Adam DuBowy - Class of 2022
In 2016, I discovered the sport of Ninja Warrior. This introduced me to world of new people that would change my life forever. The ninja warrior community is a group of compassionate and caring athletes that all strive to push each other to be their best self. Alone, I never would have gained the strength, technique, or confidence that I have today, but united together with other ninjas I have pushed passed limits that I didn’t think were breakable and I have developed into a person I never thought I would become.
Training ninja warrior changed the way I approach tasks or obstacles in any aspect of life. In most other sports, there is one way to do a task. Whether swinging a tennis racket, throwing a football, or lifting weights, there is one best way for how to perform the task correctly. In ninja warrior, there are many ways to approach an obstacle and it depends on the goal in mind. For many obstacles, going fast or going slow or being efficient or being cautious completely changes the way you can do an obstacle. Often when training, we’ll set up new obstacles and figure out the best technique to use. It depends on what we do before the obstacle, what we do after the obstacle, and how much energy we will need to use even after completing the obstacle. I have spent so much time with this mindset in the gym, that I started to apply this way of thinking outside of the gym.
Often times, I find myself overthinking problems because I try to think several steps in advance. I plan with the end in mind and work backwards through a problem. In data analysis, for example, there are various steps of manipulation that may need to be performed on a dataset to achieve the end goal. If I start at the beginning and try to think about everything that needs to be done, the task may seem daunting. By starting at the end and working backwards, I am able to hold a grasp on each step of the process to be efficient and minimize errors through the process.
Additionally, something that is unique with Ninja warrior is that we root for our competitors. Everyone wants to see everyone succeed in this sport, and when training, there is a lot of collaboration to work with each other’s strengths and help everyone complete an obstacle or course. As someone who used to have the bad habit of wanting to see other people fail so I could feel like I was winning the game of life, I have come to learn that if I am not happy at other people’s success, I will never achieve success myself. Whether in a competition, or school, or personal milestones, if we hope for other people to fail, then we are destined for failure. For me, life is like one long ninja course. There are always new obstacles testing ourselves in new ways and we must fight through them and help others through them so we can progress towards our goals in life.
Alex Pirsos - Class of 2021
Disclaimer: this is likely not the blog post you are looking for. I will not tell you how I landed my jobs and internships. I will not tell you how to select a major. In fact, I won’t even tell you for the 100th time that your network is your net worth.
While they are important, the reason I am not sharing those stories is because if you have located a professional organization’s personal blog and are taking time out of your day to learn and grow from it, I’m guessing that you’re all set in the professional development department. So instead I’m going to share 3 tips for life that I personally live by in hopes that they help you more than what you originally came here looking for.
1: People are in Your Life for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime
After my sophomore year of college, I had an internship where I became extremely close with one of my co-workers. I knew her tumultuous sleep schedule, her frustration with dating apps, her love for patterned blazers, and everything in between. We still keep in touch from time to time, but it’s not the same as sitting in a conference room together for 8 hours a day. Sometimes I wish we were just as close, as we once were, but I now know that my co-worker was only meant to be in my life for a season. She taught me patience, compassion, and how to make a beautiful PowerPoint slide, but was not meant to be in my life for a lifetime. Appreciate your reason friends. Understand your season friends. Invest time into your lifetime friends. And remember, no one is locked into any one category. It’s okay if they change in either direction, and it’s okay if you do too.
2: Not Every Piece of Advice was Written for You
That includes this blog. Know who you are and know what you need. How is it that birds of a feather flock together, but opposites also attract? Out of sight out of mind, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. Third times the charm, but three strikes you’re out. Receiving advice that is bad for you will not stop, but implementing it into your life can. Stop picking up advice the way you pick up any stray $1 bill on the ground. Or don’t. Maybe that’s bad advice for you. I don’t know, but you do.
3: Set High Expectations and Be Disappointed
I’ve heard that if you set low expectations you’ll never be disappointed. While that’s likely true, that’s also a very unfulfilling way to live your life. Take a risk. Fail miserably. Run for that scary, big position. Go abroad when your advisor tells you to stay on campus. Pick the major that “won’t make you any money”. Do something that your future self is not going to thank you for. Every movie character is allowed that one scene where they do something so uncharacteristic that the audience is shocked, confused, and amazed all at the same time. Allow yourself the privilege of doing something so outside your element, at least once. Then when you do truly go for it, ask yourself if the disappointment was worth the risk of not having tried at all. Spoiler alert: I think it will be.
