Preparation for your Co-operative Education Portfolio – Reflection


Bachelor of Business


Co-operative Education

Intake 2

Semester One, 2021

Final Portfolio

Being a successful professional in a globalised world

Student Name: Gerard Li Student ID: 17960994

Major(s): economics Your contact no: +86 13663921307

Academic Supervisor: Sadhana Srivastava Word Count:

Workplace Organisation (s): ZHENGZHOU COUNTRY GARDEN HAI LONG ZHI YE COMPAN Workplace Mentor(s): HUANAN KOU

Length: 6500 words (+/- 10%) including template, excluding reference list and appendices.


The Portfolio is part of the academic programme of work you are required to complete for Co-operative Education.

It is designed to ensure that you are achieving the goals and objectives you planned for your Co-operative Education experience.

Please note that throughout your Portfolio you must:

Apply concepts, models, frameworks, theories and/or technical competencies from your major, and other areas of study.

Use authoritative sources.

Provide in-text citations APA (7th ed.)

Update your Reference List with the full reference (APA 7th ed.)

Throughout Co-operative Education you will be focusing on how you are achieving the BBus Learning Goals set out below:

Learning Goal 1: Be inquiring, open, and agile thinkers able to seek out and address complex problems

Learning Goal 2: Be knowledgeable in a specialist area(s)

Learning Goal 3: Be adept at working in changing local and global contexts and environments

Learning Goal 4: Be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large

Learning Goal 5: Be able to work collaboratively

Learning Goal 6: Be effective communicators

The Portfolio is the next stage of the assessment programme that culminates in an Oral Brief and Co-operative Education Report. In the Co-operative Education assessments, you will critically reflect on, analyse and evaluate your development throughout the Co-operative Education experience and work on, and complete a topic of your choice.

Instructions for completing this document

You must address all the points in each of the sections.

Note: Do not delete any of the information or instructions from the template

Preparation for your Co-operative Education Portfolio – Reflection

Complete the Hours Log for the workplace activities you have worked on and including on remotely (approximately 140-150 hours) (Appendix 1) discussing all activities related to working for your organisation and the time spent in each activity.

Refer to Appendix 1 below.

Reflect on and respond to the feedback you received in your Interim Portfolio. Include a discussion of how your feedback and any changing circumstances have impacted on your approach to this portfolio and/or your understanding of your ongoing personal and professional development. (2-3 paragraphs)

In my development plan, the feedback I received centred on improving my objectives in a way that ensures that I have my goals more clearly defined. I was advised to present my goals in a way that resemble SMART objectives with elements such as attainability, specificity, time frame, measurability, and relevance to my career and major. Following the feedback, my approach to this portfolio and my understanding of my ongoing professional and personal development has change positively and significantly. I am no more aware of how I need to communicate my goals to others, how I need to define concepts that apply to my professional or personal ideas, and the need to be clear in articulating these concepts in order to make others understand my position. The advantage of receiving feedback, from my point of view, is that I get to listen actively, take the time to analyse, and then think of the best solution to perform better. From the feedback I received, I have incorporated these key concepts in my portfolio. The feedback provided positive criticism and allowed me to see what should be changed to improve focus and results. Feedback has also allowed to me to remain within the confines of the current requirements and to create a healthy communication flow.

My integration into my team and organization were not very smooth. I struggled with fitting in because a majority of my colleagues had a background in real estate, construction, and had experience working in the organization for a while. They understood the organizational culture better. My personality type is analytical. According to Baczynska and Rowinski (2020), I can be described as thoughtful and very deep. I am serious about my intentions and goals and driven by purpose. I set very high standards both professionally and personally. I am also organized and orderly. This personality allowed me to fit in quickly in my role, faster than I had anticipated. It added to my personal strengths that include: being creative and seeing concepts in new perspectives, a good communicator, ability to understand what questions to ask to gain a better marketing angle, being committed to meeting the set goals and objectives, working well in a team setting, an ability to manage people effectively, and being goal oriented. However, my personality fit also came with a number of personal weaknesses such as how I compulsively take over when I see things moving slowly, stressing over little things and tasks, and my inability to perform optimally under immense pressure. However, to date, I have managed to figure out the organizational culture and my team dynamics. I now understand that we are all different individuals with separate personal and professional agendas but we share a desire to see our company succeed. The challenge so far is being more outgoing. I see a lot of my colleagues spending time together outside of work. I would like to figure out how to achieve that in the same enthusiastic way that they do. One of my greatest successes is how I have altered how our departments collaborates. Before I became a team leader, a majority of projects were not sent on time or some had errors that could have been avoided. Now, our punctuality is unmatched. Therefore, my integration has been effective, allowing me to realize my weaknesses and strengths and knowing how to leverage these in a way that is beneficial to my personal and professional development.

