Confessions of a Co-op Student: Nehal Phillips
“It’s safe to say that I took my first big step in the corporate world and it was a successful one.”
When I hear the word ‘co-op experience’ for the first time, the one thing that comes to mind is an image of a student in the cubicle next to the photocopier, with a clip-on tie and a list of daily tasks, a staff coffee run being the most important of them all. While I looked forward to the experience as a way to get out of school and make some money for the semester, I wanted to work within a position that challenged my strengths and business knowledge. Being a third year BBA-Global Business Management student, I wanted to work for a company within a role that afforded me the opportunity to test my knowledge within finance, marketing and business strategy, and gain new experiences along the way. Looking back at my decision to pick my current company over other co-op offers, I know I made the right pick, as this position offered me everything I was hoping for and more.
I was hired as a Junior Business Analyst for the Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT), in downtown Toronto. SIRT is a collaborative venture between Sheridan College and Pinewood Studios Toronto, known for producing famous films such as ‘Suicide Squad’, ‘Pixels’, ‘The Room’ and many other feature films. My role’s main accountabilities involved developing a business plan and marketing research plan for a client. I thoroughly enjoyed my role, which allowed me to use my business education at Sheridan and my own leadership skills to develop a comprehensive report for the client. I had the pleasure of working with Burton Haluszczynski, my friend and fellow GBM classmate, who was a great team member and a knowledgeable business student. Burton made an apt quote about his experience, one that I will share with you today;
“This co-op placement was largely relevant to my future goals. It made me realize that hands-on experience is just as valuable as the concepts learned at school. It also ensured that my career goals are set right and I’m going in the right direction. It’s safe to say that I took my first big step in the corporate world and it was a successful one. With great anticipation, I cannot wait on what will happen in the future. And it can only get better.”
We also had an incredible opportunity to try out new Virtual Reality technology, put on Motion Capture suits and shoot our own animated movie scene, meet actors and get inside scoop on new releases and host a film industry event to showcase the filmmaking achievements of people all around the world.
I had an amazing experience working for SIRT, within the film industry, and would recommend a co-op term to every business student in the future. Co-op terms allow students the opportunity to not only get some experience and business acumen, but also build veritable long-term business relationships, be empathetic to everyone’s needs and practice business networking. It also pushes a student to get outside their comfort zone, get into the practice of job hunting and learn more about the industries and roles out there. Within my co-op, I followed the ABC3 rule, Always Be (Creative, Communicative and Conscientious). I would recommend that future co-op students develop a rule similar to this, to ensure they remain accountable to their role and develop a memorable and rewarding experience like I did. Keep applying and attending your co-op workshops, get involved around the school (through clubs and events) and build your resume continually, and employers will come knocking to recruit you.
I would like to thank my managers at SIRT, as well as Pinewood Studios and Sheridan College for an amazing opportunity that helped me grow as a business professional, Burton Haluszczynski for being an amazing team member and the Pilon School of Business for an amazing business education that helped me get to this position today. I would also like to thank Crystal Bennett for affording me the opportunity to share my thoughts on my experience today. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to offer any help I can. Good luck, and hope to hear your success story as well!!!
Written by: Nehal Phillips