If nothing else, I hope this blog reminded you that we’re all just trying to find our path. Behind the glossy headshots and jam-packed resumes, we’re risk takers, advice seekers, and relationship admirers just like you. I wish putting these 3 tips into practice was as easy as it sounds, but I don’t think we’re meant to be perfect, and make all the right choices, and live flawlessly and fearlessly at the same time. Maybe the actual difficult task is knowing that’s okay.
Griffin Barriss - Class of 2021
When asked what influenced my interest in Public Health, my answer is always the 2011 movie Contagion, a fictional story of scientists, doctors, and politicians battling a mysterious deadly virus spreading around the world. 13-year old me thought the film’s epidemiologists had the coolest jobs in the world, pushing me towards a Public Health career. Back then, I never really expected that a pandemic would occur in my immediate future. However, while walking my dog masked-up this April, and passing a warning sign reading “COVID-19: The CDC suggests the following precautions…”, I realized that we were living in our Contagion moment.
One of the most demoralising things to me in the early days of the pandemic was feeling powerless as a public health student close to the job market but not quite in a position to make a difference. However, by chance, a high-school classmate connected me to The Ventilator Project (TVP) - a volunteer (not even the CEO earns money) non-profit tech startup in Boston manufacturing affordable COVID-19 ventilators to address the global shortage caused by COVID-19. TVP was established on March 20th (for context - Elon announced the 2-weeks online on March 10th), and by May had developed a working prototype.
Excited by the company, I quickly applied for their internship program, ultimately being directed to the Human Resources department to join their team. Unexpectedly, I was promoted to the Department’s Project Manager (PM) - a liaison position to the company’s other departments overseeing progress of all HR projects. However, the next week nearly the entire department unexpectedly went remote with significantly reduced availability, and I became one of two on-site HR representatives, without field experience and a tentative understanding of the department’s operations.
While these responsibilities overwhelmed me initially, I rooted myself with the constant reminder of how cool the opportunity was - I was helping in the fight against COVID-19! I worked closely with an incredible network of Project Managers, ranging from MIT Engineers to MBA candidates and people balancing work at TVP with full time careers. I worked closely with the CEO and company VPs, and got the opportunity to implement new policies to make the company more efficient and safe. While the lack of structure was daunting, I quickly learned this was “the nature of startups,” teaching me to be a better organizer and communicator in the process.
My most important takeaways from TVP were simple, but incredibly valuable:
BREATHE! So often the frantic nature of volunteers coming to the office with new projects or office crises felt a 5-alarm fire, but taking time to process new information and organize my style allowed me to effectively compartmentalize and tackle everything.
Be your best advocate: I got my foot in the door at TVP by advocating for myself and ensuring my application didn’t sit in processing-purgatory. Being on the other end of things in HR and working on hiring policies made this even clearer for me, as the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
Assume the best, expect the worst: This was helpful when rolling out new policies, as it allowed me to handle adoption difficulties with empathy and the foresight to answer questions before they arise. The more you can anticipate, the less there is to send you into “panic mode,” giving you the energy and composure to address “unknown unknowns” as they arise.
The unique opportunity to help define the policies of a new company and engage with my passion for public health at TVP was extremely rewarding and insightful. Reading and listening to a newsfeed dominated by COVID-19 and knowing that I was helping contribute to the fight against it reminded me why I got involved with public health in the first place - to make the world a safer, healthier, happier place.
If you are interested in learning more about/donating to The Ventilator Project, contact Griffin Barriss at email@example.com or +1 781-462-8807
Meghan Murray - Class of 2021
This past summer I (virtually) interned at EY as a Financial Services Business Consultant. I have been looking forward to this internship since May of my sophomore year when I signed my internship offer with the firm, so of course when the program was put online and shortened due to the pandemic, I was a bit bummed at first. But after the initial shock hit and I realized that the pandemic was not going to go away anytime soon, I was extremely appreciative of EY and all the effort they put into ensuring that we still had an internship program that was valuable and educational.
This summer was different than past internships in the sense that it was virtual so I had to adjust to a new normal, it was a position (consulting) that I didn’t have any prior experience in, and I was going into my Senior year so had to think more seriously about post-grad career choices. Once my internship started, I knew I wouldn’t need to worry about adjusting to a new environment since EY made orientation and onboarding a seamless process that made me feel comfortable and prepared for the virtual experience. EY also ensured interns got a true taste of our positions by including client engagement projects despite the shortened timeframe. I was able to learn so much my working on a client project for a Fortune 500 company in which my team provided project management for a company-wide technology infrastructure transformation.The pressure I placed on myself to decide whether this was a career and firm I wanted to stick with in the future also melted away more and more as the internship went on. Career-wise, I knew I wanted a fast-paced, client facing role within finance in which I would be constantly challenged and able to work on a plethora of different tasks and projects according to my interests. By networking with many different employees within the firm, I found that consulting is the perfect career for me and that every day on the job would look a little different. Through speaking with various people at EY, I was also able to confirm that the company is a perfect fit for me culture-wise. Company culture is one of the most important things to me in deciding where to work and after hearing person after person rave about how EY prioritizes their people, invests in them, supports women in the workplace, values diversity and inclusion, and promotes an environment in which everyone loves going to work every day, I knew I found the perfect place for me.
