“Co-op provides you with a greater outlook for future learning.”
– Hongfei Chen, Co-op Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Specialist in Finance Graduate 2021, University of Toronto Scarborough
Congratulations to Hongfei, recipient of a Management Co-op Work Term Recognition Award for his contributions at Maple Leaf Foods in Winter 2020.
What is the most impactful or innovative project you worked on?
I was empowered to organize the testing initiatives for Sprint 4 system integration, which became an excellent opportunity for me to enhance my communication and leadership skills. This project contributed to the successful release of a fully functioning and user-friendly mobile solution for manufacturing plants. Having the opportunity to engage in such an impactful project during my co-op term was a precious experience!
Who was your manager or mentor, and what did you learn from them?
During my eight months of co-op at Maple Leaf Foods, I had two managers because I was working on two separate teams. The most important thing that I learned from them was professional communication. Being able to speak with professionalism is a great way to demonstrate your respect to colleagues. It's an essential skill that contributes to career success, because many positions require not only collaboration but also negotiation skills.
How does the organization go above and beyond to support students?
Innovation is strongly encouraged. During my co-op term, I had several opportunities to attend information sessions about innovative technologies. My supervisor also encouraged me to provide constructive feedback. Then there's the reverse-mentorship program that links co-op students with senior managers. And at the end of the work term, co-op students are invited to present their achievements in front of the senior management team.
Why should a graduating high-school student pursue their BBA degree from U of T Scarborough?
For business students, I would say that acquiring relevant practical experience is extremely important. Typically, real business cases are more complex than the questions that appear in textbooks or on exams! So co-op internships give you a platform to learn how to apply the theories learned in lectures to real-world problems. At the same time, practical experiences help you discover areas for improvement. Co-op provides you with a greater outlook for future learning, which I believe will help me become a successful risk manager. The Management Co-op program also gave me the flexibility to take computer science courses and learn a variety of information technologies that I will leverage in my finance career.