Neal's Student Profile
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AMA: Brock BAcc Graduate, Carleton MAcc Graduate, Big 4 Employee
My name is Neal, and I graduated from Brock's Bachelor of Accounting Co-op program in 2016 and Carleton's Master of Accounting program in 2017. I was a yconic Student Ambassador for 2016-17. Although I work full-time at PwC now, I'm still around answering questions about accounting as a career and universities. 

My co-op work experience includes:
-Corporate Accounting, Henkel (Germany)
-Assurance and Tax, Collins Barrow
-Risk Assurance, Ernst and Young

I currently work at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Assurance. . 

A snapshot of my time at Brock:  
-Served as an executive for several clubs  
-Participated in numerous internal/external case competitions and conferences  
-Served as a Tutorial Leader for Brock's first-year Macroeconomics course  
-Inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma (the top 10% of Goodman get invited)  
-Did co-ops and internships with 3 different companies in corporate accounting, assurance, tax and risk assurance located in Germany and Canada  
-Participated in a short-term exchange to France  
-Volunteered for the business school's Career Services office, where I critiqued students' resumes  
-Lived in residence (first-year) and off campus

A snapshot of my time at Carleton:  
-President of the Sprott MAcc Society  

Feel free to ask me questions below! Or you can add me on LinkedIn if you'd like to send a private message (
ONE CARD Picture
I got my picture taken at u of a and I hate it. Can I pay for a new ID card and change the picture or do I have to wait until next year?
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International student fee
How an international student can collect their fee for undergraduate program related to science in canada??
The key to summer jobs: How to ace the interview
1. Research the Company  
Your interviewer wants to know that you're interested in their company. That's why you should always browse the firm's website and know key facts. What is their vision and mission? What are their main products and services? Where do they operate?  

2. Arrive Early... But Not Too Early  
I always introduce myself to the receptionist exactly 10 minutes before my scheduled interview time. Anytime above 10 minutes is overkill and the receptionist may feel like s/he has to entertain you. Anytime below 10 minutes is cutting it too close. However, because of Murphy's Law, always aim to arrive 30 minutes prior to your timeslot and wait at a Tim's.  

3. Have Good Body Language  
Smile. Sit up straight. Show excitement (but don't overdo it).  

4. Know Your Resume Inside Out  
More often than not, I've had interviewers point to random things on my resume and say "Tell me more about this." In case this happens to you, make sure you are able to talk about every point on your resume.  

5. Be a S.T.A.R.  
That is, when someone asks you a situational question, make sure that you address the following: Situation, Task, Action, Result. For example, let's say I was asked about a time I went above and beyond the call of duty (fictional response): 
Situation: Last year, I worked part-time at Godiva as a Sales Associate. I had just finished a shift, and clocked out. A new Sales Associate was on the floor, and my manager was in the back counting inventory. 
Task: A angry customer approached my colleague as I was about to leave, and started yelling that a box of chocolates that he purchased that morning had a broken seal. 
 Action: I noticed that my colleague got really nervous and flustered. I came back to assist by asking the customer more about the situation. I apologized profusely, and stated I would bring this to my manager's attention so that we could come up with a plan to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. I quickly exchanged the product, and also gave him a free 50-gram chocolate bar, something that my manager told me was okay to do in similar circumstances. Result: We were able to turn the customer's experience from a bad one, to a good one. 
Result: My colleague and I saw him in the store many times after, and he was never upset. 

6. ALWAYS Ask Thoughtful 
Questions At The End This shows that you have interest in the role or company. My go-to question is "What is the biggest challenge that you foresee me facing if I were to be successful in getting this role? And do you have any advice for how I can face this challenge?"

Any other tips? Post below!

Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
MBA after BSc degree
How does an MBA after a BSc degree sound? Is that even allowed? If I do a BSc instead of Economics or Math, then will doing an MBA be tougher?
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Best campus environments? Is Carleton really that ugly?
This might seem like a small issue but I want to like the campus I'll be living at for the next four years. Though Carleton is the most reputable for the program i'm interested in (political science) I've heard the campus (specifically the campus buildings) are pretty ugly. I live closer to UofT which has a pretty decent Political Science program from what i've heard and the campus is beautiful!

Should this be a determining factor when choosing a university?

Feel free to list other incredible university campuses in Ontario.
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Big 4 Summer Conferences for Accounting Students

If you’re looking to break into the Big 4, one great way to do so is to attend the summer conferences held by the firms.


