Pythian – Through the Eyes of a CO-OP Student

Posted in: Pythian Life

 

I worked at Pythian as a Global Talent Acquisition Coordinator (co-op student) within the company’s human resources function in Ottawa, Canada. At the core of my role, I provided direct support to my colleagues in guiding job applicants through our hiring process. I also had the opportunity to take on and create small projects for myself during my four months there.

Since our past technical CO-OPs have written fantastic blogs about their experiences at Pythian (be sure to read them!), how about I write this one about the business side of working there? Here are my top three reasons why any business student would want to work at Pythian:

1. What better place is there to develop cross-cultural literacy?

With Pythian, I had the pleasure of working with remote and international colleagues for the first time. Top that with actively communicating with a global pool of job applicants on a daily basis. Succeeding in this kind of environment definitely requires you to be cross-culturally literate, which means that you understand how cultural differences—both inside and outside an organization—affect a business’s day-to-day practices.

In business school, we are often reminded about the importance of considering the external environment when a firm goes global (CDSTEP, anyone?), so it was quite eye-opening to see how my experience at Pythian really validated my studies. For example, processes that are of no legal concern in Canada might present a huge obstacle when hiring abroad, and pieces of information that North Americans prefer to keep private are quite openly discussed in other cultures. Talking to candidates from around the world definitely taught me how to think more critically about my communication—not only in terms of what I say, but also how I say it.

2. It feels nice not to be just “the CO-OP student”.

Upon my first day, I immediately felt that I would not be looked at as simply an intern. My team greeted me with open arms (already knowing my name!) and repeatedly emphasized the value of having me on board throughout my term. Within days, I could already understand the significance of my tasks and how they contributed not only to the team, but also to the organization as a whole.

Another great thing about not being just “the CO-OP student” is empowerment. At Pythian, you are really treated like a colleague rather than a subordinate. I never worked for my boss, but I always worked with her. During my term, my team enthusiastically invited me to explore our work processes and offer ideas to make things better. It was pretty cool to see my thoughts being listened to and put into action, even after my departure!

3.There’s nothing more rewarding than stepping out of your comfort zone.

One of the things I hated doing most before working at Pythian was using the phone. If you run a quick Google search, you will find many studies showing that Millennials are not as comfortable with making phone calls as their predecessors were—and I could speak to that, 100 percent! Want me to order a pizza? I’ll do it through the restaurant’s online platform. Am I due for a dentist appointment? I’ll ignore the receptionist’s voicemails until she sends me an e-mail (although my telephonophobia might not be the only reason for that one!).

My colleagues helped me overcome this discomfort by having me conduct reference checks. As embarrassing as it might sound, I actually had to take the greatest leap of faith to get my fingers dialling for the first time. Although I certainly had a mini heart-attack whenever I was asked to help with a reference, I eventually eased into the task with time. While I might still shy away from the telephone now and then, I really do feel accomplished in getting more comfortable with using less texting and more talking!

All in all, my experience at Pythian has been nothing less than fantastic. It has truly been a pleasure to work with a diverse group of people from around the world, and I would be thrilled to see my future take me back there one day. If you’re looking to intern for a company with a global focus and an information-sharing, empowering culture, then you would definitely love to join Pythian!

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Interested in working for Pythian? Check out our open positions.

About the Author

Joseph is a human resources student enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Ottawa. In his previous internships, Joseph has provided support in HR data analytics, compensation, health and wellness, and he is also a teaching assistant for undergraduate business students. In the future, Joseph hopes to pursue a career in law or project management—wherever life takes him!

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