Coming from a background in Information Technology (IT) and Human Resources from the Philippines, Leo Sikat saw project management as an interesting challenge and a new career path that would complement his education in Computer Science.
As a result, while working as a Human Resources professional in his home country, he decided to transition towards a career in IT Project Support and Business Analysis within the institution.
“The intention of taking project management was a validation thing for me since I know how projects work because in the Philippines, we had already an established project management standard,” he said. “I wanted to become an expert on that field and aspired to grow or become a project manager.”
Enrolling in Centennial College’s Project Management program in 2019, was a natural decision for him. He joined WIMTACH in August 2020 as a Project Management Intern to complete the co-op component for his studies. During a 4-month internship, he assisted with several project collaborations including applied research projects with AcuMade, Pot-luck.co, Interdev, and Emote AI.
He found that WIMTACH enabled him to learn more about what he was good at and provided him with a diverse work environment to thrive.
“I discovered that I am a people person,” he said. “Projects involved 80 to 90 per cent communication. You talk to a lot of people … [WIMTACH] gave me the opportunity to really get involved with the client … it’s the one thing I liked, the exposure to a lot of people.”
Leo further elaborated on how important it was for him to work in a collaborative environment and connect with a variety of people. “I found it really worthwhile to regularly talk to a lot of people of diverse backgrounds,” he said, adding that it also gave him the chance to practice his English-speaking skills. “It was an opportunity to really be well-versed in the language.”
Leo found that his internship at WIMTACH was instrumental in his learning in many ways. Now currently working for Apotex as an HR Data and Systems Analyst, he was surprised to find that one particular day-to-day task at WIMTACH, minute taking, prepared him for a smooth start in his new role. In Apotex, his boss commented, “I never really expected you to come up with a diverse, comprehensive, discussion point,” and then Leo realized that “oh it’s because I am used to doing one on a day-to-day basis, which I experienced from WIMTACH and it’s a good thing.”
More, Leo was pleased that his internship enabled him to work with tools and applications that are required in a professional environment. In his new role at Apotex, some of the applications that he used during the internship, tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Trello are tools that he uses every day.
Although Leo is now very comfortable with these applications, he remembers a time when a project lead at WIMTACH explained that his team needed to use Trello to organize the deliverables for a project. However, Leo had never used the application before.
“I studied it in one day, one sitting and I got to know the application. The following day I came up with, the project’s Trello boards, with all the requirements in it’ and shared it with everyone in the team. So I learned a lot,” he said.
He hopes that other students can also gain a meaningful lesson in their internships. Leo’s biggest advice to new students who are joining WIMTACH is to be open to learning. “Unlearn in order to learn because it makes it easier to acquire knowledge and it gives you a different perspective,” he said. “Then you can see it better from the point where you are. Enjoy the experience. There’s a lot to learn.”
Now that Leo has built a strong working portfolio, he is able to handle anything that comes his way. In fact, in his current role as an Analyst for Apotex, he provides application support and business analysis as well as explore continuous improvement opportunities. Some of his responsibilities require him to use the skills he learned in his Project Management internship role. “Having the experience to multitask, that is juggle multiple projects at the same time, moving forward, I think it will be much easier for me doing the same in my current role.” he said.
In five years, he hopes that he will still be at Apotex and has made significant contributions to the organization. “I hope to contribute a lot in terms of innovations and service delivery. It’s a global company so that kind of service excellence,” he said.
He misses the chance to lend a hand to the development of many projects at once like he did at WIMTACH. As a result, he hopes that soon he will be able to work on more projects at Apotex. “Hopefully I can be on other projects because I miss handling multiple projects,” he said.
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