3 Students Sitting and Laughing

MBA Internship Program COVID-19 Response

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada with emerging Provincial and University pandemic protocols, the MBA internship students were suddenly faced with the challenge of how to complete the internship component of the MBA program. The MBA internship team jumped to the challenge to ensure that our students were able to complete the internship component with as little disruption to their program as possible. 

COVID-19 Internship Options

Vancouver Island University working in partnership with Mitacs and Coast Capital Savings was able to offer financial support in the form of matched funding to local businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Interns were tasked with researching and developing solutions to address business challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Out of this partnership the Vancouver Island Economic Resiliency Initiative (VIERI) was created.  Employers were invited to submit internship proposals outlining how they would employ an MBA intern to aid them in recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

MBA students were also invited to submit proposals based on recovery or growth initiatives they co-developed with businesses.

Approved internship funding was provided as follows:

Vancouver Island University - $2500

Mitacts - $5000

Participating Organizations were asked to contribute $2500 towards the intern's remuneration for a total of $10,000 paid as a stipend for the duration of the internship.

Coast Capital Savings contributed $25,000 towards the initiative to increase the number of funded internships that could be offered.

In total 22 funded internships were supported through this initiative.

Due to COVID-19 protocols in the initial months of the pandemic, continuing or securing a remote-work internship was not possible for the majority of interns In order to ensure that the MBA interns could complete the internship portion of their program without interruption the MBA internship team created an alternative option: Community Action Projects (CAP). 

This option entailed students working together in small groups to research, coordinate and carry out a plan that would address COVID-19 challenges in the community and bring forward solutions to selected community groups.

11 teams of students chose to complete a CAP with some amazing results.  The following are some of the projects created by the students:

Team Name: The Masterminds

CAP Focus: Study in Canada: A Guide for International Students

Executive Summary:

The purpose of this [guide] has been identified as a guideline that will help the International students who want to study in British Columbia, Canada. Some of the major topics that have been covered in this [guide] are how to write an SOP, finding accommodation, budgeting, expectation vs reality, information about language proficiency and ESL, finding part-time jobs, networking, additional certifications, useful tips about post-graduate work permits and getting permanent residency.

Team Name: ALFA

Team Members:  Felicia (Project Leader) and  Hrushikesh (Project Manager)

CAP Focus: An Analysis on Advanced Personality Enhancement (APE)

Executive Summary:

Advanced Personality Enhancement (APE) is a non-profit organization designed solely for creating, building, empowering, and developing self-awareness and well-being in the student community. APE values knowledge and believes in self-reflection. Our organization actively uses Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook to connect with people. We motivate people to embrace their unique personalities and be mindful of themselves and their surroundings. APE is the right initiative for individuals who are unable to address their mental health properly. It is important to know one's feelings, emotions and understand themselves inside out.  APE believes that through the process of self-awareness, individuals can be aware of their needs, wants and desires, and take actions to achieve their ideal lifestyle and dream future.

In response to COVID 19, the MBA internship team worked tirelessly to ensure that all students on internship were safe and following proper health and safety protocols. This was no small task and involved reaching out to all students and employers currently on internships and completing a risk assessment as well as reviewing their organizational COVID 19 safety plans. The majority of students were required to work-from-home and some were even displaced from internships as employers, understandably, struggled to manage shifting work priorities.

The amazing work completed by the MBA internship team demonstrates their adaptability and strong commitment to student success, employer relationships and the changing workplace demands. They continue to develop new, innovative approaches to WIL that support student learning and ensure safety safety during these challenging times.