportunities. See how you identify with this issue’s colourful co-op cast! If you admit you’re disorganized or forgetful, read about Dhruv Patel, a student who initially scoffed at the recommendations made in PD to keep personal records. Today however, he manages an extensive data system to log all of his co-op evaluations, projects and skill development to stay on track.
Andrea Banerjee, Media & Publications Associate
MA Candidate, Literary Studies
Are you crazy for cars? Then you’ll love reading about the 2011 Midnight Sun solar race car challenge. Waterloo co-ops have been working hard to make this year’s innovative creation a success. Finally if you’re shy or overwhelmed at the thought of networking, turn to the Career Corner, where the once-timid Jenny and Amy of AIESEC reveal how they transitioned from co-op to post-graduation confidence. As campus is infused with the energy of returning students, many of us make resolutions for the year ahead. Whether September holds a new round of classes or a new work term, the sentiments are the same: It’s time to be the best you possible.
-Andrea Hitting the books this term? Don’t forget to keep up with co-op! Read your pre-work term information in the Co-op Student Manual.
Questions? Comments? Ideas? Send your Inside sCo-op feedback to
Check out preparatory workshops offered by the Centre for Career Action! Check the Important Dates calendar so you know when interviews begin.
On co-op? Please note: New Call Centre In order to accommodate an increase in employer requests for phone and Skype interviews, a new call centre has been set up in the Lower Level of the Tatham Centre. Check your interview page on JobMine; “instructions” will tell you whether your interview is on webcam, and “type” if it is on the phone.
Please note that you will NOT be paged for phone and Skype interviews. Check in with the attendant at the bottom of the central staircase immediately upon arriving in TC.
Dhruv Patel describes the personal spreadsheet he has been managing for years Andrea Banerjee Media & Publications Associate
6 game numbers 1 3 A
Organized. Proactive. Goal-oriented. Self-starter. We’re all familiar with these résumé buzz words, and have likely used them in interviews when asked to describe our strengths. Dhruv Patel has a better idea: show, don’t tell.
The 4A Electrical Engineering student has been proving to himself and potential employers just how much he fits the bill when it comes to these tag words. Dhruv has a unique hand to play in his interviews; when asked typical questions, he relies on tangible facts instead of rehearsed answers, providing his prospective employers with hard data they can’t argue with. How? For years Dhruv has been tracking his progress in a collection of ever-expanding spreadsheets. If an employer would like to see a specific course credit, Dhruv can produce it-along with the grade, the credit weighting and the term average. If employers ask him what his weaknesses are, he can produce a chart that tracks his soft skills ratings from his first co-op term to the present. His weakest rated attribute will be listed-alongside every other category- and his improvement by term. It’s All in the Numbers Dhruv recalls the advice given to him in his first round of PD ENG. The course encouraged him to keep a log of his activities and progress. “The first time I heard that I thought it was a rubbish idea,” he recalls. Despite his initial doubt, he gave it a try. Dhruv began to keep a record of his co-op progress. Today his master Excel workbook contains five large spreadsheets and about 15 charts and graphs. According to Dhruv, spreadsheets are immensely helpful for managing all areas of your life. He keeps databases that are personal, academic and workrelated to help him track his grades, work evaluations and even spending. Numbers don’t lie: keeping a database makes it impossible to ignore areas for improvement, since
Dhruv on the job. they stare you in the face. This is precisely why Dhruv keeps doing what he’s doing. “Let’s say you’re bad at math,” he offers. “Now you can [easily identify] only math courses and see what specifically you’re weak at.” The spreadsheet helps you target those areas that need work, particularly when they are colour-coded or charted, the way they are in Dhruv’s records. When you improve, the visuals change, making your progression feel substantial and measurable over time. “When you look at this you can see the bigger picture,” says Dhruv. Setting Yourself Apart Dhruv encourages others to adopt his practice of logging his grades, activities, and progress. “I have several first year co-op friends in Engineering,” says Dhruv. “They always tell me, “You upper-years steal our jobs.” So I tell them that there has to be something that differentiates you from the other co-op students in other universities.” This is why Dhruv brings something unique to the table, in the form of his own organizational system of data. He is often rewarded with the interest of his interviewers. “Even in second year, they were really impressed,” recalls Dhruv. “They said that even the fourth years don’t present this type of thing. It really gives you an edge.” So if you’re having trouble staying focused, take Dhruv’s advice. Write it down. Better yet, get it in numbers. Numbers keep us accountable. Numbers are powerful incentive. Numbers count projects completed, evaluation scores, grades achieved, money saved - you name it. Know your numbers, whatever they may be. Better yetbe proud of them.
