Content from Talent Egg, written by Elias Da Silva-Powell
Jenny Tu is an accounting student at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business who began a co-op at Canadian Natural in September 2014.
Her story is just one example of the world of opportunities you can explore as a student with Canadian Natural – and she was thrilled to share!
Making the decision to join Canadian Natural wasn’t hard – the opportunity came highly recommended!
“I heard a lot about Canadian Natural’s student program from my colleagues at school, and thought it sounded like a great place to work,” Jenny says.
“The company has put a lot of resources into the program and there is a lot of opportunity for mentorship because of their open door culture.”
She was excited to experience the support Canadian Natural provides each new co-op student for herself.
“The student orientation on my first day was really great,” Jenny explains. “The campus team took the time to tell all of the students about the basics and I felt really comfortable after that.”
This support has continued throughout her co-op term and led to some of her biggest successes.
At work at Canadian Natural
As an Operations Accounting Student, Jenny is responsible for collaborating with Canadian Natural’s vendors to review and process Joint Venture billing agreements – a responsibility that puts her to work monitoring deadlines, processing bills and confirming payments.
“In my role, it is very important to be detail-oriented,” she explains. “I manage and enter a large volume of data, and it is critical that it be error-free and accurate.”
Asked about a typical day at work, Jenny says that each day in her role offers a new challenge.
“In Joint Venture, my role can be very different each day; it really depends on what billing cycle we are in, or which vendors I am working with.”
Learning your field
Whether you go to work in accounting or another area of operations at Canadian Natural, your co-op or student role will offer a number of opportunities to broaden your understanding of your chosen field.
Jenny’s co-op experience is a great example.
“I was pleasantly surprised to discover that accounting isn’t just about data entry and numbers,” she explains.
“My role involves working with a team and using problem-solving skills.”
Currently, Jenny is at work on Equalizations.
“This project involves reviewing a lot of contracts and working with multiple divisions,” she says. “It’s providing me with great exposure to the whole process and I’m learning a lot.”
Those learning opportunities have included both designated tasks and opportunities to connect with teams in different areas of Canadian Natural’s operations.
“Since I am new to the company, there have been a few additional programs I have needed to complete my job,” she says.
“I’ve worked with the other business units to get access to these programs and they are very personable and quick to call me back and give me the help I need to be successful.”
A welcoming culture
Even though Jenny’s work days include a lot of variety, she’s able to make time to connect with her team and get to know each other, whether it’s through an informal gathering or a more formal team luncheon that occurs each month.
“Canadian Natural is very big on having an open-door policy,” she says. “They really focus on the people on their teams and believe it’s important that I enjoy my term and get a lot out of the experience.”
Advice from Jenny
Jenny stresses the role people skills play in success, particularly if you’re exploring a co-op like hers.
“Create strong relationships with the people you work with,” she says. “If you build positive relationships it makes the job a lot easier and more fun!”
Looking for a skill to develop before you join the team? Jenny knows which one is vital in her day-to-day work.
“Keep yourself organized. It can be a busy role, but if you stay on top of things it’s very rewarding.”
That focus on personal connection is reflected in one of Jenny’s co-op highlights: attending a Canadian Natural quarterly luncheon.
“The company provided lunch for all of the Calgary-based employees, and the president answered questions about the company and the industry with a member of the board of directors,” she says.
“It was really interesting – and lunch was great!”
Some wise words
With several months until the end of her internship, Jenny is proud of what she’s accomplished so far.
“I really enjoy the great mentorship I have received from my supervisor and all my other mentors on the team,” she says. “Canadian Natural is really invested in my career and wants me to succeed both personally and professionally.”
Canadian Natural’s support has helped her succeed as a new professional – while also helping her explore the next step she’ll take.
“Canadian Natural has provided me with so many learning opportunities and has made a positive impact on my future career goals.”