Co-op Stories: Vanessa Cardona

By: Vanessa Cardona

Vanessa Cardona is currently a Junior in the Biomedical Engineering program at Wentworth. She completed her first co-op with Sanofi Genzyme in Allston, MA as part of the Manufacturing Engineering Group. Vanessa recently sat down with CO-OPS + CAREERS to share her co-op story.

VanessaCardonaCo-op

Tell us about your co-op with Sanofi Genzyme:

For my first co-op, I had the privilege of working at Sanofi Genzyme in Allston, MA where I was part of the engineering group. As the co-op student, some of my responsibilities included: walking down piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID’s) to as built systems at the plant, developing and executing engineering studies, preparing commissioning and qualification documentation for the plant’s major annual maintenance shutdown, and supporting some of the engineers with implementations and/or improvements throughout the site.

What interested you in Sanofi and your role with the engineering group?

Prior to my co-op I had been interning at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where I worked in a few different departments, the last of them being the Cell Manipulation Core Facility. While in this department, I was exposed to a cleanroom setting and a world of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and much more. This was a completely different side of the hospital that I had never seen before, but I loved every part of it.

My dad had been working at the Sanofi in Allston and for as long as I can remember, he would talk to me about the work being done there. As I began the co-op search process, I learned about a few co-op positions that were available for the spring at a few of the different Sanofi sites. From what I knew about Sanofi and from what I was reading in the job descriptions, I thought this would be a great place to start. One of the available positions was being the co-op student for the engineering group. As I read through the job description and the expectations for this role, I found myself checking the imaginary check boxes for all the experiences I was hoping to get out of my co-op. The role offered so many opportunities to grow and learn about working in the industry.

What was your search process like? And how did you prepare for your interviews?

Searching for a co-op was difficult and sometimes stressful. As the fall semester was coming to an end, assignments were piling up, finals were slowly creeping up, and I needed to find a placement for my spring co-op. During my gaps and after classes I would look at co-op postings on WITworks and check the job postings list on just about every company I could think about. After I landed an interview with Sanofi, I prepared for my interview by meeting with my Co-op Advisor to go through potential questions the employer could ask me and by ensuring my resume reflected my previous experiences, as well as my assets.

What was a typical day like at your co-op?

On a typical day I would arrive at Sanofi at 7AM, settle in and decide what were my top priorities for that day. At 8AM we would have our daily department meeting where we would talk about any safety concerns, the status of any projects, and anything else that came up. Because every month we would have a new meeting leader, I was able to take on the role for the month of April. It was intimidating at first but with the support of my supervisor and co-workers I was able to adjust quickly and pick up on a lot of the terminology.

After our morning meeting I would continue to work on my assigned projects which varied from day to day.  One of my main priorities became leading a couple engineering studies so I had to ensure everything was set to perform the engineering studies. This meant making sure the protocol was written and approved, and that we had the support and materials we needed to execute the studies. I also communicated with the third party who was supporting us with one of the engineering studies to make sure they were completing the tests we needed them to perform, as well as ensuring the proposal they sent contained accurate information.

While the engineering studies were taking place, I was also supporting with other tasks like walking down and updating piping and instrumentation drawings, which quickly became one of my favorite things to do. Depending on the system or the equipment, I would find myself in the clean room, completely gowned up (coveralls, booties, etc.) or in the utility space with my hard hat and safety shoes.

What lessons have you learned on your first co-op that will benefit your next co-op?

One huge lesson I learned while being on co-op was that it’s okay to not know everything and to give yourself time to adjust to the new environment. Being new to the industry, it takes time to become comfortable with the terminology, equipment, and systems. When I first started at Sanofi I definitely had moments where I felt like I didn’t fit in because of my lacking level of expertise in the field. As I attended more meetings and met with the different people in my group, I found myself using that terminology not just in the field but in the documents I was writing as well.

What advice do you have for students during their first co-op search?

I would say one piece of advice that has followed me throughout my life is to always ask questions. If this is your first time stepping into the field, there are going to be things you are unsure about. Also, learn as much as you can. Take advantage of new opportunities, shadow different people, try new things, and be proactive.
Being on co-op is the best time to get a preview of what it’s like to work in a professional setting.