Your Co-operative Education Role: Being knowledgeable in a specialist area(s) in your Co-operative Education Placement

In this section you should explain how knowledge from your major(s) applies to your workplace activities and discuss the value of your role. For each new, expanded or updated activities, explain how theories, concepts, models, frameworks and/or technical competencies, from your major(s) have applied.

If you are majoring in TWO disciplines, you must address both.

For TWO new, different or expanded activities from your current job description, that you have undertaken, briefly describe the activity, what your involvement has been. Explain how theories, concepts, models, frameworks and/or technical competencies, from your major(s) have applied. In your discussion you should:

Outline your workplace activities and

Discuss a comprehensive range of theory, concepts, models, frameworks, and/or technical competencies. (Note: You must draw on authoritative sources using in-text citations).

The main activities that I undertake as an economist and market analyst in my workplace include conducting research, collection of data and its analysis, monitoring economic trends, and developing forecast reports for my organization in the real estate industry that focus on restaurant construction and sales. In my organization, my role as a market analysts with a background in economics is extended and expanded to include reporting on economic forecasts relevant to my organizations industry and competitive landscape. My role as an economist and a market analyst for the real estate company includes making forecasts based on data from multiple sources, conduct research, and run simulations. I am then required to develop models and scenarios, adjust for probability of occurrence and success, and make recommendations to my organization. Recently, theoretical and empirical research on real estate has seen a great expansion, especially using the paradigms and methodologies of finance and economics. The current difficult situation of production and consumption activities has determined a weakness in the real estate economy. The main problems are the subordination of public decision-making, which is subjected to pressure from big companies, inefficient appraisal procedures, excessive use of financial leverage in investment projects, the atypical nature of markets, income positions in urban transformations, and the financialisation of real estate markets with widespread negative effects. A delicate role in these complex problems is assigned to real estate appraisal activities, which are required to make value judgments on real estate goods and investment projects, for which prices are often formed in atypical real estate markets

Explain how this knowledge from your major(s) was relevant and guided you to complete your activities.

My major is economics. This fits very well in my role as a market analyst. Marchau, Walker, Bloemen, & Popper (2019) found that the knowledge gained from studying various economics concepts is applicable in the workplace where research on economic issues is mandatory, conducting surveys and data collection are part of the job description, analysing data using models is necessary, presenting research reports to stakeholders, and interpreting data in order to forecast trends in the market. In my role as a market analysist, my background in economics enables me to advise my bosses and other important decision makers on matters relating to market trends, the macroeconomic environment, the microeconomic factors, and a combination of these issues and how they affect the ability of our clients to participate in the market. Ribeiro et al. (2017) praised the field of economics because of how it allows market analysis and the proposal of various solutions to issues of an economic nature to organizations and the industry. Further, Korhonen, Honkasalo, & Seppälä (2018) see economics as an avenue to enable both quantitative and qualitative analysis of different issues in different fields. In the real estate industry, such concepts are of utter significance as they inform policy makers of the direction to take based on market research and other important factors that are considered. Therefore, knowledge from my economics major is relevant in guiding me as a market analyst for my real estate company, Zhengzhou Country Garden Hai Long Zhi Ye Company. It allows me to apply concepts such as research, data collection, data analysis, interpretation, ad presentation as part of a daily routine.

Reflect and evaluate on your performance in your Co-op experience (support with specific evidence and examples).

To date, I feel that I have performed quite well in my capacity as a market analyst. When I started working, my main role was an assistant to the then market analyst. I was fortunate to learn from an individual with a desire to mentor and train me accordingly. At the time, my experience was limited to only theories applied in class work and assignments. In the real life organization, I quickly learnt that there was a big difference between theory and practical application of economic concepts. As part of my growth, I have engaged with different individuals with more experience than I have in an attempt to learn more. For example, when I started working, my experience in using mathematical concepts and software such as SPSS in interpreting data was not very reliable. Today, I have honed my skills in a way that I am able to lead others in my department in report writing and other forms of market analysis. My abilities are now more effective and reliable. My role now has evolved more to one of an advisory nature to the chief strategist in the company on matters relating to market trends, what we can expect in the market, and how to go about different transition periods as we observe and react to market movements. Now, I am more confident when presenting reports, and I have refined my skills to include an ability to use more advanced software and to lead an entire team of other analysts on behalf of the company.

