In 2021, Interac has welcomed a record 24 interns and co-op students to the team! We sat down with Mathias, Shreyas, and Zoe, three of our interns, to get to know them better and hear about their experience so far.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Interac?
Shreyas: My name is Shreyas and I’m a Finance/Accounting Intern. I’m in my final year at McGill University pursuing a Joint Honors in Economics and Finance. In my role, one of my biggest projects this summer is supporting research on financial value Interac has in the payments ecosystem.
Zoe: My name is Zoe and I’m an intern on the Marketing and Brand team, supporting ongoing marketing campaigns and launch initiatives for new and soon-to-launch products. I’m attend the University of Guelph where I’m majoring in Marketing.
Mathias: My name is Mathias and I’m an External Communications Intern. I completed my undergraduate degree in Political Science at the University of Toronto, and I’m now completing a Public Relations Post-Graduate Certificate at Humber College. A large part of my role is content creation for our external platforms, including Interac In The Know.
What inspired you to apply to Interac?
Zoe: An internship isn’t required for my undergraduate program, but I was looking for industry experience where I could apply what I’ve learned in school. I was drawn to the innovation and growth opportunities at Interac as the company is consistently evolving.
Shreyas: I really wanted to work at Interac and learn more about the FinTech industry. Prior to applying I had the chance to speak with Mark O’Connell, President and CEO at Interac, who shared some insight on the innovative work Interac does and the company’s work culture. It was clear that the company cares for their employees’ well-being and success, which I’ve seen since joining Interac.
Mathias: I’m completing this internship as part of my Public Relations program. While I was looking for opportunities, my sister found a LinkedIn about the open internship role with the Interac Communications team. I was very excited to learn that there was a potential opportunity for me to gain experience at such a well-renowned and respected brand in Canada and in the FinTech industry.
Tell us something unique you’ve learned while working in your role.
Zoe: I’ve really gained insight into the product development process. In a recent meeting we were in the ideation stage of creating a name for a new product, so I saw firsthand the market research work, surveys and testing that goes into a decision like this. Developing a product name was a more intricate and creative process than I originally thought, and these are exactly the learning opportunities I was looking for – to learn in real time and acquire experience beyond what we get in school.
Mathias: Top quality output will always be expected of you. This might seem obvious, but for students, we sometimes submit work just for the sake of completion. However, when you’re hired into a company your work becomes a reflection of the organization. We need to make sure that the communications we produce upholds the level of trust and quality Canadians expect of Interac.
Shreyas: It’s been a unique experience seeing how well-connected our teams are even in a remote setting. There’s a high level of collaboration between the different business units and teams at Interac and everyone is always ready to help and support their colleagues.
What is your favourite part of the internship experience so far?
Shreyas: One of the best aspects of the internship at Interac is how much they value their interns’ skills and perspectives. I love the independence that’s been given to me. I have opportunities to present my approach and solutions to the team and hear their feedback on how I can further improve it. You gain confidence and pride that the company is using your work towards larger projects and initiatives – you’re never given busy work!
Zoe: I think learning by doing is one of the best ways to learn. Interac gives us plenty of opportunities and the freedom to work on interesting projects. Also, I enjoy being included in meetings and conversations not only with my own team, but also with senior leaders and external agencies.
Mathias: One of my favourite experiences at Interac has been writing about Employee Appreciation Summer at Interac! This was one of my first writing pieces for In The Know, and I enjoyed learning about how our Diversity & Inclusion, Communications, HR and Social Committee teams have collaborated to make this initiative happen. I saw how much Interac cares for their employees and how valuing the voice of staff is ingrained in the work culture here.
What advice would you give to future interns?
Shreyas: Networking really helped me find the right fit for an internship opportunity. I encourage other students to reach out and make connections to people within your desired industry or company – that’s what landed me the opportunity to chat with the CEO of Interac!
Zoe: In a remote, virtual setting it can be intimidating and challenging to ask questions or make connections with your colleagues. From my experience, I found it very helpful to reach out proactively to people across the organization for virtual chats to discuss ideas, hear from their experiences and perspectives, and identify what skills I’d like to develop.
Mathias: Be a sponge and learn everything! I think that showing potential for growth and eagerness to learn is a big reason Interac hired me, so the onus is now on me to absorb everything that I’m learning. Also, it’s okay to admit that you don’t know something – people are eager to help you learn as you’re starting off in your career.