Megan Wismer is an MSc ’23 candidate in Ivey’s Business Analytics program. In her blog post below, Wismer reflects on her Ivey Analytics Lab (IAL) work integrated learning experience at Bruce Power, sharing key learnings and the ways in which Ivey has helped set her up for success. Throughout this experience, students hone their skills through a placement within an IAL partner firm in an analytically driven role.
Over the summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work at Bruce Power, one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants. The invaluable lessons I learned during this experience have inspired me to share insights on how I plan to apply them in my working career.
Ask and you shall receive
Before starting my IAL, I was eager to apply the skillsets I had learned at Ivey to my job. However, as I delved into my role, I realized that the projects weren’t fully aligned with some of the skillsets that I had wanted to apply. Rather than staying silent, I gathered up the courage to discuss my concerns with my boss. The outcome of this conversation was overwhelmingly positive. My boss and I engaged in a collaborative brainstorming session to find creative ways to leverage the skillsets I wanted to apply, without altering the overarching goal of the projects. This experience taught me a crucial lesson that I aim to carry throughout my career: voicing your goals enables those in your network to better support your path to success.
At Ivey, we’re typically handed the final, clean version of data to analyze and drive insights from. However, this clean data is rare to find in real life. While at Bruce Power, I had the pleasure of working on the complex problem of bridging two databases. At first glance, the task appeared relatively straightforward. As I progressed through quality control checks, a crucial question emerged: “Does this dataset contain ALL the observations?” This moment of doubt allowed me to identify an overlooked aspect of the data, which was fixed going forward. For someone who wants to work with data, the primary lesson is clear – questioning the data is an instrumental step in guaranteeing the accuracy of your insights.
Network, network, network
Ivey has consistently emphasized the importance of building your network, but it wasn’t until my time at Bruce Power that I grasped its true power. Sitting down with Jeroen Thompson, Section Manager at Bruce Power, we talked about his career journey. Throughout this conversation, one thing stood out – Thompson’s career had been shaped and propelled by his network. Before this conversation, I had underestimated the impact that your network holds. Fostering positive and enduring connections with colleagues provides a support system, as well as opportunities for success. This has reframed my perspective on networking, and I intend to rephrase my previous outlook. Networking is an investment in your own career trajectory.
The Ivey impact
After building a strong statistical foundation during my undergraduate studies, Ivey has provided me with the opportunity to further enhance my skills. In the classroom, the case method has played a pivotal role in refining my ability to extract insights from data. Embracing Ivey’s culture and actively participating in class discussions helped me effectively communicate my findings and remove any statistical concepts when presenting to my colleagues at Bruce Power. I’ve seen a shift within myself, where I find success communicating complex analytical topics. I attribute this to Ivey, and I encourage others to actively participate the Ivey way, as it will help shape your professional career.
Ivey prepared me for success in my IAL, and I believe that these key learnings will be a continued driver for success throughout my career.