Co-op: The Smart Choice For Future Professional Success

By Concordia University Modified on March 02, 2017

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When Abel Oppong first began his program in Biochemistry, making the transition to university-level academics seemed somewhat daunting. But Oppong has achieved outstanding marks the whole way through and seen his lab skills and soft skills alike take off.

He credits in part the decision to do Co-op, allowing him to complete three paid internships during his degree. Two Co-op terms involved mostly "bench work" - like amplifying DNA and inserting it into cells - but he's also gained experience conducting market research into the instruments chemists and biochemists use to do their work. "It's been like stepping into a whole new world," Abel says, noting that his "extroverted skill set" has grown significantly.

With an affinity for physics, computer engineering student Anita Haurie originally saw herself in a theory-based program. But she's since landed in a programming stream, which feels like the perfect match. "You're given a problem and told, 'Here are a bunch of tools, figure out how to solve it,'" she says. "There's not always one clear-cut path, so it challenges you to think a bit more."

Anita's paid internship was in video game development for her "dream" company, Ubisoft Montreal. "I'm so happy with it," she says. "I'm getting paid to do something I would enjoy anyway." Her advice: "That quote - 'do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life' - it's true."

For both Abel and Anita, the chance to do paid internships has been a key part of their education.

Some of the advantages:

  • Continue learning in a professional context
  • Earn money to finance your degree
  • Develop your professional network

Concordians work for organizations like Bombardier, Ernst & Young, L'Oréal, the Canadian Space Agency, Pfizer, Suncor Energy, Tesla Motors, the McCord Museum and more.