I’m so happy to have found a company and career that aligns with my personal and career aspirations so well and I am proud to say that at the end of my internship I received an offer to return to EY full-time as a Financial Services Business Consultant in their Charlotte office!
Katie Barthlemess - Junior at Elon University - Majoring in Finance & Mathematics:
I’m going to be real with you. What I want to write this blog post about is going to be really hard for me to write because I don’t necessarily know how to say what I want to say. So bear with me.
Getting an internship (and a job) is a grind and you’re going to get a lot of rejections. Even when you go through the full interview process with a company, at the end of the day, they can still choose whether or not to offer you a position at the end of all of that. I went through the full recruiting process with Goldman Sachs in hopes that it would turn into a sexy internship offer. Hoping that my stress about my whereabouts in the next 9 months would be gone after that. I applied cold online, did a Hirevue video interview, got invited to their Super day in NYC, and had another phone interview with a recruiter only to be told they were continuing with other candidates. My shortcoming in that whole process? Stopping all of my efforts with other opportunities and being overconfident.
When I heard that I had been invited to attend their super day at their most glamourous office in the best city for finance majors, I thought “This is it; my search is over.” I mistook a Super Day for an almost guaranteed offer and stopped applying other places. I turned all of my focus to preparing for my interviews. Reflecting back, I felt that my interviews were all conversational and went well. I was confident. When I received an email about a follow up interview, I was even more confident. They wouldn’t waste their time with someone they didn’t like during the super day, right? I thought I had it.
It took a week and a half after that for them to tell me I didn’t receive an offer and because I had stopped applying other places and halted my efforts with other companies, I was back to square one in the middle of finance recruiting season. I had backups and other applications out, but this was my only real lead. When it fell through, it was discouraging, but it made me think more about failure, what it means, and how to move forward. Long story short, it’s all going to be okay.
Here’s a short list of what I learned from this experience and what I wish I understood as I moved through this process:
Erin Byrne - Junior at Elon University - Majoring in Economics:
Take initiative, work hard, and talk to people.
This is probably one of the hardest things to do because of how competitive the competition is, so you really have to play every card you have. Talk to everyone you know and try to find a network that can help you. I have found connections in the oddest of places but it’s all because I started a conversation. People want to help people and that’s something I think a lot of us forget. We are in our early 20’s and have a new found sense of independence where we aren’t asking mom and dad for help with everything anymore. But this doesn’t mean that were alone and that we have to go through this alone. I have talked to so many people and now I truly have an amazing network.
I have been working at a surf camp for the past 4 years and this summer was my last one. I was talking to my boss who has been surfing his whole life and started his own company. I never thought that he would be able to help with my network, but as I was talking about my plans for next summer, he mentioned that his mom had just given swimming lessons to one of their very close family friends. The mother of the child works at Blackstone and is the chairperson for the exact field that I was interested in. He gave her a call that night and told her to look out for my application.
It may not have been a huge deal for him to pick up the phone and talk to her for 10 minutes but that simple act meant the world to me. Knowing that he was willing to help me and my career proved that hard work pays off. I have been working for him for the past 4 years and have truly done a little bit of every job the business had. I taught, scheduled, setup/ broke down the tents and surf boards every day, and was even asked to train and retrain the employees who had similar responsibilities as me so that they could do the job exactly as I do it.
Hard work pays off and if someone believes in you, they are more than willing to help when you ask for it. So take initiative, work hard, and talk to people. You’ll never know where you might end up.
Roman Costa - Junior at Elon University - Majoring in Business Management:
This past summer I got my first real taste of what the career I'm after is really like; to say my eyes were opened would be a hefty understatement. From the moment I received an offer from VMware until the final day of my internship, I did my best to learn from those around me while giving my all. But it was by no means an easy journey.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to continuously update and add to your LinkedIn page! I was contacted via LinkedIn's InMail feature by a recruiter from VMware who introduced me to the position I ended up filling; had my profile been outdated or unpolished, I have no doubt that this opportunity would never have presented itself. Even if you don't have much experience or a professional profile photo (which the SPDC would graciously help you with), I still highly encourage you to make and maintain a LinkedIn account.