In terms of the co-op search process I would say to start early and to take advantage of opportunities to interact with employers whether that be at the co-op fair or at any other event. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about companies, but also a chance to show employers what you can offer to their company.  I think another important tip for the co-op search is recognizing your network and identifying people who might be able to support you during the process. Whether that be by providing you with advice or connecting you to a potential employer.

If there is anything else you’d like to share about your co-op or your search process that was not covered by these questions please include that below.

My co-op experience was amazing. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and for the supportive people I met along the way. Everyone was always so willing support me with projects I was working on and provide me with advice for the future.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Vanessa! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

How to secure your dream co-op

By: Austin Hoag

Austin Hoag is a Wentworth Junior studying Construction Management and serves as the CM Club Operations Manager. One of the many duties assigned to Austin as Operations Manager includes writing content for their website. Here is what he shared about his co-op search and areas where he was successful:

To secure your dream co-op, you will need…

  • A Polished Resume
    •  At this point, between being a student in the #1 Construction Management Program in the country among non-traditional students and having the credentials to be accepted into Wentworth, all students have the ability to create a competitive resume. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend sitting down with Janel Juba, Co-op + Career Advisor for Construction Management and Civil Engineering majors to create a resume employers will love. Besides, the hard part is done, now it is time to take advantage of and showcase your accomplishments!

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  • A Nice Padfolio
    • While this one might seem small, having something more organized than a pile of papers such as a Wentworth branded padfolio while meeting possible employers can go a very long way. Remember that these people will depend on you to be a positive representative of their company, and appearance is a large part of that.  *If you completed Co-op Institute, you will have received a padfolio at the end of the course. If your free Co-op Institute padfolio has gone missing, CO-OPS + CAREERS always has a few on-hand to borrow.
  • Attend CO-OP + CAREER Fair
    • The job fair that is offered twice a year (fall/spring) is, without a doubt, the BEST way to meet employers. The people you meet at the booth offer a unique look into the company and can help to give you an idea of the company culture.
  • A solid idea of what you want out of your co-op
    • One of the first questions almost every employer will ask you is: “what kind of position you would want if you were hired?”. If you know what that is, it can also help you narrow down your searches.

What to bring for your in-person interview…

  • Copies of your resume
    • Although they most likely will already have your resume, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is forgetting to bring it. Having it printed on resume paper shows that you are organized, forward thinking, and excited about the opportunity to interview.
  • Padfolio and or Notepad
    • Taking notes during an interview is vital, not only does it make you look more engaged, but taking notes will help you write a meaningful follow up email. *Write a few questions you want to ask and talking points to prep for your interview that will keep you on track.
  • The right attitude
    • An important part of the interview process is gauging each other’s personalities and making a first impression. Having a positive attitude and tone of voice when answering questions and confident body language can make all the difference.

On your first day and during field walks…

  • Office shoes and steel toe boots
    • In construction, you never know where the day might take you, especially your first day. Even though you may have an office job, employers very well may take you on a site for a variety of reasons. Have your gear ready because you will want to be prepared!
  • Plenty of water/food
    • Again, it’s construction, you never will know what the day will bring. On hot days, almost nothing is more dangerous than not having enough water. Food is often forgotten when it’s your first day, you never know what site you will be on, what the demands are and what will be open around you. Trust me, I have been unprepared in this area before.

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  • A notepad
    • Before my first day, this tip was suggested to me by other employees. One of the most unprofessional things you can do is walk into a meeting empty handed. I was meeting with the president of a subcontractor on my last co-op and I witnessed someone get kicked out of the meeting by their president because they were ill-prepared.
  • Anything that you think you might need
    • If you have a car and think it might come in handy, just bring it. It is always better to have something and not need it than to need it and not have it.

This blog was originally posted here, on the Wentworth CM Club website.

Thank you for sharing your experience and expertise with us, Austin! If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Is the key to success an effective to-do list?

