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Summer series: UBC Sauder Co-op students infuse workplaces with business talent

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Alice Lee
Commerce Co-op student
E-Commerce Marketing Intern - Luxe Division @ L'Oréal Canada

Posted 2021-07-30
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One of the things that sets UBC Sauder students apart is the diverse professional experience that they bring to the marketplace. Through the Bachelor of Commerce Co-op Program, students work for a variety of employers in all different sectors of the economy. By gaining in-demand skills and knowledge to augment their academic credentials, these young people come to the job qualified to make a meaningful contribution.

After spending more than a year as an online student and online intern, Alice Lee feels like things are really looking up. The 21-year-old BCom Co-op student from Vancouver is spending the summer in Montreal, working at L'Oréal Canada.

“I rented a beautiful apartment downtown and I work at the office part-time. One week I’m in the office and the next week I work from home,” says Lee, who is specializing in marketing. “It’s been so nice to be able to grab lunch with my co-workers and go out after work together. One of my teammates is even helping me with my French.”

 

Assisting the team at L'Oréal Canada

As an E-Commerce Marketing Intern, Lee is applying both her creative and analytical talents at L'Oréal Canada’s Luxe Division, which counts Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani as brands within its portfolio. Her job is to optimize the online shopping experience.

“I started with data recording for the transactions of our e-boutiques and then I used the data to forecast sales for Q4. Then I did some Search Engine Optimization work, improving the performance of our direct-to-consumer websites. Now, I’m creating product bundles based on our data and helping with the design of a web page. I also helped with L'Oréal Canada’s first-ever virtual beauty festival, which was a three-day shopping event with live shows and e-commerce deals.”

This is Lee’s third student internship. While Co-op extends the length of the Commerce program from four years to five or more, she believes it’s an excellent investment.

“Co-op is a great way to figure out what you like and what you don’t like. It’s also a way to put your business education to work. In school you learn a lot of great stuff, but you learn a lot more when applying the concepts in real-life situations.”

 

Gaining professional experience while still a student

Lee credits the Co-op team at the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre (BCC) at UBC Sauder for her success in landing an internship at a company she views as a top employer.

“I had an interview with L'Oréal Canada last year, but they felt it would be beneficial for me to get a bit more experience,” she says.

So she went to the BCC for help. Working with her Co-op manager, she expanded her job application skills, including interview preparation. She landed an internship as a Product Marketing Assistant, and then another as a Marketing and Communications Assistant.

Her big break came when she entered Brandstorm, L'Oréal’s annual case competition for students. She and her teammates tackled the challenge of inventing a beauty shopping experience through entertainment.

“We pitched an innovative beauty app called ‘L'Oréal Learn’ that allows users to do makeup easily, similar to a meal prep kit. By applying class concepts, such as the 4Ps, pain points, and breakeven analysis, we examined our idea from a marketing perspective but also from financial, logistic, sustainability, and technical perspectives.”

Lee’s project and her performance stood out from the competition and led to an internship offer at L'Oréal Luxe.

Lee will return to campus this fall for her fourth year of classes, but she’s already thinking about her next Co-op. Having just completed UBC Sauder’s Brand Management Mentorship Program, she’s aiming to find a role in brand management next summer. By the time she graduates, Lee will have the academic knowledge and practical skills to support a successful launch into the world of business. She’ll also have something else: the confidence that comes with maturity and experience.