Networking Opportunities: You have near-exclusive access to recruiters and key employees for an elongated period.

Explore Firms: See if the culture at a particular firm is right for you. Do you like the employees that you meet? Can you picture yourself working in the office you visit?

Get Hired: A lot of people who attend summer conferences get offers for co-op positions or full-time roles.


-Deloitte: Deloitte National Leadership Conference 2017 (Toronto)

-EY: #EYHeadStart (Toronto)

-EY Emerging Leaders Program (Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver; Deadline April 2, 2017)

-KPMG: KPMG Executive Look 2017 (Toronto; Deadline April 2, 2017)

-PwC: PwC Talent Academy (Toronto)

What Happens?

There are workshops, team-building activities, meet-and-greets, scavenger hunts, and lot of other fun things!


Perfect! Conference deadlines (and event dates) vary across the country – so do some research and get applying!

Didn't Get Accepted? Don't Worry!

Several of the large accounting firms also host office visits throughout the summer, in anticipation of the craziness of September recruiting season. Ask your university career centre for more details.

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador

Big 4 Life - What do you want to know about it?

I'm going to be doing a Q&A with one of my managers at work (EY) - maybe several depending on how the first Q&A goes.

Does anyone have any specific questions that they'd like me to ask? Or just things they'd like to know about Big 4 life?

Note: These Managers work in Risk Assurance.

Guelph Accounting or Brock Accounting? (Both Co-op)
Hi, I got into both guelph and brock for accounting both co-op. I want to know which is the better uni for the program as I want to pursue accounting as a career.
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How to set learning goals at your summer internship
So you’ve landed a practical placement for this summer – congratulations! In order to track your own performance, it’s important to set learning goals. Your firm may also require you to discuss and track these goals with a mentor.  

Here are some tips for setting learning goals at your summer placement:  

1. Be SMART.  
That is, your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound. You’ll derive the most benefit from your goal-tracking if they are SMART.  

2. Talk to your Mentor.  
If you are assigned one, talk to them about what goals they think you should be working towards. You may not have a good idea of the tasks you’ll be doing, so your Mentor can provide clarity.  

3. Use resources from your university.  
Your career centre or co-op office can help you with setting goals. They have a number of resources that can help ensure your progress is appropriately tracked.  

Do you have more tips for setting learning goals at your summer internship? Post them below!  

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
How to impress at your summer internship
There are typically three categories you can fall into at the end of your placement:  
Poor worker – A return offer will likely not be provided  
Average worker – You’ll probably get a return offer  
Exceptional worker – You’ll not only get a return offer, but perhaps a larger-than-usual pay increase and management may earmark you as someone to look out for  

To ensure that you perform exceptionally, here are a few tips:  

Contrary to what you might think, smart questions are great: they demonstrate to your superior that you’re interested and engaged in your work. There is a secret to asking questions though: ask it, and then immediately suggestion a solution. Even if your solution is way off, it shows your superior that you’re thinking about your work critically.  

When you have downtime, try to think about what needs to be done and ask your superior if you can do it. If you’re too unfamiliar with your organization to anticipate work, send out emails to ask if there’s anything you can do. Trust me – this gesture will be appreciated.

In this sense, “ascertain” refers to making sure your work is correct. Double or even triple check it. When it comes to spelling and grammar, always make sure you’re submitting a polished product – not doing so shows you don’t care. 

Any other suggestions for killing it at your placement? Post below! 

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
Tips for Finding Summer Jobs for Students
If you are in university or going in next year, you are probably looking for a summer job to help pay off that student debt. Often, it’s difficult to land one that is of decent pay and can give you a valuable learning experience that you can have moving forward. Here are some of my personal tips on how you can find that perfect summer job!  

Tip 1: Online Presence Matters- It might sound silly now, especially if you are just a student looking for a summer job, but as you move forward in life, how you present yourself online through social media can really affect the possibility of you receiving that position that you want. This is not always the case, but every once in a while, you will come across a company that will happen to check out your Facebook profile and look at those pictures you posted last weekend.  

Tip 2: LinkedIn is the Key- In high school, I was one of the few students in my high school that had it. In university, EVERYONE has it! So if you are still in high school, my advice would be to start early. Stats have shown that it is a great resource for employers to find new workers and will help you build your CV automatically.  

Tip 3: Talk to your Friends, Family, and Teachers- It seems cliché but networking is really important, especially when you are trying to find that ideal summer job. For myself personally, one of my high school teachers referred me to an internship position that I had the opportunity to be a part of for 2 years. If it wasn’t for me talking with her, I would have not even known about the position.  

