My Experience as a Co-op Student at MCIS Language Solutions

By: Ashley Tulio, Communication Specialist

My name is Ashley Tulio and I am currently the Communication Specialist here at MCIS Language Solutions. I am a Ryerson University student in the Ted Rogers Co-op program, studying Business Management! My goal as a co-op student is to be able to expand my knowledge as much as I can through working in different industries, companies, and positions. Within this blog, I will share with you my journey as a co-op student working here at MCIS, including the application process prior to securing the position, the transition to becoming the communications specialist, the lessons and outcomes learned.

Application Process

Applying to jobs during a global pandemic was a challenge! Having sparse options due to the cancellation of positions, technical issues, and conducting online interviews may be issues that co-op students, or anyone who is looking for a job during these hard times, may have come across. For me personally, online interviews are not my greatest strength. I have an outgoing personality and I am an extremely eager individual, however, expressing that during an interview through a screen is a great challenge for me. I prefer having interviews face-to-face, as it is easier to build rapport, be more aware body language, notice nonverbal cues, and overall, make a greater impression through my enthusiastic personality. Luckily, I remember the questions asked during the interview for this position, which gave me the opportunity to truly express my passion, interest, and eagerness that I have for the pursuit of knowledge.

Prior to my MCIS interview, which was scheduled on a Monday, at the time, I had another offer on the table, however, the position was similar to one I had already worked. The other company needed my decision by the Friday before my MCIS interview. I asked to reschedule, and unfortunately they were unable, so I was in a tough situation since I only had two options.

Option 1: Accept the other job after spending a long time searching for one during COVID-19, but the position may not be the best fit for me in regards to the skills I wanted to develop.

Option 2: Decline the offer and take a leap of faith with the hope that I might get the MCIS position, since it was a position in which I was extremely interested.

Both options had pros and cons, and I ended up deciding to decline the offer from the other company and doing the interview on Monday at MCIS! Luckily, I was offered the position a few days later! I strongly believe that with every experience in life there will be lessons to be learned, and value created. The lesson here is sometimes you have to take a leap of faith to achieve your dreams and to always believe in yourself! Now, within the time I have been at MCIS I have enhanced the skills I wanted to develop greatly and grew overall as an individual.

Transition

At MCIS, I am on my second work term. My first work term was during the winter semester of 2020. I was able to work in the office for the first two months, and then due to the lockdown, I had to start working from home for the rest of my work term. My office at the time had a large number of other co-op students from various universities, and at the same time, the desks were arranged in an open concept style, meaning that interaction within the office was always occurring! Transitioning from being in a highly interactive environment to working at home was a drastic change. I am truly grateful for that experience though, as I was able to quickly adapt and find my momentum in regards to productivity. My first co-op experience allowed me to learn how to work efficiently from the comfort of my house, which truly helped my transition to work-from-home for MCIS, as I was already able to find solutions to problems that occurred while I was adjusting to working from home. At the beginning of my work term, MCIS would always host coffee chats that allowed me to meet other co-workers here at MCIS and have casual and fun conversations. As my work term went on there were weekly meetings ensuring communication and transparency across the department at all times. Despite working remoting for the whole duration of the co-op term, I always felt included and highly supported by everyone here at MCIS!

What it’s Like as a Co-op Student

I remember the first few days were already extremely productive at MCIS! I was having meetings with various managers and learning their departmental roles and responsibilities. I was analyzing and looking over different files that I eventually got to work on, and updated them as time went on and changes needed to be made. It was truly never a dull moment, and it still isn’t. All the tasks and assignments I am assigned always have room for me to incorporate my own perspective, creativity, and ideas. Having the freedom to design, create, and contribute my ideas is one aspect of why I love my position! Within my role, there are many different assignments that I am tasked with, from doing tasks on a weekly basis or monthly basis to creating reports, and even conducting ongoing research. Each week I am constantly completing different tasks, enhancing and honing my skills, overall growth, and learning new things! Despite being a co-op student, I receive projects, assignments, and tasks that are important within the Communications Department. Whether my work is short or long- term, conducted individually or with my team, all the work I am assigned gives me space to incorporate my ideas, and space to grow!

Lessons and Outcomes

During my first work term at the government, I always had to draft documents and summarize events, projects, specific topics, etc. This being my first time being in a professional workplace I realized that I only knew how to write documents tailored to professors and school guidelines/formats. In the beginning, I struggled as I was truly only familiar with essay writing, case analysis, and general note-taking for my classes. However, working at MCIS, due to the nature of my role, I took on the responsibility of communicating to our external and internal stakeholders through the form of blogs, vlogs, newsletters, and reports. I was able to improve my writing proficiency by creating audience-appropriate business documents in a variety of formats! I was also able to have a greater understanding of how businesses adapt to the opportunities and challenges in the global business environment. When COVID-19 hit, changes had to happen in order to ensure safety and transparency throughout organizations. Working at MCIS I have seen changes made to adapt to events happening externally and internally. MCIS Language Solutions also posts blogs on how COVID-19 has affected community partners. The posts are called COVID Series and can be found on the MCIS website. Overall, it has been extremely interesting seeing how different companies adapt and make changes to their operations and structure to the changing business environment.

In conclusion, my time at MCIS has been amazing, as I was able to grow as an individual and see MCIS adapt and change as a company. I am excited to continue my journey here at MCIS as now a part-time communication specialist!