An Exercise in Loyalty Andrew and Emma have sweated it out for several terms at Ontario Police College- and loved every minute of it. Here’s why.
Fitness buffs Andrew Csernyei and Emma McMillan spent their work terms to date applying analytical skills, delivering lectures, teaching classes and helping to facilitate workshops. As assistant instructors in the Physical Training Department at Ontario Police College, both Kinesiology students exercised their brains and bodies in rigorous, rewarding work terms. Evidently these co-ops found a great professional fit in their department: Andrew, 4A Kinesiology, stayed on for four successive work terms in this role, and Emma, 3B Kinesiology, will be returning in January of 2012 for her third. A High-Energy Environment The Physical Training Department is responsible for all fitness programming for new recruits who are enrolled in a 3-month training program. “As instructors of physical fitness, our primary role is to try and prepare recruits for the physical challenges they will encounter throughout a career in policing,” says Andrew. “Anywhere from 120-480 recruits are enrolled in the Basic Constable Training Program.” Andrew worked with these recruits by leading work outs, giving demonstrations of techniques for proper exercise, performing fitness appraisals, and co-ordinating intramurals and workshops for supplementary recruit training. Emma worked as an assistant to the full-time instructors as well, teaching classes in cardiovascular training, strength and resistance training, swimming, and wellness education.
Claire Shaw: A Special Connection As returning co-ops, Andrew and Emma had the opportunity to develop their relationship with their supervisor over successive work terms. Claire Shaw has been working with Waterloo co-op for over 30 years, and has retained memories and notes about all of his students. This year marks his retirement, and he will be missed by Claire Shaw his colleagues and co-ops. “Claire is a great supervisor and an amazing person,” says Emma. “While working with Claire over the past two intakes I have experienced his passion for fitness and for his co-workers, his love for his family, and his love of hockey!” Andrew echoes her sentiments and notes that supervisors such as Claire “always provided opportunities for me to share knowledge and ideas.”
Working with an effective and caring supervisor enriches any co-op experience, and provides incentive for return on both ends. “Claire was a pleasure to work with,” says Emma. “He will be greatly missed.”
Andrew and Emma outside Ontario Police College, ready for a work-out.
A Job Worth Returning To Emma and Andrew were happy to devote several work terms to Ontario Police College. “Over these four terms I have helped train over 1 000 recruits,” says Andrew. “My leadership and interpersonal skills grew immensely and I credit this to my experience interacting with so many people over such a short period of time.” Emma agrees that her leadership and public speaking skills have improved notably, and has enjoyed “applying knowledge from the classroom, motivating and pushing students to perform to the next level, and helping people see results in their physical training.” Both students have found the time they put into their workplace rewarding. “Every work term carried new experiences and obstacles to overcome while demanding that I stay sharp and on my toes,” says Andrew. “That is what made working at OPC so interesting and exciting, and that is why I chose to return for several work terms.”
Pedal to the Floor Midnight Sun 2011 Andrea Banerjee Media & Publications Associate
In 1990 Waterloo entered its first ever solar car, the Midnight Sun, in the 1990 GM Sunrayce Challenge, beginning a project that would grow to span two decades. Since then, the Midnight Sun Solar Rayce Car Team has been a regular, innovative participant and global leader in the bi-annual challenge. This year the team has revealed its newest creation, the Midnight Sun X, set to compete in the 2011 World Solar Challenge in Australia this October.
“You have to learn along the way,” she says. “It isn’t like being a co-op in a corporation where there’s [often] a designated number of tasks and roles. On this team they throw you in there; you do everything.”