By: Abbey Pober

Monday mornings at the office can sometimes be daunting. You know you have the week ahead to tackle the projects and responsibilities on your plate – but how will you get it all done? This has been a question I’ve tackled at the start of every work week since graduating from undergrad.  The answer, I have found, lies in my tried and true “to-do” lists filled with small, manageable tasks that roll up into the big picture of my goals for that day, week, month, or a specific project. On these lists you’ll find everything from “respond to email from ‘x'” and “develop fall event campaign strategy” to “fix spelling of ‘y’ on website”. The key to an effective “to-do” list is identifying what small actions must be taken to achieve your goals in accordance with your priorities.

 

Making A To-Do List:

To get started, try establishing a running list of all your tasks so you can see all pending work in one consolidated place. The format with which you track this list is a personal choice, and could be a simple handwritten list, a word document on your computer, or on an app/digital planner – whichever method you choose, pick one and stick with it (Cavoulacos)!

Once this list is created you can begin breaking it down into priorities for the week and then tasks you can realistically accomplish in a single day. If you aren’t sure what you can get done in a day, consider something like the 1-3-5 Rule to help you decide what to put on your daily to-do list. Under this rule ” assume that you can only accomplish one big thing, three medium things, and five small things (Cavoulacos).” Keep in mind, if you have meetings on a certain day or are in a role where unexpected tasks can be assigned to you regularly, your capacity to complete work will be reduced and your daily task list should reflect that. I add meetings to my daily to-do list to be sure I account for the time I’ll be away from my desk when prioritizing work for the day. It’s important that you recognize you have a finite number of hours in your day and the goals you set for yourself should reflect that.

Organization

Digital Tools to Help You

Recently I transitioned my handwritten system to an all-digital tracking method which had two benefits: I’ve reduced the amount of paper waste I create, and the digital format has helped me to prioritize and manage my responsibilities more effectively because I am able to keep my running list, weekly and daily task plans, and project goals all in one place. An unexpected bonus – I can share my digital planner with my boss who can see all the work on my plate and help me prioritize when needed. Below are some apps and tools I have used and recommend for getting started:

  • Microsoft Planner (free for Wentworth students and staff with your network access credentials)
  • Trello
  • Asana (free for individuals)
  • Microsoft ToDo
  • Excel/Google sheets
  • Phone task/reminder app

 So, why have a to-do list?

The benefits of creating a running task list and planning your work out by week and day are significant. First, because you’ll have a firm grasp on your tasks and priorities you are able to have informed discussions with your supervisor if they come to you with a new project. You can talk to them about where the new work fits in the context of your current plan and re-prioritize accordingly (Cavoulacos).  Beyond this practical application, setting small achievable goals can keep you motivated in your work and on track to achieving your big picture goals (Wood, 2018). Your to-do list is a physical manifestation of your goals and a roadmap for how you plan to achieve success.

Post-its

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

 

References:

Cavoulacos, A. (n.d.). Why You Never Finish Your To-Do Lists at Work (And How to Change That). The Muse. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-you-never-finish-your-todo-lists-at-work-and-how-to-change-that

Wood, D. (2018, October 17). How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success. Lifehack. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-the-act-of-daily-goal-setting-makes-you-successful.html

 

Bridging the Generational Gap in the Workplace

By: Chris McIntyre

At each point in your career– especially on co-op– you will work with colleagues in a variety of age brackets. They’ll be different in almost every way, from communication style to attire to their views on what it means to be a professional. To be successful in any workplace it’s imperative to understand how to navigate these generational differences. Understanding this will lead to greater levels of collaboration and higher levels of productivity – as well as perhaps saving you from embarrassing faux pas.

First, a brief primer on generations (Keep in mind there are no official cut-off points):

Baby Boomer: Those born from 1946-1964

Gen X: Those born from 1965-1979

Gen Y/Millennial: Those born from 1980-2000.

Author Jean Twenge dubbed the next generational bracket (2000-Present) iGen due to growing up with smartphone technology. iGens, who the eldest of the generation are now college-age, have key differences than previous generations at the same age including:

  • Less religious
  • Much more comfortable with technology
  • A tendency to experience life events, such as getting a driver’s license, at a later age
  • Spending less time with friends in person, but always staying connected to them
  • Less likely to have a part-time work experience before entering college

That last point is key when thinking about applying to co-ops. Hiring managers, who probably are from a different generation, may not know a co-op will be some iGens’ first job. So, when putting together your resume, think about the transferable skills employers look for: communication, collaboration, time management, problem solving, etc. It’s important to highlight these skills whether you got them from a school activity, sport or student organization.

