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Management & Human Resources: Student Testimonials

Austin Sooklall

Specialist: Management and International Business (MIB) Co-op

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?

As an international student from Venezuela with Chinese background, I wanted to pursue Business as part of my undergraduate studies. I chose this program at the University of Toronto Scarborough because of its innovative and highly practical business program which provided graduates with a well-rounded knowledge of all functional areas of business management. I was initially admitted to the non-coop Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). However, after going through my first year of University I realized where my passion lied in. My passion lied in Human Resources (HR); and thus, I decided to apply for the Co-op BBA specialist in Management and Human Resources program during my second year. This co-op specialist program would offer me not only a broad exposure to all functional areas of Management with a focus on Human Resources Management, but also the opportunity to apply what I have learned in class into the workplace environment. In addition, this specialist program offered all of the courses required to obtain the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation. Therefore, all of these factors influenced my decision to choose this program.

Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?

Being part of this program has allowed me to understand and identify business practices, policies and current issues affecting companies while managing employees. Aligning all functional areas of business with the company goals while motivating employees to be productive is just an example of the things that you will learn in this program. In addition, this program has taught me various tools and techniques on how to strategically solve business issues in a productive, effective and efficient manner from various functional perspectives. The highlights of this program are the three co-op placements that you need to complete as part of your undergraduate studies. The co-op program provides you with the right skills and techniques that will be needed for job searching ranging from resume and cover letter critiques, interviewing skills to networking skills. This is the major skillset that sets the Management Co-op program apart from the other programs. Moreover, what I love the most about Management Co-op program is the number of resources it offers to students to succeed in their job search as well as their future work placements. Hence, once you are in the co-op program make sure to take advantage of all the resources that the Management Co-op Program offers to you!

What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

  1. Time Management: one of the hardest parts of the transition from High School to University is the time management skills. Being able to allocate enough time for readings, studying, extracurricular, social life, leisure time and sleep is important. This skill will help you be successful not only in school; but also at work and will help you decrease your levels of stress. Make sure you attend the Time Management Skills workshop that the Academic Advising and Career Centre (AA&CC) offers each semester.
  2. Learn from your mistakes and do not give up: there will be times in University that you are not able to achieve your desired marks or goals or do not do well in an exam. Just remember that we have all experienced this and you just need to learn from your mistakes. First, identify the causes that led you to not be as successful as you desire and then determine what you could have done to prevent that from happening again. Second, look at all the resources that are available to you and take advantage of them. Third, set a SMART goal for yourself and create an action plan to achieve this. Fourth, evaluate the results of your action plan. If it works continue doing it, if it does not work then try something else. Being consistent and determined is key to achieve your desired goals.
  3. Get to know your available resources: The University offers a lot of resources that are available to students to help them succeed academically, emotionally and professionally. Examples of these programs are the Writing Centre, professor office hours, time-management workshops and seminars and so on. You will be surprised at how many students do not take advantage of these programs and this is why their transition from high school to University is a lot harder. There are many resources that the University of Toronto Scarborough offers to help you succeed and are funded by your tuition. So make sure to take advantage of them! 

What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
The Bachelor of Business Administration Specialist Program in Management and Human Resources Co-op allows you to have a broad understanding of the day to day business issues from various perspectives such as Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Project Management, Human Resources, Operations Management and so on. Upon graduation, you will have the opportunity to pursue your CHRP Designation or even pursue a Masters within the HR field. In addition, you will have a higher chance of securing a full-time employment due to the connections that you will make throughout your co-op placements.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?

During the first academic year, you will take a variety of courses that will provide you with the fundamentals of Business Management. Examples of the courses that you will take are introduction to microeconomics, introduction to macroeconomics, foundations of business management, management communications, principles of marketing, etc. First year is usually the hardest year as most students struggle with the transition from High School to University. However, if you join clubs and get involved in University you will find that your time management skills will start to develop while trying to allocate time to these commitments. In second year, you will be exposed to other areas of business such as finance, accounting as well as human resources. After taking the major business courses you will be scheduled to have your first co-op placement. The first co-op work term is the most difficult to get because you will be competing with upper year students for the same roles. However, as you transition to your second and third co-op placements you will find that job hunting gets a lot easier as you will have more work experiences and knowledge than before. In third year, you will start taking courses regarding your specialization, in my case it was Human Resources, and you will have courses that will provide you with a deeper understanding of your area of studies. In fourth year, students are expected to combine all the knowledge they have learned for the past four years and develop further their critical thinking skills. You will notice that in your last year of University you will have a lot more group projects to complete in order to develop your teamwork skills. As you start completing your undergraduate studies, you will start making the connections of what you learned in class to the business environment so that you are well-prepared for the corporate world. Overall, the academic journey throughout the four years of University will be to engage in self-awareness and self-discovery to determine what you like the most and what works best for you. Remember to focus on your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. If you do this, you will be successful at whatever you do.