With two students sharing top honours for the first time, the Sauder Business Co-op Program is making a big impact on business today and on the business leaders of tomorrow.

The Sauder Business Co-op Program allows Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) students to integrate classroom learning with 12 months of relevant paid experience, gained in four and eight month work terms.

For Graeme Lee, the joint winner of this year’s Outstanding Co-op Student Award, the program provided an opportunity to develop his skills in human resources at Ericsson Canada, an experience he says has helped him both with his professional career and his academic learning.

“A dream job is what you make of it,” says Lee. “The position at Ericsson allowed me to unlock my full potential, and I honestly feel it was a dream job for me not only because it was a great position, but because I made it so.”

His employers agree. A spokesperson for the company said: “Graeme exceeded our expectations on all levels. He has such a strong, professional and fun work ethic. With the world in front of him and so much potential, we look forward to watching where his career takes him.”

Personal growth

For employers, the program provides access to a pool of highly motivated students and an opportunity to expand their workforce for special projects or during peak work periods. car2go was one of these, taking on what turned out to be the other winner of the Outstanding Co-op Student Award, Amanda Lam.

“While at car2go, Amanda had the opportunity to plan and execute a marketing initiative of her own,” said a spokesperson. “She selected, planned and implemented a strategic partnership campaign that tied in well with our summer utilization contest with great success.”

As for Lam, she says that the program “enabled me to excel academically, advance my career potential, and enhance my personal growth. I found that being open-minded, flexible, and a fast-learner allowed me to gain more from this experience.”

Successful co-op work terms depend on the ability of both students and employers to work together, recognize each other’s needs and communicate effectively with program managers. Seuree Kim did her term work within the Human Resources department of Teck Resource’s Coal Division. The positive experience she had there led to the company winning the Outstanding Co-op Employer Award for 2013.

“Instead of giving me directions on what I should do, she gave me the autonomy to investigate, analyze, and take approaches on managing the projects,” says Kim. “Consequently, this process enabled me to think outside the box and be more creative with the ownership I had.”

Bright future

Damian Sadowski also did his co-op work term with Teck Resources and has nothing but praise for the company and the opportunities it offers to business students.

“I believe that my co-op experience was an extraordinary one, and my supervisors provided me with multiple and exceptional learning opportunities,” says Sadowski. “I was encouraged to seek a holistic understanding of the mining process and grasp the scale of the mining operations.”

How to get involved

Prospective co-op students can learn more about the program by visiting the co-op student webpage or speaking with co-op staff at the Business Career Centre. Employers can find out how to hire a co-op student by visiting our co-op emploiyer webpage or contacting the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre by email at or by phone at 604.822.6479.