Latest Faculty of Information News

Co-ops Feature “Digital Pioneers” in Information Studies

Submitted on Monday, January 09, 2017

User Experience Design (UXD) is a hot career prospect.

Four successful co-op placements at the Royal Bank of Canada and CIBC over the summer helped iSchool students land awards for performance—and jobs.

Second-year UXD student, Billal Sarwar, obtained a co-op placement as a UX Designer at RBC Technology & Operations in Toronto, and was offered a part-time contract as he completes his program at the iSchool. One to watch, Billal was also nominated for Co-op of the Year at RBC, taking runner up. “This has been a great year for me and I would especially like to thank my Manager at RBC, Sherry Munslow,” he says.

Olivia Doggett_cropOlivia Doggett, also a second year UXD student, never thought she would find herself in a corporate environment, but loved her experience at RBC Amplify Program’s Technology & Operations Student Internship program. She was even featured in a video RBC produced about the success of the co-op, in which she describes her work as “Digital Pioneership.”

Olivia spent the summer working with a team of students to create voice recognition software for wealth management advisors. After the placement’s end, RBC gave Olivia a scholarship to complete her Masters degree. She is currently at Adidas in Hong Kong for the fall term of her co-op program, and once she graduates, will return to RBC for a full-time job.

Jessica_MallenderFellow second year student, Jessica Mallender (at right), was also working for RBC’s Amplify Program. Studying both the Information Systems & Design and Knowledge Management & Information Management concentrations, she says the co-op was an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience, and she learned a lot. “I would highly recommend Amplify for future iSchool co-ops. When I think of how well iSchool students performed [at RBC] this year, our program is definitely on their radar for potential applicants,” she says.

The RBC Amplify program is an intensive summer internship where students are put on cross functional teams and given a real-life business challenge. Over the summer, students have access to subject matter experts, coaches, mentors, as well as technical and professional training. At the end of the summer, students present their solutions to a panel of judges at a so-called AmpExpo, and top teams are awarded scholarships or funding for their ideas. Please see the RBC videos at (link is external) (link is external)

At AmpExpo, both Jessica and Olivia’s teams tied for Judge’s Choice, and each team split $15,000. Jessica’s team also won an extra $5,000 Audience Choice Award. “Olivia and I were talking after about how great it was that both teams who won had an iSchool student, I think that says a lot about the skills we bring to the table.”

This fall, Jessica went back to RBC working in her second co-op position as a Data Analyst. Based on her performance with the Amplify program, Jessica was offered, and accepted, a full-time position after graduation, with her current manager at RBC.

When asked about her experience with RBC and the iSchool, Jessica said she is “thrilled with how things have turned out.” Jessica is extremely enthusiastic about the future of the RBC Amplify Program: “I was invited to speak on a panel at T&O’s Senior Leaders Forum and I can tell you that management is very excited about this program and what the students were able to accomplish this summer. I think the program is only going to grow and get better and better!”

Jessica goes on say RBC is very interested in iSchool applicants for the 2017 Amplify program based on the performance of iSchool students this year.

Paramvir SinghParamvir Singh, a second year Information Systems and Design student, spent his co-op learning about Capital Markets and OTC Derivatives as a Senior Business Systems Analyst at CIBC, in Toronto.

Working on the Regulatory Reporting Services, Capital Markets Enterprise Solutions team, Paramvir analyzed business requirements and worked within the team toward its successful implementation. “Notably, I became the first co-op on the team to lead a significant project release and proudly became the “Eyes and Ears” of RRS,” he shares. “Nobody in my team treated me just as a co-op [student], I was always an integral part… Owing to this attitude of the team and my manager toward me, I always felt a sense of responsibility and ownership, which propelled me to perform efficiently.”

For his efforts, Paramvir won an Honourable Mention Student Achievement Award, and was offered a role as a Business Systems Consultant. He accepted this role part-time for now, until he finishes his degree. And Paramvir will be mentoring a new co-op student from the iSchool for the next co-op term! His manager says he deserves the award: “Because of your personal initiative, very high capability, and strong commitment to CIBC’s goals throughout your co-op term.”

The iSchool offered students 25 co-ops in 2016—our first year offering these paid, eight-month internship placements. To learn more, please email at the iSchool.

Filed under: