EVP Pillars: Make an impact, great people, flexibility 

What do you want to do after graduation? That’s a tough question that students get asked all the time.

For Charmian Wenger, after working two co-op terms, and part-time at Auvik on our finance team, she was faced with that hard decision.

She chose to join Auvik full-time, and is here to share her experience, what she’s learned, and her advice for future co-op students.

Meet Charmian Wenger

Charmian Wenger - Finance at Auvik Networks inc

I joined Auvik as a co-op student while I was at the University of Waterloo studying accounting and financial management. I stayed on part-time after my co-op term and then decided to stay for a second co-op term. After completing my master’s of accounting last year, I returned to Auvik as a full-time financial analyst.

What made Auvik unique during my co-op placement

Working at a fast-growing tech company provides many advantages for a co-op student that I hadn’t experienced in public accounting. There are lots of opportunities to try new things, and you can develop stronger relationships and trust with your colleagues quicker. This may lead to more challenging tasks with more responsibility. The type of work I was given at my first co-op at Auvik was more than I could have expected as a co-op student, and it was through these opportunities that I was able to learn and grow the most.

Right from the beginning of the interview process, they also made me feel welcomed, comfortable, and like they cared about not only the technical skills I could offer, but also in who I was as a person. And working at the company has shown me this is truly who they are. I am constantly blown away by the amazing ways Auvik treats their employees, and I can truly say that even as a co-op student, they welcomed me with open arms, and I always felt valued and part of the team.

Making a decision after grad: What to do next?

After completing my master’s , I had to decide my next move. I was contacted by one of my former colleagues at Auvik and given the opportunity to return as a full-time employee.

It was honestly such an amazing opportunity that I just couldn’t pass it up. I really enjoyed the work at Auvik, and to be excited about what you do for your full-time job means everything. Also, as a CPA candidate, I needed more practical experience to obtain my CPA designation, and I knew that there would be many opportunities at Auvik to achieve the competency levels that I needed.

There’s also something really comforting about returning to a company where you have an established trust and history. In the last couple of years, we all have experienced uncertainty and changes in life. Being able to have one thing that was stable was something I was really grateful for.  I’m also considering  a potential move to another city, and the amazing thing about working for a distributed company like Auvik is that my job can come with me!

Opportunities to own projects and make an impact

During one of my  co-op terms, I owned the accounts payable (AP) function of the business. This meant I was communicating with budget owners from different departments, fine-tuning and documenting AP processes, and training a new co-op student. I learned a lot about communication and collaborating with other teams.

Another project that still stands out was, during my first co-op term, where I performed an analysis of travel expenses across the company. It was a huge spreadsheet, and I had to figure out how to distill and present the results in a way that made sense to senior management. It was tough, but going through the process taught me a lot about presenting and communicating effectively!

While I definitely grew in my accounting and finance skills, I also learned the importance of curiosity, creativity, and innovation. This meant looking beyond “easy solutions” to ones that would be more sustainable and efficient for the business. I was able to get excited about my work, and I even had the opportunity to take on additional projects to not only grow in my technical and soft skills, but to contribute to the business at a greater level.

Staying connected to the Auvik team

Auvik is extremely collaborative, and everyone is part of the same team. As a co-op student, I never felt like I was treated as “less than.” There were always  opportunities to connect with colleagues  in any role—including those in management positions.

There are weekly company wide Lunch & Learns to hear from people across the company, which provides the opportunity to learn about other functions of the business, such as marketing programs and initiatives, and partner onboarding. I always felt included— not only as part of  my finance team, but the Auvik team as a whole. The environment is unlike any other that I experienced before.

Advice for future co-op students

First, if you are debating whether to apply…do it! It’s such a unique opportunity to work for a growing company, and the learning opportunities are endless.

Second, always be curious about what you’re working on and the processes that we use. Questions are welcomed here, so don’t be afraid to challenge the current approach, or recommend a more efficient way of doing things.. We are always looking for ways to innovate!

And if you hear about other projects going on in your department that excite you, ask questions, or maybe see if there is a way that you can get involved in order to maximize your co-op experience.


Interested in applying to join Auvik for your next engineering co-op term?
If you’re at the University of Waterloo, look out for our postings on WaterlooWorks, or your school’s co-op system.

For more info, you can email [email protected] or check out our careers site.

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