Emma Murray Class of 2016

International Maritime Business Co-Op

"Interning with Crowley Maritime Corp. in Seattle in their Harbor Ship Assist & Tanker Escort Department and a handful of other departments showed me that my classwork thus far has laid a strong foundation to enable me to enter the workforce.  That experience showed me not only how versatile my major really is, but how I can truly do anything within the maritime business world.  It also gave me a new appreciation for our Learn-Do-Learn philosophy at MMA."

-Emma Murray '16

International Maritime Business Co-op

The IMB program prepares graduates to enter the maritime shipping and transportation industry as business professionals. The program includes elements of international business, logistics and transportation.

  • IMB students must have completed sophomore year.
  • Two co-op placements are required (in addition to the international experience completed in the sophomore or junior years).
  • To be considered for a repeat co-op placement or a co-op you found on your own, you must obtain approval of the IMB Department Chair (Prof. Szwed) and Career Services.

IMB Employment
Students typically co-op in areas of business that they would likely be hired upon graduation. Examples include: ship chartering/brokerage, LNG and oil commodities trading, finance, insurance, ship operations, ship agents, import/export, logistics, sales, traffic management, admiralty law, yacht management, equipment manufacturing, personnel administration, international commodity trading, banking, shipping market analysis, and communications. 

Co-op and graduating employment opportunities

  • American Bureau of Shipping
  • APM Terminals
  • Aramark
  • Canada Steamship Lines, Inc.
  • Clipper Oil
  • Massachusetts Port Authority
  • One Beacon Insurance
  • Intercoastal Marine (Panama)
  • Poten and Partners
  • Raytheon
  • Seabulk
  • Spec Tec
  • TransOcean Group, Inc.

Co-op Project Requirements

Cooperative education is an indispensable and invaluable way for you to gain experience and exposure, as well as to extend your network and reputation. Your co-op is intended to give you an opportunity to experience and observe the “real world” of international maritime business.

Here at Mass Maritime, co-ops are an essential feature in our Learn-Do-Learn philosophy of education – where students gain knowledge of various business disciplines (through their coursework), then go out into the field during a co-op to apply that knowledge in a real-world work setting, then reflect upon how theory informs practice and vice versa. Then, students bring this newfound or newly updated knowledge back into the classroom where they can then apply their experiences to the new concepts they are learning. It is a reinforcing cycle of learning.

Some of the sponsor companies are large and have considerable resources to devote to the training process of this program. Their primary concern will be the training and evaluation of students in this program as potential prospective employees. Other sponsor companies will be smaller with limited resources and, while they too wholly support our co-op program, they expect a significant, productive work contribution from the student. Regardless, you are expected to gain work experience, contribute to your host organization, and advance your education through the co-op program.

How long will a co-op last?
In order to receive six academic credits, you must complete 280 hours of  work during your co-op assignment , which equates to  roughly 35 eight-hour days, which will extend beyond seven or eight weeks (considering holidays, sicknesses, or other absences). You are encouraged to work beyond this minimum requirement to gain additional experience, avail new opportunities, or even gain additional income.

What is expected of me?
You are representing yourself, our department, and the Academy. You are required to adhere to the Cadet Regulations at all times. You should also become familiar with company rules and adhere to them as well (including dress code, core work hours, safety and training requirements, travel regulations, etc.) You should have discussions early and often with your supervisor to ensure you are doing the right thing at the right time. Try to “under-promise and over-deliver.” In general, you should always be professional, be engaged, and seek to learn and do more.

How will I be graded?
You will be graded primarily through your co-op report. Your co-op report will have four sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Observations about Organization
  3. Observations about Self
  4. Supplemental Materials

The following pages provide a checklist of what you should do and what you should include in your co-op report. Make sure to include all required elements of the report (or loose points for report incompleteness).

What is a professional journal?
A professional reflection journal is an informal way for you to capture your thoughts and ideas during the co-op. Each week, you should spend some time (at least an hour) to record information about what you did and your reflections on what you learned and how you felt. You will be provided a series of prompts to spur your thinking during these daily reflective journaling sessions (attached). You may capture your thoughts manually by handwriting in a tablet journal or digitally in an online file/app. Reflection is an essential component of learning and is a hallmark of leadership and professional practice.

