Xilian Sansoucy, DMSB'21, is taking over our Instagram account @damoremckim this week! Follow along for an inside look at her co-op experiences with Toast Inc. and edX, her global experiences in Singapore and India, and more! Photo by @focusfotografy.

Q: What is your major and what year are you graduating?

I am an international business student with a concentration in marketing and a global social entrepreneurship minor. I plan to graduate in 2021.

Q: Why did you decide to enroll here?

I decided to come to Northeastern because it offers students a lot of opportunities, such as co-op and global experiences. Boston has always been a dream city to live in, and I was excited to live here for four or more years potentially. 

Q: What are you involved with at Northeastern?

Passionate about education reform, I became an AmeriCorps member at Northeastern's Jumpstart branch. This is an award-winning network of volunteers who foster positive relationships with preschool-age children in low-income neighborhoods by providing individualized attention and educational support. During my sophomore year, I mobilized five team members as team leader to provide bi-weekly developmentally appropriate educational activities that focused on language and literacy to a class of twenty preschool children. 

I have also been very involved in College Leadership Rhode Island. CLRI is a tuition-free, academic one-year program that prepares students and recent college graduates to navigate life after college. Through experiential learning, I was able to explore careers in the nonprofit, private, public, and philanthropic sectors, while developing soft skills and leadership competencies for the 21st century. 

I've also been involved in the Northeastern University Marketing Association (NUMA), Asian American Students in Action, Northeastern Ballroom Dance Club, and the Northeastern Club Taekwondo.

Q: Where have you held co-op? What was the experience like?

My first co-op was at Toast Inc. in Spring 2019 as a customer marketing and event marketing co-op. I managed email and social media communications for 10 restaurant industry events across the country. During this time, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to help execute one of our events. In addition to communications work, I published case studies, revamped the case study program, created new sales enablement materials, and created three company-wide guides for email and social promotion. I also presented my work to 500+ stakeholders in the company!

The Toast environment had the perfect blend of a tech start-up and a large company. The company hosted a lot of fun events throughout my time there such as hackathons, company outings, team bonding outside of the office, and co-op events. One great memory I have from my experience at Toast was being part of its “Toasters Teaching Toasters” program where employees could teach classes on any topic to other employees. I volunteered to teach two courses—one on developing strengths through Gallup CliftonStrengths and the other on how to make dumplings!

Q: Tell us about your current co-op.

My current co-op is at edX as an enterprise marketing co-op. I have felt extremely welcomed by the edX community and enjoy my co-op here, so much so we have decided to extend this co-op until the end of the summer. Education reform has been a passion of mine since high school, and working in an EdTech nonprofit has been a dream job for me. During this co-op, I have had opportunities to work with direct autonomy on initiatives such as brainstorming strategies for upcoming marketing campaigns and planning a hackathon for the organization. 

edX has treated me very well with the shift to working from home. It has provided me with the resources I need to create an at-home office and they host events like weekly company-wide Zoom meetings (200+ people), a company-wide remote hackathon, Q&A over Zoom with our founder and CEO, and weekly “coffee talks” with team members for non-work-related chat. I am fortunate to still be employed during this time.

Q: What was the co-op application experience like? 

For my first co-op, I had no idea which companies I wanted to apply to. I attended Northeastern networking events and panels hosted by NUMA to meet company representatives. I met a Toast guest speaker at a NUMA event. Hearing about her experience enticed me to apply there (she also ended up becoming one of my close co-workers throughout my co-op). In total, I applied to five different companies for marketing positions and received four offers. Toast was my final choice since it was most aligned with what I wanted to pursue.

I had to apply to my second co-op remotely during my study abroad in Singapore. Because of the geographic constraints, I focused my search on one company I had admired, edX. edX was very flexible with its interview schedule and understood the twelve-hour time difference. After four rounds of interviews with edX, I was offered the position. Although I had never seen the edX office, I heard great things from a previous co-op, Northeastern's Co-op Experience office, and employees with whom I had interviewed. 

Q: Do you have any co-op application tips for fellow undergrads?

The first piece of advice I can give to students applying to co-ops is to network during their entire time at Northeastern, regardless of if they're currently searching for co-ops. My second piece of advice is to create a “co-op tracker” on an excel sheet to track important pieces of the search:

Interested Position(s)
Co-op Location
Company website
Application deadline
Application Submitted 
Additional Application Required 
Interview Scheduled
Interview/Phone Screening
Rank (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) 
Desire (1-10 scale)
Current and desired people to connect with per company

Using a co-op tracker allowed me to be more organized with applications and less stressed about missing deadlines or sending follow up emails. 

Q: What is the biggest takeaway you have from your co-op experiences so far?

As important as it is to apply lessons from the classroom into a co-op, it is just as important to apply lessons from work back into the classroom. I have gained many intangible skills during my co-ops: I learned how to manage time, navigate whom to ask what, and, most importantly, communicate effectively and work on a team. Although some professional skills can be taught in the classroom, my co-op experiences allowed me to understand how important these skills are.

Q: Tell us about your experience studying in Singapore as part of the International Business program. 

I know I wasn't the only one who had the burning desire to travel to Singapore after watching “Crazy Rich Asians!” Little did I know after watching the film that I would actually live there for five months while studying at Singapore Management University, located in the heart of the city.  

During my study abroad, I had the opportunity to travel to twelve different countries. It was an eye-opening trip that I wouldn't trade for anything. I was exposed to diverse groups of people and cultures throughout Southeast Asia, which altered the way I viewed my own American identity. In order to immerse myself in my study abroad experience, I joined some clubs on campus, including Toastmasters, where I got to improve my public speaking skills while bonding with its supportive student community. The organization even allowed me to host the ultimate Toastmaster session of the semester as “Toastmaster of the Evening.” This was an emotional night since the group had never asked an exchange student to host any of its sessions. 

Q: Tell us about your other global experiences.

I studied social entrepreneurship and gender equality as part of my global social entrepreneurship minor, which allowed me to travel to India on a Dialogue of Civilizations trip as a GEO film fellow. Check out my experience here! We traveled the country from North to South, visiting roughly 10 different cities and villages. A highlight from this trip was living in Mumbai for a week and volunteering at the Mann Deshi Foundation, a microfinance institution with a mission to build businesses run by female entrepreneurs.

Q: What will you be sharing during your takeover?

I'm excited to share snapshots of my college life story during this Instagram takeover. I'll cover topics ranging from extracurriculars to co-op to traveling. I'll showcase what a current day as an edX co-op is like and share my work projects. You'll also get to see some pictures from my trips to Singapore and India!

Story takeover