Jennifer is a Business Specialist Intern at PayPal Canada, where she gets the opportunity to explore what she is studying and her interest in tech. She is heading into her second year at the University of Toronto in the Rotman Commerce program and hopes to specialize in finance and economics in the future.
Working at PayPal
As a Business Specialist Intern, Jennifer has had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects involving market research and analysis. Jennifer finds herself working in the non-profit sector of PayPal Canada, exploring potential business opportunities, and looking into start-ups in the Toronto area. In the end, she is often required to turn the information she gathered into meaningful presentables.
The position requires a lot of initiative and independent work, which are skills that helped Jennifer succeed at PayPal. Oftentimes, her managers and colleagues would expect to see her personal spin on a project, which requires lots of creativity. Furthermore, Jennifer believes that it is really important to make use of all the resources that are available to her. These include the various learning programs, such as python training, that PayPal provides. Making the most out of all the resources provided and learning continuously can become very beneficial in the future.
A Typical Day at PayPal
9:00 am: arrive at the office; grab a coffee; check the news; plan the distribution of workload for the day.
Morning: usually working on several projects related to potential business development opportunities, collecting information & turning them into presentables. Examples:
- The nonprofit sector
- Start-ups in Toronto
Afternoon: working on a project that requires more time; training sessions.
The Application Process
Finding an internship wasn’t easy for someone like Jennifer. Without many industry connections, applying to hundreds of places was a valuable learning experience for her. During the interview, she was asked about the stories behind each experience on her resume. She said that it is important to discuss the contributions you can make through your experiences during interviews instead of treating them like knowledge-based tests. Other components of the interview, which were related to the position, included a discussion about graphic design skills and the use of excel.
The Working Environment
Jennifer thinks PayPal is a wonderful place to work with an extremely nurturing working environment. The office is made up of smaller teams similar to what start-ups would look like although PayPal is a big organization. Whereas a wider range of skill sets are required for start-ups, the tasks and responsibilities at PayPal are very specialized. Jennifer works closely with managers and leads. She really appreciates the willingness of everyone in the office to share their experiences with her and give her career-related advice. An example would be when one of Jennifer’s managers told her about the variety of positions he has been in: running businesses in person & remotely, working in consulting, and working at startups, teaching her that one person’s career isn’t confined to one particular area or position. Overall, PayPal is a really caring environment where every individual is valued as a person.
A challenge Jennifer encountered was getting used to the difference of work life compared to school life. Working on the same tasks for 8 hours straight is quite a big change from how to pace studying at school. The projects she works on require lots of patience, so she found it helpful to create a time-line to determine which tasks are to be completed as self-regulation becomes very important.
Working in Canada
According to Jennifer, a major benefit of working in Canada would be its multiculturalism and diversity, where it is easy to learn about the experiences of others who often have interesting backgrounds, which help create a healthy office environment. However, Canada has fewer opportunities in finance and technology when compared to the United States and countries in Europe. Nevertheless, Canada has made some significant achievements in terms of the development of AI and other technologies.
Advice for Current High School Students
- Do not worry if you don’t have a detailed plan for the future
- It is definitely possible to change your path in university
- It is not necessary to take a conventional route to a career
- It is not the end of the world if you do not land an internship
- University is the time to talk to people and learn about your interests
- Don’t be afraid to change routes