Discuss the significance of your role(gigs), the challenges you have encountered and the value that you have added to your team(s) and/or organisation (s), including knowledge from your discipline(s)and your personal attributes, and how this has developed throughout your experience(s).

Many real estate investors fail to recognize the importance of the market analysis. Whether they lack the skills and knowledge to complete the market analysis or just don’t understand the benefits, market analysis is an undervalued asset in real estate investment. In reality, the market analysis is the most important element in evaluating a real estate investment. The market analysis forms the base for every calculation and decision that follows. So, thoroughly researching and understanding the market is crucial to good decision-making. The significance of my role to the organization is that I contribute towards better decision making. From my background in economics, I have a role to provide a comprehensive picture of the subject property, location, neighbourhood, and the larger market economic drivers. The final document should allow the reader to understand the current supply and demand conditions for this particular type of real estate as well as a picture of how these conditions may change in the future. It should also provide conclusions about the changing demographics and regulations in the neighbourhood and how those factors as well as economics could impact the subject property.

Real estate market analysis determines the value of an investment property by studying them in a housing market. However, one of the main challenges I have encountered in this role is the lack of freely-available information and data that is required for me to perform my role effectively. Additionally, another challenge I face is the constant market changes in the real estate that requires almost a 24/7 awareness on what is going on throughout the world. Estimating future operating expenses also requires an understanding of the current market costs and how they will change over time. These changes relate back to the fundamentals of the local economy and industry as well as national macroeconomic trends. The information contained in the market analysis can help determine appropriate growth rates for operating expenses. A slight decline or increment of the dollar may mean several ripple effects to the global housing sector. Costs and expenses are not stable and may lead to inaccurate predictions of market value and other important elements. Another major issue is the lack of a methodology in market research. Overwhelming amount of data makes it difficult to filter out useless information. Manually scanning through the data is cumbersome and tough. Many existing techniques to juggle around add to the challenge of getting the right data. It’s becoming an increasing challenge for a market researcher to demonstrate unique value and novel contribution in market research approaches. The standard market research methodologies followed by most of market research companies don’t help them stand apart from the crowd. Staying relevant with changing technology times is of prime concern now.

The value that I add is that I provide my organization with the needed information to inform policy and decisions at the highest levels of investments. Not only is a thorough market analysis necessary to understand the outlook for a real estate investment, but also, it is critical to creating the real estate proforma. Proforma forecasts are simply a best, educated guess about future performance, and must be well aligned to economic theories. In order to make an educated estimate, however, the investor needs a lot of background information about the market. All of this information comes from the market analysis and economic theory integration of these conditions to expectations.

What gaps did you identify in your knowledge from your discipline(s) during your placement? Discuss how you have addressed these gaps.

The only gap I identified in my economics discipline is the heavy reliance on economic models, mathematical and statistical principles, and scientific interpretation. While this is not necessarily bad, it may hamper market research in social contexts, for example when my company wants to invest in low income communities, because of the need to understand other social dynamics (Kauškale & Geipele, 2017: Robison & Ritchie, 2010). As a social science, economics is required to incorporate some form of social opinion in the decision making process in order to ensure that decisions are reflective of a real life setting.

Your Professional Skills: communicate effectively in professional settings, working collaboratively and being adept at working in changing local and global contexts.

In your Learning Plan you developed TWO goals for your professional skills to work on during your placement. These related to you

Being able to work collaboratively.

Being adept at working in changing local and global contexts and environments

Note: In this section you will reflect on your experiences in your chosen aspects of your professional practice since completing your Development Plan.

You may have refined or revised your goals as well as your specific actions you have put in place to achieve your goals. Please include these updates in your reflection below.


Goal ONE: Working collaboratively – how you function and interact with others

State your specific aspect here: Being able to work collaboratively in individual teams in the organization and with other departments

My goal (include any changes) is: Being able to work collaboratively for both inter and intra departments and teams in the organization

Discuss how your planned actions/ strategies have helped you to make progress towards achieving your goal.

