Cheang did his due diligence and decided to complete an MBA through the Institute for Co-operative Education at Concordia’s JMSB, where he admired the school’s Community Services Initiative and the Small Business Consulting Bureau.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to go back to school, but I made a resolution that whatever program I did, there would have to be a way to break into the field with concrete experience. Co-op has that,” says Cheang. He applied for three work placements, starting in the marketing department at Etelesolv, a software company based in Lachine, Que.
“My original mandate was to write 32 blogs and a few e-books,” says Cheang. “But now I write between 5,000 and 10,000 words a week, while doing competitor research. I’ve also learned how to read a public patent and my knowledge of social media has gone through the roof.”
Most importantly, Cheang appreciates what he learned about workplace culture. “At Etelesolv, we show each other respect and tolerance. There’s room for honest difference in a workforce with people from 29 different countries,” he says. “I thrive in this kind of supportive, non-toxic environment. They’re going to have to pry me out of here with a crowbar.” No crowbar will be necessary. Etelesolv offered Cheang a full-time position, once he completes his studies this year.
“Initially, I thought I was getting someone to write web content, but what I got was someone who created a fresh voice for the company,” says Etelesolv marketing director Caroline Le Brun, BComm (mktg.) 02. “He can do so much more than we expected, especially in research and analysis.”
Le Brun describes Cheang, who leads her team’s daily huddles and weekly meetings while she’s away on business, as her “right hand.” Cheang was Etelesolv’s first Co-op student. “We were so pleased with the experience that I created an on-boarding document for future student placements,” states Le Brun, herself a Concordia Co-op graduate.
“The document tells them how our marketing team is structured, what cloud-based software to review and what social media accounts to create for themselves. “We’ve learned to give students room to show us what they can do,” says Le Brun. She adds with a laugh, “Henry kept showing us that ‘he’s the man.’”