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Final Advice for Interns

Editor’s Note: James Jeffries and Alex Amerling provide some timely advice for interns wrapping up their summer. 

Don’t let your resume look like this:

Sales Intern                                                    Summer 2013

Acme Corporation, Saskatchewan

  • Initiated Friday Social Hour for team of 13
  • Managed workload, even with delayed morning arrivals
  • Executed 15 calls per day to family and friends
  • Um…some major project in sales, but I forget
  • Started 18 performance upgrades; completed 2

Here is Alex’s Advice:

1. Go out with class. This means finish any of those tasks that you just haven’t gotten around to, make sure to clean your work area out, tell your boss where you are on unfinished projects so he/she has the adequate amount of information to finish the project.

2. Write everything you did down. Write down all the new computer programs and equipment you learned to use. And even more importantly write down what you accomplished in detail. Imagine making a presentation of what you accomplished this summer. This allows you to have a great answer in those tough interviews and it will make updating your resume much easier.

3. Thank You’s. Thank everyone who helped you along your way for the summer, both in person and with a thank you card. NEVER underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you card; it can get you a job in the future.

If you have any questions on how to update your resume, write a proper thank you, or anything else to finish up your summer feel free to stop by Career Services or email Scott (crawfors@wabash.edu) or James (jeffriej@wabash.edu).

–Alex Amerling & James Jeffries

Long Pham ’14: Programming Internship at Fastport Trucking

Long Pham ’14:  This summer I am doing an internship up here in Lowell, MA with Jim Ray ’95 at his startup FASTPORT, thanks to the funding from Lilly Small Business Internship Fund.  FASTPORT is a small business focusing on technology-based trucker recruitment, and is pretty much the very first such company in the trucking industry.  One particular advance that we possess is our web-based application for truckers to get rid of all the paperwork and reduce the processing time from a few weeks to 48-72 hours.

However, our web application was meant to be much better and faster than it is at the moment; and that is where my work comes in. Generally, my work at FASTPORT involves assisting Jim on rebuilding the entire web application from scratch, to create a better, faster and much more efficient system for the business.

I would like to emphasize the importance of what I have learned here at FASTPORT.  In fact, the most important lesson that I have learned over the last 10 weeks is not about programming; instead, it is all about work ethics and entrepreneurial attitude.  For over 10 weeks, Aeknoor Cheema ’15 and I have been working to get the business up and running.  Aeknoor was helping Colin Dunlap ’12, our Sales & Marketing manager, on building business and marketing plans, while I assisted Jim on all the programming stuffs.  Since FASTPORT is only a startup with 2 employees and 2 interns, it is obvious that we all have to work really hard in order to make it work. Late-night and weekend work shifts are very common at FASTPORT.  Even though the workload is always tremendous, I never felt unmotivated, thanks to Jim’s wonderful mentorship.  When we stay late for work, he often takes us out to dinner, and we discuss our workplan over delicious wings and beers.  Jim also shares stories about his ventures, his successes and failures, and always concludes with some sort of life-worthy lesson.  These experiences make me feel fortunate for having chosen this internship for my summer.

Certainly, I cannot forget to mention the programming part of the internship.  Even though I had studied several courses on Computer Science and was indeed fluent in Java and Python, my knowledge did not help very much.  Jim has guided us towards .NET programming using Visual Basic/SQL, which I never learned.  Thankfully, he was a great teacher, who would spend time making me instructive videos and guidelines, as well as providing working examples for me to study from.  After 10 weeks of ‘studying’ web programming with Jim, I have come a long way from knowing nothing to being able to construct a complete web project on my own with an infinitesimal amount of help.  All this work also makes me realize that knowledge means nothing unless you really use it in fieldwork.

To conclude, I would just like to thank Career Services and Jim for offering me this wonderful opportunity.  All these hardworking late nights and weekends have taught me the importance of working ethically with a positive attitude, regardless of your position in the company.  More importantly, they affirm one simple truth to me: Wabash Always Fights, in school and beyond.

Sean Hildebrand ’14: Exploring Opportunities in Sports Industries

Sean Hildebrand ’14:  When I was searching for an externship that would help me in my goal to one day work in the NFL, I was fortunate enough to land an opportunity to visit the Indianapolis Colts Team Facility for a day.  While there wasn’t anyone on site that worked with the actual team, there were plenty of employees scrambling around to finish various projects before the preseason opener this Sunday.  I met numerous people who worked with the marketing, sales, and sponsorship side of the organization, and I instantly became fascinated with the work they were doing. 

