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Co-op Written Testimonials

Summer 2019

Employer: RBC, Human Resources and Compensation Technology Team

Job Title: Junior Data Analyst

Job Description: My objectives for the work term revolved around assisting the HRCT data scientist with the development of a machine learning (ML) model that would be able to provide educational material to RBC employees. Given my limited background in machine learning libraries, my job was mostly on the dataset development end. During my first couple of weeks working at RBC, I explained to my supervisor my interest in the field of econometrics and my desire to finally get the chance to apply all the theory I’ve learned from school on a real-life business application. My supervisor then handed me an extremely extensive employee attrition/turnover dataset of 1.3 million observations to work on. The goal was to apply feature selection techniques on the dataset in order to further optimize accuracy of the prediction model. 

Student Testimonial: Economics has by far provided me with all the tools that I needed to succeed as a data analyst. Critical thinking as well as problem solving are attributes that I believe mostEconomics students pick up as they finish their degree. These are attributes that I found to be extremely necessary in fulfilling my job duties. This would include understanding where the data comes from, how it was collected, if there were any biases introduced, as well as plenty of other methodologies. By being exposed to data from as early on as ECON 221, as well as understanding how most economic theory is practically proven by large sums of quantitative data, not only do we become accustomed to consuming large amounts of data, but get to know exactly what steps to take before diving into any analysis or inference.

Fall 2015

Employer: BCA Research

Job Title: Research Assistant

Job Description: Process raw data series to create and edit charts for uploading and publishing; tag charts and various types of data series semantically to ensure efficient and quick retrieval for users; maintain, update, revise data series and download time series per requests, and perform maintenance tasks and other routine duties to oversee that data have been correctly updated and tagged appropriately.

Student Testimonial: At BCA Research, I developed a sense of belonging and a newfound appreciation for my diligence and my dedication to working hard and helping others. Not only have I gained work experience in an economics field, I have gained a set of technical skills which allowed me to be a key member in my team. I was able to improve my understanding of economic themes by working with diverse types of data. My experience with BCA research inspired me to think of my future and to seriously consider a career in economic research..

Summer 2016

Employer: BCA Research

Job Title: Research Assistant

Job Description: Process raw data series to create and edit charts for uploading and publishing; maintain, update, revise data series and download time series per requests; perform maintenance tasks and other routine duties to oversee that data is correctly updated and tagged appropriately, and communicate with the data providers and clients requesting the data.

Student Testimonial: At BCA Research, I gained experience in working with data and was a key member of my team, involved in giving suggestions on how to improve processes in group discussions. My experience as a research assistant for BCA Research has been an important stepping stone into the field of economics; this opportunity has allowed me to have a sense of what I would like to try in the future.

Summer 2017

Employer: Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) (formerly HRSDC)

Job Title: Data Research Assistant

Job Description: Set-up a database which includes Social Insurance Number (SIN), T1 tax and Old Age Security administrative data, to analyze Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) Take-up; analyze GIS take-up among different groups of seniors and identify the characteristics that increase the likelihood of non-receipt among those eligible, and use findings to contribute to the writing of a report on the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Student Testimonial: My internship with ESDC was a successful one. I overcame challenges I encountered and in the process improved upon skills I already had and developed new ones. I learned about the Old Age Security Program and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. I was given the opportunity to experience research work and learned a new statistical programming language. Through my internship I learned how the Canadian Government works and the future work opportunities one could expect in economic research. I have grown professionally and personally from my experience with ESDC.

Winter & Summer 2017

Employer: Pratt & Whitney Canada

Job Title: Intern, Strategic Planning and Business Development department

Job Description: My tasks included conducting various analysis on the helicopter market to monitor the utilization of the engines. I performed research on helicopters to assess the new market trends and presented my outcomes to the team. I was also responsible for optimizing a reference tool used by senior management and I assisted the senior executive assistant to plan executive meetings.