Female biting pencil

My work in Employer Relations allows me to interact with individuals spanning all generations. In addition to the importance of transferable skills, another consistent thing I hear is the importance of professional communication. iGens don’t use their smartphones as a telephone, something previous generations have a hard time understanding. Thus, it’s important to spend time working with your advisor to practice professional telephone communication if you’re not comfortable. Often your first-round interview will be a phone screen, so it is vital you feel comfortable.

Working with iPhone

Related to verbal communication, employers frequently emphasize the importance of professional written communication. iGens tend to write in a less formal structure and tone, while other generations are the opposite. So, when writing cover letters and e-mails ensure you are writing in a clear and professional tone (PS – your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor should be reviewing your cover letters and other professional communications).

Don’t overlook the importance of understanding other generations. While it will be necessary on the job, it could even be the difference between getting the job in the first place.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Co-op Stories: Prabhjyot Kaur

Prabhjyot Kaur is a Wentworth Junior studying Computer Information Systems. She recently completed her first co-op with The TJX Companies as an IT business Analyst in Marlborough, MA.  Prabhjyot sat down with CO-OPS + CAREERS to share her co-op story.

Student Smiling

Tell us about your co-op at TJX: 

I worked with the release management team for selling and payments, so I was involved in organizing deployments for the MarMaxx and HomeGoods/HomeSense POS (Point-of-Sale) systems. As an IT Business Analyst I was responsible for managing and communicating the schedule for deployments, sending beta statuses, creating business documentation and presentations, and reporting release defects.

What interested you in this company and the role?

Some of my friends did their co-op at TJX and talked very highly about the company including the people and work culture. They encouraged me to apply and I was very interested because TJX is a well-known company and I love the stores. I applied as an IT business analyst because that is one of the career paths I am looking into after graduation. I want to get some experience as a BA in an IT setting and see if I actually enjoy it.

TJX was my first offer and they gave me a week to accept or reject. Around that time I was waiting to hear back from a company I interviewed at but unfortunately I did not get the job. After that, I accepted the TJX offer instantly, I was hesitant only because it was located in Marlborough (45 mins from Boston).

Tell us about your search process and what steps you took to land your co-op at TJX.

I applied to the TJX website directly in August and then started my interview process around late September. The first interview was a digital interview where I had to answer questions under 3 minutes while recording myself. That was definitely one of the most awkward interviews I’ve had. After that, I was called into the headquarters for an interview. There were around 40 interviewees and some even flew in from schools around the country, it was very intimidating. There were three rounds of interviews and the questions were very behavioral and about related experiences.

To prep for the TJX interview, I made sure to research the company and what it stands for, values, etc. Interviewers find it very impressive when you can talk about the company, you’ll appear as someone who is prepared and puts in that extra effort. Also I read up on previous projects and class assignments that I could bring up in my interviews. I reviewed those projects and wrote down the process/steps, results, lessons learned, and how they can relate back to my role. For some job interviews I also read old PowerPoint lectures. Especially on networking, SQL, and JAVA so that I could be prepared for a technical question. I strongly encourage everyone to read up on lectures, projects, or even brush up certain technical skills before an interview because it helps a lot when you can speak about past experiences and concrete skills.

What was a typical day like at your co-op? Do you work alongside other co-op students?

My typical day consists of many meetings between 9am-5pm, sometimes 3-4 1hr/30min long meetings. I am usually the one taking meeting minutes so I will revise anything I have and send it out to all the teams. Then my manager will either give me my tasks for the day or I will continue working on any task or project. TJX hires around 70+ co-ops and they are disbursed throughout four buildings. I am the only co-op within my team and the selling and payments department, but I am part of a co-op project with two other students from Northeastern. I got to work with other co-op students for 2-3 months and met them a couple of times throughout the week to go over project details.

While on co-op, what project(s) have you been a part of, or something that you are working on, that has inspired you?

As a co-op I was a part of many customer facing deployments and projects. I cannot share much detail since they are still work in progress but it is amazing to see how projects we’ve worked on are customer facing, even I, as a customer, utilize those features. I’ve been involved in many of the project planning sessions and know about the upcoming releases. I find this so amazing and inspiring because even when I leave this company I can go to a TJMaxx and say “I was a part of this.”

I am also part of a project where we have to propose fixes to the current TJX buying system. Myself, along with two other co-ops, had been working on this for 2-3 months. It took a lot of research since this was a part of the company we weren’t familiar with. We spent a lot of time attending meetings with the business architects and shadowing merchandising leads and assistants. This experience allowed me to look into other interesting careers such as buying and merchandise planning. Also, this project gave me the opportunity to venture out and learn about something completely different than my field of work.

What was the biggest lesson you learned through your co-op?

The biggest lesson I learned through my co-op is that you have to be self-sufficient and take initiative. TJX is a huge corporation and for the first couple of months it was hard adjusting to the high risk, fast paced environment. At times I was given tasks that I didn’t know how to do, but I would either research about the topic or look up instructions online. There were days where I wasn’t given much to do, so I used the company training resources and educated myself on different methodologies and processes. It is important to be self-sufficient and productive even if you are not getting undivided attention or guidance.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Prabhjyot! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Getting the Most out of Your Sophomore Summer

By: Lauren Creamer

I’m a sophomore and I didn’t get an optional co-op this summer… what should I do?

The summer co-op deadline has come and gone, and you might find yourself disappointed that you weren’t able to find an optional co-op. I’m here to tell you that it is OK – there is so much time left in your summer. There is plenty to do to prepare yourself for your first mandatory co-op.

You can keep searching for co-ops. Our co-op reporting deadline is early because Wentworth operates on a trimester system – our classes end earlier than most other schools’. This also means that employers who are looking to hire summer co-ops might not have their recruiting cycles quite synced with ours. You can still find postings on indeed.com, engineerjobs.com, etc. And on the websites of employers. And you can still apply to these jobs! You just won’t be able to get co-op credit for them.

You can find a part-time job in your field, or a shorter work experience. Fun fact: if an employer comes to us seeking a co-op student past the deadline, we encourage them to post their position as a part-time role on WITworks. This will give you direct access to the job on the same platform you’ve been using to search all along. You can also use other job search sites to identify part-time work related to your field. Now that you don’t need to abide by co-op guidelines, you may find opportunities opening up left and right.

Summer co-op search

You can set-up some job shadows. You don’t have to commit to a new job to get experience and exposure in your field. Employers that wouldn’t otherwise be able to hire you may certainly be willing to have you in for a few days to a week, so you can learn about the work they do. This will help you build professional connections, too. Employers are impressed by commitment to the field outside the classroom, and this is an easy way to show you are dedicated to learning about your future profession.

You can do a bunch of informational interviews. Don’t have the time or transportation to commit to a job shadow? Consider using LinkedIn or your personal network to find folks with whom you could do informational interviews. This could be in-person, but over the phone works just fine. Similar to the job shadow, you would be learning more about your field and making connections you could later utilize.

You can volunteer at a non-profit in your field. If your technical discipline overlaps with the non-profit sphere, you should consider volunteering. This could be as little as one day per week where you would be exposing yourself to a specific work environment, learning about your field, and giving back to your community.

Volunteers

You can be intentional about identifying how your seemingly unrelated part-time job or familial obligations may be preparing you for a co-op. I know that, for some of you, the above suggestions are simply not realistic options. And that is OK. If you need to be working a job that pays well (but isn’t related to your field) or you need to be caring for family, we in CO-OPS + CAREERS understand. Your experiences are still valuable! Consider what transferable skills you are building. Are you honing your communication skills? Have you developed strong customer service skills? Are you utilizing your troubleshooting skills in a different environment?

Whether you spend the summer working in your field, setting-up professional development opportunities, or building transferable skills, the experience you add to your resume will be a strong asset you can bring to your mandatory co-op search.

As always, to speak with your Co-op + Career Advisor please stop by our office on the first floor of Wentworth Hall across from Admissions during summer drop-in hours 2:00-4:00pm or call our front desk at 617.989.4101.