Additionally, I encourage you all to embrace independence while remaining inquisitive. I was in a remote office that saw most employees work from home, so some days I found myself being the only one in the entire office (kind of creepy sometimes). While it was great to be independent and have the freedom to work how I like, at times it was tough to have my questions answered. In retrospect, I wish I had asked twice the amount of questions I ended up asking over email/Skype; confusion and stress mounted as time went on and my questions kept piling up. "Make sure to ask lots of questions!": I had heard this a million times but didn't understand just how important questions are until my failure to adhere to that recurring piece of advice ended up damaging the final product of my project. Ask questions! Always! Better safe than sorry!
I am excited to see what everyone will accomplish over the coming years. Keep up the great work! Feel free to contact me with anyone questions at 954-274-5617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hannah Quinlan - Senior at Elon University - Majoring in Economic Consulting
Rather than giving you professional advice on internships, I’m going to share my 5-step approach to life:
If you were to google statistics on my town, you’d quickly find that 34% of the school district qualifies for free or reduced lunches. You’d find that the median household income is approximately $29,477. You’d also find that my high school’s college readiness rate is precisely 11.8 out of 100.
Upon reflecting on my high school experience, I knew more people that either got pregnant at 16 or died from an overdose than people who went out of state for college. I also knew more people that grew up in trailers or dropped out of college than people with parents that are still together.
Upon reflecting on my college experience, the most surprising part is that I’m not currently typing this from an alpaca farm in western Pennsylvania. The most confusing part was the day that I learned that it’s possible to study for the SATs. Or maybe when I learned you’re supposed to apply to more than just one school.
Nearly every week for the past 3 years, I’ve read a story in my town’s newspaper about someone being arrested or murdered -- many times people I recognized. I’ve read it using my private, liberal arts education at the pool next to my apartment at school. I’ve read it in between collecting data and co-authoring a paper with my professor. I’ve read it from my apartment in Prague, where I got to live for a semester. And I’ve read it at my desk in Boston at one of the largest tech companies in the entire world.
The purpose of me sharing this is not to make you feel bad or me feel better.
The intent is to empower you.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the simple fact that you’re reading this blog post means that, statistically, you are given more opportunities and resources each day than every person I knew before the age of 18.
You are in the midst of an incredible amount of opportunity -- take advantage of it.
Monique Hanna - Senior at Elon University - Majoring in Economics:
Needless to say, because I was forcing myself into a sect that was far from my interest area, I was not successful in obtaining an internship in that industry. Though distraught at first, I can see that it was no less than a blessing in disguise. This summer, rather than sitting in an office, working for a company I did not see a future with, I was able to build myself in the field of my interest. I moved out to Utah, where I studied Portuguese at Brigham Young University. I continued working on my research in history and began working on what will be my second published work. Though I was not able to experience a fast-paced, city life, I was able to set myself up for my post-grad future. How do these contribute to my future, you may ask?
My work in research and higher education has enabled me opportunities in my field of interest. This fall I am traveling to the Economic Development Conference in Higher Education, where I will be able to connect with innovators in education from around the United States. In light of studying Portuguese, I was able to hit a level of fluency where I could be on my own without another English speaker. Because of this, I am moving to Brazil post-grad, where I will live with my family and begin my post-grad work in research. Though these two outcomes may not set me up to become a CEO of a major business company, they are the foundation for me to be successful in what I am passionate about, and none of this would have happened without this past summer.
Liz O'Brien - Junior at Elon University - Majoring in Finance & Accounting:
"Searching for an internship following your sophomore year is not easy as you are yearning for experience, but don’t necessarily have enough yet to fulfill the requirements of what many of the larger companies are seeking. It is imperative to stay on top of your applications as larger firms open them during the summer. I began applying going into my sophomore year to various different companies, but continued to face rejection letters throughout the year.
April came and I was completely stressed out as I congratulated my friends on acquiring their internships, but I was still looking. Finally, I reached out to a connection I had, while continuing applications and was able to get my foot in the door. Ultimately, I was fortunate enough to receive an offer after completing the interview process and another opportunity I received through a connection.
I ended up interning with Bank of America Merrill Lynch this summer because it would provide me with a better learning experience in order to help me navigate my professional aspirations. Something to take away from this story is that it is okay to utilize your connections, but to not rely on them completely. They might help you acquire an opportunity, but it is up to you to make your own mark and work tirelessly to get the most out of your experience."
