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The full co-op student experience: ‘Work hard, play hard’

Third-year mineral engineering student Adarsh Khokal had high expectations that a 12-month student work term would complement his University of Toronto studies with practical skills.

“I also wanted to experience a particular work environment where I could learn soft skills like collaboration and teamwork,” said Khokal.

With Imperial’s Mine Performance Group, Khokal was part of a multi-disciplinary team responsible for analyzing a variety of functions at Imperial’s Kearl oil sands operation to identify efficiencies to maximize productivity.

“My team was really focused on being results orientated. It was very inclusive so even as a student I definitely felt like I made a real contribution. The culture was conducive to work and learning at the same time,” he says.

Being a co-op or summer student in a professional organization can be likened to having each foot in two different worlds – academia and business.

“Imperial’s co-op program is organized really well and because it’s a large organization there were many opportunities to take advantage of. I learned a lot about the technical aspects of my chosen field, and I was encouraged to take part in both student and regular employee social activities from ice cream socials to ski trips. Through those I got to talk to many people from around the company and learn different aspects of the business, and that made it easy to then collaborate with other groups over a major project,” says Khokal.

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