How a startup internship laid the foundation for a career

January 7, 2019 by Impact Centre

There are some experiences that, when you look back, put you on a path leading directly to where you are today. For U of T alumna Stephenny Ng, that experience was a startup internship with digital pathology company Pathcore Inc, which has led her to her current job at Oracle Canada.

“I would not be where I am today without the Impact Centre’s startup internship program,” said Stephenny.

It was 2014 and the Rotman Commerce student was having trouble finding a position for her professional experience year. During her interviews, companies kept telling her that she needed more experience. But how do you break this experience barrier, where even entry-level positions require previous experience? Luckily, she had taken the Impact Centre’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship course IMC200 and really loved the experience.

“At the end of the course the professor said that there was an internship program, so I applied to a number of the positions.”  

Over the past 5 years, the Impact Centre’s startup internship programs have placed more than 200 students in more than 50 Toronto-based companies.

For her first interview the founder of Pathcore, Dan Hosseinzadeh, took Stephenny for lunch. By the end of the meal she had the internship offer. Over the course of the semester she worked on market analysis, surveying customers who were using the company’s digital pathology software platform, found published research articles that had used their software, researched competitor pricing as part of a pricing strategy review, and even represented the company at the annual OCE Discovery Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre where she pitched Pathcore to hundreds of attendees.

“I discovered that people all over the world, from Europe to India, were using our software. I am passionate about using data in new and interesting ways and this project made me want to go into data analytics for software, which is largely what I am still doing today.” 

After working with Pathcore, her PEY interview experience was completely different.

“The internship experience opened a lot of doors. The companies told me that they wanted someone who has initiative and who can tackle challenging projects on their own. I got four interviews and ended up working at Celestica in human resources.”

After graduating in 2016, Stephanie went to work at Oracle Canada where she is working in HR and payroll implementation consulting. 

“Right now I getting a lot of customer facing experience, which is a change in pace from my previous data analysis roles. In the future, I am interested in working in product management in the technology industry.”

She also participates in the annual Oracle Analyst program for new graduates and attends the University of Toronto’s career fairs to connect with students looking for opportunities.

“I tell every U of T student I meet to take the startup internship program. My experience with Pathcore was the foundation of my resume and has allowed me to build an exciting career in the tech industry.”