Co-ops and internships are undoubtedly beneficial for students and employers. Students gain hands-on, professional-level work experience that complements their classroom learning, while employers profit from motivated, short-term employees who bring fresh ideas and first-class academic training to the table. It’s an extra sweet arrangement when an intern or co-op student makes the shift to full-timer.
“Students can determine if a co-op or internship assignment is a good fit for the kind of work they would like to do in the future, and employers have the advantage of observing students over a three- to six-month period to determine if they would make a positive contribution as permanent employees,” noted Jo-Ann Raines, director of student and alumni career development, Career Development Services. “It is a common practice for employers to offer their co-op students and interns a full-time position upon their graduation.”
With NJIT’s 2017 commencement just days away, these students share their segue-success stories and offer sage advice to underclassmen.
Going to Goldman Sachs
Cynthia Ahmed was offered a full-time opportunity at Goldman Sachs just a few days after her internship at the company’s New York headquarters ended in summer 2016. Ahmed, a Martin Tuchman School of Management graduate concentrating in finance and accounting, will start at Goldman Sachs this July as an analyst. The job follows her real-world experience interning in the company’s Legal and Internal Audit Department, where she primarily analyzed and produced risk assessments for different areas of the business. She also had the opportunity to connect with people from different geographical regions, universities and educational backgrounds. “I enjoyed meeting and cooperating with some of the most hardworking, ambitious and awesome people I have ever met,” she said.
Her Advice to Underclassmen: “Do not be shy! During an internship, especially if it your first, it is normal to feel a bit hesitant toward setting up meetings with your boss, lunches with colleagues in other departments, or just asking questions. However, it is absolutely critical that you make the best of every minute.”
Continuing at Inglese Architecture and Engineering
As a co-op student this past semester at Inglese Architecture and Engineering in East Rutherford, N.J., Anuoluwapo Akeredolu received a comprehensive introduction in construction documentation and civil engineering site planning. He was involved in stormwater design and calculations for residential projects, as well as grading, drainage and utility plans. “It was a good experience seeing the skeletal and backbone process of architecture, and the work was always varied in scale,” remarked Akeredolu, a dual-degree graduate with an M.Sc. in civil engineering from Newark College of Engineering and a B.Arch. from the College of Architecture and Design. “What was especially nice was that most of the people in the firm were alumni of NJIT.” He quickly settled in nicely at the firm and was offered full-time employment soon after starting. He will transition directly from student to staffer when he completes the four-month co-op.
His Advice to Underclassmen: “Smaller firms offer a better opportunity to do a lot of work as an architect, and you get to do a lot more work that will satisfy a more diverse range of activities for the licensing program.”
Hired by WSP
Two weeks after she graduates with a B.A. in interior design from the College of Architecture and Design, Cathrine Fahmy will join WSP (formerly WSP| Parsons Brinckerhoff) full time as a junior lighting designer. Fahmy spent the past year at the major international engineering firm’s U.S. headquarters in New York as an intern on the lighting-design team. She found the opportunity through an online search and gained valuable experience in lighting design, an essential component of interior design. Fahmy worked on a variety of projects in collaboration with electrical engineers, interacted with clients and architects, and networked with professionals from other firms. She is very excited about her future at WSP, and says that through her internship she has “already made connections in multiple departments at WSP, which will allow me to acquire more knowledge from those who are more experienced.”
Her Advice to Underclassmen: “Demonstrate both the skills you have that make you valuable to your company and the ability to continue learning. Employers are not looking for someone who knows everything, but someone who has the ability to learn everything necessary to do the job. So don't underestimate your capabilities or undermine your value.”
Coming on Board at UPS
Jason Sevilla began his co-op at UPS in Mahwah, N.J., in May 2015 and has been with the company ever since. Come this June he will transition to a full-timer there, moving from the vulnerability management team, for which he assessed the potential for hacking and worked with system owners on compliance with UPS’ information security policy, to the network security team, which will have him handle data-loss prevention, DDOS attacks and wireless intrusion detection and prevention systems. Sevilla, who will earn a B.S. in information technology with a concentration in network and information security from Ying Wu College of Computing, learned about the co-op opportunity from the UPS website. He learned he got the job on April 14, the Friday before Easter Sunday — “So I guess you can say I had a ‘good Friday’ that day. Corny, I know.” He says his co-op experience, which has required him to develop the mindset of a hacker, will help in his new role fending off actual attacks.
His Advice to Underclassmen: “If you're going to search for a co-op, be proactive instead of reactive. Don't wait for an opportunity to be created, go out there and create the opportunity.”