A selection of lucky co-op students spent the spring work term on the Midnight Sun X team contributing to the latest version of the famed project. For Kamal Rai, Ramneek Mangat, and Calvin Lu, Midnight Sun offered them exciting and challenging roles unlike any other co-op job they’d experienced before.
Kamal and Ramneek had a challenging and crucial job. Fostering a strong and continued relationship with sponsors is key, because the Midnight Sun project is entirely sponsor-funded. Their tasks included working with Arts volunteers to oversee web marketing, and traveling to various events and schools to spread the word about the project. Kamal and Ramneet visited approximately fifteen public schools, attended a soapbox derby and participated in the Canadian Electronics Technology Expo, making their work term highly active.
Marketing for Midnight Sun
“This is my third co-op term,” says 3A Mathematics student Kamal. Hired for the role of Business Co-ordinator, he says simply, “It was so different. It was really self-directed and involved some making it up along the way.”
The Midnight Sun electrical and mechanical teams provide an environment just as busy and demanding as the business team- 1B Electrical Engineering student Calvin Lu can attest to that. “This [was] my first co-op job so it wasn’t what I expected!” he says. “It was really fast-paced. I’d be given a project one day and have no idea how to start…but you learn how to be independent and teach yourself.”
Along with his colleague and fellow co-ordinator Ramneek, Kamal worked to market the project, plan events and recruit sponsors. Ramneek, a 2A Science and Business major agrees with Kamal about the uniqueness of their job on the Midnight Sun team.
>> story continued on pg. 6
Did you know? In 2004 a team of Midnight Sun student representatives travelled across North America for a record-breaking 41 days. The car travelled over 15 000 kilometres, earning it the Guinness World Record title for the longest journey made by a solarpowered vehicle.
< Midnight Sun X 5
>> story continued from pg. 5
through the years
Calvin emphasizes how much he valued his time on the team, particularly as a junior student. Being granted so much project responsibility as a first year coop made the job one huge learning experience. “The ultimate goal at Midnight Sun is to get you to be an independent member of the team,” he says. Working with the electrical team was a rewarding experience that fit with Calvin’s personal interests. In high school he worked on circuit design and electrical components. “Ever since I was in grade five I enjoyed this kind of thing,” he says. “So when I saw the posting I thought, This is like what I always wanted to do!”
Fun and Fulfilling Work The Solar Rayce Car Challenge is no doubt a busy and exciting project to work on as a co-op student, and like any good job the skill development that these students have experienced is significant. Ramneek says her communication skills have improved, particularly on the phone. “It takes a lot of research to call a sponsor,” she says. “You have to approach them in a way where you can tell them why you chose their company. They have to relate to the car in some way.” Kamal notes the opportunity afforded by the Midnight Sun project to pursue many areas of development. “I think the team tries really hard to get people involved and cater to different interests,” he says. Both students have also learned more about the vehicle itself than they might have otherwise, and the passion for the project is infectious among members of all three organizational teams. “The car gets pretty fast!” says Kamal. “You think of it as this concept car…but it cruises up to 90 kilometres per hour and can get as fast as 130.”
2003: Midnight Sun VII
American Solar Challenge: 3rd place overall; named Top Canadian team; awarded Technical Innovation Award
2005: Midnight Sun VIII
North American Solar Challenge: 5th place overall; named Top Canadian Team
The spring term was challenging, exciting, and fun for these co-ops, and all are grateful for the chance to take part in this one-of-a-kind co-op opportunity. Kamal, Ramneek and Calvin have developed such an attachment to the project that all three plan to volunteer their time with Midnight Sun around their academic schedules this fall. Best of luck to the entire team at this year’s World Solar Challenge!