Those are my top tips for finding summer positions! Do you have any of your own? Share them down in the comments section below!  

yconic Student Ambassador
A tuition-free Ontario: Would it be good or bad?
Tuition is super pricy (obviously!) Could you imagine a tuition free Ontario? There are definitely some pros and cons to it - would quality of education, and the reputation of schools deplete if there were no tuition? What do you think?

Recently OSAP (the Ontario Student Assistance Program) revamped themselves that will allow low- to middle-income students to attend school for free by providing them with grants to cover their tuition.

I am sure that you have heard the “free tuition” announcement circulating somewhere.This is the major change to the old OSAP form. 

Here is how the free tuition will work: 

Some students who are part of a low- to middle- income family can be eligible for free tuition if: 

The student's parents make $50,000 collectively or less per year 

The student will be attending school full-time The student is attending a public post-secondary institution 

The student meets the eligibility requirements for the OSAP program 

Now this is not anything like Newfoundland's elimination of student loans—Ontario is still handing out loans to students, however, some students will luck out with grants only if their parents are in the right pay brackets.

 Back in August of 2015, Newfoundland announced that they were eliminating student loans, and replacing them with non-repayable grants. Newfoundland and Labrador is the first province to completely eliminate its student loan system.

How do you feel about the New OSAP. Is it evolving the education system in Canada for the good or bad? 

Personally, I can see the benefits. I'm from a middle income family, and would have loved the help without the debt attached, however, I also see the negative of people squandering away government money for a chance to "try' post-secondary school, while those who may be very serious about taking courses but are just over the cut-off are struggling to stay in school.

What do you think?
How practical is it for an undergrad to live in Ottawa?
Any university students live in Ottawa? I'm wondering about how much it would cost for me to live alone for the school year, including residence, food, and other living expenses. I don't need a big place to stay, I just need my own room. I could share a bathroom and washing machine. I don't need a big or high quality place. I need wifi and to be near commute. I am planning on getting a part time job there and going to Carleton. 

If not alone, anyone have an idea of how practical/expensive it would be to live with others, still having my own room  and above requirements?

Reference websites would be great as well.

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Do you know the difference between "internships" and "co-ops"?
We tend to use the terms “internship” and “co-op” interchangeable in Canada, but there is a fundamental difference between the two (at the university level).  

If you are registered in an accredited co-operative education program at a post-secondary institution in Canada, your employer receives fund to pay your salary from the government. This means co-op students are extremely cheap labour for firms!  

It can be inferred from this that most firms would likely prefer hiring “co-op students” rather than “interns.” This arguably isn’t the case 100% of the time though; at the end of the day, firms would probably prefer to hire the right person – co-op student or intern.  

Why does the government subsidize the salaries of co-op students? Simple! To make it easier for young people to gain practical skills and also to stimulate business across the country by providing low-cost labour.  

Accredited co-op programs are managed by full-time co-op staff who coordinate the matching of students to co-op jobs. This means that co-op students have support by way of networking opportunities, resume/cover letter assistance, and other perks such as mock interviews. 

To recap:  
-Co-op students get a large portion of their co-op salary indirectly through government funding  
-This means co-op students are “cheap labour” for employers  
-This likely makes it more attractive for employers to hire “co-op students” over “interns”  

So what’s the moral of the story?  
If you’re looking at gaining practical experience while at university, look at universities with accredited co-op programs. Your chance of landing experience before attaining your degree will be significantly higher than if you were to blindly hunt for internships on your own.  

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
What Are The Best Resources to Write an Essay?
Have trouble writing essays? Having access to the right resources can make the essay writing process a lot easier. Here are my go-to resources that help me get the job done:

  1. Purdue OWL: Purdue OWL is pretty much the essay writing bible. I mainly use it as a resource to properly format my essay, include in-text citations, and to create a reference page. There is also information on how to conduct research which can be helpful as a first-year university student. If you are writing a paper in APA, MLA, Chicago, or AMA, Purdue Owl will most likely become your new best friend. 

2. Grammarly: Grammarly will help you catch more grammar mistakes than Microsoft word. It also has a plagiarism tool that catches any content in your essay that is not written in your own words. You can either access Grammarly by website or you can download the app to your computer.

3. This website properly formats your resources in a selected format. All you have to do is select your preferred format and type in the website or title of the journal article. The citation generator will locate all the information you have to include within your citation and do all the work for you! This website is a huge time saver. However, it is important to know how to properly site resources yourself and to check over your resources before you hand it in. I have caught mistakes in the past.