The first man I visited was Jim Matis, formerly known as “Mad Dog” on radio station Q95.  After 25 years with the radio show, Jim became the Colts’ sponsorship sales account manager.  Even though promotions and sponsorships aren’t what I’m looking to get involved with, it was great to learn about what goes on behind the scenes in the Colts’ facility and at home games.  For example, all those company banners you see hanging around Lucas Oil Stadium became involved with the organization through Jim.  The Colts organization agrees to market the company name around the stadium and through commercial/radio ads in exchange for a hefty investment from the company.  The more sponsors he racks up, the more the organization profits. 

I was then passed on to Andy Schwartz, the man Jim goes to once he comes to an agreement with a new sponsor.  Schwartz then gets in contact with the sponsor and finds out what kind of promotions they want with the Colts (commercials, in-game ads, radio mentions, etc.).  Once that is settled, Schwartz sets up times when the company’s promotions will be displayed on television, radio, or during the game.  He showed me the script of all the promos that will be shown during this Sunday’s preseason game:  there were eight pages worth of ads that had to be shown throughout the game.  The unnoticed amount of work that the marketing side of the organization goes through every day is simply unbelievable.  Even though this isn’t the kind of work I want to get involved with, I gained an incredible appreciation for the work that this side of the organization does in helping the Colts become even more profitable.  I also found value in seeing how fast-paced and unpredictable life in an NFL organization can be.

The following day I visited the Finish Line headquarters to hang out with Andy Rankin, a Wabash alumnus of 1998 and a lawyer.  He does real estate corporate counseling with the company, which means he makes agreements with landlords to have a Finish Line at various malls and buildings around the country.  Finish Line began in Indianapolis in 1976, and has expanded to over 650 stores across the country.  There are also over 650 separate leases for each of the Finish Line locations in the United States, and two real estate lawyers to manage them.  To show me just how busy Andy can be, he gave me an old lease for a Finish Line store that is no longer open.  Numerous amendments were made on the lease by both Andy and the landlord, and the final draft ended up being 70 pages long.  The average lease for a Finish Line store takes him roughly two hours to look over and propose changes, and he usually does this about 5-7 times each week.  Fortunately for Rankin, this is about as difficult and boring as it gets for him at Finish Line Headquarters.

After spending a day with Andy, I gained a much better understanding of what lawyers do in the sporting goods industry.  While I am still uncertain about my specific career track after graduation, it was nice to learn what a law degree and other graduate school programs can do for you.  It was also great to see what a gigantic sporting goods headquarters looks like.  Along with the warehouse, conference rooms and hundreds of offices, the headquarters contains just about everything you can ask for:  lunch room, 80″ flat screen TV, arcade, weight room, basketball court, cross fit gym, and an actual Finish Line store in the basement.  And much like the Colts’ team facility, there is a lively and friendly environment around the offices and cubicles, and everyone seems to get along and have a good time with one another.  I’m grateful to have had the unique opportunity to visit two very distinguished businesses in the sports industry.

Jack Yuan ’14: Getting “the Most” from a Virtual Internship

Jack Yuan ’14 takes advantage of networking opportunities over Sushi in Chicago with Derrick Yoder ’11 and Brian Mantel ’93

Jack Yuan ’14:  When I was searching for an internship that would leverage my writing and quantitative analysis skills, I was very fortunate to find and to get an internship focusing on consumer finance with Mr. Brian Mantel ’93.  This is the ninth week of my internship, and I have learned more than I expected from my work and my colleagues.

The way this internship works is very unique.  As a virtual internship, my job gives me a lot of flexibility. Different from working at a corporate site, I work at home and meet with my boss twice a week on Skype. The internship reinforces me being accountable for project management.  Other than the Skype conferences, I would travel to Chicago to work in person with my boss on some of the hard projects every two weeks.  While Skype meetings normally take about an hour, in-person meetings often take five to six hours, during which there is a lot of brainstorming and exchanging of ideas.  The place we meet normally has a whole wall of whiteboard, allowing us to put on as many ideas as we can.  Every meeting not only helps me better understand my task but also helps me build a consulting mindset.

My obligations in the first month included reading existing marketing materials, getting to know about America’s retirement facts, and exploring consumer financial needs.  In the early stage of my internship, I got to know about some of the marketing tools and strategies, including Porter’s 5 forces, 4P, and SWOT.  Starting mid-summer, I began to handle two main projects:  benchmarking and income statement generator.  Dealing with these two projects requires a lot of effort in gathering and sorting data.  With the help of Dr. Howland and Dr. Widdows, I was able to process my data faster with appropriate economic theories and statistical tools.