What is a meta-reflection?
At the end of the co-op, you will select the two journal entries you consider to be most significant or poignant. You will reflect upon those journal entries and write a detailed meta-reflection about your thinking, your development, your learning, etc. Meta-reflection is reflection about reflection – in essence, you distill one portion of your weekly reflection and think about how it applied broadly.

When is my co-op report due?
Submit your co-op report within 10 academic days of the first day of class in the semester after you complete the co-op. There will be a five-point deduction (5% of grade) for every day the co-op report is late. Co-op reports more than one week late will not be accepted; you will receive an “F” and will be required to repeat the co-op. If there are legitimate, extenuating circumstances for an extended deadline, you must seek approval from the IMB Department Chair prior to regular deadline (i.e., within 10 academic days of the beginning of the semester).

How should my co-op report be formatted?
Your report should adhere to APA style. Make sure to include relevant references. For example, if you use the organization’s website or annual report for key information, you should list it as a reference and cite wherever appropriate. If you use images that are not your own, you should reference them as well.

How do I submit my report?
The project report should be printed double-sided, punched, and inserted into a white three-ring binder (1.0-inch or 1.5 inch). Include a completed checklist / grade sheet at the beginning of the report, followed by the title page and the four sections of your report. Insert suitable dividers between each of the main sections of the report. Do NOT use protective sheet covers for each page. Indicate your name and the name of the co-op on both the front cover and the spine of the binder. Also, print a copy of the checklist/grade sheet, tick off each element you completed, and submit it with your report. Place your co-op report binder in the box located at the Department Chairs office. If you are out of the country on an exchange program (or are similarly unable to turn in a hard copy of your report), you may be able to submit an electronic copy by uploading a single portable document file (PDF) to BlackBoard.

What is a fatal error policy?
If your submitted report contains more than ten errors on the first three pages, then your report will be returned to you without a grade. You will have 48 hours to correct all such errors throughout the entire report and resubmit it (subject to a 10% deduction). You may want to work with the Writing Center to correct any errors before any submission. Fatal errors include misspelled words, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, errors in capitalization, errors in punctuation that obscure meaning, mistakes in verb tense or subject/verb agreement, improper or inadequate citation, and failure to conform to the assignment format.  If your second submission still contains more than three fatal errors on any one page, then your report will be returned to you and you will have another 48 hours to correct the errors and resubmit it – the best grade you can receive at that point is a “D.”

Practicing to Become a (Maritime) Business Professional
IMB Co-Op Journal Entries & Meta-Reflections

As a business professional and leader, you develop your ability to handle increasingly complex situations through learning about those situations and your reactions to such situations through reflection. A journal is a well-documented way to develop this all-important reflective capacity. You will use the journal to chronicle your co-op experiences and activities, make connections between those experiences and classroom experiences/research/learning, and reflect on your emotional and personal responses to your co-op experiences.

Reflection Journal: Keep a weekly journal to collect your thoughts, questions, understandings, notes, and information about your co-op experience and related work and projects. The journal entries should be much more than a record of what you accomplished each day. The following are but a few questions you might pose to yourself as you sit down to write in your journal.

Early in the Co-Op (First weeks):
  • What do you hope to accomplish in this co-op?  What are your expectations for this experience?
  • What are your initial reactions to your first few days?  What are you looking forward to? 
  • Is there anything you are disappointed about? How might you have prepared better for this co-op?
  • What is going to be your biggest challenge in this internship?
  • Do you feel like you fit in to the organization? Why or why not?
Middle of Co-Op (Middle weeks):
  • What goals have you met so far?  What goals do you still need to meet?  Have you changed any of your goals?
  • How has your perception of the internship/organization changed since you started the internship?
  • What steps have you taken to address the challenges and disappointments that you identified in your early journal entries?
  • What is surprising you about this internship?
  • What have you contributed to the organization?
  • What have you done that has made your supervisor’s life easier?
  • What have you learned from the routine or boring parts of the internship?
  • What do you think are your strongest attributes as an intern?
  • What surprises have you had?
  • In what ways do you feel like you can improve your performance?
  • How are you reacting to a bad day or disappointment?  How would you like to react?
  • Is your personality a fit for this organization?  Do you notice particular personality types working in this industry
End of Co-Op (Final weeks):
  • How did you accomplish your goals for this experience?
  • What did you learn about yourself through this experience?
  • Were your expectations for this experience realistic?  Why or why not?
  • What was your biggest success in this internship? 
  • How did you change as a result of this experience?
  • What have you done that you didn’t ever think you would be able to do?
  • What is the most important thing that your organization does?
  • What changes would you make if you had the chance to do this over again?
  • What would you do differently in this organization if you were the boss/owner?
  • How would you describe your work style based on your behavior at this internship?
  • How are you different than you were when you started this experience?
  • What was your biggest success or contribution to your organization?
  • What did you learn from your challenges in this experience?
  • How do you want your supervisor to remember you?
  • What recommendations would you give to other students doing an internship at this location?

