Archive for February, 2012
“Securing” an internship
Writing this post I am in the fifth month of my internship with Ecotrust Canada. Ecotrust is a federal charity that self-identifies as an ENGO and an enterprising nonprofit, working towards a conservation economy for BC. The objective of this posting is to explain, based on my personal experience, the importance of using your network to secure an internship. As some of you may have heard, it is not about finding “a” job (internship) but rather “the” job. I believe I’ve succeeded in achieving the latter of the two.
Coming into Vancouver from Athens one thing I didn’t take into consideration was population. Having in mind populated cities of North America and, let’s be honest, my reference point of Hollywood films, I thought Vancouver would be much larger. I simply didn’t check in advance to discover that Vancouver and the Lower Mainland has a population of just over two million people! Coming from Athens, with a population in excess of five million, I can only say that Vancouver seemed very small and slow paced.
Networking is always an important aspect of community building, but within a business community centered around only two million people, it becomes crucial. I have, since arriving, made a serious effort to attend events, tweet, connect through LinkedIn and slowly but steadily build both my presence and my network here.
Simply… do it!
During the first couple of weeks of the MBA, I was elected as Co-President of SFU Net Impact Beedie Chapter, a student run chapter with its own mandate: “Our mission as emerging business leaders is to make a positive environmental, social and economic impact in the Vancouver community by advocating responsible and sustainable business practices.” In recognition of my commitment I was given a complimentary seat at a table sponsored by SFU at the 5th Annual Spring Gala and Young Agents Awards. At the event I had the pleasure to meet Brenda Kuecks, President of Ecotrust Canada when both of us arrived early and had casual time to time to talk and learn about each other’s background.
After keeping track of this relationship and calling to ask Brenda to be one of our speakers for the 20/30 Speaker Series hosted by Net Impact, I asked for an information interview. I was honored to have such an insightful meeting (jargon term: info interview), learning not only about Ecotrust Canada and its work but also much about the non – profit sector more generally. Being a student can open a lot of “doors”. Used strategically, these doors can lead you to people willing to provide good guidance.
Be knowledgeable of your environment
During the conversation, I introduced a funding opportunity that exists for students-researchers in Canadian Universities through the Mitacs organization, and specifically the Mitacs Accelerate Project that sponsors research based internships. It is an important funding opportunity that may help some of you garner financial support to put your experience and knowledge to the test in the workforce.
Long story short
It worked! Since October of 2011 I have been a member of Ecotrust Canada working as a Project Analyst in Economic Development. The project is titled “Business planning for social enterprises” and it has been a great experience. Not only am I getting to put into practice what I have learned during the MBA program, but at the same time I am receiving great guidance and insights to further improve my work.
- Connect: Be careful and be sure to personalize everything (especially LinkedIn invitations)
- Be sure to utilize your title: Being a graduate student opens a lot of doors
- Build your online presence and network
Also build your offline presence and network (sometimes it will bring you into a different set of
I am grateful and would like to thank Brenda Kuecks, President of Ecotrust Canada for offering me this opportunity, Oba Harding, Director of Business Development, Mitacs for providing his valuable help in securing a smooth and successful application, Jeremy Stone, Economic Development Project Manager of Ecotrust Canada for his close guidance and resourceful feedback on my work and of course all the staff at the organization that welcomed me at their “home”.
I would also like to mention the faculty, staff and fellow MBA candidates for their support and active presence during this important step of my life. They have all enriched my experience and have been really valuable to me in many different ways.
About George Chatzivasileiou
George is an MBA Candidate working at the nonprofit organization Ecotrust Canada as an Economic Development Project Analyst. This is an intern position co-sponsored by Mitacs Accelerate Program and of course Ecotrust Canada. George holds a BS in Shipping, Trade and Transport. He enjoys learning, thus you are most likely to see him at events with topics about economy, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and of course shipping. He is also blogging at g-controversial.blogspot.com.
