“My biggest transformation to date[…]has been my confidence in myself.”: Student Spotlight Series with Sophie Muir
The TRSS Student Spotlight blog series showcases and highlights the experiences and achievements of students at Ryerson University. In collaboration with the Humans of TRSM project, the featured individual shares their journey through their academic and professional careers and how the resources available at Ryerson have provided a great deal of support.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Why did you choose the Business Management program? How did you decide on your major in Human Resources?
A: I originally started off in Accounting and Finance during my first year and while I enjoyed it, I realized I was more interested in looking at businesses as a whole instead of focusing strictly on the numbers side. I decided to make the switch to the Business Management program during my second year at Ryerson. Out of the courses I took under the 7 majors, I enjoyed my MHR523 class the most with Dr. Danielle Lamb and my MHR405 class with Dr. Mahdi Roghanizad. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about motivation, organizational structure and that your people capital is the most important factor for a business’s success. I thought Human Resources would also be a perfect blend between people and business — I am intrigued by the way businesses operate but I also really enjoy communicating with people and making those lasting connections.
Q: Do you have any tips or advice for someone trying to start something related to your interest in human resources and business?
A: For someone interested in the world of human resources, the most important advice I was given is to network with individuals within your desired field of work. At my current internship, I am working within the finance department but my team has connected me to individuals within the HR department for “interest interviews”. An interest interview is a short 15 minute chat with a professional with the aim of learning about such things as their job title, their responsibilities and their career journey. It gives you an opportunity to learn a little about the job that you are interested in [and] to decide if that is something that interests you from someone that has first-hand experience. Most professionals are happy to share their journey and may offer advice as to how to successfully break into your desired field. For example, if you aren’t sure what area of HR you’re interested in, talk to an HR Assistant, a Recruiter, a Payroll Specialist etc. Also if you’re not in a position to speak to professionals within your company, reaching out on LinkedIn is a good idea too! However, you must be prepared with questions, be respectful when you ask for these individual’s time and don’t take it personally if they say no!
Q: For those who are not as familiar with the co-op program, the BCH, and the resources available for students, how would you describe their function and importance?
A: The co-op program is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience in different fields and businesses before you graduate [from] university. This is a great chance to try different positions to learn more about yourself — your preferred management style, type of industry you want to be in, size of company you want to work in etc. The co-op program gives you the ability to learn a wide new range of skills, build your professional network and get a feel for your program in the real world. Think of the BCH as your support system while you navigate the internship process beginning to end. They will help you with your resume and cover letter, interview preparation and even give you access to a portal listing jobs available so you don’t have to hunt them down yourself. The BCH has a long list of great resources to help you prepare for the workforce and help you become the strongest candidate you can be. Any question/comment/concern you may have regarding your internship or academic journey, they can help you!
Q: How would you say co-op has transformed you as an individual?
A: I have gone through such incredible growth, personally and professionally because of the co-op program. For example, I have tried my best to become a sponge throughout my time at Scotiabank — to learn as much as possible. I have rapidly expanded my finance knowledge, developed my Microsoft Excel skills and improved my communication skills with professionals of all levels across the bank. I have learned about potential areas of the business that interest me that I would never have been exposed to without this co-op experience. Furthermore, I have gained confidence in my capabilities within the workplace by being part of a team that relies on me daily to produce high quality work. I have learned about my working style, what management style and work environment works for me and what doesn’t. For example, I enjoy a hybrid role where my manager is hands off, they trust me to get my work done in whatever way I see fit, as long as I meet my deadlines. My biggest transformation to date though has been my confidence in myself. I now know and believe that I am capable of being successful in a corporate level position, I can contribute high quality ideas and I offer a different but valuable perspective to approaching projects and/or problems.
Q: Out of all your academic and/or extracurricular projects/commitments, do you have a favourite? If so, which one and why?
A: During my first year at Ryerson, my frosh leader encouraged me to join Street Team which is a word-of-mouth marketing team within TRSM. I was quite shy and kept to myself so I thought this would be a great opportunity to force myself out of my comfort zone. I met an amazing group of students from programs outside of my own that really helped make the transition from high school to university less daunting. There are a few people from that team that I still keep in contact with 2 years later even during the global pandemic. Forcing myself to speak to students across Ted Rogers and educate them on events happening across campus really helped my confidence and helped me become less introverted. If I hadn’t applied for that group, I would still be that shy girl who was scared to make new friends and I would have probably had a lot less enjoyable university experience. I really do think Street Team was a great experience for getting involved on campus, making new friends and helping with the transition from high school to university.
We want to thank Sophie Muir for sharing her story and speaking on her experiences to inspire and inform the TRSM student body of what Ryerson University has to offer. Learn more about Sophie and her journey, and check out her Humans of TRSM feature here!