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Stark ’19 Broadens Horizons

Steven Stark ’19: Smike Wallen Living – First, I would like to thank Wabash College and The Small Business Internship Fund for providing students like me this extraordinary opportunity to work for companies like Smike Wallen Living. For the past 5 weeks, I have worked for Smike Wallen ’90 and have been a part of the Smike Wallen Living Team. SWL is a small team of realtors, designers, and advisors that work with clients in and around the Greater Los Angeles area. The team works together to help ensure that their client’s goals are not just met but exceeded. I was joined with two other Wabash interns to assist and learn about their small, highly- successful business. Smike entrusted us with three significant projects, each contributing to a different part of the company. Even though we worked on each project as a team, each of us had our own unique skills to contribute.

I mostly contributed to the design aspects of SWL by designing postcards and mood boards, creating and executing a landscape design for apartment buildings, and having an artistic eye in interior design. Smike and Chad, both professionals, expanded my horizons in design for which I am grateful. The team also expanded my horizons by showing me parts of the business I have never experienced before. I had little experience about the real estate business coming into this internship. Now, I have learned what it takes to be financially self-sufficient by analyzing the professionals in their work environment and by completing hands-on projects in a real-life work experience.

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Stark ’19 Enjoys a day off in Malibu

However, this internship has taught me far more than just work experience. Before landing my internship, I lived in Indiana my entire life. Now, I am living in a city full of diversity, 2,000 miles away from home. As a freshman, I thought that this possibility was far from my reach. I was wrong. I made the alumni connections, conducted my search fully, and finally earned the internship I was hoping for.  This experience as a whole has allowed me to grow exponentially on both a professional level and on a personal one. I have gained the confidence and the experience that will guide my career path and shape my future. I am beyond grateful for the SWL team, the Small Business Internship Fund, and Wabash College for believing in me. I have learned to appreciate these things and I encourage students to not waste an opportunity.           ​

Munir ’18 Hones in on Career Path

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Munir ’18 hard at work

Azlan Munir ’18- Analytics, Programming and Computer Science – Last semester, I was looking for an internship where I could apply my data analytics/programming skills in a vibrant business setting. Fortunately, I landed an internship with the Adorant Group where I did just that. The Adorant Group is a Chicago-based company which offers a software-based consumer finance platform which allows users to plan for retirement and other life events. During my time here, I’ve had a chance to work with some great people.Over the summer, I was assigned to work on three main projects. The first project involved predicting a consumer’s average case annual savings. Using data from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), I conducted multiple regression analysis to predict an individual’s annual savings. This model is customizable so users can input their specific characteristics (e.g. income, housing, area of residence, number of earners) and have the results designed to their unique situation.

My second project was to predict a consumer’s annual net worth using other types of inputs. My model asks a consumer to input their age, marital status, investments in bonds, stocks, equities etc. and predicts their financial assets, liabilities and net worth. Using econometric techniques, we were able to narrow down an individual’s net worth using just a few inputs.

Finally, I incorporated these predictive models into our web platform using PHP programming language. My background in Java and Python certainly helped me learn and adapt to PHP environment. I was also fortunate to receive guidance from our CTO, an experienced software engineer himself. Other than the three main projects, I was also involved in UX testing of our platform and compared our platform’s mathematical models to our competitors. My work was crucial in providing a comprehensive financial picture to current and potential users of our platform.

Overall, this internship has been an excellent learning experience for me. I was exposed to multiple facets of consumer finance where I applied skills learned in and out of the classroom and learned new skills. The best part was working under a highly accomplished team, most with decades of experience under their belt. During this time, I also got a chance to experience Chicago city to the fullest which was refreshing in itself. I would like to thank the Career Services and the Small Business Internship Fund for this incredible experience.

Hansen ’18 Explores a New Perspective on Life

 

Jordan Hansen ’18: Nantucket Bike Tours- As I searched for internships this summer, I knew I desired something that would directly impact my life. I was longing for an experience in which a person(s) would invest their time into me, propelling to reach my full potential. I was longing for an internship that prompted me to “buy into” the business in which I would become a part of. In doing so, I would be encompassed in an environment full of problem solving, lifelong lessons, team work, and influencing others.