Student Testimonial: My experience at Pratt and Whitney has given me greater insights into the management and decision-making processes of a system that works. Not only did it create a challenging environment for me to apply knowledge of what I have learnt in class to real world problems, as in the case of ECON 324 - Economic Data Analysis, where I was able to perform market analysis with virtual teams outside North America. I was also given the opportunity to work simultaneously on multiple projects, which have greatly improved my communication, presentation, organization and project management skills. This experience has been an eye opener as it helped me grow personally and increased my confidence.

Summer 2018

Employer: Fidelity Investments Canada

Job Title: Student, Advisor Service Center

Job Description: 

My position at Fidelity was in the Advisor Service Center, a division of the Customer Service department. My responsibility was to answer the queries of financial advisors who purchase Fidelity’s mutual funds. To prepare for my role, I received multiple trainings in which I learned about Fidelity’s products and services.

Student Testimonial: My work term at Fidelity was a great opportunity to learn about the financial industry and specifically about mutual funds. My employer gave me the chance to shadow other departments of the organization to increase my knowledge on mutual funds. This allowed me to gain insights on the application of economics theories in the financial industry. I realized that concepts taught in my econometrics classes (ECON 324 and 421), are important and relevant in the creation of a mutual fund.

Now, I perceive these theories differently: I know they can be a major asset in my future professional life. I am glad I realized it through my CO-OP work term and before graduation because I can walk to the job market more confidently. 

Summer 2016

Employer: Industry Canada, Government of Canada

Job Title: Sector Analyst

Job Description: Produced analytical reports on Quebec’s Aerospace and Clean Tech sectors notably by analyzing financial statements of key firms as well as strategic news monitoring.

Student Testimonial: Through this internship I was able to learn more about financial economics and the analysis of markets. I was not able to learn these applied skills in school and hence Coop allowed me to have a well-rounded education that prepares me more adequately for the job market.

Summer 2017

Employer: Employment and Social Development Canada, Government of Canada

Job Title: Business Analyst

Job Description: Developed business strategies for performance management by optimizing the performance management process through the standardization of KPIs, which measures the performance of social programs such as Employment Insurance and Old Age Security.

Student Testimonial: In school, I had learnt about the manipulation of databases; however, it was through this internship that I was able to apply those skills. This applied work prepared me for the job market that demands those applied skills.

Fall 2016: First Work Term

Employer: TD Insurance Meloche Monnex (Montreal, Canada)

Job Title: Product Analyst, Product Design

Job Description: Participate in various studies and market research projects; compare different product offers in the insurance market, and contribute to the development of new product offers.

Student Testimonial: I strongly appreciated the opportunity to work for TD Insurance and to be a part of a Product Innovation team. I had the chance to acquire multiple new skills, integrate my knowledge acquired at school and also learn to work individually, while being trusted and becoming a reliable employee.

I enjoyed working in such a dynamic team and I was able to develop my market intelligence skills, improve my critical thinking and build basic analytical skills.

Fall 2017: International Work Term

Employer: Dukascopy Bank SA (Riga, Latvia, Europe)

Job Title: Market Analyst

Job Description: Analyze key players in the market, assist in finding new business solutions, and participate in different projects related to the Forex and FinTech industry.

Student Testimonial: Because this is an international work term, it was challenging to get all things together. I had to deal with international documentation and I had to find a place of accommodation. Moreover, since the internship was unpaid, I had to research for a bursary. I received support from Quebec Mobility Bursary, and I am very grateful for it.

In terms of the actual work term, I consider it to be a rewarding but challenging experience. I had to do market research, learn how to do a technical analysis of companies in the financial market, continuously develop new solutions for the company, and much more. I also experienced a day-to-day interaction with all my peers and learned about the Latvian culture. Moreover, I was given a chance to complete Bloomberg courses for free and subsequently I earned a Bloomberg Market Concepts diploma.

To sum up, during my work experience at Dukascopy Bank SA I got an insight on both the Forex and FinTech fields, participated in cross-functional team meetings, learned to research quality solutions for the company and, of course, I grew awareness about working in an international environment.

