To be successful in any business career, graduates emerging with their MBAs require a smart balance between academic-based learning, where they gain a thorough understanding of business concepts, and experiential learning. The latter will encourage them to put their knowledge into practice, and find resolutions to problems on their feet when thrown into a real-life challenge. Ultimately, the latter is more in demand considering the current culture and climate of many workplaces, which is centered around how an employee shows up, and how consistent they are at their job.
Several years ago, it became very clear that the option for paid internships or work placements under the umbrella of an MBA was necessary to provide students with the experience employers across the country and continent were looking for. The first school to integrate a co-op placement into its business program was the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics. The program based out of Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo became the first business co-op program in Ontario and is currently the largest business degree co-op program in Canada. Its reputation earned it accreditation from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education by meeting quality program standards; becoming the first school to receive this prestigious endorsement.
As a part of their co-op, students can focus their placement in a variety of areas such as accounting, government, education, culture, communication, IT, and more. These will work to support their chosen specializations, of which Lazaridis offers ten, including marketing, financial management, entrepreneurship, and strategic management to name a few. Coupling a work placement that compliments a student’s chosen specialization will better prepare them to advance in that field upon graduation by providing them with a well-rounded, practical learning environment, making the one year MBA with coop in Waterloo a sound option for students who wish to combine focused, practical real-world experience with theoretical classroom-based learning.
Students have further enjoyed a 100% work term employment rate for their first co-op term, providing opportunities for full-time employment down the line, upon completion of their degrees. Students enter their placements knowledgeable about many different facets of business, and can, therefore, integrate themselves in a variety of working environments and roles. The school teaches students to look at a business from a bird’s eye view using an integrated core methodology, expanding students’ foundation and skills so they emerge better able to anticipate the needs of their organization, allowing for a smooth transition from student intern to prospective long-term employee.
In the current day and age, where employers are putting a greater emphasis on what someone can do over how much someone knows, pursuing an MBA with a co-op component gives the prospective candidate references and the resume support they need to advance through the interview process and score their dream job. It also puts them ahead of the competition, as not every program will have an experiential component so widely sought after by hiring managers. The best MBA programs will recognize how crucial a role co-ops can play, offering placements so that graduates will be better prepared to make a name for themselves, as well as network and make connections within the industry of their choice.
Choosing the right MBA program for you is a tough choice and one that must be taken seriously! Co-ops are becoming increasingly popular as they give you work experience that you can put on your resume before you graduate, which is a big deal in a competitive job market. Since you’re working with a company that needs the help, there is also the chance that the co-op position can become a full-time thing. While education is vitally important for your success, remember that there isn’t anything quite like real world experience, and employers know that. Do your research, check out potential programs online or in person, work hard and that dream job can become a reality!