4. Your school’s online library database: I do the majority of my research using my school’s online journal database. It is a trustworthy resource to find peer-reviewed articles and other scholarly material.

5. Google Scholar: Google scholar will help you find more scholarly resources than using the normal google search. It also has great filters to help narrow down your search. 

Hope these resources help you write your next essay!

-Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
The Controversy of Voluntourism
For-profit trips to impoverished countries have become increasingly popular for students these past couple of years. Usually, companies advertise themselves with trips costing $7000-15,000 where you visit villages and build schools or participate other philanthropic activities.

The argument around 'Voluntourism' has been growing and I would like to your opinion. Have you gone on one of these trips? Would you be willing to go on one of these trips?

Consider these pros and cons and join the argument!

-Gain in-person insight on the struggles that these people are facing. 
-Offer students an alternative way to spend their spring break or summer break
-A new and refreshing volunteering experience outside of what student's normally do
-Offer an opprotunity to travel to places with many traditional travel agencies do not advertise going for students. 

-These volunteers are not forming true interpersonal relationships with children or villagers in the 7 to 10 days they spend on the trip
-By outsourcing work of building schools to students who have no construction experience whatsoever, they are actually hurting the economy by outsourcing work that would otherwise go to local contractors and subsequently, hurting their economy. 
-Students who are building houses and schools have no trade skills, meaning that their work is actually counter-productive as the quality is low.
-Many of these tourism agencies are treating these trips as an adventure where students stay in comfortable accommodations, go sightseeing in African safaris, and act as the suffering of these people are only a part of the trip, rather than the sole purpose of the trip.
-Have little to no understanding and training in local cultures prior to participating in these trips. 
-The money used to go on these trips would better be used to used in other humanitarian endeavors such as aid relief or supporting organizations that provide services that the local population cannot provide for themselves (e.g. Doctors without borders, teachers without borders, engineers without borders). 
-Many, if not all of these students come back home with pictures they have with village kids on their backs thinking that their trip genuinely helped the community.
-Many, if not all of these tourist agencies profit off the suffering of third world countries by treating them as a target of sightseeing. 

Do you have your own opinion on voluntourism? Got some of your own pros and cons? Comment and discuss below!

-Benson Law 
Yconic Student Ambassador.
Is it too late to apply for a summer internship?
Is it too late to apply for a summer internship?

In short, no!

The long answer? If you’re in university, you should check your university’s job board online – Laurier’s is Navigator. If you’re a high school student scour all over online. There are different jobs according to what field you’re going into.

Why do I say that you should keep looking? New internships will continue to pop up because students aren’t the only people who leave things until the very last minute. Some employers do too!

Of course if you’re looking for some amazing opportunity like the Globe and Mail summer program, that ship has long sailed, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities. Ideally, you would have wanted to start looking sooner than now, but there is still hope! Because needs can change quickly at any business, plenty of employers won’t start up an intern search until the summer is practically in gear. Looking for an internship is nothing like university – some have deadlines, but some can come up out of the blue. I did a marketing internship in the middle of October one year (the most random time to start one!) Things come up! Just keep looking ☺

Looking for where to find an opportunity? Check places like Indeed, LinkedIn!
Work Abroad for the Summer
As someone who's done an accounting internship in Germany and a work exchange in Estonia, I'm a huge advocate for working abroad. And the good news is that it's not as difficult to do as you might think. What kinds of jobs can you do abroad?

Office Job/Internship  
Some broad steps to securing an office job/internship abroad...  
1. Visit international domains of (i.e.,,  
2. Type in "intern" and your desired field in the first box (e.g. "intern accounting", "intern banking", "intern engineering").  
3. If you have a geographical preference (e.g. Frankfurt or Bavaria), type it into the second box.  
4. Browse opportunities.  
5. Apply on each company's website. Google the resume/CV norms in the country that you're applying to. I also do Google Image searches.  

Outdoor Work  
If you more the outdoorsy type, you can find opportunities which suit your interests on websites such as:  

Work Exchange  
I had the opportunity to do a work exchange at a hostel in Tallinn, Estonia for 4 weeks. For a few hours of reception work per week, I was given a bed to sleep in. It was unreal to live in a country like Estonia for a month. To do something similar, check out websites such as:  

Note: Terms of "work" differ by employer. In some places, 40 hours of reception and cleaning work gets you a bed and meals. In other places, 20 hours of reception work can get you discounted accommodation. Make sure you confirm details before you arrive.  

