Nov. 16, 2022Print | PDF
Meet Yalian Xu, a 2022 graduate of the Master of Arts in Business Economics (MABE) program at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. Xu first came to Laurier in 2016 as an international student pursuing her undergraduate degree and is now working as an economist in the Office of the CEO at RBC in Toronto. She shared some of her favourite parts of her Lazaridis School experience, and some thoughts for future students.
I first earned my Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics, from the Lazaridis School, graduating in August of 2020. I then decided to pursue my Master of Arts in Business Economics (with 8-month co-op), in September 2020 and I graduated in April 2022.
I was interested in the undergraduate economics program at Laurier because of the high student satisfaction rating and good word-of-mouth reputation.
When considering a graduate program, I knew the Lazaridis MABE would be a great fit because I’d had such an enjoyable undergraduate experience with the amazing and friendly faculty and staff here. The co-op option was especially important for me as an international student looking to gain local work experience.
All these years, I have enjoyed studying at Laurier and living in Waterloo. It is a school that prioritizes education quality and cares about its students. The professors I have encountered are polite when addressing students' questions, and willing to assist those who need help.
As an international student, the Laurier International Office arranged for mentors to contact us before I even came to this school for my undergraduate studies. I remember my mentor was very friendly, attentive and patient in introducing me to Canadian life and culture while giving me a lot of advice on academics as well. I was able to learn a lot about the life and program before I even arrived in Canada.
During my undergraduate studies, I wasn't enrolled in the co-op option, so I applied for numerous on-campus jobs in order to gain local work experience. I remember there was a program for international students called the International Student Work Experience Program (ISWEP), which was very helpful for international students who were new to Canada. My work experience at school was also a great preparation for getting into the co-op program when I applied to graduate school, and for finding a full-time job after graduation.
During the second semester of graduate school, students started to find a co-op, and Laurier's Career Center was quite helpful. Before submitting our resume, advisors would assist with its revision, conduct simulated interviews, and provide feedback. When students succeeded in finding jobs, advisors were really happy for us, and their congratulations felt very sincere.
The Career Centre is quite helpful for international students in their job search; I remember Laurier has a lot of very responsible advisors who will teach us job hunting tips, host mock interviews, as well as help improve our resumes.
Second, is to seize all internship opportunities. As a result of the fact that many companies prefer international students to have local experience, internships/co-ops, and on-campus work experience are quite beneficial throughout the job hunt.
During my graduate studies, I not only obtained theoretical economic knowledge, but I also finished a thesis with the guidance of my supervisor using what I learned. The completion of the MABE degree positioned me perfectly for a career as an economist at RBC.
The co-op term also enriched my portfolio. During my eight-month co-op term with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, I was involved in numerous projects, which provided me with a greater understanding of and experience in the subject. I also received helpful feedback during my employment, which enabled me to better my job and take a step back to view the broader picture.
If you are interested in economics and want to gain more in-depth knowledge, or if you want to improve your numerical, analytical, and problem-solving skills, MABE is the ideal choice. It helps you think strategically and make decisions to optimize the outcome.