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.

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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.

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.

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!

Using WITworks for your co-op and full-time job searches

By: Abbey Pober

So, you’ve heard that WITworks is where you’ll find co-ops and jobs or learn about events being hosted by CO-OPS + CAREERS. But what is WITworks exactly? We hear this question a lot. WITworks is Wentworth’s on campus job board where employers specifically looking to hire Wentworth student’s post co-ops and jobs. Ever position posted is reviewed by a member of the CO-OP + CAREERS team and we do not accept any postings that don’t meet our standards. WITworks is also where you can find and register to attend networking events organized by CO-OPS + CAREERS, like the upcoming CO-OP + CAREER Fair, and workshops like Employer Panels.

To access WITworks head over to https://wit-csm.symplicity.com/students and login using your Wentworth email and network password (I recommend you use Google Chrome or Firefox to access the system). Or, download the WITworks App “Symplicity Jobs and Careers” on the App Store and Google Play. For those curious readers wondering why it’s not called the “WITworks App”, the system is created by Symplicity, an industry leader in providing support tools for career services around the world. That said, WITworks is managed by me, and my role is dedicated to ensuring the system works properly for students, employers, and the Co-op + Career Advisors.

Here are some tips on using the system and finding what you need.

Search for Posted Co-ops and Jobs

You can customize your search using filters and save your search, so the system emails you when new jobs get posted. To search for co-ops or jobs, select Jobs > Search from the left-hand menu.

 

 

To access search filters from the WITWorks Jobs screen select “See all jobs”.

Add your position type from the header filters: 

*Note: employers do not use “Industry” in their job postings, therefore the most relevant jobs will be found by searching your major. Do not select an industry in your search.

Add your major and work term via “More Filters”
(Expand the drop down using the arrow to select your major) 

Saved Searches

A saved search allows you to save the search criteria you entered so you can run the same search again and again. You can also set your saved search to run automatically and email you when new jobs are posted. To save your search once you’ve customized the results, select “Create Job Alert”

Your saved search will be added to your “Job Alerts”. To edit the notification settings of your new saved search, select “Job Alerts” and change the frequency an alert is sent to you using the drop-down menu. You can also click on this saved “Job Alert” to replicate the search criteria the next time you login to search.

 

Register to Attend Networking Events

To search for events, select Events from the left-hand menu. Then select the event type you are looking for.

 

 

 

 

 

Register from the event listing page or click on the event to learn more information like the location of the event or the employers attending.

If you have questions about using WITworks I encourage you to stop by drop-in hours or make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor. Or come see me at the Info Booth during Prep Week before the CO-OP + CAREER Fair.

To make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617 989 4101.

Spring 2019 Drop In Hours: Monday, Tuedsday, and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:0pm while classes are in session.

First-Generation Students and the Job Search

By: Abbey Pober

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How does a co-op or job search differ for First-Generation students? Before I can get into those nuances, we must first define what it means to be a “First-Generation” or “First-Gen Student”. This definition varies slightly from institute to institute, but here at Wentworth we define First-Gen Students as “students who come from families where their parents did not complete a four-year college degree.” What this ultimately means for students who are the first in their families to attend college is that there is a “possibility that a student may lack the critical cultural capital necessary for college success because their parents did not attend college (Defining First Generation, 2017).” This does not mean that a First-Gen student will not be successful, it just means that they face hurdles and obstacles to navigating the college experience that their peers with parents who can guide them through the process, do not.

When it comes to a co-op or job search, First-Gen students often face additional challenges to understanding and conducting their search as well as with the transition from college to work.  From my own personal experience as a First-Gen student, I can remember not knowing where to start. Some of my questions included: What are my career path options? How do I network? What do I need to include on my resume? And why do I need to write a cover letter? The good news is, you don’t have to know the answers to these questions, you just need to know who to ask to get the support you need to be successful in your co-op and job searches.

This is where your Co-op + Careers Advisor comes in! The first day I walked into the Career Center at my University I was determined to get a summer internship between my Junior and Senior years but had no clue what career paths were available to my major, and the types of internships that would help to position myself for a future on that path. I was also very intimidated by networking because I knew my parents and extended family did not necessarily have connections in the field I was headed into and did not know where to begin building my own network. Through a series of follow up meetings, my career advisor helped me identify several paths that I could take (which included making my way to the job I am in now), supported my search through helping me tailor my resume/cover letter for each opportunity I was interested in, and educated me on the various on campus and off campus opportunities to network with and meet employers. The moral of this story? The first thing you should do is seek support and ask your questions! At Wentworth, you have a dedicated Co-op + Career Advisor based on your major who is here to help you prepare for conducting your co-op and job searches. They can help you navigate choosing opportunities that are a good fit for you, strategize ways to make connections through on and off campus opportunities, and cheer you on through your whole process. Your professors are excellent people to discuss your career goals with and identify industry events that can help you on your search.