Meghan Lucas - Senior at Elon University - Majoring in Finance & Marketing:
"In the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to intern for the company Two Blind Brothers- started as a "hobby" and turned into a successful non-profit organization that donates 100% of profits to retinal eye research. The company consisted of a small team of the two founders, four employees, and three other interns. However, with a company of that size, it was amazing to see the impact TBB had on thecommunity. Being a start-up there was a ton of freedom in the projects and exposure I received. Much of the summer consisted of pitching new ideas for marketing and advertising techniques, having the freedom to solely implement the new strategies, and tracking the results through Facebook Analytics. While I could go off on a tangent about how much this responsibility taught me, I'm instead going to focus this post around the topic of "Purpose."
One story that Bradford (Two Blind Brother's Co-Founder) told me that has always stuck with me was,
"At the age of 7, we were told we were going blind. The doctor said to our mother, “Your son is going to lose his eyesight, take him home, teach him braille and give him a magnifier.” What our parents did instead was they sat us down and gave us this advice, “You’re not going to have the best eyes. You were given more brains instead.”
The two brothers never let their visual impairment be an excuse that dictated their lives. Rather, they made it their mission and purpose to help others truly see their full potential. Bradford and Bryan, both originally in the financial industry, quit their jobs to launch the clothing company. In their first year alone the brothers were able to donate $100,000 to research for life-changing treatments to cure blindness. Studies suggest that 60% of all start-ups fail in the first two years. So what makes TBB apart of the 40%? According to Bradford and Bryan- it's their story and their purpose behind the success. There was never a moment in the office where we wouldn't see the brothers putting an un-paralleling amount of effort into their company...but more importantly, their community. The two brothers answered EVERY email, phone call, social media post, ect. personally. They knew that this was something greater than a clothing company. It was driven by a purpose, sparked by a community, and continued through the story. They turned their purpose into one of the fastest growing charitable brands in the country. Their efforts slowly gained endorsements from larger names such as Ellen DeGeneres, Ashton Kutcher, Richard Branson, and NBC Nightly News. There is no hesitation when I say that these two truly capitalized on their mission and purpose.
As a senior in college, I can confidently say that I do not know my "purpose" in life. But in working with such a dedicated company, I've truly seen the success, empowerment, and impact one person's purpose can have on the world. It taught me to take a step back the hassle of school, the stress of post-graduation plans, and this "college bubble", to truly ask myself "what is my purpose" and "how am I working towards that goal."
Interested in learning more about TBB feel free to reach out email@example.com or Check out their video: https://www.youtube.
Kirby Kollmansperger - Junior at Elon University - Majoring in Finance & Accounting:
"This summer I am interning in the fixed assets accounting department at Carmax in Richmond, Virginia. Carmax is America's largest used car dealer and has showed no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future. Their financial success certainly attracted me during my summer internship search, however, there was another accolade that I found even more appealing. Carmax has been named one of Fortune's "Top 100 Companies to Work for" for 14 straight years. A healthy corporate environment is, in my opinion, the most necessary component of success for a large company like Carmax. The success of the company does not solely lie in the hands of the executives. Instead, it lies in the hands of each and every associate both in the home office (where I am located) and each of the 190 dealerships around the country. For every one of the 25,000+ Carmax employees, a supportive work environment is crucial to their success. Going into my first day on the job, I was curious to see just how this healthy work environment would play into my internship.
My first observation regarding the healthy atmosphere here has to do with the dress code. Associates at the home office abide by a very loose dress code that allows for maximum comfort throughout the work day. The only time you will see anyone wearing a suit is when they are interviewing for a job here. More common pieces of clothing are jeans and Hawaiian shits. Next, there is a feeling of openness and transparency among employees at all levels within the company. During my third day on the job I had the opportunity to get lunch with Carmax's CEO Bill Nash along with the other 35 summer interns. At the end of the lunch, Bill reminded us that he is always just an email away and that he would love to meet with us one-on-one throughout the summer to get to know us better. My final observation has to do with non-work-related activities available to associates. The home office has a full size basketball court, softball field, and fitness center on its grounds. I get emails every week announcing different events at these facilities happening throughout the day.
These are just three of the ways that I feel make Carmax one of the best places to work in the United States. Associates need to feel like their personal needs are a top priority to upper management in a company. This feeling of being appreciated allows us to put in our best work in everything we do. Some would say that a more rigid work environment leads to work being done more efficiently. In some cases, this can be correct. However, Carmax recognizes the importance of making their employees want to come to work every day. The more people who have this mindset, the more successful the company will be. When I arrive at the office in the morning, I know that I am there to hone my accounting skills and contribute to the financial success of the company. However, I also feel an overwhelming sense of community that makes it a fun place to spend my day. Feel free to reach me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Kyle Block - Recent Graduate at Elon University - Majored in Finance:
"As a recent graduate, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to use your connections as much as you can. You hear all the time that "it is not about what you know, but who you know," and that statement is 100% accurate. I've talked to family, friends, and coworkers who agree that who you know is the best way to benefit your career. Whether that is within your company, or moving to a new company, networking can take you far.
