How the Graduate Student Internship Program At UNB’s Faculty Of Management Is Connecting Companies To International Talent

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International students face many cultural and professional barriers upon entry into New Brunswick’s job market and can often struggle when looking to jump-start their careers after graduation.

In recognizing those challenges, the University of New Brunswick’s faculty of management is giving international students enrolled in its graduate programs the experiential learning they need to succeed in some of Canada’s fastest-growing job sectors.

The faculty of management established the Graduate Student Internship program last fall, and this spring began fulfilling its first internship opportunities offered through several community partners.

Supported through a partnership with Experience UNB, PETL and Planet Hatch, the Graduate Student Internship program places international students from the faculty of management’s Master of Business Administration and Master in Quantitative Investment Management programs with companies in high-growth tech-based sectors like cybersecurity, digital health, and data analytics.

Its goal is to increase the retention of international students in New Brunswick while developing a highly-skilled pipeline of business managers to help drive growth and innovation.

UNB MBA student Divya Suryavanshi is one of those benefitting from the Graduate Student Internship program and recently joined Fredericton’s Beauceron Security in May for her summer internship.

Suryavanshi completed her Bachelor of Business Studies at Delhi University in India and has lived and worked in Dubai. She says working full-time after graduation didn’t make it easy for her to complete her MBA studies.

“I didn’t quite get the time to do my MBA back then because I got so involved with work and everything,” says Suryavanshi.

She discovered UNB’s MBA program on the Fredericton campus and thought it offered the right mix of being able to continue her education to fulfill her MBA while continuing to gain valuable work experience in a new country.

The program equips participants with skills found in the most successful entrepreneurs, which also happen to be those attributes most wanted by employers.

Eligible employers who take part in the program will get a 75 percent wage subsidy and the benefit of a high-skilled worker who brings a wealth of knowledge and new perspectives to their organization.

Partners also get to engage with MBA students on a regular basis, something that has become an effective recruitment strategy for participating businesses, like Beauceron Security and its Talent Specialist, Tasha Piekarski.

“We noticed that we really needed some market research analyst work done and we didn’t have the skill set in-house to do it,” recalls Piekarski. “We know UNB has an incredible MBA program filled with very skilled students. We reached out and were able to fill this gap with Divya coming in to help us with her knowledge and expertise.”

Piekarski says Beauceron Security has had a long-standing relationship with UNB, noting the majority of the company’s founders worked or studied at UNB before starting the business.

While its day-to-day operations involve helping many organizations better understand their role in cybersecurity and protecting their workplaces, Beauceron Security is also helping through its partnership with UNB’s MBA program to leverage the expertise of international students by providing an enrichment platform for them to learn.

“I think we’re out of the start-up stage now, and we’re beginning to scale up,” says Piekarski. “There’s a lot to learn — specifically in how fast-paced it is here — and how everything’s changing.”

Prospective students craft their resumes and cover letters to prep for interviews in a formal application process.

Once Divya was a successful candidate, she began not only her introduction to the business of Beauceron Security but also to Canadian work culture.

“It’s very different,” says Suryavanshi who recalls working her first job-based in India, for a company based in Singapore.

“I can tell you that Canadian work culture is more about doing your job right, and then you can take your time off. There is a work/life balance here,” says Suryavanshi.

Of all the jobs Suryavanshi has done before, many involved working on days off and putting in extended hours on workdays.

“I really appreciate that about Canada, and employers actually do understand that work/life balance is very important for any employee working nowadays.”

Now only weeks into her internship with Beauceron Security, Suryavanshi says she has come to value that experience the most, working closely with her supervisor, the Chief Evangelist of Beauceron Security Ian MacMillan.

“He is very understanding about my courses because I was studying in summer session. They’re all so understanding in knowing that as an international student, I need to take care of my studies and then balance my work at Beauceron Security.”

“Working at Beauceron Security forces you to be on your toes and be really adaptable,” Piekarski relates, who believes it’s a type of skill that often doesn’t come across in larger, more structured organizations where objectives are more predictable.

“A larger skill set, that’s something that she’s learning here. She’s been working with our Chief Evangelist, who is not only an expert on our products but also an expert on marketing and branding,” added Piekarski.

“It’s a really unique opportunity to join an organization and have someone close on the senior level management team as your direct manager, and as a student, she has quite an insight into what’s happening here.”

Since taking over the role of Talent Specialist at Beauceron Security, Piekarski says she has been able to help develop company resources to focus on the types of internships that UNB’s MBA program can provide.

“In the past, we’ve had one or two internships, so we didn’t have a full role able to coordinate all of them,” she adds.

“I’m really passionate about building a talent pipeline,” says Piekarski. “I think UNB’s MBA program is really special. I know the skill set that MBA students bring, and the amount of study they do makes them well rounded.”

“It is very diverse, and a lot of students come with different backgrounds that we don’t see often, especially in a small province. So that is unique and beneficial to add to our workforce,” remarks Piekarski.

For Suryavanshi, her early work with Beauceron Security has been as inclusive as it has been immersive.

“I’m totally involved in whatever I’m doing. I am actually learning everything related to cybersecurity awareness right now,” shared Suryavanshi.

“I’ve always worked mostly in the food industry, but now I’m actually learning something about the IT industry, cybersecurity, things that I never took up in school before. It’s such a great experience to broaden my horizon of understanding and new subjects,” says Suryavanshi.

“This is the very first time they’re doing this for the MBA international students. I feel that we’re very fortunate to have this opportunity to actually go out and gain this practical experience.”

Suryavanshi says any international student looking to UNB for their MBA studies will not be disappointed.

“It is very culture inclusive, and that is very important for international students,” added Suryavanshi. “This is something that I really appreciate about Canada and coming to UNB.”

This story is sponsored by the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Management.

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