University of Lethbridge graduate Kasha North (BMgt '21) came to the Dhillon School of Business for its small class sizes and good reputation. She found out early on she had a passion for human resources and tells us about what gaining work experience through co-op was like in the COVID-19 pandemic as well as what advice she'd give to incoming students.

What was your major and why did you choose to study that?

I have a major in Human Resource Management and Labour Relations with a minor is Supply Chain Management. I chose to study HR after I took the intro to Human Resources course that every Dhillon student has to take. I initially entered university with a major in general business but shortly after taking the intro HR course, I found that I had a strong passion and interest in the study of human resources. I enjoy working with people and the communications aspect of this business degree, therefore I found that HR might be the best fit for me and my career.

What is your most memorable uLethbridge experience?

I have so many memories during my years at uLethbridge that have made for an unforgettable experience. I was born and raised in Calgary and once I graduated from high school, I decided to attend university in the fall that year. Both of my parents are graduates of the University of Lethbridge and after reading about the school, the small classroom sizes offered and the reputation of the Dhillon School of Business, it was an easy choice to make so I moved to Lethbridge.  It was such an unreal and thrilling experience moving away from home to go to university. I was shy and overwhelmed at first, however I was able to meet the best of friends that have made this journey amazing and have helped me through my years at uLethbidge. The countless hours spent in the library studying and hanging out with my friends, who had become my family away from home, is what I will remember most.

Academically my most memorable experiences come from my co-op term that I did in Calgary. It was such an amazing experience working in my field of study as a student. It allowed me to take what I had learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world scenarios. It was such a great way to test out my degree and see if it was something I could see myself doing after graduation.

Where did you complete your co-op and can you tell us a bit about it?

I have completed three co-op terms over the past year with Pembina Pipeline Corporation. This co-op position was HR related and specifically focused on training and development. My first co-op term was the most daunting for me as I had no previous experience working in a corporate setting. In addition, I started my co-op term working from home as COVID-19 put restrictions on the company’s ability to work from the office. Luckily, I was placed with such a great team who guided me to learn the skills and knowledge I needed to help me succeed in the co-op student position. There was a big learning curve for me during this time as I was becoming familiar with my scope of work, meeting new co-workers and adding in the challenge of working from home. I didn’t have the benefit of face-to-face interactions. Nonetheless, it was such an exciting time starting a new job as a student in my field of study.

The second term was much less frightening as I had gained familiarity with my role as a co-op student and I had a good grasp of the processes and software that the team used on a daily basis. I felt much more comfortable with my scope of work and I had a bit more confidence in myself with a few months of work under my belt. During this term, my team was called back to work in the office. I was thrilled for this opportunity and experience as I was able to see what my desk looked like and finally meet my co-workers in person.

The third and last co-op term was my favourite part of my co-op experience. During this time, I was able to have enough confidence in myself and my learnings to start to give input into projects and initiatives that my team was working on. I also felt very comfortable in speaking up and giving my opinion when appropriate. I stepped into courage, took advantage of new learning opportunities and pushed myself to take on more.

The best thing about co-op is having the opportunity to test out your degree. For myself, I knew I enjoyed learning and studying Human Resources, however I didn’t know what it would be like once I graduated and started in the work force. My co-op experience really opened my eyes to the world of HR and allowed me to utilize my knowledge from the classroom and solidified that I had made the right choice in my degree.

Additionally, the best thing about working as a co-op student is that it opens up many opportunities. I have met so many great people during my time as a co-op student at Pembina and these friendships both personally and professionally will help me as I start my career after graduation. I am very grateful for the experience, acumen and skills I learned along the way that will stick with me and help me as I start my own career.

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time in the Dhillon School of Business?

The most important lesson I learned during my time in the Dhillon School of Business is to always ask questions. When I think back to my first year, I was very shy and quiet, and I never would have thought to ask a question in class. But looking back on how much I have grown as a student and as an individual, I would argue that asking questions is probably one of the most important components to getting the most out of your university education. Public speaking is something I have always had a challenge with. Whether it was asking a question in class or having to present a project, it was never something I favoured. Reflecting on my years at uLeth, I think that the most valuable skill I have learned is to not be afraid of your own voice. Whether that is asking a question, challenging an idea or presenting in class, having your voice heard will never fail to help you grow personally and professionally.

What advice would you give to those who are about to begin their journey at the Dhillon School of Business?

Get involved. In my first couple years at uLethbridge I wasn’t involved in any of the faculty events or socials. In my third year of university, I decided to join the Dhillon Business Students' Association (DBSA) and this was the best decision I made. I found many lifelong friends, made great relationships with faculty and staff and I also was able to have a say in the events that were going on in the Dhillon School of Business. I really think that university is what you make of it and for me, being involved is where I found myself to have had the best experiences.

The Dhillon School of Business at the University of Lethbridge is known for its immersive experiential learning opportunities, connecting learners with industry, its supportive, personalized approach and for exposing students to emerging technology. Study options available in both Lethbridge and Calgary.