Today is the September 1st, which marks the last weekday of the summer. School begins next week and I can safely say with no doubt that this was the best summer of my life.
When you think of working at a large corporation such as RBC, you don’t usually associate it with entrepreneurship or a startup culture. Going into my internship at RBC, I was offered a position on the Intrapreneurship team. That’s right, not entrepreneurship, but Intrapreneurship.
The Intrapreneurship team was fairly new and essentially its role was to promote and facilitate a startup mindset within entrepreneurs inside RBC, to inspire them to innovate and be intrapreneurs. An intrapreneur is an individual who uses entrepreneurial skills within a large corporation to spearhead and develop projects just like the startup world.
Being someone who’s an aspiring entrepreneur, this position was 100% the right fit. I had no idea what I was going into, but at the end of my term here, I can safely say that it was infinitely rewarding. On my first day here, I was locked out of the office and could barely maneuver around the high tech elevators. It was overwhelming at first - a large glass building right by the harbour front in Downtown Toronto - what was a small high school student like me going to do in arguably one of the largest banks in Canada? However, I felt right at home as my amazing team welcomed me and introduced me to countless opportunities. I got the chance to attend RBC expos, TechTO events, and even join in on weekly innovation meetings.
I spent most of my time here creating content for RBC’s internal platform, RBC Connect, where I made blog posts, assisted in the product development of resources for intrapreneurs, and even did graphic design for multiple projects. When I wasn’t doing that, I had meetings with employees to learn more about RBC and gain some new skills. “Wow, you’re in high school?” Was a common comment that I received at my term here.
Throughout my month here, I was exposed to countless technologies that I have never heard of before. Blockchain, cloud computing, Amazon Web Services, and even data science. At the same time, I was learning graphic design and even some UX/UI design. I got the chance to have coffee meetings with numerous talented, open, and welcoming individuals. Whether it was developers, co-ops, managers, or even Vice Presidents, each and every person here at their own story and did not hesitate to help. Oddly enough, Sumit Oberai, who is the Senior Vice President of Digital at RBC, came and gave a lecture on Digital Disruptions at Queen’s SHAD. Fast forward one month, I was working in the same building as him!
This did not feel like the typical 9-5 corporate experience at all. There were beanbags, oculus rifts, Mario Kart competitions during lunch, and even fidget spinners. Everyone’s laptops were filled with unique stickers and it felt exactly like a startup.
RBC truly fosters an environment for creativity and growth, and it shows in its Intrapreneurship and Early Talent programs. RBC holds hackathons, pitch competitions, internal entrepreneurial programs (RBCx) and even a co-op program where students create a product and pitch to senior executives within RBC (RBC Amplify). Certainly a large bank might not appeal to everyone, but after working here for a month, it does not feel like work as it’s a place where I can challenge myself and ultimately learn!
After attending Queen’s SHAD and having the opportunity to pursue my passions at RBC as an entrepreneur inside a corporate setting, I cannot thank SHAD and RBC enough for this opportunity. I’ve learned so much and grew tremendously as an individual throughout the span of two months.
Hong Yi Chen
Walking into my first day at my internship at 753 Group, I was completely unsure what to expect. Business and marketing had never been my favorite subject and I was unsure of whether or not I would enjoy this experience.
After a month at 753 Group, I have realized this has been one of the most interesting and enlightening experiences of my life. Through this internship, I have been able to learn all about how social media advertisements work by creating a bunch of Facebook ads for a variety of products (I’ve even gotten a few sales from them!). I’ve also been able to take part in 753 Group’s resale businesses and I was able to source new products to sell, create organic Facebook posts for the resale pages and write funny and engaging listicle type articles to indirectly advertise products. And free lunch every day wasn’t bad either.
Overall, through these few weeks, I’ve been able to learn so much about how a business operates and how crucial marketing is to it. I’ve been able to experience the work environment at a small startup and I’m sure these new knowledge and experiences will be priceless for me in the future.
These past two months have been full of surprises, first SHAD and now working at Decision Resources Group. I did not know what to expect when we first came to the office, knowing no one here and what I was going to work on. I barely knew how to get to the office in the first place!
However, once I arrived, I was welcomed into an open environment alongside five other SHADs. Us SHAD interns got the chance to experience the strenuous and unique working life: the exhausting, long commute every day to Toronto, the concentration needed of the task at hand, and the liberation of no homework. At DRG, we had the chance to connect with other colleagues at lunch and get insight into daily business operations. One of the best moments of the internship was the chance to sit in on a quarterly meeting and watch the respective managers make comments about the progress of projects and the growth of the company.