On January 6th 2012, an excited and energetic team of MBA students from the Beedie School of Business (SFU) landed in Edmonton for the 2012 MBA Games. The expectation of a frozen city dissipated as a warm Edmonton welcomed MBA students from across the country. Large Greyhound buses lined up at the airport uploading groups of the nation’s next great business minds and leaders. Although most participants were sleep deprived, one could clearly witness the adrenaline beating through everyone’s veins.
The MBA Games is an annual Canada-wide competition that brings together MBA students from across the country. The MBA Games originated at Queen’s University in 1988 and continued there until 1997. Since then, the MBA Games have been hosted at various schools. As a ritual, the MBA Games are held in the city of the reigning champion.
Sunshine peaked through the clouds as buses dropped off herds of colour and clothing coordinated – representing different schools – groups of MBAs at the Westin Hotel in downtown Edmonton. The city seemed to have livened up with the newly arrived guests. The sounds of exciting cheers and laughter became great additions to the city of Edmonton for the weekend of January 6th to 8th. Let the MBA Games begin!
The MBA Games involved academic, spirit, and athletic events, and opportunities to network with future leaders. SFU MBA students showcased a great deal of cohesiveness and team support throughout the games.
“BEEDIE BEEDIE BEEDIE, S-F-U, BEEDIE, SIMON, BEEDIE, FRASER, BEEDIE BEEDIE BEEDIE, S-F-U!” As the team cheered loudly at each sporting event, they displayed significant signs of confidence and pride.
As intimidating as the games were, the team worked together as one. It was apparent that not only did SFU bring its competitiveness, but also its value in friendliness. SFU students easily struck conversation with fellows from the opposite team, commenting and praising each other’s efforts.
“The games were a fantastic experience! Our team did the Beedie School of Business proud with strong showings in the academic, spirit, and athletic events. Most importantly, we worked really well together as a team and showed hundreds of students from business schools across the country that the Beedie MBA is a world class program” said Lucas Mitchell, Team Captain for SFU at the games.
Colin Stansfield, a SFU MBA candidate and representative, reflected with a smile on his face, “It was a spectacular showing on the part of our academic teams. We knew it would be challenging to compete against students from other schools where they run two-year programs, but the diversity inherent in our program – the wide variety of experience that we bring with us to Beedie – stood us in good stead. Our teams achieved remarkable results and I could not be prouder of the hard work put in by our academic competitors.”
Each night, social events offered opportunities for students to mingle with others under a more relaxed environment. Dancing and celebrating a day’s hard work, participants enjoyed each other’s company and what the nightlife the city had to offer.
More than 500 people representing 19 schools across Canada competed in the games. Days began as early as 8am and schedules were jam packed with activities! Spirit teams travelled around the city of Edmonton using a 2-day transit pass given to everyone by the Games committee. Academic events were mentally challenging, as teams were given tight time constraints to package the best solution for the business problems presented. Sporting events were exciting; participants and supporters in these events made loud echoes in the University of Alberta. Faces of hope, smiles of joy, and eyes of anticipation, every participant was engaged in the spirit of the games.
“We were amazed at the amount of skill at the sporting events. Not only did every team have talented athletes, but they were quality people as well. There were some amazing games and we were happy to have given some of the top teams a run for their money. I’ve never been prouder of any other team!” spoke Brian Peterson, an achieved athlete representing SFU.
On the last day, every MBA candidate listened intently to the keynote speaker Court Carruthers eloquently express his interpretation of the theme of this year’s MBA Games – innovation and the future of technology. As the MBA games came to an end after many hours of conquering challenges and utilizing great minds to solve real business problems, the winning team led the crowd to the dance floor after dinner with one last celebration before concluding MBA Games 2012 in Edmonton.
In retrospect, the games wouldn’t have been so amazing without the support of the members on the team. For the team from SFU, many students had lost their voice cheering on their teammates throughout the games. This experience will definitely last a lifetime. As many friendships were solidified, new buds of networks sparked throughout the trip. The city of Edmonton has made a great contribution as the backdrop for the amazing things that happened on this weekend.
To view SFU’s LipDubbed Youtube Video for the MBA Games intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE4oXz193UQ&feature=related