Meet our Marketing Intern: Lauren Rodolakis

By: Lauren Rodolakis

Growing up, I always knew I had a passion for creativity. My favorite past-times were journaling, filming and editing footage of my family’s vacations, and blogging. By the time I was 16 I had taught myself how to edit HTML on Tumblr so I could customize my blog and had a Twitter account dedicated to the Boston Red Sox that amassed over 2,000 followers in 6 months. When my junior year of high school rolled around, I had decided on communications and public relations as a major because of the emphasis on all things creative.

LaurenInternPhoto

I spent my first two years of college taking public relations courses, joining clubs like the Public Relations Student Society of America, and securing my first internship. In the summer going into my junior year, I was given the opportunity to work as a social media intern for a national healthcare staffing agency. I created a full content calendar for each of their social media platforms, built them a blog and an Instagram account, started weekly employee spotlights, monthly office tours, and worked with the in-house graphic designer to create promotional materials for career fairs. This internship was my first look into the world of social media and at the time, I had no idea how instrumental it would be towards my future career.

Although I loved working as a social media intern, I had never worked in a real public relations agency setting so I left to peruse a more traditional PR career. My junior and senior year were spent at a boutique tech PR agency, a world-renowned PR agency doing consumer account work, and a mid-sized integrated agency where I did traditional PR for a consumer electronics brand. At each agency I went to, I kept hoping I would like the next one better. I always blamed my reasons for not loving the internship on the agency culture, the clients, or the tasks I was given. One day, I realized I just don’t love traditional PR. I missed the work I was doing at my social media internship and felt the tasks I was being given did not leave much room for creativity.

With my senior year spring semester approaching, I knew I needed to find a great opportunity that would expand my knowledge in the social media world. Finding my internship at the Wentworth Institute of Technology’s CO-OP + CAREERS department has been the perfect way to end my college career. I was given the ability to be more creative in a work setting than I ever have before and enhance my skills in graphic design, video editing, and social content creation.

LaurenInternPhoto

My experience at Wentworth was also instrumental in helping me land my job for after graduation. In May, I will start my career as a Social Media Community Manager at Reviewed, a USA Today company where I will focus on building engagement with our followers across our social channels. My career path has certainly not been linear, but I learned a lot. Through my internships, I was able to pinpoint what I truly love to do and what I am passionate about and now, I am lucky enough to be able to make a career out of those passions.

Thank you for dedicating your semester to our marketing team, Lauren! Follow all of Lauren’s updates on her website: https://www.laurenrodolakis.com/.

Co-op Stories: Sophia Seltenreich

Sophia Seltenreich is a Wentworth Junior studying Business Management with a minor in International Business. Sophia recently completed her first mandatory co-op with Yesware in Downtown Boston where she worked as a Content Strategy Co-op, which was a hybrid position of content marketing and market analysis. In this role, her tasks included developing cadence and curating content on social channels, establishing perspectives/thought leadership & analyzing data in the area of sales to write about on Yesware’s blog, tracking KPIs for Yesware and competitors to measure growth and success, designing graphics for website and social platforms, and customer outreach for data insights and review generation. Here’s what she shared with us about her experience:

What was it like to work at a start-up like Yesware?

It’s incredible! Every day is so lively and so different. You have a lot of flexibility and independence, but also a lot of responsibility. Given the ever-changing start-up environment, you have to be adaptable and ready to pivot at any time. Personally, I love that aspect of the start-up environment. I also love the work I’m doing because even though I’m a co-op, everyone in the company is so interconnected and reliant on each other that even small things like writing a blog post make a difference!

