From Intern To Full-Time Employee At CPP Investment Board

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While the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board is tasked with managing Canadian savings, it’s also an active participant in the finance world outside of Canada. With two new offices opening in New York and São Paulo in 2014, CPP Investment Board is well-positioned to give students exposure to financial deals on a global scale.

If you’re interested in starting your career at CPP Investment Board, the organization has a wide variety of programs designed to give tomorrow’s full-time employees various pathways to explore careers within the organization.

Alongside co-op internships which begin in January, May and September, CPP Investment Board also offers a summer internship program, as well as a summer rotation program in private investments.

Besides providing opportunities to students with various backgrounds and skills, each of these programs is an excellent way to gain experience in the industry and position yourself for one of CPP Investment Board’s full-time positions upon graduation.

Matthew Gilbert is one such CPP Investment Board success story. Matthew graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Master’s degree in Quantitative Finance in 2013.

He soon began an internship with CPP Investment Board, recognizing that their program represented both a great field of opportunity and a chance to work with a firmly established leader.

“The internship with CPP Investment Board has a great reputation among alumni from my program,” he says, “and the role in the group seemed challenging and interesting.”

Matthew’s experience would bear out this excellent word-of-mouth reputation, as his internship would later become a full-time position as an Analyst in Portfolio Engineering in the Global Tactical Asset Allocation department at CPP Investment Board.

Work at CPP Investment Board

Once he got started on the job, Matthew found himself absorbing a significant amount of new knowledge and experience directly related to his education. “I gained insight into all the components required to run a top-down investment strategy,” he says.

While settling into a new job is a common source of tension and anxiety, Matthew found adjusting to the CPP Investment Board work environment easy due to the company’s welcoming attitude towards new employees. “The manager I reported to would bring me out for activities with a couple of other people from the office,” he says.

CPP Investment Board places a high priority on welcoming new hires to the company. CEO Mark Wiseman takes the time to introduce each new employee at a monthly breakfast held specifically for this purpose.

Besides helping interns make connections with regular staff, Matthew says CPP Investment Board made sure the new hires had a sense of each other as well. “There were intern events to get to know other interns,” he says.

This friendly environment created a positive team dynamic, somthing Matthew values quite highly. On the job experience also helped Matthew realize that a career with CPP Investment Board was right for him. “I believe that fit is important and on a personal level I got along with lots of people in the group,” he says.

Reflecting on success

Reflecting on his pathway to full-time employment, Matthew says his success started with plain hard work. “I believe I really delved into the tasks I was given,” he says.

Putting in extra effort helped Matthew perform beyond expectations, a sure way to impress your employer and raise your profile. In addition, getting more engaged in his work helped him expand his knowledge base to offer a more versatile set of skills to his co-workers.

“As a result, I gained valuable insights into the operations of the group which allowed me to become a resource for people to go to on specific operations in the group,” he says.

Matthew’s advice and insight

With his career underway, Matthew says he’d love to offer some tips for success to current or future CPP Investment Board interns who want to turn their internship into a career.

He feels that focusing on building relationships is key to enabling your transition from an internship to a full-time position – after all, it’s how he ensured his own successes.

“Try to get to know the people you work with on a more personal basis,” he says, “as ultimately you will be spending a lot of time with these people if you get hired full-time.”

Cultivating personal relationships will also help you figure out if a career at CPP Investment Board is right for you. “Fit is important,” says Matthew.

In the workplace, Matthew stresses that a good understanding of your role is crucial to success. “Strive to understand the overall operation of the group,” he says, “and where the task or project you are working on fits into the overall workflow of the group.”

This is particularly important when you’re working in a short-term position, as it’s crucial that you make a significant contribution in the time you’re given.

With this sense of roles and responsibilities clearly established, he says communication is the next major skill to focus on. “Consult teammates early in the process if you are unsure of something you are working on,” he says, adding that ensures you’ll produce quality work and avoid wasting time unnecessarily.

A story like Matthew’s is compelling evidence that the right internship or co-op placement can make all the difference when you’re ready to start your career.

Learn more about CPP Investment Board’s internship and co-op programs, as well as their opportunities for new graduates!

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About the author

Elias Da Silva-Powell is a Content, Marketing and Community Specialist at TalentEgg, as well as a two-time graduate of Queen's University. An avid bow-titan, he has been trying to bring whimsical neck wear back into the mainstream since 2008. He's around on Twitter: @EDSPowell and you can check out his profile on LinkedIn, and even G+.