Internship Spotlight: Wing Wong

I am a U3 student currently studying Political Science, Computer Science, and Economics. In particular, I am interested in international political economy (IPE), and ways in which political scientists can use programming to improve our understanding of political data and to guide them towards policy recommendations.

I wanted to pursue an internship as a Marketing Associate at Aplenty Wealth Solutions Management for several reasons. First, the responsibilities outlined in the posting suggested that I would be able to make use of skills from all three areas of my study. Second, I wanted to gain work experience outside Ontario and Quebec, two provinces with which I am most familiar. Third, I wanted to use the internship as a preview to see if I would be interested in studying or working in the fields of business after graduation. Going into the internship, my main objectives were to improve my hard skills (programming, data analytics), learn more about the nuances of the insurance and financial planning industry, and expand my professional network.

Aplenty Wealth Solutions Management is a start-up firm based in Vancouver, specializing in providing insurance and financial planning advice to all British Columbians. By providing these services, it seeks to offer clients peace of mind and the ability to pursue long-term goals, such as saving money for a house, expanding one’s business, and planning for retirement.

As an intern, I had a wide variety of duties. On the more technical side, I was responsible for website design and search engine optimization in order to maximize our outreach and attract potential clients. At the same time, I wrote numerous articles for the Renfrew Collingwood Community news in which I provided financial advice that can be easily taken by all Canadians. Topics ranged from how to best utilise one’s Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) to how one can better plan their finances around the ongoing pandemic. An additional task that I was given beginning in July was to act as the project lead for all interns. This meant organizing meetings, assigning deadlines, and overseeing progress to ensure that marketing projects were completed with the highest possible quality.

One of the major highlights of my internship has been the opportunities allowing me to attend a wide variety of industry webinars, hosted by such renowned companies such as Sun Life Financial and Manulife. Some webinars were focused on developing professional skills, such as networking or branding, while others provided financial knowledge to industry insiders. In this latter category, I learned about these firms’ outlooks on the Canadian and global economy in the near future, some new products they are offering as a result of the pandemic, and how professionals could adjust their services in light of the situation. In addition, through the networking events, I was able to meet with numerous individuals from all over Canada working in the finance and insurance industries.

Unfortunately, although I originally intended to receive credit for the internship, the chaos caused by the pandemic meant that I was unable to contact a professor who was willing to act as my supervisor. However, the internship has expanded my horizons and shaped my desired future career path. Whereas previously my plans after graduation were to study in Law or pursue a postgraduate degree in Political Science or International Relations, I am now more open to the idea of pursuing an MBA and working for a bank or other financial institution thereafter.

The internship funding helped to cover technology expenses that became necessary due to the remote nature of the internship. First, as I was responsible for website and graphic design, I was able to purchase an Adobe Create Cloud subscription and use Photoshop to make the necessary edits to photos. Second, the funding allowed me to purchase a set of noise-cancelling headphones in order to improve my focus and make better quality calls with work colleagues. Most importantly, the funding I received was able to cover unexpected emergency repairs after my laptop broke down in early August, allowing me to return to work only two days after the original malfunction.

For me, adaptation to a remote internship was a long and gradual process. Although I was somewhat used to working remotely since the Winter 2020 semester was moved online at the end of March, I was anxious about the notion that remote work would become a long-term affair. In particular, it was difficult to be physically away from friends, family, and work colleagues for such a long time. As such, I made an effort to organize social events with the other leaders and my supervisor and scheduled weekly sessions where I would catch up with my friends. As well, due to increased screen time from working remotely all the time, I designated one day every week as “screen-free”, allowing me to rest my eyes while pursuing leisure activities such as biking or baking.

Back to top