So, what do you do if you or members of your family don’t have connections in your target industry or at employers you are interested in? First, don’t worry – your networking is a “living” resource, that grows with your career and can change as you gain experience and expertise. It is normal not to have a network if you don’t have work experience and haven’t been participating in industry events. Don’t let the lack of an established network prevent you from taking steps to build yours. You can start creating your network right here at Wentworth through events and opportunities to connect with employers and your peers, including: the Fall and Spring CO-OP + CAREER Fairs, Mock Interview Day, Wentworth on the Road, Employer In Residence drop-ins, Employer info-sessions, and major specific events. Want to take your efforts a step further? This article outlines 6 ways to get ahead when you don’t have connections.

To meet with a Co-op + Career advisor, make an appointment or swing by fall drop-in hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 1:30 – 4:00 PM. Our office is located at 101 Wentworth Hall. Feel free to contact us via email at coopsandcareers@wit.edu, or call us at 617-989-4101.

Resources:

Defining First Generation. (2017, Nov 20). Center for First-Generation Student Success Blog. Retrieved from https://firstgen.naspa.org/blog/defining-first-generation

Sanders, K. (2018, Sept 25). 6 ways to get ahead when you don’t have connections. Fast Company. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/90236706/6-ways-to-get-ahead-when-you-dont-have-connections

Mock Interview Day Fall 2018 Recap

By: Abbey Pober

Our annual Mock Interview Day was held on Thursday, November 1st from 3:00pm –6:00pm in Watson Auditorium. The day consisted of five rounds of 35-minute interviews conducted by 41 employer volunteers from multiple companies across industries. In total, 108 students participated in 192 interviews, providing on average two practice interviews per student. Many of the employers will be inviting students back for formal interviews.

Students laughing

If you are a student who attended Mock Interview Day last week your next steps should be to follow up with employers by:

  • Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here.
  • If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
  • Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? Stay connected with social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date with new openings and other news!

Students interviewing

If you were unable to attend Mock Interview Day, be on the lookout for future opportunities to engage with employers and don’t miss the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 19th, 2019. Check WITworks as we get closer to the Spring Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, invitations for the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 19th will be sent out in the new year.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined us on November 1st to conduct practice interviews. We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring!

Navigating Job Offers

By: Becky Smith

You get an offer from a company and you are glad…except you wish you had more time to decide!

Good news: It is normal – even common — to ask for time to think things over! It is just a matter of maintaining trust and using savvy communication skills.

It is strongly advised that you reply to an offer of employment within 24 hours.

  • Be positive to maintain the confidence that the hiring manager has in you: Act excited. Thank the hiring manager or recruiter for offering the job to you.

Ask if you can have some time to think about it.

  • You don’t have to say why; just say you need some time to consider all of the factors. In fact, the reasons why can sometimes make employers feel uncomfortable – it can come across wrong, and/or they are not prepared to be involved in your personal life.

Be sure to clearly communicate when you will get back to the employer with an answer, and keep your word no matter what.

  • You may ask for up to a week to think about the offer.
  • The company may need an answer sooner. Settle on a mutually convenient date.

This kind of negotiation is fair, given that they don’t want to lose other candidates while they are waiting to hear from you.

During the time you have negotiated, you may speak with your Co-op + Career Advisor, your faculty, your family, and other prospective employers. You may take some time to reflect on what you want and need (i.e., salary, start date, schedule).It is best to take your time to prepare if you are going to negotiate any of the terms of employment.

Be Aware of Common Misunderstandings:

Interviewing for a job does not mean committing to the job. Interviewing is exploration to determine whether you are a fit for the job…and whether the job and company are a fit for you.

If a co-op employer offers you an opportunity to return for a second co-op or a full-time job, you are not obligated to return. Be appreciative and respectfully consider the opportunity, but if it is not right for you, politely decline. Things are not going to turn out well for anyone if you accept a job that you know is wrong – including headaches for professionals with whom you’ve built relationships!

You do not need to accept the first job you are offered. You do need to reply to all offers within 24 hours.

For more information on how to navigate a situation in which you get an offer for one job but you’re really waiting to hear from another company, read our handout about Deliberating Job Offers.

As always we encourage you to stop by CO-OPS + CAREERS to discuss your co-op and job offer questions with any Co-op + Career Advisor. You can make an appointment or swing by summer drop-in hours, held every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. Stop by 101 Wentworth Hall, or contact us via email at coopsandcareers@wit.edu, or by calling 617-989-4101. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

Alumni Spotlight: Ben Kazan, Director of Information Systems and Staff, John Hancock Investments

Meet Ben Kazan, Wentworth Computer Science 11’ Alumnus and current Director of Information Systems and Staff at John Hancock Investments.

