Student insights: Transitioning into a new corporate culture.

Misakura Tsukimoto co-op student

Misakura Tsukimoto
Candidate for Honours Bachelor of Applied Science, Systems Design Engineering

Misakura just started her 3B term in Systems Design Engineering. On one of her work terms in 2011, she worked as a Project Coordinator at Manulife Financial in Toronto. In the busy Bloor St office she facilitated a number of projects in co-operation with all business units within the company. Misakura has also acted as a campus ambassador for Manulife, and is a member of uWaterloo’s Women in Engineering Committee.

Prior to Manulife, I completed my 3 co-op terms in a small technical company in various roles and cities within Canada. Everyone knew each other, and having lunch with the CEO or the VP was a regular occurrence.

When I walked the busy streets of Yonge and Bloor, then into the Manulife building on my first day, dressed as if I was walking into an interview, I knew it was going to be very different experience. Manulife Financial had a Tim Hortons, a cafeteria with a breakfast item named after them, their own mail system, gym, library, and health center. At first, it was hard to adjust to the culture of a large company, but soon after I was very grateful for the experience.

As a co-op student pursuing Project Management, I was given responsibilities that suited my skills and personality. Meetings occurred over teleconference with Manulife employees and their vendors all
over the world. Working from home was a regular occurrence in my department, even for the co-op students. Many of the team members were located in the Kitchener office and I had the opportunity to travel for some of the face-to-face meetings. In my department I met many great people, and was treated as one of their own instead of an outsider co-op student.

The co-op program is also very well developed. There were projects for the co-op students every term which is something students can learn from
and be proud of.

I had the opportunity to take on a cross-border project as the project manager, working with coop students in various offices and business/project sponsors just as one would in any business projects.
Within a few weeks, I was also assigned a mentor from another department which gave me a better understanding of how the company works and the vast opportunities that are available in the future with

It was hard to adjust to the culture of a large company, but soon after I was very grateful for the experience.

Throughout my co-op term, I was able to take advantage of the opportunities to learn and develop outside of work. I was able to volunteer in the Walk for Memories event as a Manulife representative, participate in
training sessions such as "How to effectively manage your time" while learning tips and tricks passed down from other Manulife employees, and attend a volunteer fair where many non-profit organizations gathered
in a room to explain opportunities to volunteer through Manulife-organized events such as the Habitat for Humanity to build houses in Toronto.

I was very pleased with my co-op experience at Manulife Financial, and am proud to represent the company as a Campus Ambassador.

Don't miss the...2012 JOB FAIR!

  • Network, connect, learn
  • Wednesday February 1, 2012 from 10:00am-3:30pm at Bingemans Conference Centre.
  • For more information, visit Partners for Employment.