One of the goals of this internship is, and I quote from Mr. Mantel: “getting most of [my] summer.”  Not binding me with pure workloads, Mr. Mantel encourages me to meet as many alumni as I can.  One of the past interns, Derrick Yoder travelled to Chicago during one of our in-person meetings.  My boss then invited him for dinner at a great Sushi restaurant, and we had a great time talking about interesting Wabash experiences, networking skills, and career development.  Such talks then took place between me and many other alumni, from whom Mr. Mantel encouraged me to learn—two weeks ago, I travelled to New York and got a chance to meet and learn from Mr. Sava Kobilarov ’01, Mr. Nick Su ‘12, and Mr. Greg Jania ’93.

This internship is a very valuable experience.  Rather than simply improving professional skill sets, I was able to acquire a diversified experience from my internship, which helped me broaden my horizons and learn how to learn from people.  Words cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity Mr. Mantel offers, and I would like to thank Dr. Howland and Dr. Widdows for helping me solve some of the problems I encountered at work and Career Services for helping me find this opportunity.

Andrew Dettmer ’15: A Summer Spy: Interning at Homeland Security

Office of Public Affairs Interns with Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napalitano

Andrew Dettmer ’15:  First let me take a moment to thank the Wabash College Political Science Department, and the Coons-Cassel committee for providing me with my grant for this summer.  If not for their hard work year around, financial assistance, and the support they’ve given me in the classroom this internship would not have been possible.

I am now approaching the end of my ten week summer internship in Washington, D.C. and I am shocked by how quickly time has flown by here at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Public Affairs!  It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in an office with a security officer handing me my badge and explaining the security protocols and procedures at our complex.  Now as it ends, I find myself wrapping up projects and documents I’ve spent the whole summer working on, and preparing to clean out my desk and turn my badge back in.  Also, I’ll miss spying on all of you.  Just kidding, we don’t do that.

I’ve often heard horror stories from interns with other government agencies about having little to do, and only being given busy work.  The exact opposite has been true for me, thanks in part to the departure of several full time employees whose shoes needed to be filled, but due to budget cuts had to be pushed off.  But with their departures, came opportunities for the summer interns.

One of the best things I’ve learned in my position is how to create, manage, and maintain a website that represents 240,000 employees and deals with so many complex and different issues for the public.  Despite having no experience doing anything like this, my boss fully trusted that I could figure it out.  Like a true liberal arts student, I threw myself into the task and learned on the job.  Now, I’ve completely overhauled the Department’s Website satisfaction and response system, and helped initiate several Website improvements that have helped the American people use our website and interact with their government better.  Pretty cool.

I’ve learned how to use programs like Google Analytics, IdeaScale, Foresee ACSI, and Drupal CMS; programs not usually found on a Political Science major’s resume, which only increases my skill set for when I leave Wabash.  And while the practical skills I’ve learned have been immeasurably valuable, the other functions I’ve helped and observed have given me a more in depth view of how our country responds to all types of disasters and attacks.  Thirty seconds from my desk is the National Joint Information Center, a room which was the center of the U.S. government’s response to everything from Hurricane Sandy to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, or the Boston Bombing to Sandy Hook.  Sitting in on calls with people we see on the news every day, and participating in drills on every type of scenario you can imagine has given me a lot of confidence in our government’s ability to weather any storm.

Andrew Dettmer ’15 and Carter Adams ’15 enjoy “sweet seats” at a Nationals game courtesy of Eric Eversole ’94

The people here have been great, and I am saddened that my time here is ending.  The skills and experiences they’ve given me will and have shaped my career path.  However I feel I’ve made the best of the summer, even taking the time to meet up with my old bosses, Eric Eversole ‘94 and Laurène Gros-Daillon at the Military Voter Protection Project.  Eric was kind enough to give Carter Adams ’15 and I his tickets that night to the National’s game, and we had a blast. And of course, countless trips to museums, monuments, and famous eateries has capped off what has been an amazing summer.

