Happy Canada Day!

I waited to write this blog until now because today is July 1st. While July 1st may just be any normal day of the year anywhere else, up here, it’s Canada Day! Canada Day is often referred to as Canada’s birthday, but it has a much more in depth story. A simplified version states that in 1867, the Constitution Act was signed into existence. This legislation united the three separate colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single country within the British Empire called Canada. Today is it is celebrated by millions across the country with everyone wearing red and white (the colors of the Canadian flag) and lots of fireworks. In Toronto, there are dozens of great places to watch the fireworks around the city including many of the beaches, Toronto Island, or even the CN Tower. The celebrations are similar to July 4th in the United States and it was great to have a day off from my internship. Now into this week’s prompt.

I believe that my time at Pitt has definitely helped prepare me in some capacity for my experience. Having finished two years of undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration laid a solid foundation for my internship placement. I think courses such as Organizational Behaviour, Financial Accounting, Intro to Marketing, and a few others have helped me understand some of the terminology used in the workplace and in the Venture Capital sector as a whole. I believe my most useful class in which I learned the most and have been able to directly apply the knowledge I gained from the course into my work was Intro to Finance. This course taught me the most important and relevant information for my placement and allowed for me to come in with at least somewhat of a base to learn from. Beyond the classroom, Pitt’s urban campus and seamless connection to the city and its surrounding neighborhoods has also helped prepare me for my time abroad. While on campus, I have been able to become comfortable in a city environment, taking public transportation, and experiencing new cultures. These three factors are extremely prevalent in my everyday life here in Toronto. Toronto is one of the largest cities in North America and offers vast cultural diversity and various opportunities throughout the city. I take public transit or the TTC as it is known here, to and from work every day. My time at Pitt has allowed me to quickly adapt to all of these areas and assimilate easily into my new environment.

One of the other factors that helped prepare me for my time abroad was my family. I come from a well traveled family with both my parents being first generation Americans. Three of my four Grandparents are actually from Canada and the fourth (my grandpa) is from Italy. Because my family is largely international, I have been extremely fortunate enough to been able to travel and visit my family around the world. Being able to travel from such a young age provides the best way for you to prepare for experiences abroad when you’re older. You become accustomed to things being “different” or “foreign” to you and become comfortable feeling uncertain or uncomfortable at times. It really allows me  to appreciate and take in all the new experiences my new home has to offer.

One area in which I believe Pitt could do a better job is preparing its students in the world of Venture Capital, Investment Banking, and Entrepreneurship/Growing a small Business. As a rising Junior, I am not aware of any classes offered by CBA that directly teach about these subjects. However, if there are, I believe they should be offered earlier so that if a student has strong interest in these areas, they are able to explore these options earlier in their academic career. It would have been useful for me to learn about the Venture Capital (VC) industry prior to arriving at my placement but I have done my best to bring myself up to speed. I am constantly reading and teaching myself as much as possible about how VC companies operate and how small business grow. I also frequently ask question to my boss who has worked in this area for years and has been quite successful in order to learn as much as possible. The best mindset to have is that you have to know that you don’t know everything and be okay with working hard to educate yourself in these areas.

Ultimately, while I feel that I had some preparation going into this internship, I believe that I have learned the most by working hands on and being asked to accomplish things that would normally be outside my comfort zone and elevating my own standards to meet the demands. I have learned a great deal in a short amount of time.