Tell us about your current role: I manage and lead an agile team which directly supports and delivers technology for John Hancock Investments.  We largely specialize in data warehousing solutions but also support a variety of business applications that are crucial to our business function.  The team I manage is comprised of analysts, developers, technical experts, and scrum masters – all to deliver a cohesive product to our end users.

Tell us a bit about your Co-op as a Wentworth student: I was a Support Analyst for Harvard University IT (HUIT). I supported the students and faculty in a variety of ways including, maintaining the helpdesk inbound call center, supporting walk up desktop issues at the computer clinic, and managing several computer labs.

What did you learn from during co-op that you still use today? The communication skills and ability to triage/prioritize issues are fundamental skills I learned during my co-op that I use each and every day.  Communication skills by phone, email, and in person were all areas I improved on while with HUIT and those soft skills have gone a long way in furthering my career.  The other skill I use every day is to triage and prioritize issues that may arise. This level of quick problem solving and understanding how systems and processes work together is a skill that is hard to learn, its one of those things you learn by trial and error and my co-op experience gave me many opportunities to build this skill and understand how to keep calm when there are multiple priorities competing for your attention.

How has your career progressed since you left Wentworth? I started at John Hancock with an entry level position as an operations analyst and over time I explored different career paths at John Hancock including: release management, data modeling, production support, project management, system management, and ultimately the director of both staff and systems.  I’ve learned that the finance industry is one that is constantly evolving. Through that change I’ve been fortunate to get different opportunities that have ultimately shaped my view of the John Hancock organization and allow me to understand the various touch points and key contacts across the organization that can help move things along.  At an organization the size of John Hancock, this is a critical skill and the only way to really get all these skills is to try out different roles. John Hancock offers rotational programs to new hire and recent college graduates, which allow you to explore different parts of the organization in 3, 1 year intervals – before settling into a full-time and long-term role.

What advice do you have for students looking for co-ops and soon to be graduates seeking full-time opportunities? Try new things, don’t be afraid to fail, understand what makes you stand out – and own what you do!  Ownership and follow through are skills that will always show your true value, taking on new challenges and owning those as you go is the best way to grow and succeed at any organization.  Aside from this, I recommend finding people within your organization and outside that you can connect with for guidance and mentor-ship. As your career unfolds having people who truly understand what your ‘differentiator’ is, and who will speak up for you and understand what you bring to the table that makes you unique is an extremely important part of career growth.

Want to learn more about what it’s like to work at John Hancock? Join members of their Software Development Program on June 13th for an Info Session from 5PM -7PM in Beatty 401. Register on WITWorks and bring your questions about working as a software developer, what it’s like to work for John Hancock, and how to apply for their Software Development Program. Info Session will include a brief presentation, Q&A time, networking, PLUS pizza and beverages.

Student Co-op Spotlight: An Unconventional Search

Video Transcript:

Meet James Coyne: Computer Science Class of 2020

I’m James, I’m a Sophomore, I just got a co-op at a company called Black Math.

How did you hear about BlackMath?

So, I actually found them through WITworks, and then I checked out their website.

What was your application process like?

I wrote a cover letter. I made it really nice and made all my information available. Linked my resume, my personal website, portfolio, all that stuff. Sent that in, didn’t hear anything back, for a week or so.  I also checked out their Instagram and I followed them. A few days later some dude follows me, I’m like alright cool this happens all the time, it’s just someone. But then I checked their profile and saw that they worked at BlackMath. So then, I’m like “Ahha” who could this be? So I messaged them and said “Hey I’m really trying to work there, it looks like a cool company – how do you like it?” The next day, I got a response back and the person said “I really like it here, it’s a really great space and a really great company. I’m a little biased though because I’m actually the co-founder.” I got on a phone call with him about two hours after the fact, I wasn’t planning any of this, and I wasn’t super prepared. He was a huge fan of all the work that I had done on my Instagram and the other stuff I’ve been doing. I basically got the job then and there.  After that, he checked with the other co-founder and decided they wanted to bring me into the space so that I could check everything out and meet everyone and the other co-founder could get familiar with me as well.

I went in there on a Tuesday, checked it out, saw their office, met some people, shook some hands. Everyone really liked me, the other co-founder thought I was really cool, got hired on the spot, that was really neat.

We’re excited for you, James! What are you most looking forward to?

A company like this has really been what I’ve been looking for since the very get go. As a sophomore, obviously I’m probably a little less desirable than a Junior or Senior who has more experience. I knew I needed to be more competitive and send in more applications, etc. just be better to prove myself. I’ve been applying since October to some places! I’m really exited to work for a company that does creative media like Black Math does. Has kind of the startup, low key, relaxed culture, like Black Math does. A lot of people that I feel are like mined individuals to me. They do a lot of really cool work and I’m really just doing the work I’ve dreamed about doing. I never thought I would be able to actually find a company that fits all my needs like this so well. Its incredible!

Thank you for sharing your co-op story with us, James! We can’t wait to hear all about your experience when you get back to campus in the fall.