I need to work on being a leader within the said collaborative efforts. I realized that I am more of a silent contributor, an issue that I need to work on in order to realize my full potential. One of the most important things that I am able to do at the moment is work in teams, as a group, and in collaboration with other people and society to achieve different goals. I have made being a team player one of my main strengths and used it to help my organization meet its goals

Identify and discuss one key learning experience and/or critical incident you have had in this goal in developing your professional skills during your Co-operative Education Experience.

One of the main strengths I have achieved is being a team player. I am able to use this strength to my advantage in order to progress professionally and to help others in my team. For example, I realized that some of the group members have very poor data analysis skills, yet their strengths lie in other fields, so we collaborate to work together towards individual strengths for the benefit of the entire team. This attitude and strength has helped me to rise through the ranks as a young leader in a challenging environment.

Reflect on how this learning experience and/or critical incident has led you to new insights about the importance of being able to work collaboratively.

From the incident above, I have fully understood that collaboration in the workplace is a sign of effective team as it harnesses the best out of two or more individuals together. Efficiency is an essential part of a team and an important aspect of the workplace. Workplace collaboration will keep everyone safe from extra load of work as the work gets distributed evenly. Collaboration generates a circle of knowledge and lets each team members to understand their role. There are smart owners who look for encouraging their staff always to work with each other. In my team, we were able to learn from each other, approach problems with strength, and have a better perspective of the bigger picture. Team members working in collaboration with each other will always have an opportunity to learn from each other’s successes and failures. They will have an organizational approach towards learning things. The company will not deviate from its goals whether long term or short term as the tasks will be assigned to those who will be able to reach the set targets. I have learnt that workplace collaboration means bringing varied talents together, making a pool of different skills and knowledge. When more competent and experienced people are brought together, teams will undergo better problem-solving approach.

Goal TWO: Being adept at working in changing local and global contexts and environments – are you in charge of your future?

State your specific aspect here: Be adept at working in changing local and global contexts and environments

My goal (include any changes) is:

I have learnt to work under different conditions, to work remotely under minimal supervision, and to meet different work outcomes without follow-up from the management. I have also understood that the business climate changes without warning as evidenced by the current COVID-19 pandemic and the situation it has created. I need to improve more on the different cultures across the globe that may be interpreted differently based on my own. For example, the western culture expects employees to give suggestions even in board meetings, something I will have to learn and work on more to improve my efficiency as an employee.

Discuss how your planned actions/ strategies have helped you to make progress towards achieving your goal.

The main achievement I am making is that I am now able to adapt quickly to new and challenging environments. However, one of the main challenges is that some situation require constant adapting, such as the COVID-19 issue, bringing with it interruptions to normal functioning that is hard to repair. The relationships acquired and the way we have managed to grow as a team is immediately put to test on a daily basis as every team member is required to confront the situation personally and professionally from an individualized position. The effect is that there is a challenge that is self-renewing and requires all team members to remain focused on the goals ahead.

Identify and discuss one key learning experience and/or critical incident you have had in this goal in developing your professional skills during your Co-operative Education Experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic is one critical incident that has changed my view of the constant need for change and being able to quickly and effectively respond to changes. As a supervisor in my team and department, my role has changed significantly since COVID-19 happened. Change is an inevitable and often positive aspect of working with others and the ability to cope with change can decrease stress and even increase productivity. The transition process as some of our team members have had to work remotely has been stressful. I am no required to supervise roles online for some tasks while responding to others in different ways. The experience has been a good one for learning.

Reflect on how this learning experience and/or critical incident has led you to new insights about the importance of working with being adept at working in changing local and global contexts and environments.I have learnt to accept change, to stay positive, to get a new perspective on core concepts, to focus on what I am able to control, set new objectives, and stay well connected to my team. I have come to understand that change is a natural part of life, both in and outside of the workplace. By learning to accept that change is a natural occurrence in the workplace, I have been able to more quickly adapt when it happens. I remind myself that many of the best opportunities in life show up when there is change. This change in attitude has been a learning process that has allowed me to let go of the way things used to be, whether it was the processes the company used, the people I worked with or the team I supervise. I am now aware that change means there could be enormous opportunities coming.