The search came to an abrupt halt the moment I was introduced to the Nantucket Bike Tours internship with Jason Bridges ’98 and his wonderful wife, Courtney. To say it initially met my wants and need would be an understatement. Not to mention, I would be able to live and work on a beautiful island 30 miles off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean (Massachusetts) for the whole summer. With that, I couldn’t resist the experience and exposure to new things and opportunities all of which this internship would offer me. Thus, I jumped on the opening to apply for the position and luckily I was given an interview by Jason. He came back to interview potential interns on campus, and I accepted the next week. From there, the rest is history.

I am thrilled to inform you my Nantucket Bike Tour internship has thus far, five weeks and halfway, met and exceeded all my expectations. Expectations not just limited to the realm of small business but also leadership, and emotional intelligence (“EQ”).

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Hansen ’18 and Hoekstra ’18 with Bridges ’98

With little to no prior experience with small business, I was intrigued to know that I would immediately be immersed in the environment. The hands-on exposure became our daily bike tour routine which included; control over the day-to-day operations of the business along with finances, communication, and logistics for each day. With that, I was engrossed into a new learning environment that provided beneficial insight into how to run a successful small business. Giving bike tours to hundreds of people around this 14×4 island has allowed me to learn many different things. With that being said, the first thing that I quickly learned that was that when running a small business, let alone a bike tour company, you are required always have a high-level of focus or be “on” at all times. Especially when coming into contact with many different people from all over the world, it is crucial that you are ready for whatever challenge that may be thrown at you. Whether you are involved with providing customer service, operating our bike tour booking system, or just walking through town, it is imperative that you are operating with a high-level of energy. In turn, it provides those you come in contact with a positive and memorable experience.

Along with high-levels of focus and energy, I have learned that a lot of what goes into small business “branding” goes back to community involvement and relationship building. Thus, becoming a part of a small business brand, Nantucket Bike Tours, we take pride in attending local events, charities, and any public outreach we can be a part of because not only does it give back to the town of Nantucket, but it positively voices what the Nantucket Bike Tours is all about. Our success in public branding boils down to — how well we can create relationships by remembering names, showing appreciation, and being genuinely interested in others in any public or private setting. Not only does this action help create new relationship you may not have had, but it also shows others you are taking the initiative to be a leader in your community.

One of my goals going into this summer was to refine and truly hone in on interpersonal skills. Skills within both simple listening and communicating in a business structured system, as well as maximize my potential as an all-around leader. Jason and Courtney make these personal objectives possible, along with delving into small business, because they make it a high priority to foster others personal growth. For example, at the beginning of the internship every summer Jason and Courtney present their interns with a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People. Once given this book, as a team, we each read a chapter or multiple chapters a week and go into great detail the importance of the content and how to transfer that teaching into the real world. Some of the discussion we have had on this has been about your body posture, eye contact, how others will perceive you based on your reaction, and how genuine appreciation is always a key. Retaining all the information and discussing it is the easy part, but retaining it and then projecting it in a social setting is where the difficulty lies. However, after having two hour nightly conversations and debriefs about the material, along with making daily challenges to execute the lessons, it has allowed for much individual and team growth. Ultimately, not only does this make you more self-aware and more emotionally intelligent, but also it enhances your overall leadership and growth potential.

In addition to these great lessons and experiences, I have immensely improved my ability to make quick, confident, and effective decisions. I have learned that the business world is all about the hustle and work you put into your business. In this world, you cannot be complacent with where your business is. It is imperative that you train yourself so that when challenges or obstacles arise, you have a stable and set foundation for making decisions. With that, you have to become comfortable being put in vulnerable situations (as much as they may seem contradictory, it’s true). When you are put into a vulnerable scenario, it allows you to better understand your personal weaknesses. Becoming more calm, cool, and collected in vulnerable situations has truly allowed me to minimize personal weaknesses and become more self-aware. As a team, vulnerability may be depicted in a last minute booking, flat tire, or making a quick alteration to the tour route. However, by training myself and being open minded in vulnerable situations, I have been able to let my quick decision making ability flourish.

As I embark on my junior year at Wabash, and continue to ponder my career objectives, I cannot help but be fortunate to have this experience with Nantucket Bike Tours. I cannot thank the whole career service department, Mr. Scott Crawford, and most importantly the Small Business Internship Fund (SBIF), enough for providing me, and many other Wabash men, with these once-in-a-lifetime experiences and learning opportunities. You do not realize how positively impactful you are by providing each of us with opportunities through the SBIF program.