Sophia Seltenreich Headshot(Photo courtesy of Yesware)

Speaking more to the company culture, Yesware was voted Boston’s Top Place to Work two years in a row (2017/2018). Everyone at the company is treated exceptionally well, and as a co-op, I was treated no different than a full-time employee. Some office perks include: free catered lunch every day, pet-friendly office space – which means people often bring in their dogs, weekly yoga sessions, monthly massages, board game nights, a nap room, a fully stocked kitchen (including vegan ice-cream & oatmilk), and great people! I cannot speak enough to the character and integrity that each person at Yesware embodies. For example, every two months, all the execs participate in an AMA (Ask Me Anything), exhibiting complete transparency and authenticity, taking the time to answer everyone’s questions. Another example, when an employee makes a successful hiring referral, instead of getting a cash bonus, they make a $5,000 donation to a charity of their choosing. Our People Team also plans and hosts several community events throughout the year, like a Galentine’s Day celebration with She+ Geeks Out & the Big Sister Association of Boston. Getting to work with these kinds of genuine people is the best environment to learn and grow in, and it shows me how passionate people are about the work they do and the communities they’re a part of.

Galentines Event(Photo courtesy of Yesware)

How did you choose to work at a start-up?

I received a competing co-op offer for social management at Liberty Mutual, the antithesis of a start-up company. While working at a fortune 100 company can provide stability and safety, I wasn’t looking to sit at a cubicle and do the same set tasks every day (even if it meant getting a lower wage).

What was a typical day like for you on co-op?

As I said before, every day can be different! A fairly typical day starts off with me scheduling Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn posts (after I’ve made myself some breakfast & tea) and going through new emails. After that, I work on sprint goals such as drafting new blog pieces, creating review campaigns, conducting customer outreach for feedback, sorting through data in Pardot, designing graphics in canva  etc. Then (free) lunch comes along! After lunch, marketing has a daily stand-up at 1:30pm where we usually discuss the tasks we’re working on (and everyone’s progress as we re-watch Game of Thrones). The latter half of the day consists of me listening to podcasts and finishing whatever goal I set for myself in the morning.

Yesware Office(Photo courtesy of Yesware)

What advice do you have for students who are interested in working for a start-up?

Advice for those seeking start-up jobs: be flexible, and highly adaptable! Take pride in your work, but don’t get too attached to it- changes can be made, projects can be dropped, and work can be scrapped. Be a self-starter, take the initiative on connections and projects you think would help your team or their processes.

What did you learn from your first co-op that you will take with you to your second? 

I learned that I had to apply to 40+ positions before I found one I truly resonated with. Don’t be afraid to turn companies down just because they’re the first to offer you a job.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Sophia! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your search process, co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office during Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Place-Bound Job Search

By: Lauren Creamer

There are many reasons a person might not be able to travel to or relocate for a job opportunity, the most common among them being 1) not having the ability to drive or access to a car, and 2) living at home, away from Boston.

This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a co-op– it just means you need to be strategic in your search and start as far in advance as possible.

If you know in advance that you will be confined to a relatively small geographic area, you should consider the state of the employment market for your discipline. Let’s consider the following example.

Student driving car

You are a biomedical engineering student who lives on-campus and doesn’t have a car. While the biotech industry is booming in Boston and Cambridge, there are many start-ups and small companies that don’t have the bandwidth or financials to support a co-op student.

What can you do in advance to identify hard-to-find opportunities in the city?

You can network at off-campus events. You can reach out to alumni through LinkedIn. You can apply to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Internship Challenge. You can go to the career fairs of other schools (yes, many will let you in even if you are not a student!). All of these avenues take time and effort to explore, so starting early is critical for your success.

The same is true for being place-bound to a suburban or rural area. You may have access to a car here, but what is the market like? Another example. You are an architecture student who needs to be home for your co-op semester due to a financial hardship. You live in suburban Connecticut and the firm options are few and far between. Again, you need to start early. Use resources like the Connecticut chapter of AIA to identify firms within reasonable driving distance. Talk with your advisor about less common options like working in construction or construction management.

Connection through phone

I have seen students land great co-ops that meet their geographic restrictions and I have seen students truly struggle. The difference is in how prepared they were for their search.

I recommend incorporating the following actions into your search to yield maximum return:

  • Apply to job postings early and often. Use the job search sites that make sense for you (location specific sites, generic sites that have location filtering options, professional organizations for your region, etc.).
  • Follow-up within one to two weeks – on the phone, if you can.
  • Make cold calls to inquire about potential opportunities, even if nothing is listed on a company’s site.
  • Use your network – and Wentworth’s network – to identify opportunities.
  • Connect with alumni on LinkedIn and build a relationship through informational interviews (do this early, so you can inquire about jobs at the right time).
  • Ask your Co-op + Career Advisor if they know anyone else who has gone through a similar search. They may be able to connect you to that person, so you can learn from their experience.

