ben edelstein

Q1. 

What program were you in?

BBA, Business Management.

Q2. 

Where did you have your co-op work placement?

During my studies, I was working for an auto group in the Richmond Auto Mall. I didn’t want to leave the company so I pitched a co-op position to the Sales Director. Our location had a marketing team but we didn’t have anyone running social media or events, so I offered to take on the role of Marketing Assistant as a co-op student. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about myself during that time.

Q3. 

What is the biggest takeaway from your co-op experience?

Find the value in every opportunity you take. Find the value personally in the co-op position you take, and the skills you can develop when performing it. Find the value that you can bring to those around you, be it your coworkers, or your customers. When you can find and demonstrate that value on a daily basis, you also create a better case for your manager to keep you around after your co-op is done; an ideal scenario of graduating with job in-hand.

Q4. 

What work are you doing now?

I’m a Channel Partner Representative at a technology services company providing SaaS electronic message archiving, instant messaging, compliance and supervision solutions with a focus on highly regulated industries.

Q5. 

How did your co-op jobs prepare you for the work that you’re doing now?

Going through the process of identifying a need, developing a job description to meet that need, and then pitching it to my Sales Director was a great experience for me. I didn’t want to leave my current company, so I had to be creative in coming up with a solution. That kind of ability to assess potential gaps and fill them creates value for a firm; something needed in today’s business landscape. 

Q6. 

Looking forward, where would you like your career to go?

One of the biggest priorities in my life is the ability to maintain the balance between personal and professional development. As someone who regularly looks to fill gaps in his week with opportunities to benefit both, I would hope to find a career that could afford me the flexibility to do so.

Q7. 

What would you say to someone who asks you about co-op?

Co-op provides an amazing opportunity where you can dip your toes in different waters to see what you like. It’s a no harm, no foul situation. Your co-op is four to eight months and if you’ve made some mistakes or don’t love it, you can walk away and try something else. I only did one co-op semester, but I wish I had done more. If you don’t do any co-op’s, then all you have is your degree and you’re going to have to fight really hard to prove to a company that you’re worth the investment. Co-op will help you build your experience so it’s easier to show a company that you have the skills.