“Taking initiative is essential to growing as an individual.”
– Oluwadamilola (Lola) Fakolujo, Co-op Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Candidate 2024, University of Toronto Scarborough
Congratulations to Lola, our Management Co-op Student of the Year 2022!
What makes the Management Co-op program at U of T Scarborough the right fit for you?
Our campus is where the seeds of excellence find the environment necessary to blossom. I chose Management Co-op because I wanted to challenge myself and grow as an individual. Studying business at UTSC has given me the opportunity to develop lifelong skills, meet inspiring people, and discover what career pathways are best suited for me.
Tell us about your most recent co-op work term. How was your experience at Fidelity Investments?
During my time with the Black Students in Business (BSB), I attended a Fidelity information session where I networked with representatives and learned about the company culture. They were hiring various co-op roles, so I applied and was fortunate to interview for a sales position. During the interview, it became clear that another role was a better fit for my career aspirations, so the hiring manager offered me the financial reporting student role! I was incredibly excited because friends who had previously worked at Fidelity highlighted how great the company is, especially the way they treat their students. In addition to my regular portfolio, I had the chance to job shadow employees from three different areas of my choosing—corporate affairs, HR, and content marketing—which helped me refine my own career path. Co-op students also participated in workshops on emotional intelligence, workplace etiquette, and the art of conversation. We were encouraged to develop skills that will take us far at work but also extend to our personal growth, too.
Who was your manager or mentor at Fidelity? What’s the most important thing you learned from them?
My mentor at Fidelity was Tammy Griffin, a senior financial analyst who has been with the company for more than 20 years. Tammy taught me the value of taking initiative. She gave me many chances to pursue my interests both within the job description and beyond it. Because of her encouragement, I knew that I was adding value to my team with my ideas.
What is the most significant project you worked on, and what were your key learnings?
I helped establish a new set of internal expense limits for Fidelity employees, factoring in the effects of the pandemic and inflation rates. These new rules flow through the entire organization and will continue to guide internal practices in the coming years. Ultimately, I was asked to showcase my findings on employee policy compliance to the CFO. This project taught me a lot about analyzing information and how to communicate with people across an organization. I got to see the value that I was adding to the finance department and to the company as whole. Overall, my key takeaway was that no role is too small to make an impact, and that taking initiative is essential to growing as an individual.
Describe your best day on the job.
There were honestly so many, but one of my favourite days at Fidelity was when the co-op students volunteered at Variety Village: an accessible sports and recreational centre for children with disabilities. We participated in accessibility training, made gifts for the kids, decorated the venue for a party, and learned how to play wheelchair basketball. That day is my favourite because we worked together to make a direct impact in our community.
What are your career goals, and how will you leverage your BBA experience to achieve them?
I want to manage an accounting team in the future. This plan will require a combination of functional capabilities like hard accounting skills and the managerial skills I have also learned in the BBA. After graduation, I intend to pursue CPA designation, then obtain my MBA.
The tagline of the Management program is Experience to Lead. As outgoing co-president of the Management and Economics Students’ Association, what does that mean to you?
We have countless opportunities that instill the core skills to be valuable contributors in any situation, from volunteering to administration, entrepreneurship, sports, you name it. Whether it’s leading a team, leading a business, or leading an industry, our foundational attributes all come from the experiences and growth we share during our time at U of T.
Your best advice for future co-op students?
Keep an open mind. It’s good to have expectations for yourself, but the best way to be successful is a strong ability to adapt. Get comfortable with being outside of your comfort zone. And remember that you’re not walking alone. There are people who are committed to your success and want to see you flourish as an individual. Take advantage of resources and connections to shape your path into something best suited for you.