Midway through the co-op, upload your reflection journal for the first three/four weeks to BlackBoard.

Meta-Reflection: At the end of the co-op, write two meta-reflections. Select and scan two journal entries that you consider to be the most significant, and write a meta-reflection on each entry. Each meta-reflection should be at least one-page and may include quotations from your journal entries. Address how this affected your thinking, related to material from coursework, surprised you, or helped you to address a problem. Include your meta-reflections in your co-op report.
Rubric will be used to evaluate the meta-reflections

Dimension Description Pts. Comments
Table of
Submit a scanned copy of the table of contents for your journal. Each entry on the table of contents should have at least the following information: Date, Entry Description, and corresponding Page Number. 1  
Entries Submit scanned copies of the selected journal entries. 2  
Write a 1-page single-spaced meta-reflection on each of the two selected journal entries.       

Meta-Reflection #1 > Title: _______________________________________

  • Includes a synopsis of the events and activities of the week the entry was based upon.
  • Describes the implications of the entry for you as a (maritime) business professional.
  • Makes connections between your activities in the workplace and classroom experience/learning/research using business terms and concepts as appropriate.
  • Reflects on your emotional and personal responses to your co-op experiences.
  • Elaborates on what the entry means for you in the future.
  • Compares and contrasts your thinking from before to after the co-op.
  • Other: _________________________________________________

Meta-Reflection #2 > Title:_______________________________________

  • Includes a synopsis of the events and activities of the week the entry was based upon.
  • Describes the implications of the entry for you as a (maritime) business professional.
  • Makes connections between your activities in the workplace and classroom experience/learning/research using business terms and concepts as appropriate.
  • Reflects on your emotional and personal responses to your co-op experiences.
  • Elaborates on what the entry means for you in the future.
  • Compares and contrasts your thinking from before to after the co-op.

Other: __________________________________________________

Journal Entries Journal entries uploaded to BlackBoard by mid-period Co-Op deadline and included in co-op report. 5  
Creativity Scan anything you would like to be considered a creative enhancement that you added to your journal. 2  

Rubric for Organizational Culture Analysis

  Exemplary (10-13%) Competent (6-9%) Developing (0-5%)
Selection of Culture Competent
Noted other potential cultures that may exist within the organization and the potential for clash between cultures.
Identified a single dominent culture from the seven noted in the OCP framework for the work unit. Failed to identify a culture that exists within the OCP framework. For example, commented that it is a "family"-style culture.
Evidence Competent
Compared organization's culture with other organizations known to have the identified culture.
Provided specific evidence that supported the identification of culture within the key dimensions of culture - assumptions, values, artifacts (e.g., emphases, policies, decision making) and provides specific examples observed. Failed to provide evidence. Instead, identification based solely on opinion without any rationale.
Analysis Competent
Provided specific culture change suggestions.
Commented on pros and cons of such a culture an offered opportunities for improving the culture. No analysis.
Fit Assessment
(Extra Credit)
Using 4-step process in Academy of Management Journal article, determined own fit in organization.    

Informational Interview Checklist

  1. Provided interview questions (those created in advance and those added during the interview)
  2. Provided record of answers provided
  3. Summarized key points, lessons learned, and next steps

IMB Co-Op Guide Revised: May 21,2019

Co-Op Grade Sheet

Printable Version & Grade Sheet