Experiencing Nantucket with Jason Bridges ’98 and his wife Courtney, as a whole, has provided me with copious amounts of insight and knowledge that will be crucial with me in whatever desired career path I take. Whether it’s learning how to properly introduce yourself, how to positively control a situation, or simply building relationships with different people, Nantucket Bike Tours has allowed me to engage and build a foundation to prosper as an overall leader and person.

Pippen ’19 “Wabash, once again, defeats the odds”

George B. Pippen ’19: Smike Wallen Living- Although it is sometimes tough for freshmen in College to get an internship after their freshman year, Wabash, once again, defeats the odds. After my freshman year, I not only landed an internship, but it was paid for by a Wabash internship fund and was in Los Angeles, California.  I can honestly say that I do not know of any institution that has the same opportunities that Wabash Career Services provides. I started out as a timid freshman not knowing the difference between an internship, externship and a spaceship. After a few weeks of getting involved in Career Services programs, I had acquired skills that had allowed me to land virtually any internship that I desired (assuming I had the grades). Sure enough, internship season came along and I applied to those that I thought fit my aspirations. I ended up accepting an internship through Wabash’s Small Business Internship fund (SBIF) working for an alumnus who owns a real estate and design company in West Hollywood.

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Pippen ’19 enjoys the California sunset with Stark ’19

Now, here I am 5 weeks into my internship realizing the opportunity that I have. Not many freshmen can say they spent their summer developing the essential skills to success while getting paid, in Hollywood. This experience has not only allowed me to grow in a professional aspect, but on a personal level. The purpose of an internship is to help build your resume and to decide if that profession is the one you want to hold onto for the rest of your life. And that is exactly what has been achieved. Learning the in’s and out’s of what it takes to run an extremely successful small business is an opportunity that not many people get to experience, especially at a location across the country. Although I have learned a lot about what it takes to run a small business and how to flip and design new homes, I believe that is not the most important aspect of the whole experience. The fact that I was given the opportunity to live on my own in a place that I had never been before, be given responsibilities that required me to take initiative, and most importantly pushed me to become a more driven, responsible, confident and adventurous person, helps me realize how amazing and unique Wabash College really is. Utilizing Wabash Career Services, in particular, has been a particularly invaluable experience for me, and it has paid off.   Programs, support, and opportunities Things like this Wabash College a special place and one cannot take that for granted.

James ’16 Appreciates a Special Kind of Art

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James ’16 Displaying Product

Geno James ’16: StilL 630 – Over the past month thanks to the Small Business Internship Fund, I’ve had the opportunity to work with David Weglarz ‘03, owner and master distiller of the St. Louis distillery, StilL 630. I had absolutely no experience coming into the distillation business, and didn’t know what to expect. On the first day when I walked into the distillery, a heavenly aroma pierced my nostrils, and I was instantly captivated by all of the barrels and bottles and decor in my line of sight. The excitement hit hard, and needless to say, I knew this internship would undoubtedly be an unforgettable one.

I was not expected to learn every detail right away, but I knew I needed to in order to be an exemplary intern, and not an obstacle throughout the summer. Cleaning, mashing, fermenting, distilling, distilling again, barreling, aging, tasting, proofing, bottling, labeling, boxing and distributing are all such unbelievably intricate processes. If there is any kink in the system, it all falls apart. Every step is expected to be executed with absolute perfection, or else the spirits could be ruined. And the worst part? You won’t know for over a year once they’re done aging. It is all truly an art.
So, every day I come in to the distillery and begin the process of draining the contents of the still from the previous day, climbing into the still and scrubbing it until it’s spotless, transferring a fermentation into the still, then distilling that product. Some days involve throwing in a new mash to cook and cool then ferment for a bit, others involve several cleaning processes to make sure the tanks are clean. Occasionally, we’ll take samples from the smaller barrels that hold some experimentation products. Then, when we need, we’ll pull product from a barrel, proof it, bottle, label, and box it so it’s ready to be distributed to the market. But, every day is definitely a busy one. This internship keeps me on my feet and not behind a desk, and I’m very happy about that.
Earning this internship and working with David has definitely taught me that you really do have to find something you enjoy doing. Set your dreams high and your expectations higher. The first month has taught me quite a bit about running a business in whole, and unfortunately, I feel like the second half of my time here will come to a quick end. But for now, at least I’ve learned to appreciate and enjoy whiskey. And owning a small business.