For more information about the Midnight Sun project and team, visit http://www.uwmidsun.com/the-car
2008: Midnight Sun IX
North American Solar Challenge: 4th place overall; named Top Canadian Team
Images taken with permissions from http://www.uwmidsun.com/the-car
The Co-op Report-Out Process at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada
Making an Impression:
Andrea Banerjee Media & Publications Associate
On Wednesday August 31, ten Waterloo co-op students arrived on the job at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada plant in Cambridge ready to deliver their endof-term presentations with a little added pressure. Their audience included University of Waterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur, Peggy Jarvie, Executive Director of Co-operative Education, and TMMC President Brian Krinock. Joined by several other executive officers of the company, the group gathered for end-of-term “report-outs,” an event that showcased our co-op students’ work at TMMC over the spring 2011 work term. Students are familiar with a variety of end-of-term presentation practices in co-op, but the TMMC report-outs take things in a unique direction, making impressive demands on students’ accountability and oral communication skills. The presentations span several sessions, deliver individual attention and feedback - and produce some serious butterflies for Waterloo co-ops.
A Different Approach Students waited anxiously at the boardroom round table, as members of upper management trickled in for the presentations which began promptly at 2:00 pm and followed a highly organized, consistent structure developed and implemented by Toyota.
4A Nanotechnology Engineering student Mushfique Khan notes, “In the past I’ve just had a work term report and no company-tailored approaches to documenting projects. The idea of the report-out process at TMMC however, is to showcase Toyota’s way of thinking and problem-solving.” Each presentation centred around one major project, and followed Toyota’s comprehensive eight-step system for problem solving. Students had to fit the contents of their entire presentation on an 11”x17” piece of paper, and were given exactly seven minutes to speak. Speaking in visuals is a Japanese business practice that has been adopted at all Toyota plants. It’s a major challenge for students to work in such tightly efficient parameters for communication. “The oral presentation takes a lot of practice since we have to summarize four months of work into seven minutes,” says Han Xu, a 4B Nanotechnology Engineering student. “My preparations involved presenting to other co-ops, managers, and the assistant general manager of my group. A lot of constructive changes were made after each presentation.” The presentations effectively highlight the contributions our co-op students have made to the companyand for many, these are significant. “The officers always point out that even a minute improvement such as a 1-cent saving per vehicle can mean something very significant if we look at the fiscal year,” says Han.
The Pressure’s On...
Students arrive in the boardroom early and await the start of report-outs
Speaking directly to upper management about one’s contributions to a company is no small task. “I felt pretty nervous before presenting,” says Mushfique. For Han, the experience wasn’t entirely new, as this was his second time participating in the reportouts. “I completed two consecutive co-op terms at Toyota,” says Han. “Since this was my second term presenting at report-outs, I knew exactly what to expect. I was more excited than nervous.” >> story continued on pg. 8
>>>> Employer Insights >> story continued from pg. 7
Regardless of the butterflies, students can agree on the incredible value offered by the opportunity to participate in TMMC’s particular brand of co-op presentations. “I developed my professional communication skills, both visually and verbally,” says Mushfique. Han agrees, adding, “The report-outs are a really good opportunity to see the “global” impact of the projects we’ve done during the term.”
Unwavering Co-op Support The consistently high attendance at the presentations conveys just how valued Waterloo students are at TMMC. Maureen Hossack, Recruitment Specialist, emphasizes that “Students are not just an extra set of hands. They are brought in to do significant project work, and to share that work at the report-outs.” Her words are aligned with the mandates of co-operative education, and make TMMC an appealing place to be for Waterloo students. “We will always ensure that the integrity of the co-op program is upheld,” says Maureen. Thanks to that commitment, students can expect real face time with the company President and other executive members at report-outs, if employed by TMMC. As Han says, “It’s satisfying to know the officers of such big companies care so genuinely about the co-op program.”
Raman Virk, Waterloo alumnus Specialist, Assembly Engineering Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada
What makes a student stand out in an interview with you? I look for people practicing The Toyota Way, which is respect for people and continuous improvement. This would refer to someone with very strong, well rounded interpersonal skills. Discussing your thinking process is good. There was a student that discussed their idea for an improvement after explaining the problem to me, and I thought it was a great idea -this was something that wasn’t on their résumé.
What advice do you have for junior students? Don't rely solely on emails to communicatespeak face-to-face or on the phone as much as possible. Studies have shown that body language communicates 50% of the message, speech, tone, and tempo communicates 40%, and written word does only 10%. Also, be openminded - your expectations of the workplace might be different than what you’d imagined. Could you be the next
CO-OP STUDENT OF THE YEAR?