If you are stuck and do not know where to go when finding an internship or job, just start reaching out to people that you know. When I was first looking for an internship the summer after my junior year at Elon, I got lucky by just talking to a family friend about what I am studying at school and that I am looking for something to do in finance. He later gave me a great recommendation with his company that led me to an internship. From that internship, I was able to land a full-time position for after graduation. Due to this connection, applying and interviewing for both the internship and full-time job was not too difficult. For the internship, I had a quick phone interview. For the full-time position, I had a casual 20 minute in person interview. I am now working in the Philadelphia area as a Financial Adviser for Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a commercial real estate and investment group.
Whatever you do, do not stop networking. I felt that once I started working, I did not need to network right away since I had my job and was happy there. If people see you working to build connections at a young age, they will be impressed that you are taking that initiative. Even if you do not use those connections right away, it is always a valuable asset to have. You never know where a good professional relationship can take you in life.
Please reach out if you ever have any questions: (484)-467-7657 or email@example.com"
Haley Brengartner - Junior at Elon University - Majoring in Business Management:
"Finding an internship for the summer of 2018 was not easy for me. In October of 2017 I confidently started networking and sending out applications to a variety of companies. I was sure that with a full year of internship experience as a sophomore I would find job placement. Come April 2018, I had applied to just under 50 companies only to receive continuous rejections. At this point in time my spirits for attaining a challenging, exciting, and well paid internship were running thin.
I guess it is in times like these the unexpected happens.
On a Wednesday in the middle of an all too uneventful Statistics for Decision Making class I realized that online applications were just not working for me. I was willing to give anything a try so I started with expressing my interests and capabilities through personal emails. One was sent to Newmark Knight Frank, a global real estate brokerage with an affiliate office in Cleveland, Ohio. I received a phone call from Terry Coyne, a national leading industrial real estate broker. After a couple weeks of working out logistics, I was thankful to have Terry hire me onto his team for the summer.
I try not to be regretful about my past professional experiences. At this age, everything is new and I expect myself to walk out of every situation knowing and understanding what I can improve upon. However, looking back on my previous experiences I do wish I had extended myself to employees outside my immediate reach in the office. For example, although I am not an engineer, the work they are capable of fascinates me, I do wish I would have taken the time to learn more about what they contribute to the business.
If I have one piece of advice to capitalize on your internship it would be “opportunity always.” I have learned that there is an opportunity to be found with everything and everyone. There is no regret to be had if you take and uncover every opportunity there is for growth and expansion.
If you would like to contact me my phone number is 440.554.5425 and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org"
Hannah Kenny - Junior at Elon University - Majoring in Finance & Marketing:
"As of summer 2018 I am a rising junior interning at the MassMutual Federal Credit Union in the headquarter office in Springfield, MA. We are a private banking system only available to employees of MassMutual and their family members. I will be working directly with members controlling their accounts, managing and issuing loans and mortgages, in addition to working in the marketing department while one of the employees is on maternity leave. I am really excited to get further into this internship because I get to combine my majors while gaining experience with both the money and people side of banking. I mainly pursued this position for those reasons, in addition to being able to commute from home, and that my family has used this bank for years so I’ve seen the positive impact on its community first hand; I’m happy to now be a part of that. One of my favorite parts about the credit union is that the Springfield office is smaller, so I will have opportunities to fill in other positions as needed concurrently with my primary projects. For example, if one of our tellers is out, I will be able to sit on the teller line and work with the members face to face versus managing their money in our software programs. One of the most interesting things I’ve worked on so far, and most frequently since I've started, is helping members understand the interest rates on their car loans and calculating their payout.
Going into the first day, I was slightly nervous and intimidated. However, I have come to realize that my education at Elon University has really prepared me for these real life situations. I am able to recognize terms and formulas that I learned in my classes, and apply them to my various tasks. Additionally, I know AKPsi has also contributed to my easy transition due to its intensive and rewarding pledge process. While I was pledging, I strengthened my professional and social skills for the workplace and felt prepared in a way that I might not have if I weren’t surrounded by such driven brothers for the past few months at school. Even the little details, such as acceptable wardrobes for business casual/professional, helped me make judgements on my behaviour and attire for the first few days. If you’re interested in pursuing an internship in general, I highly suggest using all available resources to not only explore your interests, but also to leave your name in a positive light wherever you go. Talk to professors, parents, friends, or really anybody, because we all have unique business paths. Join clubs with like minded students, attend speakers, do anything to immerse yourself! If anybody has further questions I can be reached at email@example.com."