Dorsuleski ’18 Gains More Than Work Experience

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Dorsuleski ’18 With a Client

Spase Dorsuleski ’18: CTS Pheonix – First and foremost, I would like to thank the Small Business Internship Fund and Commodity Transportation Services, CTS, in Phoenix, Arizona for giving me the opportunity to escape my comfort zone and broaden my horizons. I have attained a vast amount of knowledge about an industry I knew little about. What I have obtained at CTS is not just work related, but life skills as well.

There is no stronger tie than family, and that was shown throughout my time here at CTS. Whenever a task got difficult, there was always someone willing to help. Some of the tasks I have accomplished here with the family are covering loads of produce. There was a time where a truck bailed on me because they wanted more money, but the freight brokers here kept me motivated and we found a truck to cover the load. These loads, keep in mind, are produce such as watermelon, grapes, cantaloupes, etc. There is no time to waste because produce needs to get to and from a destination before it starts decaying. That is what makes the industry constantly changing and shifting. Sometimes rates were great, but the next week they would be unreasonable. That is where my patience was tested to try and find a truck where they wanted to drive at a rate where it was reasonable for me. See, I would describe myself at CTS as a middleman. I get loads from the customers, and then go try and find a truck that is willing to go to the customer, pick up the produce, and deliver it to a distribution center. It is crazy to believe freight brokers see none of this happening, but are in charge of getting everything delivered on time.

The job of a freight broker is challenging, but it feels good booking loads and receiving commission. As time progressed, the impact CTS has had on my career decision is priceless. I have enjoyed my time here in and out of the office. Furthermore, I recommend future students to take advantage of opportunities such as the one given to me. It will help create countless memories and friendships for life.

Levy ’17 Learns the Ropes of a Start Up

Griffin Levy ’17: The Headshot Truck, California – My 2016 summer has been one of the most educational and fun summers I have ever had. As part of the small business internship fund, I was lucky enough to be chosen to work at The Headshot Truck located in the heart of the North Hollywood arts district. As part of this internship, I have learned an overwhelming amount about small businesses and start-ups. The first, and most unique thing I learned about start-ups were just how small these companies are, the office I work in has six desks, and a small meeting table, a back room for photo editing and that’s it. No fancy office space just hard working people who want to do everything to make their start-up succeed. That’s another huge part of what I’ve learned working in a start-up, the people. Although The Headshot Truck has about 20 employees total, including the photographers, editors, sales teams, and partners, only a small number of them work in the office. It’s different than a typical office because I only interact with about six of the members of the company daily.

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Levy ’17 Giving the Headshot Truck Attention

Besides just the basic differences between a large company and a start-up, what I have been doing for the past six weeks is helping with sales for the company. Most of the days I am on the phone calling potential clients, either leads that have been given to me through previous connections or cold-calls to acting studios or companies that might be interested in our product. Another huge part of the sales I have been doing is promoting our Indiegogo campaign as part of The Headshot Truck’s second truck being launched in New York in the middle of July.  An Indiegogo campaign is a kickoff campaign to help raise money and awareness for the second truck.  As part of this campaign we are doing discounted headshots and other packages people can purchase. The hardest part is that the campaign is only  30 days long, and we have a goal to raise a certain amount of money within those 30 days, so sales are immensely important to this process.  This is where I have learned the most, I’ve learned about in-person sales, and sales through the phone, and yes there is a huge difference between talking on the phone to someone and in-person sales.  Learning about how to talk to someone on the phone, learning about assuming the sale, and just all around etiquette on how to talk to someone on the phone. This has helped me tremendously; a skill that can help with phone interviews or simply talking to anyone on the phone; this skill will definitely help me.

I have also learned sales are about adapting to a situation. Sometimes I’ll be on the phone with acting studios; sometimes I’ll be talking to real estate agents — each one requires a different approach to pitch our product and specifics to highlight in the pitch. I also have learned that it’s also not all about sales pitches, it’s more about building relationships with who you are talking to. I was told that it takes at least six points of contact before a sale is made, so if I’m calling just to make a sale, my success rate is a lot lower instead of trying to build a relationship with the person or company.