So, we just wanted to give a big thank you to SHAD and DRG for giving us this opportunity, knowing that we each gained a lot from our position and will take it with us for the rest of our lives. So again, thank you.
My time at Innovative Automation was an amazing opportunity for myself to not only develop my skills but to expose me to a wide range of different roles within the company. Innovative Automation is a company that provides automation solutions for tasks such as welding plastic together or loading/building parts autonomously. My first week was spent in the sales department where we would conceptualize an automation process for a customer, model it in CAD, and present it to the customer. I learned a lot about how to make machines work and how to take a problem and find a solution. My second week was spent in IT, where I learned about the complex networking system that runs the company. My third week was spent on the shop floor where I did a report on product quality, as well as working in Continuous Improvement where I saw suggestions become reality. My final week was again spent in sales, where I was tasked with my own project to figure out a solution and model it in CAD. Overall, Innovative has been an extremely welcoming community filled with brilliant people creating advanced technology, providing me with invaluable experience for the future.
I can’t be any happier when I found out that I would spent my August at the head office of Vancity, working with the tax department. I know, it sounds like I’m being sarcastic. How fun can tax be, right? Well, as it turned out, a lot! My manager gave me a range of projects to complete, from investigating why there has been a difference in GRIP (which stands for General Rate Income Pool, by the way) calculations between Vancity and the CRA, filling a tax refund by myself, to calculating the “Safe Income” of Vancity and its subsidies. Over the month, I’ve learned so many accountant and tax jargon, I’m actually starting to understand the jokes my bosses are cracking at me! Oh, and I am about 10 pages in the 2660 something pages Income Tax Act 2017. Wish me luck?
For the past two days, I have been working with other interns (Shad and older) at Vancity on our Capstone Project. We were split into four teams, and each assigned a problem within the Vancity corporation that they are trying to solve. We were given two and a half days to come up with a viable solution, and need to present our findings in a 7 minutes presentation. My team is working on how to bring Vancity’s award winning financial literacy program for the underprivileged communities, “Each One, Teach One”, to more people. Although “Each One, Teach One” was launched nationally last year, we are exploring the option of bringing it online, in an attempt to reach a wider audience. We can’t wait to share our ideas with the VPs tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
I’ve always had an interest in money matters, so when I was offered an internship in the Finance and Accounting department at Valley Acrylic, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore this field further. This month, I’ve been working with two other SHAD interns on “the Amazon Project” to launch online sales for Valley Acrylic. Our first step was to learn how to use Amazon Seller Central, so we watched all the tutorial videos from Seller University. Next, we had to improve existing listings on the account by adding product details and adjusting prices. We were also provided with many products from the warehouse to create new listings for. As we became familiar with Seller Central, we were tasked with making a guide, including step-by-step instructions and helpful tips, for the company to use to continue selling on Amazon even after our internship was over. Today, we wrapped up our phase of the project. We reflected on what we’ve accomplished and what steps should be taken next to ensure the company’s success selling on Amazon. Even though today was my last day as a SHAD intern, this has been a really valuable experience that has provided me with important knowledge, skills, and connections for the future.
This past August, I learned that SHAD is much more than a one month experience. In fact, it opened up a whole new world to me as an intern at Medtronic.
The future of medical technology is unfathomable. Globally, scientific and technical innovations are continuously being made in the dynamic field of healthcare. Given the invention of new technologies and the advancement of existing ones alike, occupations in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are projected to grow faster than the average of all occupations (Dennis Vilorio, Occupational Outlook Quarterly).
As a SHAD 2017 fellow, this August I had the incredible opportunity to intern with one of the world’s largest medical device companies – Medtronic. Medtronic is a global leader in medical technology, services and solutions, challenging the status quo to advance value-based healthcare through its technologies and ideas. Intrigued by innovation in healthcare, I was absolutely elated to be selected as a SHAD intern this summer at Medtronic and expected to explore careers in STEM further.
Every day, I work with driven and inspirational professionals who pursue unconventional, yet extremely impactful careers in STEM I never knew existed! Medtronic has re-defined my idea of what a career in healthcare looks like. Similar to most, when I thought of healthcare, I thought of front-line healthcare providers like doctors and nurses, however in reality, there is a multitude of unique careers that can seamlessly integrate multiple passions together with healthcare.
A perfect example is Morteza Zohrabi, MD, who works at Medtronic as the Lead Consultant of Integrated Health Solutions (IHS). Morteza strives to improve patient experience by helping to reduce hospital wait times. A career at Medtronic is definitely a career that changes lives.