Winter 2017

Employer: Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) (formerly HRSDC)

Job Title: Student Analyst

Job Description: Working with Predictive Analytics team on predicting population characteristics and behaviors using Decision Trees, Logistic Regressions, Clustering Analysis and Network Analysis with SAS and R in order to prevent employment insurance fraud.

Student Testimonial: Starting this position, I had little knowledge of predictive analytics, data science, and statistical software programs. My team was absolutely incredible helping me to not only apply gained academic knowledge but also learn and improve in other aspects which would not be thought of in academic life. I learned the importance of networking, gained important technical skills, wrote two analysis papers, and got a chance to work independently on a personal project which was part of the reason why I was offered and accepted the work term extension.

While academic life teaches you the importance of deadlines, time management and learning, it is very different from real world work. Grades do not count there, neither the formulas, but the ability to learn quickly, adapt and take on challenges. Prior to starting this position, I was sure I would go into a legal career after finishing my Economics degree. This opportunity showed me what I am actually good at and made me completely switch the route of my career into a more data related path.

Summer 2017

Employer: Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) (formerly HRSDC)

Job Title: Student Analyst

Job Description: Working with Descriptive Analytics team on solving data issues and developing a project to ensure better and fair serving of Canadians in the times of need while increasing internal efficiency.

Student Testimonial: This continuation of my co-op gave me a very exciting opportunity of working with stakeholders on developing business requirements, IT solution and business solution to a problem I have discovered doing my previous analysis. I have became a data expert in the particular area and was often consulted, which gave me incredible amount of confidence. I learned the importance of not only technical skills but business skills. Things like how to come up with business requirements, how to document them, how to come up with an IT solution, how to manage stakeholders and table discussions depending on to whom you are talking to – are skills I would never be able to learn in one particular program. Before I left I have gathered all the necessary approvals, and my project solution has been fully implemented at the end of 2017.

The exciting thing is that what you learn is not linear. It can be applied to so many areas and you should not feel limited in your career. At your job nobody cares if you had an A in that statistics class if you cannot learn a new methodology on a short deadline. Co-op gave me this amazing opportunity to try out different things, challenge myself, learn more about me as a person, and prepared me for the real world. Resumes, cover letters and interviews do not sound as scary now and I have a better understanding of the job market. If you are considering Co-op: do it. It will not be completely easy but it will definitely be worth it.

Winter 2015

Employer: Transport Canada

Job Title: Junior Economist

Job Description: Created data products using data from TCTEEM and conduct CBA on HDVs and EVs for policy analysis purposes; constructed a forecasting model (Generalized Bass Model), and conducted market research on intermodal transportation and policy currently used by other countries.

Student Testimonial: I believe this was an eye-opening experience as we are often confined within the realm of theory. This work term allowed me to really see how economic theory can be used and applied to real-life situations.

Fall 2015

Employer: Pratt & Whitney Canada

Job Title: Junior Financial Analyst

Job Description: Prepared and updated WIP engine file, Excess & Obsolete material file and Warranty claims account; analyzed and registered journal entries, validated and followed up on credit notes and conducted SOX testing, and conducted maintenance in SAP system related to sales, sales orders, shipment of engines (WIP).

Student Testimonial: This was a good experience and allowed me to put in perspective the different needs across employers. While students acquire skills and competencies through their academic training, there are many skills and competencies that are acquired and/or polished through applying it for work purposes.

Since graduation, I have worked as an economist at Environment and Climate Change Canada. My role consisted of conducting research on various topics in order to provide evidence to policy makers. The goal was to allow for evidence-based decision making on matters that are crucial to the government and the country. The topics covered include carbon pricing, taxation competitiveness, border tax adjustment impact, clean fuel standard, and much more. Most of the work was supported by the results of in-house market research and financial analysis. The findings were communicated in the form of reports and briefing notes. I am currently working at Transport Canada as a research and analysis officer. My role consists of performing the annual passenger forecast for the aviation segment as well as documenting the exercise procedure and updates to the model. For that purpose, I also have to monitor economic conditions and developments relevant to the air transport segment. I am currently preparing for the CFA Level 2 exam and I am also taking classes at the Concordia Continuing Education Centre.

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