Lauren Johnson is an Accounting major in her fourth year of the Commerce Co-op program. Originally from Newmarket, Ontario, she was intrigued to move to the east coast to live by the ocean. When considering universities, Lauren came across Dalhousie’s Commerce Co-op program. “It really checked off my boxes as I wanted to be able to graduate with a full year of work experience, and I knew that Dal would allow me to do so.”
Lauren completed her first two co-ops with J.D. Irving’s shipbuilding division in Dartmouth. She was part of the Project Accounting team, where she was tasked with period end journal entries, reporting the status of hours worked, and inventory reconciliation. Her second work term at J.D. Irving had her working in the same division, but with both the Project Accounting and Financial Reporting teams. With the Financial Reporting team, she acted as the sole accountant for their three shipyards, completing necessary reporting for period end. In addition, she conducted a variety of overhead reporting for Irving Shipbuilding such as HST returns, coding invoices, reconciliations, and more. “Overall, the thing I would say I had loved the most about my co-op was the people I got to work with. They really encouraged me to do the best that I could, and to take on as many opportunities as I could. They made sure that I was included and pushed me to be the best version of myself possible. I am forever grateful to them!”
During her time at J.D. Irving, she was asked by the Director of Accounting to write blog posts on behalf of the company to help attract Nova Scotia students to future job positions. Lauren saw this as the perfect opportunity to combine her love for writing with the opportunity to share her experiences with other students. She was able to work on her written communication and time management skills, which are essential in all industries. “I basically had free reign to write about what I wanted, and sometimes I would receive prompts. I wanted to make sure what I was writing was beneficial to students so they could learn about what J.D. Irving had to offer.”
Lauren’s final co-op was with Deloitte in Halifax as a Tax Analyst. In this role she worked on corporate tax returns for a variety of companies across Atlantic Canada and was introduced to tax planning as well. She says she was proud of the connections she made, as well as the steps she took toward professional growth. “This co-op really allowed me to grow professionally by working in my first busy season and learning a new side of accounting. I was very fortunate to have met some really great people along the way and learn from bright leaders and professionals.”
During her job search, Lauren felt the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically when she was searching for her first co-op. She reached out to her Career and Recruitment Specialist Lauren Shaw, who helped her navigate her job search and provided guidance in formatting her application documents. “I am so grateful for Lauren, for all of the help that she gave me and the support she has provided in the past four years.”
Lauren’s advice for you:
- Take initiative and try new things within your role.
- Try new roles and companies. You don’t know what you do or don’t like unless you try, and the reward far outweighs the risk.
- Connect with upper year students, they can share valuable advice from a student’s perspective.
- Don’t get discouraged if you’re not where you want to be in school or in co-op, you will get there eventually. Remember to use the resources available to you (MCS, UAO, societies, connections, and other students).
- Get involved with student societies! This has built up my resume immensely and I’ve made connections and new friends along the way.