Co-op #2, Month #4: Final Mile

Wow, time flies! In the blink of an eye, I’ve got the final month of my second co-op term under my belt. Where was I able to make an impact in this last month? What new opportunities were brought to light? How did it feel to bring the term to an end? And what’s next in my journey?

In this last month, I still had the opportunity to achieve a lot. I helped develop a new long-term approach for our team and focused my work term report on this. I wrapped up the deliverables for a large project and helped bring to light opportunities for several small ones. Finally, I brought the term to an end by creating a handoff document for the next intern and reflecting on my experiences in a company blog post.

The Strategy of Strategic Consulting

One of the realities of any business is that they face growing pains. As you refine your product-market fit and align to shifting trends, the ongoing challenge of scale and reach faces additional pressure. This was something we had been seeing in our organization too.

Our product being an enterprise-level platform, it requires a lot of customization effort for each client, and therefore a lot of upfront investment and risk. This poses a significant barrier, especially for particular customer segments. With that in mind, we knew we needed a better solution.

One idea that was proposed was to introduce a Strategy Consulting team to ease these concerns with a preliminary exploration phase. This was an idea founded in precedent and had a lot of potential to address these challenges. However, we needed to take it from an idea to a complete and feasible recommendation.

I thought through several key questions, including how we’d staff and manage this team, where we’d focus our efforts, and what actions we could take to increase conversation. I eventually chose to write my work term report on this topic and got to dig into existing research and case studies. I’m excited to see where this new proposal takes us, and what its impact will be in the long term.

The Old and The New

Towards the latter half of the month, I took time to help wrap up a project and understand the potential for opportunities for others. One of the key projects I had the opportunity to be a part of was a partnership to develop out a new product segment. Having completed our second phase, I was tasked with packaging up our materials for the partner. It was enlightening to see how much work had gone into it and to grasp the outcome of the multidisciplinary efforts of several members of our team over a few months.

I was also tasked with a few new opportunities. Usually, opportunities that come across my plate would be ones I’d have the chance to support and pursue in-depth, but this time was different. With only a short amount of time left in my term, I instead needed to understand the opportunity and prepare my thoughts to hand off to someone else. This put me in a unique position to determine our focus long after my term was over.

I screened several opportunities, wrote short summaries, and put forward a few to pursue. I also handed off one relationship that had been put on pause earlier. It’s fulfilling to know that my work will continue on in my absence and that the things I contribute to today will have a lasting impact.

Wrapping Up The Term

In my final week, I focused on collecting my knowledge and smoothing the transition for the next intern. I reorganized my work and made sure the team had everything they needed from me. I also put together a short guide to help future students in my role. The guide included everything I wish I had known earlier, particularly things outside of a traditional onboarding.

Finally, I had the chance to be featured on our company blog. I spoke about the skills I’ve learned, my favourite parts and moments of the job, and my advice for others students. It was great to share my perspectives and read those of the other students with me this term. That nice and smooth handoff brought my term to an end.

What’s next?

In a few weeks, I’ll be restarting school. Two more study terms before another co-op in January 2022. I’m also moving back to Waterloo and taking time to build my personal skills, like cooking! I can’t wait to be back in the city and see some familiar faces again.

Career-wise, I’ll be continuing to seek new challenges. Consulting and strategy work definitely excite and challenge me, and I’ll be looking for unique places to apply these skills. I’m drawn both to small startups and large firms, so I’m excited to try both. If you know of any exciting opportunities, send them my way!

I’ll also be launching something special! A little surprise that I’m certain you’ll enjoy if you’ve made it this far in the blog. Keep an eye out for that!