If you... received an Outstanding evaluation for a 2011 work term maintain an average of 75% or higher contribute to co-op education Above: TMMC co-ops gather for a photo after finishing their presentations. They are joined by President Brian Krinock, Fumio Ohashi, TMMC Officer, Dan Potje, TMMC Officer, and Feridun Hamdullahpur, University of Waterloo President.
...then you can apply!
Visit our website to access the online listing service and student classified listings. Or contact us for more assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org, 519-888-4567, ext. 35725.
One winner is selected from each faculty. For details, visit:
Jenny Chan describes how the world’s largest student-run organization offers international co-op and volunteer work post-graduation Jenny Chan, Director of Marketing and Communications, AIESEC interviewed by Andrea Banerjee, Media & Publications Associate, CECS
The word “graduation” strikes fear in the hearts of many stu-
dents. The uncertainty of the future and the pressure to find work weigh on every soon-to-be grad’s mind. These were anxieties shared by recent Arts and Business graduate Jenny Chan, although you’d never believe it to see her now. As the confident and well-spoken Director of Marketing and Communications for an international organization called AIESEC, Jenny regularly attends conferences, builds relationships with employers, and acts as a Canadian ambassador. Recently she met with the mayor of Waterloo to discuss efforts to establish a co-operative employment relationship with China. A few short months ago when she graduated however, Jenny recalls, “I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had no real job prospects.” She decided to be pro-active and began to volunteer with AIESEC.
Above: Jenny Chan has built a network and post-grad identity for herself
AIESEC is the largest studentrun organization of its kind in the world. It’s an association of students across the globe dedicated to developing international work opportunities. For many students who involve themselves in AIESEC, it’s a great place to find a transitional job as a volunteer, or to continue the co-op experience once you’ve graduated. Students are welcome to participate for up to two years after they finish their degrees.
Tips for Grads > Attend job fairs: Get yourself
in the habit of introducing yourself as a graduate ASAP! Don’t forget to update your résumé to reflect your new status.
> Keep in touch: if graduation is ap-
proaching, get busy. Cement your relationships with profs, professionals, supervisors and colleagues. You’ll have references immediately ready for your job hunt, and have saved the time of reconnecting.
> Work your way up: Be realis-
tic. A degree is not a golden ticket to any senior position you’d like. Just like succeeding in co-op, meeting your career goals takes initiative and diligence. Don’t be afraid to take a job in your field where there’s room to grow.
> Stay on track: There are no more PD deadlines and friendly reminders to keep you moving forward productively. It’s up to you to seize opportunities to market yourself wherever possible.
Jenny works to build international relationships with students, grads, and employers. Volunteering has provided her with the opportunity to further develop her skills in marketing even though she is no longer a student. “There’s no one on top in this organization telling you what to do,” she says of AIESEC. “It’s a solid platform; if you ever fail you know you have all the support.” Her colleague Amy echoes her sentiments, saying that volunteer roles such as hers with AIESEC create “a comfortable place for us to learn more about ourselves; to learn what our potential is in a business.” If you’re feeling lost without the regular routine of co-op after you graduate, consider taking a volunteer position as a way to prepare yourself for your chosen field. It’s a great way to retain all of the skills you worked so hard to build during your undergraduate work terms, and to network for future opportunities. Best of all, know that if you’re no longer a student but still have a hunger for internship opportunities, AIESEC is a place to turn.
words of wisdom...
“My recommendation is LinkedIn.com. I
would recommend all co-ops sign up and try to add the connections that you made in your previous co-op terms and ask them to recommend you on it.” -Dhruv Patel
“Don’t allow your work term to become stag-
nant, even if you are returning to the same employer. Every work term brings with it a chance to take on new projects and responsibilities.”
“No matter what task you are assigned,
complete it with pride. Remember Rome was not built in a day-the same goes for your career ”
Published on Sep 22, 2011
The Inside sCo-op is a bi-term e-publication released through Co-operative Education and the Centre for Career Action at the University of W...