John Carroll - Senior at Elon University - Majoring in Finance:
"Capitalizing on your internship
Summer internships are often considered to be an extended interview for a full-time postgrad role. While you might be focused on showing your company over the summer what it'll gain from employing you full-time, don't forget to make your internship experience something that you can learn and gain something from too. Here are some of my tips to get the most out of your internship this summer:
1. Take advantage of opportunities to build your professional network.
You'll gain a lot of skills from your internship experience, but ultimately, they'll go unsung if you don't have professional connections who can vouch for you. Take time to meet other interns and full-time employees at your company, as well as professionals outside your company so that you have connections who are comfortable helping you when you need it.
This effort should start with other interns at your company. All of the internships I've had took at least a week to fully onboard me, leaving me with ample time to make use of. Every other intern at my company had the same delays during the first week, so getting coffee or taking a quick walk became an actually productive way to use the extra downtime. Dont forget: these are the people you could be doing a capstone project with!
In addition to other interns, take time to get acquainted with full-time employees in your department, as well as employees in other departments that interest you. Ask about their backgrounds especially – people love talking about themselves, and generally will appreciate the opportunity to do so.
Also, I've found small windows of time like an elevator ride to be a great way to meet other employees, especially if you work at a company spread out over multiple floors of an office tower. Everyone working in the tower relies on the elevator to get to their floor, meaning you have multiple opportunities each day to meet professionals from a range of departments and corporate ranks – I actually met my company's Chief Strategist this way!
2. Schedule your time effectively with an integrated calendar.
Taking the time to network is important, but it won't be effective if you can't balance your time between coffee chats and your work. If your company uses a mail service like Outlook, take advantage of its integrated calendar. Block off times for responding to emails, getting work done, and most importantly, breaks. This is the best part of integrated calendars – in blocking these times, others will know not to schedule meetings at times you're unavailable. Carefully building your schedule shows that you take your time seriously, and as a result you'll be able to minimize distractions.
3. Take initiative in your projects.
With an effective schedule and a network of support, all that's left for you to do to make the most of your internship is show others and yourself what you can contribute as a professional.
In my internships, I've seen that being able to save my full-time colleagues' time is one of the best ways to take initiative. Small things like making spreadsheets easy to read, writing short and direct emails, and putting effort into solving a problem before asking for help go a surprisingly long way.
In addition to time-saving, there are a lot of great ways that you can show initiative early on. I found that calling my supervisor before my start date to make sure we were on the same page regarding expectations helped make my transition into the internship much easier. Other things that I've found impactful include:
• Offering to help colleagues on other projects and asking questions about how the project supports the company as a whole
• Asking your colleagues to let you sit in on a meeting, and attending even if they have to step away last-minute
• Asking for feedback from your supervisor every few weeks
As an intern, the work you produce may not be the most impactful to your company, but that doesn't mean you won't get much out of your internship. Connect with peers where you are and where you want to be, plan your time well, and show initiative with each task you're given, and you'll gain skills that make you an asset even as a relatively-novice professional."
Steven Klausner - Junior at Elon University - Majoring in International Business & International Studies:
“For the Summer of 2018, I have the privilege of being able to complete an internship with the U.S. Department of Commerce in Manhattan. Specifically, I am interning in the International Trade Administration, one of many branches within the agency. Looking back six months ago when I began to apply for this position, I would never have expected to be where I am now. The interview process for any federal government position is extensive, however, I could not have anticipated the level of scrutiny government agencies subject candidates to. Aside from conducting two phone interviews and one in person interview, the most intriguing part happened after I accepted the position. In order to be cleared to work in this agency, and be privy to classified information, I underwent three security clearances from both the United Nations and two other government agencies. For those who have never gone through a security clearance, all I have to say is that nothing is off limits and everything you have ever done, said, or posted is fair game. This process has really forced me to think twice about my digital footprint, and understand the critical role that social media plays, and will continue to play, as we advance our careers.
If I could lend one piece of advice, I would encourage everyone to do two things. First off, take a look through all of your social media profiles, including all of your posts, likes, followers, and who you follow. I can speak from personal experience when I say that who you follow and what you share can really tell a lot about you. I made the decision to remove a lot of connections and content from social media that I felt could raise eyebrows in the future. Second, I would take the time to go through your privacy settings on social media and triple check that your information stays within the network of your friends and followers. Additionally, I would enter your name into a search engine and confirm you are comfortable with every source that appears. If you can access something that easily, think about how easy it is for a recruiter to access that as well.”
