Alex Zhu, a second-year Computing and Financial Management student, was named Co-op of the Year from the Faculty of Mathematics at this morning’s Co-op Student of the Year awards.
During his co-op term in fall 2022, Zhu did hybrid work at Mastercard. He unexpectedly had to step up, along with three other employees, when a project lead suddenly had to leave for three months, leaving them responsible for maintaining a multi-million-dollar partnership.
“In this role I was able to step up and lead client engagement,” says Zhu. “It was a very valuable opportunity to take that extra step and go above and beyond the role that I was given.” Zhu also had opportunities to practice and build leadership and management skills, such as when he put together a “Welcome to Canada” guide to help new cardholders from Ukraine transition to their new community.
During his work term, Zhu also launched a first-of-its-kind call centre savings initiative. The initiative examined and quantified cost reductions from numerous tests focused on call centre improvements and recommended solutions for the client. The recommendations can save clients millions of dollars per year.
“Having a manager who was just so willing to stick their head out for me and look for opportunities that provide me with the best learning experience was absolutely invaluable,” says Zhu. His contributions in creating key projects and liaising with stakeholders earned him recognition from leadership.
“Out of all the very talented people in the Faculty of Math, I feel really honoured to be awarded Co-op Student of the Year,” Zhu says. “I think that this award really goes to show that anything is possible.”
To read more about the Co-op Student of the Year Awards and the winners from the other five Faculties, check out the full profiles on the Co-op website.