The MMASc Co-op program is the final requirement for completing the degree and consists of a summer (minimum of 500 hours) full-time co-op work term. Potential employers include public and private companies, all levels of government, and not-for-profit organizations. If extenuating circumstances preclude a student from securing a position, an alternate means to fulfil the course credit through a Major Research Project will be considered.
The purpose of the MMASc Co-op is to allow the student an opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge obtained during the academic terms, to a real-world work setting. There is no list of prescribed skills or experience that the student must obtain, as the types of co-op positions and employers are so varied. The work must involve their individual Specialty Field's themes and it is expected that the student will develop skills that are relevant to their particular co-op position. The employer and student will determine appropriate learning objectives early in the term, so that the co-op experience is meaningful for both.
The types of positions will likely vary from year-to-year, depending on the employer’s need, the economy, and the distribution of available government funding/incentives to different sectors. Opportunities may be in the public, private, government or not-for-profit sector.
It is possible, however there is no guarantee that you will get a full-time job after completing your co-op. This depends on the availability of jobs and on you. It is hoped that the co-op term will give you some practical work experience related to your Specialty Field that will enhance your resume and give you some direction as you begin your full-time job search.
There are no guarantees that any of the positions will be in London. The availability and location of co-ops cannot be determined before the academic term begins. Most organizations do not finalize summer hiring plans until early winter, sometimes later. With this in mind, you may want to consider an 8-month lease if you will be renting for the academic terms.
There may be international co-op opportunities available from time-to-time. However, most positions will be located in Canada.
You will be required to obtain a work visa to participate. For more information, please visit Government of Canada - Co-op to learn more. You can also visit Western International for further assistance.
Each year there will be two pools of job postings: those that will be exclusive to MMASc students and those that will be available to all co-op students. In the latter case, the employer may advertise the job to other Western programs, to other universities with similar programs, or more generally, at universities across Canada. There will be a range of competition for the non-exclusive job postings.
No, the MMASc Co-op Advisor cannot guarantee you a position. Much of the outcome depends on you – the effort you put into applying for positions; the quality of your resume; your skills and experience and how you communicate these both in writing and in person; your willingness to work anywhere and to perform a variety of tasks; the number of jobs you apply for, etc. The MMASc Co-op Office will support you in the search for your position by searching for and posting all known available positions; offering workshops and seminars on the application and interview process, providing review services for cover letters and resumes; and coordinating interviews where possible, etc. The Office will continue to work with students one-on-one, if they are not initially placed, for a reasonable period of time.
The official co-op term is approximately 14-16 weeks of work, such that the total hours worked is within the range of 500 – 575.
Most jobs will begin the first Monday at the beginning of a term, unless previously stated. You may be able to negotiate a slightly different start-date with a valid reason. That will be between you and the employer. As for the end-date, you must ensure that you have achieved the required number of hours by your specified end date.
Your employer is not required to provide you with any vacation time. However, it may be possible to negotiate a day or two off if your request is reasonable. Again, this is between you and the employer. If you have a known commitment (e.g. a family wedding) at the time of interview, this might be a good time to discuss this issue.
Yes, you will be required to pay tuition. You are still a Western student with all its privileges. The MMASc Co-op is a registered course within a term of the program.
If you do not have a valid driver’s license, you should strongly consider obtaining one prior to your work term. Many government jobs require a driver’s license and many other positions require a license in order to travel on behalf of the business, particularly if the job involves visiting clients. You are severely limiting your prospects without a driver’s license (especially in your eventual full-time job search). It is also possible that you may be working with an employer who is located in an area without access to public transportation.
The list of positions will be made available through Western’s Career Services website, CareerCentral. Students will be asked to log on to this system in September and check the site regularly for updates.
Yes, there are many resources available to assist you in both applying for and interviewing for positions. There will be group workshops provided specifically to MMASc students that outline how to apply for co-ops using CareerCentral, how to write a cover letter and resume, and how to conduct oneself in an interview. There are also services available for one-on-one application reviews. You are expected to take advantage of all these services prior to applying for positions.
The interviews for most positions will either take place on campus or be conducted by remote means (e.g. telephone, video conference, etc.). In some cases, local employers may request that students come to their offices.
Students will be notified by email of all upcoming interviews. Due to the difficulty of scheduling interviews, students will be expected to attend their assigned time. If you have a valid conflict with the interview time (not the date), there may be an opportunity for some minor adjustments. You risk not being interviewed by that particular employer if you cannot attend.
You will be notified of your co-op by e-mail followed by a face-to-face meeting with the MMASc Co-op Advisor to review the details of the offer.
The MMASc Co-op Office will consider you officially placed immediately upon notification and a verbal acceptance. Next steps will include receiving a Letter of Offer from the employer and signing an MMASc Co-op contract. These two documents should be finalized within 2 or 3 weeks of notification.
If a few weeks have passed since receiving employment notification from the MMASc Co-op Office and no contact has been initiated by the employer, you should certainly feel comfortable in contacting the employer directly. This shows interest and enthusiasm on your part, particularly if you begin the conversation by stating that you are “really looking forward to working with them and simply want to confirm what you can do to be as prepared as possible.” You can write a letter or send an e-mail in order to confirm such things as the start-date and time, the length of the work day, the end-date, the name of your supervisor, any preparations the employer would like you to make, the dress code, etc.
There are several things you should do to prepare for your co-op. These include:
1. Complete any necessary documentation, security checks, etc. specifically required by your employer. Do so as quickly and as accurately as possible in order to avoid delaying the start-time. (Government security clearances take time on the government’s end.)
2. If re-location is involved, find appropriate housing for yourself:
3. Determine how you are going to get to work each day. This may mean obtaining a vehicle, even on a temporary basis (check into car pooling – larger companies may have organized pools); investigating available public transportation (check if the student discount policy will apply to you); investing in a bicycle and ensuring a safe route; relocating close enough to walk to work, etc.
4. Review all information provided in your Student Contract Package.
5. Review your employer’s website and ensure familiarity with the business. Consider what input you would like to have in completing the Learning Objectives.
6. Complete any other preparatory items requested by the employer.