Overall Professional Skills and Career Development

LEARNING FROM OTHERS: (Choose one option)

Reflect on the implications and challenges of your Co-operative Education experience and what you have noted from your mentors’ professional practice and how this has influenced your thinking about your own professional practice. (2-3 paragraphs)


During your Co-operative Education experience, you have had opportunities to observe and learn from others’ professional practice. Outline at least 2 examples of professional practice you have observed. Reflect on what you have learnt from these observations and comment on how this has influenced your thinking about your own professional practice. (2-3 paragraphs)

Two of the most important professional practices I have observed include accountability and objectivity. I observed accountability as an ability to take responsibility for individual actions and objectivity as remaining true to the goal and not being influenced or swayed by biases. Accountability is about ownership and initiative. I learnt that when one is expected to do a task, whether under supervision or otherwise, they should follow through and complete the task. I learnt that taking ownership at work is about taking initiative and doing the right thing for the business. Accountability is all about taking responsibility for results and not assuming it is someone else’s responsibility. When people are not accountable, one person’s delay becomes the team’s delay. One shortfall snowballs into bigger shortfalls. I also learnt that having a member of the team that isn’t meeting their commitments and isn’t being held accountable causes frustration and disengagement with the rest of the team. Another key lesson from my observation was on the issue of remaining firm to an agenda, especially when in a leadership position. Objectivity is critical in the workplace in order to maintain employee loyalty and to avoid ethical conflicts. Operating a company means setting personal ties aside and not focusing on the emotional aspects that could influence a decision. Though complete objectivity may be difficult for cohesive organizations, managers should strive to make decisions based on clear, irrefutable information.

My main takeaway is that leaders who are really good problem solvers and decision makers have the capacity to eliminate personal considerations from the decision space and also remain true to their role, take ownership of their issues and work to solve them. In contrast, leaders who are concerned about the impact of decisions on themselves (or other individuals or groups they truly care about) risk allowing that concern to influence their decisions. Objectivity is not a lack of concern or care for the individuals in the organization. Instead, it allows the objective leader to weigh the facts of the situation and how different alternatives impact people in the organization without prejudice. It facilitates decisions which are both factually sound, and can be accepted by people who are affected by the decision. With accountability and objectivity, a leaders is shaped in a way that they are able to respond to any workplace event and in any environment. Effective leaders tend to understand and respect the social interactions that facilitate organizational life and employee engagement, and to care about enabling others to succeed. They are not, however, controlled by this orientation. 


Reflect on the way in which you perceive you have been developing as a professional, including in your BBus Learning Goals, during your Co-operative experience.

Your reflection should review your progress to date and discuss any new insights you have gained into how your Co-operative experience might influence your future career planning and development. (2-3 paragraphs)

Professional development is relevant for the workers themselves, for the organizations, and, also for an industry. Professional development is directly related to the day-to-day activities of workers and should be part of a broader process of continuous learning. Developing in my field corresponds to the growth and maturation of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired, as a result of formal and informal actions of learning at work. Aside from the formal training in my economics major, learning at work has been very important for my professional development. For me, the process has also involved the personal experiences that characterize learning throughout my career.

One of the most important insights I have gained in this development journey is the role of networking. Networking is not only fun, but essential to individual growth and business development. Networking has taught me how to forge powerful connections, initiate conversations with strangers and act with the confidence of a leader. Additionally, it has also provided new business opportunities (including referrals and professional partnerships) and opportunities to share ideas and knowledge. Finally, networking has helped me to grow into a leader in my organization.

Your Co-operative Education Organisation and the environment it operates in: be critical enquirers and be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large.

In this section:

Include theories, concepts, models, frameworks and/or technical competencies that apply to your answers.

Support your answers with examples and evidence.

Reference your discussion using APA 7th ed.

Update your media log (appendix 2), ensure you have a range of sources to answer the following question.

In your Development Plan you provided a definition supported by an authoritative source and an example of the following elements:

Ethics & business

Corporate social responsibility


Social Impact

Demonstrate your current understanding of each of the dimensions above and the impact on business and its decision making by completing the table.

You must support your discussion with relevant specific business examples from your media log.

Dimensions Identify the relevant current issue, business practice or challenge from your Media Log (using in-text citations) Critically analyse your chosen issue, business practice or challenge including implications it would have on the decision making in your organisation and/or industry for each dimension

Ethics & business:

“Doing the right thing” Health and Safety in the Workplace in the age of COVID-19 (Hu et al. 2021)

As the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the trade and industries worldwide, demand for commercial as well as residential spaces in the Chinese real estate market is definite to experience disruptions. Amid such distress, traditional real estate practices have become a difficult balancing act for employee