Most importantly, talk about your plans with your Co-op + Career Advisor. A place-bound job search is incredibly active – you may not be able to rely on WITworks in the same way as your peers. That is OKAY. Your advisor will have tips that are specific to your major and personal situation. We are here to support you – whatever your needs!

Rocket.Build Community Hackathon: Event Recap

By: Kristen Eckman

This past weekend, Wentworth CO-OPS + CAREERS hosted the Rocket.Build Community Hackathon inviting students from the Boston area to participate in a 32-hour long hacking challenge. Participants completed challenges and designed specific hacks based on the following themes:

Best Housing Hack

Best Transportation and Mobility Hack

Best Environmental Hack

Best Rising Water Impact Hack

Best Job Portal for Highly Skilled Immigrants Hack

Best Connecting Community to Hackathons Hack

The Rocket.Build Community Hackathon was made possible through partnership between Wentworth and Rocket Software along with significant support from faculty and student organizers from the Computer Science Society, HackWITus, and Accelerate.

Participants began hacking Saturday morning after an opening ceremony facilitated by Anjali Arora, Rocket Software Chief Product Officer. Throughout the two-day event Rocketeers, alongside Wentworth faculty and staff, volunteered their time to lead breakout sessions on topics including “Technical Interviewing”, “HTTP Servers & Databases”, and “Predicting Boston Housing Prices Using AI”.

 

RS Hackathon

 

Nearly one hundred students from eight Boston area colleges and universities attended the event, while 64 went on to present their hacks in teams to a panel of Rocket judges Sunday afternoon. Prizes were awarded based on the following categories:

Judges Pick for Community Build: Hyperdome – An anonymous help line with no fear of stigma or consequences.

Created by: Skyelar Craver, Steven Pitts

Environmental Hack: Trash Tag Tracker – Used the #trashtag movement to inspire reporting locations to be cleaned up.

Created by: Bruce Craig, Vincent Jodice, Andrew Bissel, Griffen Campbell, and Corey Everett

Connecting Community Hack: C Squared – A Portal to match volunteers with non-profits.

Created by: Damian Barrows, Mason Osborn, Joe Schnachert, Keidon London, and Simon Wang

Rising Water Hack: Waterfront – Educate Boston residents on susceptibility to flooding.

Created by: Ethan Arrowood, Julia Connor, and Colin Hennessy

Housing Hack: Homefront – Site for user submitted information on homes for safety.

Created by: Gia Hill, Ryan Clonrety, and Yali Izzo

Special Award for Resilience: Green Posh –  They lost 2 of 5 members during the night! Empower reduced consumption.

Created by: Nate Bland, Teddy Gadie, and Camille Calabrese

Check out all hacks submitted here: https://rs-hackathon-2019.devpost.com/submissions

 

RS Hackathon

 

The event was a robust experience and recruiting opportunity as students applied their academic and creative problem-solving skills, interacted with Rocket Software staff (mentors, hiring managers, HR professionals) and persevered under a demanding deadline with little sleep. All students gained experience to build their skill set (and resumes) and five co-op opportunities were awarded to Wentworth students!

Technical skills strengthened by hacking:

  • Team formation, collaboration and management
  • Public presentation skills
  • Research, ideation and problem solving
  • Honed programming skills in coding languages
  • Used new software programming tools
  • Built servers, websites and apps
  • Designed complex databases
  • Applied high level math
  • Used AI/Machine Learning for predictive modelling

RS Hacking

 

Thank you to all who participated and volunteered this weekend to make The Rocket.Build Community Hackathon a success! Stay tuned for more events like this one. Keep up-to-date through our Events Page.

 

Check out what Rocket Software had to say about their experience at Wentworth:

ROCKET.BUILD COMMUNITY: A NEW GLOBAL TRADITION

MENTORING AT THE FIRST ROCKET.BUILD COMMUNITY HACKATHON

 

More photos from the event can be found here.