 

Casey Shipley ’14: Biking and Building Skills with Alumni in Nantucket

Casey Shipley ’14:  This summer, I was fortunate enough to land an internship working for Nantucket Bike Tours in Nantucket, MA.  Thus far, it has been an unbelievable summer working for entrepreneur Jason Bridges ‘98, who started this company three years ago, and Carl Rivera ’13.  Courtney Nemeth, who is the co-owner of NBT, and Tadhg Hannon ’15, who is also interning for the summer, make up the rest of our team.  At Nantucket Bike Tours, we give tours to people all around the island helping them experience Nantucket by showing them amazing beaches, endless historical sites, and breathtaking landscape.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect before I came out to Nantucket, but everything Ihave learned here has by far surpassed my expectations. Being a bike tour company, giving tours is obviously a major part of my internship this summer, but it is far from theonly thing that I have done and learned here over the last couple of months.  Not only do I give tours, but I have also had the chance to participate in all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make a small business thrive, which all entrepreneurs aim to do. There is so much that goes on in a small business, and as most entrepreneurs know, it is hard at times to stay on top of everything on the agenda with limited employees.  Not only was I continuously trying to learn the history and layout of the island in my first few weeks, but I had to juggle all of that while helping with all of the business side of the company.  I was involved in the company’s accounting, marketing, business planning, and public relations.  This wide-ranging mixture of business experience I have been gainingwill be extremely beneficial to my future career.

Aside from the vast variety of hands-on business experience I have been gaining through this internship, I have also learned the “little things” that will help me be successful in whatever I do down the road.  Jason and Carl have helped me grow so much as a person by helping me develop the necessary character traits and teaching me intangibles that would help make anyone more successful.  They are both always stressing to me about things like leadership, details, and awareness.  These traits seem so obvious, but it actually takes a lot of work to develop them.  Jason has been giving me literature to read on leadership and how to influence people.  This is very important at Nantucket Bike Tours because every single group of customers is different, so it is imperative that I have the social and communication skills to be able to effectively meet and gain the trust of people from all different backgrounds.  While this is obviously very important while giving tours, these skills I have learned will without a doubt make me more successful down the road by helping me interact with a wide variety of people effectively.  I have had numerous chances to work on these skills this summer outside of the tours through the various volunteer jobs we do within the Nantucket community.  We have volunteered for the ACK clean team, the Nantucket Film Festival, and the Nantucket Comedy Festival. These have all provided excellent opportunities to work on these communication and leadership skills.

We are extremely blessed at Wabash to have a very strong and dedicated group of alumni. To not take advantage of the opportunities they can present, and the knowledge and wisdom they can offer, is a mistake as a student.  Internships through Career Services and the Small Business Internship Fund are the perfect opportunity to connect with alumni and really build your business skills, as well as leadership and character traits that will expand your communication and social skills.  All of these skills will help make you successful in any career path that you choose. 

I would like to thank those who make the Small Business Internship Fund possible.  The beauty of having an internship for a small business is that I have been exposed to every aspect of the business.  It has really helped me diversify and enhance myself by developing a wide range of skills that I will use in whatever career I go into after I graduate next spring.  From accounting and marketing, to social and communication skills, Jason and Carl have taught me more in a short amount of time than I ever expected to learn while I was out here. I look forward to my remaining weeks here on the island, and I will definitely continue to take advantage of this opportunity to work with great alumni and gain as much knowledge as I can from them to continue to grow as a person.

Tadhg Hannon ’15: My Summer Internship with Nantucket Bike Tours

Tadhg Hannon ’15:  Hey everyone, my name is Tadhg.  Let’s be friends.  I am spending the summer working for Nantucket Bike Tours.  In case you were wondering, Nantucket is an island, and it’s part of Massachusetts…NOT Rhode Island.  I’ve had an incredible experience working for this small business.  When I first heard about NBT, I wasn’t sure what to think.  This is certainly an unconventional internship, but I couldn’t be happier that this opportunity came along.  I’ve learned so much from the people at NBT, customers on tours and everyone I’ve met on the island.  Learning how to deal with all kinds of people is an invaluable skill, and striving to provide a great experience for every customer forces me to remain engaged and aware at all times.  This experience has helped me to mature.  Even small things like buying my own groceries have helped me realize how far I’ve come, and how much growing up I still have to do.

As for Nantucket Bike Tours, the company is in its third year of operation.  NBT is co-owned by Wabash Alum Jason Bridges and Courtney Nemeth (she’s really cool, but for some reason didn’t go to Wabash, not sure why).  They are great and are even nice enough to let me live with them.  The business is continuing to grow, and we pride ourselves on offering the best way to experience a unique place like Nantucket.  The great thing about NBT is it allows me to connect with an extremely diverse group of people, and I am forced to try and give each one of them a positive experience, even when they might all be looking for different things out of their tour.  I am also learning about what goes into running a small business, which basically entails everything.  Answering phones, accounting and sweeping the floors are all required of small business employees.

Finally, a big Nantucket thank you to the Small Business Internship Fund for making this possible, and to Jason, Courtney, Carl and the rest of NBT for putting up with me.

Live long and Prosper,

Tadhg Hannon