Space to Shine

Career Centre relationship manager Kimberley Barclay explains how the Hong Kong Experiential Learning Initiative enables students to enjoy life-altering internships that take them throughout Asia.

Kim Barclay
Kimberley Barclay

Our job at the Career Centre is to give students opportunities to figure out what makes themselves tick. As a relationship manager, my job is to build professional relationships with people and companies, so that, together, we give students the space to shine.

The Hong Kong Experiential Learning Initiative is a perfect example of this kind of opportunity. This year’s initiative supplied two Telfer School students with paid internships to experience life working for a leading company based in Hong Kong. We created this special learning initiative by taking advantage of the Telfer School and uOttawa’s combined presence in this vital economic hub, with some 500 alumni living and working in this major business centre.

One such alumnus is Hugo DesRosiers. Chair of the uOttawa alumni council in Hong Kong, Hugo is co-founder and CEO of Symbior Energy, a company that provides seed financing, entrepreneurship mentoring and execution support to energy ventures throughout Asia. We worked with Hugo to create two paid internships for Telfer students. Yulia Pankova and Benoit Castonguay are now creating a model through which they can test and evaluate the business-development potential of prospective energy start-ups in Asia. The students commute between Hong Kong and Bangkok, with travel to Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines, to meet with promising entrepreneurs and gauge the viability of their ventures for possible investment. This is serious work!

International internships are life-changing experiences that allow students to work in bustling business centres, tackle tough challenges and see the world from a wholly new perspective. Students are keen to be exposed to international opportunities and the international business context. Through the support of our alumni and the business community, we aspire to provide our students with more of these opportunities.