Students to Business – Week 2 Navigating Business Realities at U+

Students to Business - Week 2 Navigating Business Realities at U+

In the realm of high school co-op experiences at U+, each passing week unveils fresh challenges, tasks, and opportunities for growth. We are high school co-op students, delving into the intricate world of business, HR, and market research. This week, our experiences have illuminated the path towards understanding U+’s goals and objectives and how our contributions align with them. From dissecting market trends to enhancing onboarding processes, our roles are as diverse as they are vital to U+’s mission.

What were the most significant tasks or projects you worked on this week, and how did they contribute to U+'s goals and objectives?

The most significant task I worked on was Project 1: Industrial Project. While conducting market research, I learned crucial information about the education market and the importance of promotion/marketing. Luckily, U+ Education has established a loyal customer base and acquired ample of returning customers.
Furthermore, we should incorporate our competitors’ tactics to our website. For example, Toastmaster International included a tab called “Webinar on Demand”. This tab is a unique tactic and it included meaningful interactive speeches. Social awareness and humour workshops are their most popular offerings. If we incorporate a tab similar to theirs, we will attract new customers on a psychological level.
  • Carolyn Jia, Business Development Coordinator

This week I did a variety of tasks including reading the HR SOP, helping other co-op students with onboarding, brainstormed onboarding website improvement ideas, implemented onboarding peer feedback, worked on an Industry Research project, worked on donation campaign review and completed a YRES Instagram review. I also joined various meetings that helped me become more familiar with U+Education and its partners (YRES,GPS,etc…). 

These actions have made an impact within the employee (co-op) satisfaction levels at U+ and made me more comfortable and familiar with the organization and its values. I have contributed to the improvements made in the U+ onboarding process and built relationships with the U+ fall co-op team! By adding feedback to the YRES, GPS, U+Career, U+Toastmaster and U+Education websites and social media, I have contributed to U+’s objective of growing and reaching more audiences.

  • Anushka, HR Assistant

Describe a challenge you encountered during your work this week. How did you approach and overcome this challenge, or what steps did you take to seek assistance and learn from it?

It was difficult to find direct competitors of U+ Education. Many of our competitors are scattered around Ontario. In today’s globalized world, competitors may operate in different geographic regions, making it harder to identify them if you’re primarily focused on a specific market. As U+ Education is specially focused in York Region, there are very limited competitors. 

Moreover, Some companies offer a wide range of products or services, making it challenging to determine which specific offerings directly compete with your products or services. This is especially true in industries with multifaceted portfolios. Consumer preferences and buying habits can evolve rapidly, creating new competitive dynamics. Identifying companies that cater to these changing preferences can be challenging. In order to attract customers, we must incorporate various preferences. With my previous experience is marketing, I overcame this challenge. My response is market our company depending on the social media. For example, if TikTok attracts adolescence, we can make videos relating to humour and teen jokes. Vise Versa for Facebook.

  • Carolyn Jia, Business Development Coordinator
A challenge I encountered this week was helping some of the new co-op students with the onboarding tasks on the onboarding website. I approached this challenge with a positive mindset. To seek assistance, any questions that I didn’t know the answer to I asked my supervisors and peers. This helped me come up with the best solutions possible to any problems that came up in co-op student’s onboarding process. I have even asked my peers for feedback on the onboarding form to make improvements for the next batch of co-op students (this will solve any future problems). 
  • Anushka, HR Assistant

Reflect on the skills you utilized or developed this week. Which skills were the most important for your tasks, and how do you see them benefiting your future career aspirations?

The skills I have acquired from Marketing supported me in finishing this project. One of our unit in Marketing class was market research. Having this knowledge advanced me finding and analyzing resources. It became much easier for me to find competitors as I have previously completed an assignment like this. I understand the difference between direct competitors and indirect competitors.
 This will benefit my future career in a positive way as I look forward going into the marketing industry. Market research and analysis is crucial when I need to identify a target market. Market research helps businesses gain deep insights into customer preferences, behaviors, and needs. This understanding is the foundation for creating products and services that resonate with the target audience.
  • Carolyn Jia, Business Development Coordinator
One skill that I have used very often and built on tremendously this week is networking. This skill is very important in HR, something that will benefit my future career aspirations (HR Management). By building connections with my peers and helping them throughout the onboarding process I have also built crucial leadership and communication skills that will also be important in a manager role. The HR Connections meeting that I attended has taught me so much about the specifics of HR and Business Admin. This experience has greatly benefitted me and showed me that HR is something I would seriously like to pursue in the future.
  • Anushka, HR Assistant

What interactions or collaborations with colleagues or supervisors stood out to you this week? How did these interactions enhance your understanding of the workplace and the industry?

This week at work, I had a significant interaction with my supervisor that stood out to me. We had a one-on-one discussion to discuss a new project I am working on. During this interaction, several aspects enhanced my understanding of the workplace and the industry. My supervisor provided a detailed overview of the project’s goals, scope, and expected outcomes. This clarity was crucial in helping me understand how our work contributes to the broader objectives of the company and the industry. He gave me instructions on completing on-boarding tasks and always reply within 10 minutes. This type of communication is highly effective and timesaving.

  • Carolyn Jia, Business Development Coordinator
I have communicated with almost all of the fall 2023 co-op students on the U+Education team and it has been a great learning experience to get used to workplace formal communication. I asked for peer feedback about onboarding and helped anyone who had questions or concerns about the onboarding form. I helped everyone get settled into their positions and provided a bit of context and extra help/info, coming from someone who just recently went through the same experience. 

I have gotten comfortable and familiar with the platform, Slack, and also honed crucial HR skills like networking, leading, organizing and monitoring employee performance. By helping with training and development/ employee performance in this onboarding process it has helped enhance my understand of the Business Admin and HR industry further.
  • Anushka, HR Assistant

Consider any insights or lessons you've gained about U+'s industry or the professional world in general. How do these insights align with your career goals, and do they influence your perspective on your future path?

Whether in education or business, effective communication is critical. I learned that professionals in both fields learn to convey information clearly, engage with diverse audiences, and build strong relationships. These skills are transferable and essential for success in various business roles. The education industry places a significant emphasis on developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills in me. These skills are equally valuable in the business world, where professionals often encounter complex challenges that require innovative solutions. In addition, these insights will come handy when I enter the real-world in the business industry.
  • Carolyn Jia, Business Development Coordinator
During my first two weeks at U+Education I have gained so much relevant knowledge about HR and learned so much about myself in a workplace environment. I have learned how to balance multiple projects at once (Ex: Industry research project, monitoring/helping onboarding, YRES review) while working hard to improve the quality of my work with each new task. I have learned that networking is crucial in the HR industry and ensuring that everyone on your team is on the same page daily is very helpful. These insights and my experience attending the HR Connections presentation have given me the resources to be successful in and committed to my role as HR Assistant and even help me in my future career path in HR Management.
  • Anushka, HR Assistant

As we wrap up this week’s reflections, it’s evident that our high school co-op experiences at U+ have provided valuable insights and hands-on learning opportunities in the realms of business, HR, and market research. Carolyn Jia’s exploration of marketing and market research skills highlights the importance of adaptability and understanding customer preferences. Anushka’s journey in HR and onboarding underscores the significance of networking, communication, and organizational skills. These insights not only align with our career aspirations but also broaden our perspective on the ever-evolving professional landscape. With each challenge, task, and interaction, we are one step closer to achieving our goals and making meaningful contributions to the world of business and HR.

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