Originally from Oakville, Ontario, Bachelor of Commerce Co-op student Elizabeth Schmidt (better known as Lizzie) chose Dalhousie University due to its excellent reputation and the opportunity to participate in a mandatory co-op program. She believes gaining real-world experience beyond the classroom is essential for personal and professional growth.
Lizzie, who is pursuing a major in Supply Chain and Logistics Management, completed her first co-op this past winter term with courier and parcel delivery company Purolator. During her time at Purolator, she made significant contributions as she worked closely with the operations and engineering teams to identify and resolve potential inefficiencies. She implemented process improvements on the road and in the depots, showcasing her ability to drive positive organizational change. “A project I worked on and helped design is now a tracking template being used across Atlantic Canada,” says Lizzie. “It was a good feeling to have something I helped develop, especially during my first co-op term, used on such a large scale.”
Lizzie’s co-op experience allowed her to explore different aspects of the supply chain industry. She had the opportunity to visit the Moncton Hub, a central facility for all freight in Atlantic Canada, where she gained valuable insights into the intricate processes involved in package delivery. Additionally, she went on a ride-along with a courier, which gave her firsthand experience and a deeper understanding of their day-to-day responsibilities.
Throughout her co-op, Lizzie developed important skills that will benefit her future career. She gained confidence in her professional abilities, enabling her to trust her work while also knowing when to seek guidance. She also acquired technical skills which will prove valuable in her future endeavors in the supply chain industry. “I find all the different moving aspects in this industry are very interesting and how they all come together to complete one task. You never really think of all the effort that goes into getting your packages from one place to another when all you need to do is click order on your phone,” says Lizzie. “One thing I would highly recommend to anyone doing a co-op in the operations or supply chain industry is to see the processes firsthand. This could be shadowing someone else’s job or just watching the processes play out yourself. You can look at data and spreadsheets to make decisions, however, to truly understand the processes of the industry, it is valuable to see it yourself up close.”
During her job search, Lizzie utilized resources from Management Career Services and online employment platforms like Indeed. She expanded her search to include previous employers and other professional contacts, which is how she got in touch with Purolator. She successfully secured her co-op using effective networking and communication skills. “Having confidence in myself and my own capabilities is how I was able to find my own work term.”
As Lizzie looks toward her future career, including her next two co-ops, she offers the following advice to her peers: “Embrace new experiences, and don’t let fear hold you back from achieving your goals.”