University of Western Ontario: Ivey students apply business skills in unique internship roles

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Jack Borins, an HBA/Law ’25 candidate, is used to getting questioning looks when he mentions he did a summer internship with a little-known tech startup in Israel. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I think it’s important to get outside of your comfort zone and learn how businesses work around the world. I had a really valuable experience,” he said. “By sharing my experience, I hope people will realize there is more to an internship than just working in Toronto at a big firm.”

Borins, who is Jewish, has a personal connection to Israel, so found an internship in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Fellow Ivey Business School HBA students, Payton Harrison and Will Sanderson, also found their own internships to fit their interests. Harrison interned at Canucks Sports & Entertainment, and Sanderson was at Tesla. And while HBA student Cassandra Wild landed an internship from Ivey’s job board, she specifically chose a unique role in architectural technology that fit her interests.

Whether pursuing a role with one of Ivey Career Management’s more than 2,000 corporate partners, or an opportunity outside the Ivey job portal, it’s important to keep an open mind. Below the four students share their unique summer internship experiences and advice.

Jack Borins, HBA/Law ’25 candidate
Business Development Intern, Powerlinx in Tel Aviv, Israel, May to mid-June, 2022

Jack Borins
Jack Borins

Jack Borins’ ideal summer internship was an international experience where he’d gain valuable business and life skills.

He found just that through Onward Israel, a program that places Canadian and U.S. university students in internships in Israel and covers their living expenses. Borins worked at Powerlinx, a business-to-business matchmaking platform that connects organizations for opportunities.

In his business development role, Borins applied communication skills gained at Ivey while cold-calling potential clients, particularly how to adapt his pitch for a different culture. And working for a small startup allowed him to have more responsibilities and make a big impact. He even continued to do limited work with Powerlinx for the remainder of the summer.

“Since there were so few employees, I had direct involvement in the day-to-day life of the company,” he said.

In addition to gaining professional experience, Borins interacted with the 40 students in the Onward Israel program and participated in field trips. A highlight was a weekend-long arts and culture seminar in the Negev Desert where he learned about Israel’s culture and history. Borins said he’ll never forget the view of the stars in the desert sky.

“Think outside the box. Be confident in yourself and look for what you really want to do. And support other people with what they want to do,” said Borins.

His advice: Don’t be afraid to take the path less travelled.

Cassandra Wild, HBA/Engineering ’23 candidate
Architectural Technology Intern, Mattamy Asset Management in Toronto, Ont., May-August, 2022

Cassandra Wild
Cassandra Wild

Since both of her parents are architects, Cassandra Wild was interested in art design, but didn’t want to follow their paths exactly. Instead, she was interested in a business role with a home-building company.

She was thrilled to find and secure a role through the Ivey job portal – an opportunity with Mattamy Asset Management’s smarthome technology department. While at Mattamy, Wild had a chance to explore two different areas. She initially researched smarthome technologies, and then moved into an architectural technology position where she worked on a project to standardize the process of building kitchen cabinets.

Both roles allowed Wild to apply her business skills in an innovative industry and she’s glad she took a different path.

“I was stressed out when many of my classmates were interviewing for consulting positions and I wasn’t, but this [internship] was just more me,” she said. “Don’t be influenced by your surroundings. Follow your heart and do what you want to do.”

Her advice: Be yourself.

Will Sanderson, HBA/Engineering ’23 candidate
Technical Program Management Intern, Tesla in Austin, Texas, May-August, 2022

Will Sanderson
Will Sanderson

After months of virtual programming in 2020 due to COVID-19, Will Sanderson needed a break. So when he saw a 10-month internship position in Tesla’s cell and battery program, he applied, was hired, and took time off from school for it.

Once back at Ivey, he was hired for a similar role at Tesla for the summer, which involved looking at ways to make better quality batteries and battery cells. Passionate about sustainability, Sanderson was interested in ways to more efficiently store energy. The role also allowed him to apply skills learned at Ivey; such as working with teams, managing complex problems with multiple stakeholders, and optimizing operations.

And although it was a big step to work outside Canada, the experience opened his mind to the realms of possibility.

“Don’t be afraid to step off the path or do something uncomfortable. It’s an effective way to learn about yourself and what interests you,” said Sanderson

His advice: Try something new.

Payton Harrison, HBA ’23 candidate
Partnership Marketing Intern, Canucks Sports & Entertainment in Vancouver, B.C., May-August, 2022

Payton Harrison
Payton Harrison

Payton Harrison was interested in working at Canucks Sports & Entertainment for several reasons. She enjoys playing sports, has a background in Kinesiology and Sport Management, and is impressed by how the organization supports women.

She turned to Ivey Career Management for advice on how to stand out during a group interview with 10 other candidates and succeeded in landing a role in the Partnership Marketing department.

“The mock interviews with Career Management were definitely beneficial and helped me to think about how to phrase my responses, my pitch, and my questions,” she said.

In her role, Harrison works with the organization’s partners to plan out activations and events, such as draft day, training camp, and theme night games, for all of Canucks Sports & Entertainment’s properties. The organization operates two hockey teams, Vancouver Canucks (NHL) and Abbotsford Canucks (AHL); the Vancouver Warriors lacrosse team; and the Vancouver Titans and Seattle Surge electronic sports team.

Harrison said communication skills learned at Ivey helped when working with multiple stakeholders on the integration of their brands.

“Ivey teaches you to think on your feet. You have to speak in class and put your ideas out there. It helped me to think through my ideas and feel comfortable bringing them forward,” she said.

The internship provided many valuable experiences, such as witnessing the behind-the-scenes of a professional sports operation, and interacting with sport industry experts.

“If there’s a specific industry you want to work in or a job you want, talk to Ivey alumni in the industry to figure out what kind of role you are best-suited for,” said Harrison

Her advice: Look broadly for an internship that’s a good fit.

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