Work Experience Broadens Student Perspectives and Skills

March 27, 2024 | Hamilton, ON
Contributed by Caitlin Costello

DeGroote Internship and Co-op Students of the Year 2023

Standing out in today’s job market requires individuals to be resourceful, adaptable, and creative. To complement the specialized knowledge gained through their studies, students can enhance these skills by applying their learnings in a real-world setting through experiential education and work-integrated learning opportunities.

Every March, Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada recognizes student successes and fosters awareness of these opportunities through a month-long national storytelling campaign.

Today, on CEWIL’s National Day of Work Integrated Learning, the DeGroote School of Business celebrates our students who have completed co-op placements and internships, as well as our employer partners who provide them with opportunities to broaden their skills outside the classroom.

Continue reading to learn more about some of our students and their accomplishments, the impact they had on their employers, and what they learned along the way.


Kieran Warner is presented with a certificate of achievement.
Kieran Warner is presented with a certificate for ‘DeGroote Internship Student of the Year 2023’ by Aaron Schat, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Kieran Warner, Level V Honours BCom with Internship

DeGroote Internship Student of the Year 2023

Internship placement: Intern Staff Accountant, KPMG

Kieran completed his undergraduate internship at KPMG where he impressed his supervisors by stepping up and taking on additional responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Kieran was extremely impactful to our workplace during a difficult time in 2022/2023,” said Dylan Husty, Senior Audit Manager at KPMG.

“I was constantly impressed with his competency and professionalism. The more I worked with Kieran the more I felt comfortable with relying on him to accomplish any task that I assigned to him no matter how difficult or above his level it was. I was able to trust him with communicating directly with clients. He was an absolute pleasure to work with and I am beyond pleased to hear he is returning to work with us full time when he is done school.”

Acquiring experience navigating these types of challenges helped Kieran advance his time management skills, which he was also able to apply to his studies.

“My position required me to take on multiple projects with various deadlines simultaneously. I overcame these challenges by developing strong prioritization skills, as well as working efficiently to ensure our team always finished before clients’ deadlines. I have applied what I learned in my internship to the final year of my undergraduate studies, alleviating the stress of a busy schedule,” says Kieran.


Abena Oti-Henewa is presented with a certificate.
Abena Oti-Henewa is presented with a certificate for ‘DeGroote Co-op Student of the Year 2023’ by Manish Verma, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.

Abena Oti-Henewa, MBA Candidate

DeGroote Co-op Student of the Year 2023

Co-op placement: Innovation and Partnerships Intern, The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton

Abena completed her MBA co-op placement at the Research Institute of St. Joe’s in Hamilton. She enjoyed working closely with healthcare entrepreneurs and engaging in collaborative projects.

“Addressing the complexities of the healthcare system often requires input from individuals in various fields such as medicine, engineering, and business. By fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, we can bridge existing gaps in the healthcare system and pave the way for sustainable and impactful solutions,” says Abena.

Abena’s passion and profound understanding of the healthcare system left a lasting impression on her workplace.

“Abena’s impact in our organization extends well beyond her exceptional work and the projects she led. Her professionalism and ability to collaborate effectively have garnered high praise from our stakeholders and coworkers,” says Mackensey Bacon, Manager, Innovation and Partnerships, at the Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton.

“What truly sets Abena apart is her ability to understand the intricate day-to-day operations of our organization and recognize the profound impact our work has on the broader healthcare system. This deep understanding, combined with her enthusiasm for healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship, has been pivotal in inspiring and engaging our entire team.”


Nathaniel Abogada is presented with a certificate
Nathaniel Abogada is presented with a certificate for ‘DeGroote Co-op Student of the Year 2023’ by Manish Verma, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.

Nathaniel (Nate) Abogada, MBA Candidate

DeGroote Co-op Student of the Year 2023

Co-op placement: Communications Analyst, RBC Technology & Operations

Nate completed his co-op placement at the Royal Bank of Canada where he created a global scheduling tool to maximize efficiencies and helped his team win a company award.

“Within Nate’s term, our team was awarded an RBC Quarterly Performance Award which is awarded to a team or individual who has made an outstanding impact throughout the quarter. As a small team of three full-time employees, Nate was critical to our collective success,” says Sarah Copeland, Senior Manager, T&O Experience, RBC. “As further testament, I am thrilled to share that based on Nate’s performance, he has been hired as a full-time RBC employee starting in January 2024.”

Contributing to his team’s overall success was particularly rewarding for Nate, as was forming meaningful connections.

“During my time at RBC, I was fortunate to have a breadth of enjoyable learning experiences, but my most favourite part was seeing the joy in my team’s face when I completed the Event Scheduler Tool. I am thrilled to be challenged and to always better my game on the next task,” he says.

When asked what advice he would give to future co-op students, Nate said, “Keep an open mind, a humble heart, and a smile on your face. You will be surrounded with a lot of talents, experts, or novices, but no matter which position they hold, you will be surprised by the things you will learn from them.”


Congratulations to our DeGroote Internship and Co-op Students of the Year finalists and nominees, and to all DeGroote students who completed co-op placements and internships over the 2023 academic year. We also thank our employer partners for providing valuable work-integrated learning opportunities for our students!

DeGroote Coop Student of the Year 2023 MBA nominees

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