Since the Indiegogo campaign is a massive project, I have devoted a majority of my time helping with that, but I have a couple of other side projects I’ve been working on as well. The biggest ones are working on The Headshot Truck’s LinkedIn page and developing a lead page for the company. The LinkedIn
page hasn’t been updated in a while, and since I knew a decent amount about LinkedIn I took responsibility to learn more about the website and how companies use them. Along with learning about websites and creating content, we will be experimenting with using a lead page for The Headshot Truck.

Working at a start-up has significantly changed my outlook on the workforce as well. One benefit of a small start-up is the flexibility that you have. I can go from sales to marketing in a matter of seconds and get experience with those categories. This is great because I have the opportunity to try out different departments and see which ones I like the most and what I’m good at. It certainly keeps things fresh day-to-day and allows me to try out different roles.

I have always been interested in the idea of sales as a career, and this experience has given me a more in-depth view of what it would be like to develop a career in sales. It has shown me the exciting side of making a sale and always talking to people, but has opened my eyes to the downfalls of a career in sales as well. Sometimes cold calling is difficult. Although you meet and talk with lots of very pleasant helpful people, you also talk with those whose one job is to make your life more challenging.

Without the help of the Small Business Internship Fund and Career Services at Wabash I would never have had the opportunity to go to a new city and learn as much as I have learned. I am truly one of the luckiest college students to have such great experiences all thanks to our alumni network and the opportunities Wabash has given me.

Brown ’17 Enjoys Many Aspects of CTS Nashville

Wesley Brown ’17: CTS Logistics – My internship this summer with Commodity Transportation Services in Nashville, Tennessee has been unique in a variety of ways.  In short, CTS is a freight brokerage that mainly deals in the logistics side of transporting produce throughout the country.  This particular internship is rather unique because I am working with one CTS logistics manager, Mike Hrgota, out of a condominium because we are working toward gaining loyal customers on this half of the country in order to start and expand into a branch office in the Nashville area.  All from the condo, Mike and I are responsible for coordinating the transportation of produce from the Southeast to the Mid-South, Midwest, and Northeast regions of the United States.  This internship has been especially challenging, but Mike has took me under his wing by teaching me a vast amount about the business as well as helping me gain irreplaceable professional experience by giving me a sizeable amount of responsibility in company matters.  Mike has also taught me some valuable life lessons, including a healthier diet and how to cook a delicious Cajun baked chicken breast.

In the first six weeks of my internship with CTS, I have aided in many cases and also been solely responsible for obtaining a trucking company for a partnership, as well as tracking over 50 loads.  These loads have almost all been transported in refrigerated tractor-trailers; almost all the loads have been of some variety of produce, and on average each load brings in about $250 profit for CTS.  In total, the

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Brown ’17

loads I have been heavily involved in have created a total profit of about $11,000 for the company and helped build a strong base of produce shipping customers.  A freight broker’s job may sound easy on paper; however, almost nothing is simple in trucking when dealing with produce.  Timing is probably the most crucial element in the freight brokerage practice: the truck must be at the shipping location waiting and ready when the product is picked at a farm, many times truck drivers are late for a load appointment or cannot find the shipper or consignee location, some loads require the refrigerated trailer to be at 40 degrees for the first 6 hours of a run and then 34 degrees for the remainder of the trip, there are often insurance claims on loads of produce that are over/under ripened or damaged during the run, and many other problems that occur on a daily basis in the produce shipping business.

In order to at the very least have a handle on these challenging situations, the most important skill I have developed during this internship has been problem-solving.  These problems that occur are very real and it is the freight broker’s sole responsibility to do their best to fix things that go wrong with loads.  At times we are not able to fix the problem, but even then we must work to keep the customer happy and transport their product where it needs to be in a different manner by making adjustments.  Last week, a load of watermelons that I was tracking was rejected at a US Foods Distribution center in Hatfield, Pennsylvania for being “too cold.”  However, my coworker and I communicated and worked together to sell the load to a smaller food company nearby in order to keep our shipper and loyal trucking company happy.

