Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

Ten years of matching students with the jobs they want

Author: Liz Lemon-Mitchell

Posted on Jul 17, 2010

Category: Faculty Highlights

When a lot of the recent BBA alumni think back and remember their first real work experience, they think of their first Co-op placements. Co-op work terms gave them the opportunity to see what their future careers may look like and decide if they would actually enjoy the work they would be doing.

The Faculty of Business Administration’s Co-op Program is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year! The program has been a huge success since it began in Sept. 2000, placing well over 700 students with the jobs they desired. Currently there are between 80-95 new students entering the program each year.

Students normally take positions with local companies such as ACOA, UNB, Agriculture Canada, local CA firms and many departments of the provincial government like the Department of Finance, and the Department of Education. Some other students though, have joined nationally recognized organizations such as Research in Motion (RIM), Fritolay, Xstrata Mines, SUNCOR, and SABIAN.

One of the big advantages of working for these companies through Co-op placements is that you get your foot through the door. Many companies tend to offer students full-time positions upon graduation. Helping students successfully start their careers right after graduating is one of the goals of the Co-op program.

When asked about success stories, the Co-op Coordinator, Valerie Whyte commented, “The definition of success is so unique to the individual and to the particular work term that I feel like there have been many success stories but for many different reasons”. Whether it is financial success, career based success, or personal growth and positive development, almost all students that have gone through the Co-op program have had some kind of success. As Valerie Whyte put it, “the program is working”.

One example of a financial success story that Valerie Whyte shared was about Johnathon Nason. John is a recent BBA graduate working for SUNCOR in Fort McMurray, Alberta. He was offered a huge starting salary with a signing bonus which put him up into the six figures.  His success can be attributed to his incredible work experiences with JD Irving in Saint John and with SUNCOR.  John is now managing 26 people in the accounting and finance division in this organization and he is not yet 30 years old!

The Co-op program not only gives students the opportunity to see what their future careers may look like, but it also gives them invaluable work experience. The last thing any graduate wants to do is spend four years earning their degree only to find they can’t get a decent job because they have no experience. Co-op students will have somewhat of an edge in the initial competitive job search upon graduation, if only for their experience. 

Andalib Ahmed, a Co-op student from Dubai writes, “The financial investment in my work terms showed me positive results.  I am an international student and investing in co-op work terms has helped me gain a grand understanding of the work environment in North America which I believe will help me in my future career and will also add experience in my resume”