If you're more of a philanthropist, check out to browse volunteer opportunities.  

Visas for Paid Employment  
If you're thinking of undertaking paid employment abroad and are between 18 and 35, check out the programs offered through International Experience Canada (an arm of the federal government). Visit and select the country that interests you in the dropdown box to see available programs.  

Happy hunting! 

Are there any good websites that I missed? Have you worked abroad? How was your experience? Comment below!
UTSC alternate offer from BBA
Hey guys, can anyone help me here?
So I've applied to Rotman commerce, UTSC BBA, and Ryerson ted rogers(accounting and finance). I have an average of 89, got two acceptance so far.  One from Ryerson and another one were from UTSC, which is an alternate offer to Social Science& Humanity. I know that I wasn't that competitive with such low mark especially in business. Honestly, even though UT is reputable but with BA in social science, I don't think its worth it and it won't lead me to anywhere in the future. They are saying that I'll still have the chance to get into my preferred program BBA by the end of my first year studying at UTSC, but it's quite risky if I do that, what if I couldn't get into that department then I have to continue my social science. I know that I will be rejected by UT, the best possible outcome will be an alternate offer, maybe to the social science again.  Do you guys think a BBA from Ryerson will offer me a nice job in the future? I'm  not saying that Ryerson is bad but they are always rank the last few.  
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University Professors: tenured vs. part-time. Do you care?
University courses are taught by the best scholars and experts within the industry, supposedly. More often than not, university students are walking into classrooms never really knowing the background of the profs that are teaching them. Some of the staff are full-time scholars, while some are part-time contractual faculty that may be more accustomed to the field. What’s the difference? Should you care? 

There’s a difference? 
Within a university, there can be a significant difference between those who teach you. These people are broken down to being part-time, or full-time. There is part-time, contract staff, which are, staff who get hired on a required basis (essentially it’s if there’s a class that needs someone to teach it) and then there are full-time faculty who are permanent staff in the institution. These people are often considered “tenure.” 

Full-time faculty has regularised work, and often have high credentials to back them up (often a ph.D!) Last semester, I actually had a professor that boasted that being tenure meant that he could do just about anything and be free of judgement saying something like “unless I did something really awful, I have job security.” To become tenure staff, it takes around five years where they have to meet the university’s expectations. Tenure staff is expected to contribute to the academia world of their university through research publications, attend university or scholarly workshops and/or presentations, teach courses, and involvement in the university community (at least at Laurier they are!) These full-time staff members are always paid very nicely. 

Part Time: 
Part-time faculty are screened based on their application, CV and previous course evaluations. Contract faculty are not interviewed by staff, meaning their teaching abilities are determined by how good they look on paper. information is based on information collected from a recent interview for an overall capstone project. Unlike Full-time staff, contract, and part-time staff do not have the same expectations laid upon them due to their short contracts. Contract faculty often only make a few thousand dollars per twelve week course they teach, which means that they are split between classes, programs, and sometimes even universities to make ends meet.

Should you care? 
Short answer, YES! Why? Because the money you’re spending, the qualifications their holding, and is what you’re learning going to benefit you? 

Long answer: The ratio of full- time to part-time college professors is at least one to three across Ontario. I’ve had my fair share of crappy full-time and part-time faculty, so it’s hard to say “this one is better, or that one is better,” but rather disassociate their status of full-time or part-time with them. The average tuition in Ontario for the 2016-2017 school year was $8,114. Think about that money for a minute. You’re paying each professor to teach you a bit more to complete your overall purpose of attending the institution, which is to graduate with your degree. Professors and instructors determine the quality of education a university student receives. I’ve had a part-time professor who was supposed to teach me digital media, including, but not limited to: wordpress, html, video editing, creative cloud, etc. (all of which I’ve learned, no thanks to them..) I’ve also had a full-time prof who put students on the spot, and made it feel like they were forcing students to teach the class without knowing anything beyond a page of readings (which didn’t even begin to cover the extent of the topic). For me personally, I prefer being in a class with a full-time prof. Not because of their fancy degree, but because I know that the hiring process was extensive, and they are fully capable of teaching me. It's not that I hate part-timers. I've had amazing classes with great people, but I feel like I haven't learned and retained nearly as much as what I've learned with a full-timer. 

Do you care if you’re taught by a part-time or full-time prof? Have any stories to share of great or awful part-time or full-time staff that justifies your standpoint? (No need to use names!) Share!