This Small Business Internship Fund program has been a complete immersion into the life of a freight broker and logistics manager.  The position is demanding and nonstop, as I have often times had to step away from the dinner table, fishing hole, or local music venue on weekends in order to take calls and work from my phone in order to solve developing problems.  My favorite part of the internship has been a feeling of accomplishment after a driver calls to update me that he has successfully delivered a load of produce all the way from Florida to Michigan, about a 1,300 mile run.  This being my first internship in the business world, I have learned a great deal about how a business is run, and have learned that I might like to work in sales one day.  I have also fallen in love with Nashville and now strongly want to live and work in this area in the future.  I have experienced culture such as music, history, and nature that would not be possible anywhere else.  Another great part of my SBIF experience here has been networking with Wabash alumni in the area.  Just last night I went on a five mile walk with Tim Morrison ‘83, and talked with him about everything from the business world, baseball, and our strong Christian faith.  In conclusion, I would like to thank the Small Business Internship Fund program and all people involved in this process for allowing me this wonderful opportunity to gain unique professional and life experience through this amazing program.

Schuler ’17 Finds Career Path Assurance

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Schuler ’17 hard at work

Aaron Schuler ’19: Handshake – Thanks to the Small Business Internship Fund (SBIF) managed by Wabash College Career Services I’ve been able to learn a lot this summer. The company that I am working for is Handshake. They are a career services platform aimed at connecting students with employers by providing information on internships and employment opportunities. Through this internship, I’ve done many things for the company in many different fields.

My primary function is playing a support role to the account managers here. This role includes a lot of customer interaction. I answer questions as schools go through the implementation phase and are still learning the product. During the implementation step, I am also in charge of creating user accounts for the main career services staff of each school within our training, uploading, and handshake system. I also create reports on data within the system so that the schools have data to understand how the system has improved each school’s services. For example, I can determine the student involvement within the system over a period of time and send the results to the career services staff. Unlike many internships who focus mainly on teaching an intern one position, I also help with the sales and management teams at Handshake. I’ve worked on SDR projects for the marketing and sales team and I have looked at invoice reporting and office management to help management.

Coming into this summer, my career path was focused mainly on sales and marketing and from the experiences that I have had, I think sales, marketing, and account/project management would all be occupations that I would enjoy having post graduation. Mainly I want to be in a position where I have customer interaction. Handshake knows how to talk to and take care of their customers. I’ve learned a lot about the career service industry and made many connections with some of the best directors in the nation, further developing my good and helpful attitude in working with customers. I’ve been able to learn many things in the first four weeks I’ve had with Handshake. Thanks to the SBIF program I have the opportunity to learn many different parts of how a small business operates and what they value compared to larger corporations over the course of this summer.

Bye ’19 Internship Increases Business Interest

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Scott Bye ’19 closing a deal.

Scott Bye ’19, CTS Logistics – Starting off from day one, our boss and Wabash alumnus Erik Ness told us that this internship wouldn’t be like the others. From day one, I was given responsibilities that most others receive training before actually doing for the business because all it takes is one screw up to lose $50,000 in this industry. I am interning for Commodity Transportation Services, CTS, doing logistics and freight brokerage work. To not bore anyone, we make sure produce goods (watermelons, onions, cantaloupes, etc.) get from shipping warehouses to Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and a multitude of other distribution centers so their inventory can be restocked and sent to the very stores that we all shop in.

The job is challenging since we are the middle-men—between our customer and the truck that we hire to deliver the goods—and try to make our profit while keeping both sides happy. Being submerged into the business so quickly, there really wasn’t any room to learn slowly or get behind as the work can be very, very challenging. In just 4 weeks, I have learned more about this industry and the negotiating side of business than what I knew coming in.

In my short time working here, my interest in a career in the business field has only increased. Seeing how this company operates, communicates, and succeeds is all something that I can keep with me for the rest of my life and use to my own advantage and reference in the future. I would like to thank the Small Business Internship Fund for making this opportunity possible. On top of the incredible business experience that I have/will gain because of this, I will also bring back countless memories and 8 new friendships that will continue past my stay here in Phoenix. With work 6 days a week, we take advantage of our Sunday off-day and do something different every week—from hiking and tubing to indoor soccer and going to the Grand Canyon. All-in-all, I can truly say that this has been the best and most enjoyable summer of my life so far and none of it would be possible without Wabash and the SBIF.


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