Sixteen weeks ago, I joined the Symbility Intersect team as one of the Product Coordinators for the Fall 2017 term.
As this Co-Op term comes to a close, I can unequivocally say that this has been my most rewarding and educational work experience thus far.
Specifically, working on the Product Management team has been such an amazing adventure. The individuals who work at this company are by far some of the most intelligent, caring, witty, and want-to-be comedians I know. Everyone in the group works incredibly hard and is extremely invested in their individual teams.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” — Michael Jordan
Each Product Manager has their own style, and having had the chance to work with each of them individually, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned. I spent the majority of my time split between three Product Managers and it quickly became apparent that there is not one right way to operate a team. Some Managers are really good with documentation and transparency, some are master delegators and make the most of their team, others know how to make everyone feel good about what it is they are doing and maximize productivity. Being able to observe how each individual’s’ strengths tactfully fit into client settings has been incredibly valuable and has given me the opportunity to pick and choose what aspects I should emulate as the Product Manager I want to be.
Symbility is remarkably invested in its people and maybe even more so in its Co-Ops. As a Co-Op student, it’s one thing to have the chance to contribute to a project, that would be one measure of a solid experience. In my short time at Symbility, they provided me the opportunity to work on eleven different projects, all with entirely different teams and client needs. Having the ability to work in so many different situations has presented extensive lessons in the field of product management. Whether it was strategies to navigate difficult pricing conversation or approaches to successfully pitch a directional change with clients, there has been no shortage of takeaways. I’ve never been able to earn so much industry (and multiple different industries at that) exposure as quickly as in my time with Symbility.
Co-Ops, particularly Product Coordinators, are given an immense amount of freedom in their individual roles. They have the ability to take on the responsibility of a full-time employee but benefit from an amazing support system if they do need help. There was a point in my term where simultaneous projects began to overlap with conflicting deliverables. By having a conversation with my manager, we were able to resolve the situation without sacrificing any learning opportunities. A Co-Op opportunity is often what you make it, but at Symbility, the capacity of what you want to make it has no bounds.
Mentorship is typically the second most important aspect of a valuable Co-Op and Symbility certainly delivered in that regard. Product Coordinators are in the unique position in which they get massive exposure to all facets of the project, whether it’s design, development or product management, there are learning opportunities around every corner. The best part is people on your team always take the time to explain a concept or best practice to the rest of the group. Mentorship is something that comes naturally, everyone on the team always takes the time to teach their colleagues and as a result, the whole group is perpetually learning and more cohesive as a unit.
“The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!” — Dr. Seuss
In fact, my favourite regularly scheduled meetings were Product Reviews, a meeting where designers show off all the incredible work they are doing and gather feedback from different departments. It’s fascinating to see what points are discussed and how we can always improve what we are doing from our user’s perspective. Fighting for the user is one of the core elements at Symbility, and it’s been a lesson that I will take with me wherever I go.
The last takeaway, and something apparent the second you step into the office, is the culture. I’ve touched on a few aspects of the culture and it’s impossible to hit on everything but Symbility genuinely makes coming to work fun. Intersect was built on strong values and principles that are still evident today. There is always laughter and horsing around throughout the office, and every interaction is positive. People sincerely care about one another and the respect everyone has for each other is phenomenal. The culture at Symbility is out of this world and while it’s hard to put your finger on it exactly, it is what I will miss most.
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” — Dale Carnegie
From the famous claps received when I walked through the door on my first day, I’ve loved every second of my experience at Symbility Intersect. Whether you are looking for a challenging and rewarding role or looking for somewhere to shop your business, I would highly encourage you to have Symbility at the top of your list.