One of the greatest benefits of pursuing any Masters degree is the experience and connections to a student’s chosen industry that it provides. An MBA is arguably one of the most rigorous graduate degrees an aspiring business professional can obtain — and not just academically. The success of MBA graduates is greatly owing to the real-world experience the top programs offer their candidates while they study.
Irrespective of a candidate’s specialization, be it marketing, accounting, or strategic management, potential employers expect their job applicants to have graduated from a program that also offered them the opportunity to work. The knowledge obtained in the classroom simply isn’t enough to advance at the speed a graduate would like. Even for an entry level position, hiring managers look for about a year’s worth of full-time experience. This is why an MBA program offering internships or co-op placements would be the ideal choice for someone choosing to continue their studies and training in business.
While both an internship and co-op can prove to be beneficial learning environments, it is important to note there are significant differences between the two. A coop placement allows students to stop going to school in favour of working full-time – in most cases they also get paid for this work, allowing them to pay off a significant portion of their tuition before completing their degrees. Typically, coops are completed across multiple terms, securing that recommended one year of working experience as well.
Internships offer more flexibility and can be completed part-time, but they can also go unpaid. While an internship is an excellent opportunity to further a student’s skillset during their summer semester off, it would benefit him or her more to choose a business program that is co-op focused – extra internships can then be used to supplement the relevant experience students acquire throughout the school year.
By pursuing a coop option at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics for example, students can apply for an MBA that includes coop placement. Thanks to the school’s Integrated Core teaching model, students become well-versed in all aspects of business while also having the flexibility to specialize. The coop MBA program at Lazaridis allows students to keep their options open when beginning their coop, and allows themselves to be inspired by the placement — gaining practical skills in their chosen industry but also allowing the work itself to influence the path they take in their careers. For the ambitious student, this school also offers international internship opportunities during the summer months.
A co-op placement provides MBA candidates with a leg up on the competition when they graduate by giving them the practise and the connections needed to move forward and make progress as managers, entrepreneurs, accountants, financial analysts and more. Internships, while helpful, should be treated as an extension rather than a foundation of the degree. Ideally, applicants will choose a program that offers both, putting them in the best possible place to achieve success after graduation.