Allured by her interest in sustainability, Sophie Heller-Marx chose Dalhousie to pursue an interdisciplinary degree. She enrolled in the Bachelor of Management program with a major Environment, Sustainability and Society and opted to complete the optional internship offered through the program.
Sophie was hired for an 8-month internship at Hydro One Networks Inc., an electricity and utilities company in Ontario, as a Business Analyst in the distribution branch of the supply chain team. Working completely remotely, she also acted as a support to the category leads, doing research and helping prepare reports and spreadsheets for Request for Proposals (RFPs). As with every new experience, there were some challenges – one of her projects required the use of a coding language called VBA, and with no prior coding experience, she took the initiative to teach it to herself. “Although it wasn’t the most important project, I felt really accomplished because of the amount of effort I put into learning how to code.”
Sophie loved working at Hydro One, one reason being her supportive coworkers. “I had no experience working in supply chain and they were so patient with me and trusted me to work on major projects with them. Many of them were co-op students themselves earlier on in their careers, so they understood the value of welcoming a student to the team.” Sophie decided to propose extending her internship to 12 months, as she was gaining valuable experience and really enjoyed the company atmosphere, and her supervisor agreed to the extension. She wanted the opportunity to work a hybrid schedule – a combination of remote and in-office work – and felt she still had a lot to learn. “Being back in the office with my coworkers made it easier for me to collaborate and increased my productivity. If I hadn’t extended my internship, I don’t think I would have made the most of my experience.”
Sophie acknowledges her Career and Recruitment Specialist Jennifer Coombs’ support throughout the entire internship process. She highly recommends the Management Internship program, and doesn’t think enough people take advantage of it. “It’s an opportunity to graduate university with some work experience and meet people in your potential field. Having such valuable experience will make you stand out to employers among other candidates.”
She also advises that students should not let an internship in another city deter them from applying. “An amazing bonus about working for Hydro One was that I got to explore Toronto, a city I had never lived in before,” she adds.