My decision to accept an internship in Toronto was extremely challenging for me. One of the major reasons why I chose to come to the Munk School of Global Affairs was, in large part, due to its extensive presence in New York and Washington DC. My love of the United States stems from my time spent living in south Chicago for three years for my dad’s job. Everything from the culture, the obsession with sports, the history, politics (albeit unsettling now) and the patriotism, resonated with me so much that I have been dying to get back to the country as soon as possible. When accepting my Munk offer I thought, what better way to get my proverbial foot in the door with potential companies in New York or DC than through this internship process?
I received offers from a company in New York and in DC, both in late March. At the same time, I had been speaking with Mike Durland, the former CEO of Scotiabank Global Banking & Markets. I met him through a mutual connection at the student organization I co-founded called the Global Risk Observatory and we had discussed a potential opportunity to work at his portfolio company in Toronto over the summer. I was a bit stubborn when it came to applying for internships (which I would normally advise against) because I was gung-ho about finding a placement that was paid and something that I was interested in. The two American internships did not fit my criteria but, nonetheless, they gave me an opportunity to network in an American city.
I ended up selecting the internship in Toronto with Mike Durland, where my official title was Risk Research Analyst. In reality, this title was merely a placeholder, as I was given a range of diverse tasks to complete directly for Mike at any given time. There were times I was developing machine learning algorithms one week, then was given vertical farming and blockchain application assignments due the next week. Mike’s portfolio company functioned as if it were a start up, given its small size and the amount of freedom I was given, which was a refreshing change from my previous work experience.
I do not regret my decision to select Toronto over my preferred American counterparts. Working in the risk and consulting field has solidified my aspiration to re-enter the field. I also have a strong connection inside the industry through Mike Durland that I do not think I could have created and sustained if I went south for my internship. In addition, I truly enjoyed discovering Toronto’s unique culture that I believe is unmatched anywhere in the world.From playing beach volleyball or water polo to finding the best sandwich shop in Toronto (Black Camel at Rosedale subway exit, definitely recommend), there was new, lovely people I was meeting and endless things to do. Living in Toronto over the summer opened my eyes to the tremendous potential and opportunities the city has to offer and I am seriously reconsidering my desire to move south of the border once I graduate in 2018.