Sept. 20, 2022

Master of Engineering student makes waves with a Canadian brewer

Transformative Talent Internships help graduate students bring their skills to the workforce.
Bhumit Rajpuria
Faculty of Graduate Studies

Have you heard the one about the grad student who walked into a brewery?

While you’re trying to work out the punchline, the team at Labatt Breweries’ Edmonton facility are already smiling. That’s because they’ve got a winner on tap with Bhumit Rajpuria, a graduate student brewing up new solutions as part of the Labatt operations team.

  • Photo above: Bhumit Rajpuria (centre, wearing blue a blue hooded sweatshirt) joins other recent Transformative Talent interns and Faculty of Graduate Studies staff for a TTI reception on Sept. 7,2022.

A Master of Engineering student specializing in chemical engineering at the Schulich School of Engineering, Rajpuria joined the team as a graduate intern and participant in the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Transformative Talent Internship (TTI) program. Over the course of his summer internship, he developed a process to track and improve the efficiency of the Labatt in-house training program, ultimately improving operational efficiency and the brewery’s performance index.

The team at Labatt were so impressed with Rajpuria’s contributions that they’ve kept him on staff part-time this fall while he completes his degree. Rajpuria might also have the opportunity to return full-time at the end of his graduate program.

Transformative Talent Internships

It’s the first time Labatt has hired a graduate student intern for their Edmonton location. You could say they’ve unbottled a refreshing new stream of talent.

Graduate student interns have a wealth of transferable skills alongside growing academic expertise in their fields. As many employers are discovering, graduate student interns are ready to ignite change with fresh thinking, adaptability, and technical skills.

Since 2016, the TTI program has helped graduate students get more out of their internships by making them into experiential learning opportunities. Changes to the program are coming this fall as the Faculty of Graduate Studies introduces two new D2L (Desire2Learn) modules to expand TTI learning components for graduate interns.

The first module will be completed by graduate students during their internships and comprises a series of reflective and metacognition exercises to help them identify personal goals and assess their progress toward those goals. Rajpuria was part of a pilot project for the module over the summer and was impressed with the experience.

“I’ve never really gone through a process of stating and reflecting on my goals in this way,” says Rajpuria. “It changed the way I think about how I do my job, and also how I think about my own career goals.”

The new module will be available for all TTI student who wish to get course credit for their internships.

The second module will be introduced in October 2022, and is an eight-week, asynchronous pre-internship course developed in collaboration with Career Services. The course introduces graduate students to the TTI program and helps them identify and prepare for internship opportunities.

“The Transformative Talent Internship is one of the ways that UCalgary is making stronger connections with the community,” says Dr. Robin Yates, vice-provost and dean, graduate studies.

“Employers are discovering that graduate students have the talent, ingenuity and passion to help their businesses move forward. Bhumit is a perfect example of how industry can tap into the phenomenal talent coming out of UCalgary graduate programs.”

Internships play a key role for international graduate students

Experiencing a new country as a student without a support network can be challenging; trying to understand the norms of job searching and Canadian workplaces can add to that burden for international students also seeking employment. For Rajpuria and many other international graduate students, the prospect of immigrating to Canada is linked to success in finding post-graduate opportunities.

“It can be difficult for an international master’s student to get an internship,” says Rajpuria. “It was a long journey for me. My advice is never back down! It’s going to be tough, but nothing is impossible if you stay focused.”  

The payoff has been worth the effort. With a part-time job and a full-time, permanent opportunity in the future, Rajpuria also finds that the internship has given him more confidence and stronger communication skills that will help with both his job and courses.

“My colleagues have confidence that I can do good work, and I’ve seen growth in my analytical and problem-solving skills as well,” says Rajpuria.

The TTI program is planning on-campus roadshows throughout September to share information with programs and students. To learn more about TTI or to book a roadshow session, please contact Natalie Wilkinson-Houghton in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.