Local Roots, Global Reach
Goodman School of Business students gain a global business perspective while addressing community issues during a co-op work term with a United Nations agency.
Call to Action
In 2018, Brock University’s Goodman School of Business (GSB) became the first business school in Canada to form a co-op partnership with the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada). Motivated by the school’s desire to provide learning opportunities focused on sustainable development and local economic growth, GSB initiated the program to further help ensure that students could gain a global perspective and contribute to society in meaningful ways beyond the boardroom.
Through this unique partnership, GSB students can work in any country that has a U.N. agency in an eight-month economic development work term, deployed from September to May. As part of their placement, students work as junior professional consultants in a specific area of business such as business analytics, finance, accounting, strategic communications, or international trade.
Through this international development experience, students create a positive impact in the local community within the nation they’re posted by working to address problems the region is facing. The program also helps students achieve personal and professional fulfillment objectives, build long-lasting networks, launch careers in international business, and better understand Canada’s role within the global U.N. system.
The objectives of the program are to create unique experiential learning opportunities within the global development sector, demonstrate GSB’s commitment to sustainable business education through project-based learning, and foster deeper intercultural awareness among GSB learners by embedding them within emerging markets.
The program consists of a paid internship at a United Nations agency outside of Canada that is open to all GSB undergraduate and graduate students participating in our co-op program. Students are selected through a competitive online application process.
The program is structured to include coursework that builds a strong theoretical base in sustainable business management as well as pre-departure training and orientation sessions provided by the UNA-Canada. After the eight-month field deployment, students return to Ottawa and attend a two-day debriefing session. Students are further required to run a Community Engagement Activity of the their choosing.
Placements with U.N. organizations are typically unpaid internships; however, GSB students receive up to 1,000 USD from Brock’s Co-op Education office and 8,000 USD in financial support from the business school, made possible by a Goodman Family Foundation gift in 2012.
In addition to students receiving exposure to international business and accelerating their careers, they work on addressing global challenges in local communities. Issues might include human rights, governance, poverty eradication, and environmental conservation. Students work toward making a positive impact in the community of the nation where they are deployed.
One example of a student having an impact is Ahmed Jawa. Jawa, a GSB co-op student, was selected as a junior consultant for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and was placed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for his internship. Jawa’s role was to conduct research and to propose innovative policies to adequately solve macroeconomic development issues in Cambodia, such as social protection, financial literacy, de-mining, environmental sustainability, renewable energy, capital-based projects, and many more.
Jawa was able to introduce silk production to local farmers and promote rapid growth of modernized industrial projects, allowing villagers who were previously not able to make use of their land to significantly increase their income through UNDP’s sustainable silk production project. As a result of Jawa’s great efforts, he was awarded Canada Student of the Year Award for Co-operative Education by Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning.
GSB co-op student Qasim Khanani is another example of a student making a positive impact through the program. Khanani was deployed to Kampala, Uganda, where he pitched a solution to assist the private sector with sustainable development. As a result of the pitch, the minister adopted the solution. Khanani also participated in the Sustainable Development Goals summit representing UNA-Canada.