Hannah Clifford - Graduate from Elon University - Majored in Entrepreneurship & Political Science:
"I'm very grateful for the fact that I have had the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of internship experiences during my time at Elon. Out of those, there was one in particular that stuck out to me because of the impact it had on my understanding of professionalism, ethics, managing relationships, and diligence in the work place. During the summer of 2017, I worked for a neurosurgical practice that had decided to create a personal injury (PI) department as a way of increasing revenue. This was a small private practice that had one doctor, and a staff of less than 10 people including myself. His wife was the office manager. Our families have known each other for years as friends and business associates. I was hired an assistant for the 'Legal Director/ Patient Coordinator' who basically was in charge of managing all things PI. My initial job description was centered on figuring out how to file liens to ensure that the practice was paid for the services that were provided.
Some background on the inner workings of the office for the sake of clarity (I promise its all relevant):
(1) A patient would come in independently or be referred to the practice by an attorney or another doctor, they would then be processed into our database, and treated. (2) When needed, medical records would be requested by the patients attorney as evidence of a sustained injury that justified a settlement (payout) to be given to the patient by the party responsible for the accident. (3) Once the case was 'settled' (a sum to paid to the associated patient was determined by the court or through negotiations between parties) the lawyer would take a percentage of the settlement and would then coordinate and manage the distribution of payment to each of the treating doctors associated with the case. The issue was that the settlements were rarely big enough to cover all associated medical expenses and/or fulfill the financial obligations in the patient's personal life that may have resulted from their accident/ medical recovery. (4) The attorneys would then try to negotiated with the doctors in an effort to reduce the amount owed and to accept as little as 5% of what the original balance was. For a surgeon who could be performing a $24,000 surgery, the reduction in income threatened the wellbeing of the practice and needed to be addressed. This is why the primary doctor wanted to start filing liens on all PI patients to ensure full payment and this is where my job description came in to play.
I was basically asked to figure out the lien filing process, and to bring in the money that was owed. This sounds simple. However, a few problems became apparent very quickly. The first was that there was not a list of all the PI patients (paid, balance outstanding, etc). There was a code that was used by the staff to mark certain patients in their electronic medical records system (EMR), but no way to pull it up the full list of all those who were labeled. Not only that but not all PI patients were labeled in the system. In summary, the office did not have ANY reliable records or records management system for their PI department that had been established in 2014. This meant that they did not have an accurate idea of how much money they were owed. I couldn't do my job without having the complete list of people to file liens against, so my primary job became compiling the information and manually going through each of the patient charts, EMR reports, and scattered notes that the legal director used for her own work. It turns out that the PI 'code' that was incorporated into the EMR system (as per advice of the consultant) was to blame for all the inconsistencies and confusion. The result: My bosses thought the practice was owed about $1.5 million because that’s what their 'consultant' had told them. After about 6 weeks of me cross referencing reports, I calculated that they were owed a total of $3.4 million, $2.9 of which was PI, and $2.6 was one particular law firm. (Please know that this is the only law firm that will be referenced throughout the discussion).
The second major problem came about while I was developing a basic list of all PI patients who had a balance. I found a payment on a patients EMR chart that was substantially higher than the amount that the patient had owed (about 20 times higher). Then I found another example of a similar circumstance, and another, all of which were associated with a particular attorney. (Context: this attorney represented more than 85% of all PI patients that I found in the EMR system, and their relationship with the Moore's was managed through the 'consultant'). The consultant had basically said to them that it would be easier for the attorney's office to just send them big checks that would eventually add up to the total amount that was owed to the practice by patients associated with that specific attorneys office. So instead of individual checks being labeled with the names of individual patients that those payments were associated with, big checks encompassing multiple patients’ payments would arrive under a single persons name, and those checks were assigned to the oldest balance owed by a patient associated with that attorney. At this point, and after doing some basic math, it was incredibly obvious that the consultant was trying to screw them out of (what I estimated to be) about $600,000, and had made sure that they would not be able go after patient balances that were associated with that attorney, on their own and would therefore have to go through him. The result: I had to gather as much concrete information as I could before presenting this information to my bosses and I needed to create the records they needed in order to effectively advocate for themselves in retrieving balances owed. So I did just that. The consultant is now gone and they offered me a full-time position post-grad towards the end of my summer internship.
Thanks for reading. I hope that you gained some perspective about the benefits of going against the grain and finding your own process/method of doing things; you never know how it could pay off.”