Getting down to business, no matter the circumstances

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Brock co-op readies students to confidently adapt and thrive in today’s working world

Completing co-op primarily online during a pandemic wasn’t what Anya Muraco envisioned when she applied to business school at Brock University, yet it’s exactly the experience that’s reinforcing her skills to confidently navigate the next steps of her career.

The Bachelor of Business Administration student at the Goodman School of Business started her four month placement as a Project Control Officer with consulting firm CGI in August 2021. The rich learning experience, coupled with uncertainty around whether classes would resume in person in January 2022, prompted her to extend her placement for a second term.

This extension created opportunities for Muraco to dive deeper into ongoing projects while growing her leadership, problem-solving and communications skills. She even managed a team of 60 people responsible for instituting a client’s COVID-19 vaccine verification program in just four weeks, overseeing all aspects from training to offboarding.

During the eight months working fulltime while earning credits toward her degree, Muraco says she interacted with CGI colleagues around the world, including those based in the UK, Australia, and India – a particularly interesting facet of the placement given her concentration in international business.

Now back on campus resuming her academic studies, she serves as a communications and promotions assistant for the co-op office, encouraging other Brock students to grow their careers through applied learning.

“The co-op experience is all encompassing between personal and professional growth, skill development, and forming relationships with people you might not otherwise meet,” explains Muraco. “I’m a huge advocate for the co-op program. I was able to take what I was learning from my lectures and apply it to a real work environment.”

Upon completing her studies next spring, Muraco will start her third term of co-op and is considering a fourth term to continue growing her skills and connections.

Helping students develop a growth mindset and confidence about what they have to offer, even in the face of uncertainty, is central to the mission of work-integrated learning at Brock, says Julia Zhu, Associate Director of Co-op Education.

“No one can predict what will happen in four years,” explains Zhu. “What we can control is equipping students with skills and understanding to keep developing themselves and stay current with the market no matter what changes. It’s not just about the job.”

Zhu describes the co-op programs and resources as boutique-style, with her team tailoring services to meet the diverse needs of 2,500 students annually.

“We are preparing student talent that is future ready,” says Zhu. “By graduation, our goal is that you don’t need to apply to any jobs. Through your networking and co-op work terms, people will want to hire you.”