Given how much I have learned not only about careers in STEM, but also about digital and written communications, marketing strategy, and branding, I wanted to share my experience with other SHADs.
For that reason, Medtronic hosted the Medical Innovation Seminar on August 22 with the objective of equipping SHAD Fellows with the insight into STEM vital to becoming the leaders of tomorrow.
The seminar featured engaging speaker sessions, including an inspirational presentation given by Neil Fraser, President of Medtronic Canada. Beyond speakers, students were engaged in a career panel, highlighting strong women in STEM and their diverse career backgrounds, and an interactive speed networking session where they had the unique and rare opportunity to be mentored by and connect with Medtronic’s amazing employees from a variety of departments.
“I got to see how companies go about changing the medical field not only in Canada but globally by combining people with different skills to innovate new ways of improving healthcare,” says Angela Souza, SHAD Fellow (’17) and attendee at the Medical Innovation Seminar. “Being able to make connections with professionals from different departments within Medtronic helped me understand what different jobs and skills are required to help a medical company prosper and bring new medical technology to fruition.”
The success of the Medical Innovation Seminar is a result of Medtronic Canada’s evident welcoming company culture, effective collaboration among passionate mentors, and a common drive to inspire and empower youth.
“Being a good corporate citizen is part of our mission,” says Melicent Lavers-Sailly, SHAD Fellow (’97) and Senior Manager of Communications and Corporate Marketing at Medtronic Canada. “We are proud to provide developmental opportunities to youth in our communities, whether it’s through summer jobs and internships, or exposing them to careers in STEM and the medical technology sector.”
Medtronic and SHAD alike, organize initiatives that empower youth and work as catalysts for great social change. It is undoubtable that SHAD plays a major role in empowering youth; immersing Canada’s best and brightest with like-minded and driven individuals in a unique community that stimulates personal growth. I am so grateful to SHAD and Medtronic for making this summer, the best yet!
Interested in becoming part of the SHAD Fellow network? Visit shad.ca/apply to sign up for the latest info on applications.
Today after waking up nice and early, I proceeded to drive to my internship. My usual day consists of anything from website design, to CSS and HTML coding, to video production, and more. However, while today wasn’t far off from the typical day, it was definitely special. Today was the solar eclipse! I began the day with video production. I wrote a script which defines what the hospital is and how it operates. I then proceeded to record a voiceover which took an embarrassing amount of takes. Afterwards, I continued the editing process, inserting correlating video clips to the topics described in the voiceover. After a few hours or so of editing, I was called to check out the eclipse. It was fascinating to see the eclipse through one of the doctor’s pin-hole cardboard box. I quickly took out my camera to try to capture the moment and everyone in the office quickly came out to look through it, and see the eclipse. It was a ton of fun. Afterwards, for the rest of the day, I proceeded to finish my video edits and fine-tune the website I am working on. Today was definitely neat.
This day marks the final day of my internship at the WEnTech Solutions Corporation. Sadly, my experience with them is about to be cut short – ending after having only spent two weeks here – as I am heading out of the country to visit my family. However, I can proudly say that the time spent here has been one of my most rewarding times at SHAD. The internship gave me an incredible insight at the inner workings of a software development company, providing me with a point of comparison for any future job I may have. Throughout my short visit here, I had a rare opportunity to glimpse at the amount of work that goes into data and research for a waste-to-energy conversion analysis. I spent a good chunk of my time organizing the information needed for proper assessment of the said problem, some of which included the analysis of chemical elements in certain products as well as the recordings of methane production over time. I hope my modest contribution has been helpful to the company. Regardless of what I will be working on in the future, I am sure this experience will be beneficial to my future career as well.
Words cannot express how truly grateful I am to have been given an internship opportunity at Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity). What I appreciate about Vancity is the not-for-profit mindset; in contrast to a bank, Vancity strives to redefine wealth for the community. In fact, it has shared 30% of its profits to the community–a total of $18.5 million.
As an intern at the Centralized Lending Administration, I am immersed in a culture of professionals who have worked there for a long time. And yes, I am talking about years of experience in the double digits.
What have I experienced so far?
Sometimes it’s intense, sometimes it’s relaxing. Sometimes there is not an instant without a ring of a telephone; sometimes it’s tranquil, and the only thing you can hear is the soft typing on keyboards. Maybe it’s the work ethic that I appreciate from everyone here. Or it’s just the spectacular view and free timbits.