How COVID-19 is Currently Affecting my Second Co-op

 Interviewer: Kimberly Flores  Interviewee: Jack Shaw  Jack Shaw just started his second Co-op with the John Hancock company. Compared to last year, Jack was not able to physically go to his new job. Everything is much different in his new Co-op and he describes how different last year was compared to this year during a […]
Jul 18, 2020
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 Interviewer: Kimberly Flores

 Interviewee: Jack Shaw 

Jack Shaw just started his second Co-op with the John Hancock company. Compared to last year, Jack was not able to physically go to his new job. Everything is much different in his new Co-op and he describes how different last year was compared to this year during a pandemic. He is a finance major and economics minor, graduating May 2021. 

What do you do for your co-op?

I work alongside the project management team. My tasks usually are varied based on who I’m helping. It’s all corporate finance. A lot of what I do is called cost fit, cost-saving, and cost reduction across the company. I also work alongside the quarter close process, so we can compile the earnings call, which then gets presented onto the public and to analysts. I am also working to kind of transfer outdated legacy admins systems into a new updated format, working alongside a partner company. 

Did you apply to your co-op during the pandemic? 

I actually applied all the way back in October 2019, so of course, I had no idea about anything that was to come at the time. I actually found out I got accepted to the co-op about a week or a week and a half after I was interviewed. I am very fortunate that my co-op did not get pushed back at all. I started July 7th, which was always my planned start day. I was obviously supposed to be in the office but now I am starting from home. 

Were there still many job opportunities when you were applying? 

Yes, so back in October there were a lot of opportunities available. What became interesting though was as COVID progressed and the seriousness was started to be felt in all different parts of the country, a lot of co-ops started canceling or even getting pushed back, but during the time of interviewing there were still many opportunities. 

How long is your co-op for? Is it the same as your first co-op? 

Yes, it is scheduled for six months so I will end in December. I am basically a full-time employee working 9-5, 5 days a week.

How different is it compared to your first co-op? 

I did really enjoy my first co-op, it was great and it was my first real-world corporate experience. Since it was my first experience, the company was a little hesitant in giving me significant work that was going to be very material for the company. Most of what I did was facilitating the team, but more on the periphery, kind of helping with more not as serious tasks. I can tell you already from the beginning of my new internship, the work I am doing is much more substantial. It’s reports that are actually going to be presented to upper management, senior management, which I enjoy, now that I have work experience. The company feels much safer giving me more substantial work that you know will be more material and kind of affect how the company performs in the future. 

Did they supply you with everything you need? 

Yes, so if I was in the office, I would have a dual monitor setup, a keyboard, and a mouse, all that kind of equipment. Because of COVID and being at home, they shipped me a laptop, which isn’t typically what I would have worked on. I also received a VPN, which is the access to the company’s files, it’s basically an access key. 

What are your plans for the school year? 

I would be going back after my co-op which is going to be my final semester, which is crazy to say. The plan right was to go back to campus and have my classes there, take the last four credits I need to graduate. I also am planning post-graduation, where I am going to work and because of COVID, it’s looking more like I am going to be attending classes virtually, even in January when I start taking classes again, just because they want to keep class sizes at a minimum. I don’t expect my course load to change because we might be going virtually. It will be very interesting to see how well I can learn in that environment. Longterm, I plan on getting my CFA degree. I plan on getting a job and working alongside the company to help me sponsor my way through the exams that work my way up to taking the CFA exam.

Any tips on kids starting their co-op during a pandemic?

My biggest tip is BE PATIENT. It’s hard enough for employers like us to kind of get the technology working, learn what role the co-op student will have in the company. It can be more stressful for the employer. This is all new to them as well. They are not used to working from home. The technology was never meant to be set up remotely. I would definitely say patience is the main thing. Realizing how hard it is for you, it is also going to be hard for other people. Being understanding of that will create the best work environment for the entire team. 

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