Students grow accounting skills at firms across Ontario

From northern Ontario to downtown Toronto, co-op Accounting students from Brock’s Goodman School of Business are busy learning the tricks of the trade.

With one of the oldest and most established co-op Accounting programs in the province, the University’s students have access to a wealth of opportunities in a variety of firms across Ontario. However, finding the right fit depends on factors that often extend beyond the workplace.

For Brampton native Muizz Massood, the desire to work in a nationally recognized firm while also exploring the natural beauty of Ontario led to a work term 700 kilometres from home.

While completing his compilation and review duties as a junior staff member at MNP LLP in Timmins, the third-year student has also become independent in another area of his life.

“Being rather isolated in terms of food options — as I am a Muslim and eat halal meat — has forced me to learn how to cook myself meals,” he said. “Getting into that routine has made me feel more efficient in other aspects of my life too.”

Further south, in Barrie, second-year student Tyler Dugas is enjoying a work term as a commercial banking analyst with Scotiabank that allowed for the corporate fit he was looking for while also offering some of the comforts of home.

“I wanted to work for a bank during this term, but I preferred working in a smaller town than Toronto,” he said. “My mom lives in Barrie, which is the financial centre for northern Ontario, and it seemed like a good fit.”

In addition to learning how to handle accountant-prepared financial statements and applying other skills from his studies, Dugas has also picked up some unexpected lessons that he hopes will stay with him into the future.

“I am learning quite a bit of Spanish,” he said. “One of my co-workers is from Argentina and often uses Spanish terms when we talk.”

In the heart of downtown Toronto, third-year student Kyle Bickle is relishing the chance to work amidst the hustle and bustle that some of his classmates avoided.

As an assurance associate at PwC’s Toronto office, Bickle has embraced the benefits of working at one of the firm’s largest offices in the country.

“In Toronto, I have opportunities to work with large-scale clients within the GTA and also network with some of the best people from many schools around Canada,” he said.

Aside from the invaluable career skills he is gaining, Bickle is also thankful for another advantage of living in one of North America’s most diverse cities.

“My favourite aspect of working in Toronto is the ease of access to any variety of food,” he said. “My colleagues and I can grab a bite to eat, or order in when work gets busy.”

At the other end of the QEW, third-year student Ethan MacLean has found his co-op fit close to home.

The 20-year-old is working in the tax department at Bridgman and Durksen in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“While I have worked in the firm’s other offices in Niagara, I find being able to work directly with the tax department more beneficial to my learning,” he said.

MacLean has also embraced the flexible work environment the company promotes.

“Being able to change my schedule to fit my needs has had significant benefits to both my work and my life,” he said.

Alesia Dane, Senior Employer Development Manager in Co-op Education, says that all four students showcase the diversity of experience available in Brock’s co-op work terms.

“We encourage our students to explore a variety of work terms while they are here,” she said. “It’s important that they diversify their own skillset while working for organizations that offer professional development and personal growth.”

Each year, Brock sends more than 1,300 students to take part in work terms that last between four and 12 months and involve 40 degree programs.

Of that group, nearly 100 undergraduate co-op Accounting students are currently taking part in work terms, which massood Massood says provide life-changing opportunities.

“My work terms have applied the knowledge I learned in school and stretched it every which way to adapt to the real world,” he said. “I think my time in Timmins has been a huge step that will greatly help me in the world of professional accounting and beyond.”

To learn more about Brock’s co-op programs, visit the Brock Co-op Education website.

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