Elliot Burge ’16 A Step into the Real World


Mr. Burge studying material on an office desktop.

The Who

I am Elliott Burge – a junior at Wabash College from Valparaiso studying economics – and, fortunately, a 2015 summer intern at Connecta Corporation in Indianapolis. I would not have been so lucky nor had this fulfilling experience without some help from a few organizations and certain individuals. Firstly, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for funding my internship and many like it and for making all of these wonderful opportunities a reality. Additionally, I would like to thank Wabash College – specifically the Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship led by Roland Morin and William Oprisko, Director of Student Employment and Activities. All of their time and efforts put forth smoothly set up and ran the Lilly internship programs available to me and many Wabash men. Lastly, my supervisors Alan Pyle and Derek Turner – both Wabash alumni – deserve recognition for inviting me to work with them and for challenging me in a way that allowed me to grow and learn in a workplace full of hard-working and inviting individuals. Each person, group, and organization played a vital role in my summer internship, and their collective involvement proved crucial in the support and guidance I received during my time at Connecta Corp. The memories and value to my education will surely be cherished and not forgotten.
The What

During my eight-week internship program, I faced not only many tasks and obstacles but also completed many goals and projects. The variety of roles and responsibilities given to me most likely exceeded those of the majority of other Lilly interns. I thoroughly enjoyed the frequent changes in pace and setting while on the job. From picking up and dropping off orders, to entering many different forms of data and organizing inventory, to orchestrating a company-wide cookout and utilizing my previous cooking skills, I could not imagine a more well-rounded and diverse job experience. Sometimes I would sit all day working with Excel, writing emails, or making phone calls; and other days I would do more physical work, such as moving inventory, mowing and trimming the lawn, or inspecting products as the machines produced them. I enjoyed having the opportunity to work with everyone at Connecta in one way or another and being able to apply myself on both sides of the business. Throughout my internship, I met a lot of great people who welcomed me and taught me so much. I very much appreciate all the lessons and knowledge with which these past eight weeks have rewarded me.
The When & Where
My internship took place at Connecta Corporation, which sits at the corner of Boulevard Place and 34th Street just north of downtown Indianapolis, IN. My time here spanned from May 8th to July 10th. I originally lived in Valparaiso, which lies in the northwest part of Indiana – as some would call “The Region.” Moving from a city with a little over 30,000 people to one with over 800,000 a few hours away, I had a lot of adjustments to make. Luckily I have friends who grew up and live in Indy, but the challenges of learning new streets and an entirely different city altogether still confronted me. I first noticed how much just driving around differed, most notably the traffic density and size. Despite that, I still greatly enjoyed the city of Indianapolis and all the wonderful things it offers. My experiences in and around the city indirectly related back my internship, and none of them would have occurred without it. Once again, I thank everyone who played a role in making this all possible. I learned a lot even outside of work about people, living on my own, and life in general, and that made all of my time here that much more worthwhile.
The Why
Some may wonder why I chose to work with Connecta, why I wanted to live in Indianapolis, or why I searched for an internship in the first place. I decided to look for an internship because of how competitive getting a desirable post-college job (or any job really) is nowadays. An internship provides very valuable experiences and awareness that separate prospective employees from ones with just their degree. I would rather be the best employee than the smartest. People have told me it is better to know how to use what you know as opposed to just knowing more than the person next to you. A quality college education and a good internship help individuals achieve not one but both of those. I felt that I needed to find an internship because of how much they offer. Secondly, Indianapolis seemed like the perfect location for me. I wanted to explore somewhere new and to excite away from home. Chicago would have been interesting, but that meant I would stay at home and have to commute by car, train, or bus 45 minutes to an hour away. I knew I did not want either of those, so I chose Indianapolis. Not only could I choose somewhere near my workplace to live, but I could also spend every day with some of my friends and have a summer filled with all new places and faces away from my comfort zone. South Bend – although a bit smaller – also seemed like a viable option with similar qualities and enough distance from Valpo. This brings me to my final question and answer: as I applied to several internships both in Indianapolis and South Bend, I began waiting patiently – a bit too anxiously as the end of the school year approached – and then I started getting replies to my applications. I received three or four emails in about three weeks’ time stating how I was not the ideal person these businesses wanted. Then almost out of nowhere I had an interview over FaceTime with Alan and Derek from Connecta. It went surprisingly well, especially since we scheduled it in the morning during my spring break. Before I knew it, I eventually walked out of my second interview at Connecta with a summer internship. Connecta was also the only place that interviewed me, so that made the decision a bit easier. My decision to take on a Lilly internship with Connecta Corp in Indianapolis instead of something else turned out wonderfully, and I could not be happier with the results – direct or indirect. I never thought this past summer would have played out the way it did, but there is not much I would change. In addition to everyone who had an impact and played an active role, I am thankful for everything this internship brought to my life and all of the lasting memories that came along with it. I can only imagine what else the future holds.

Niki Kazahaya ’18 A ‘Stellar’ Summer

Photo Jul 09, 3 22 27 PMThrough the gracious contributions of the Lilly Endowment, I have been given the opportunity to work alongside the Mayor of Crawfordsville, Todd Barton ’00. As his intern, my primary task has been to assist in the application process of the Stellar Communities program. The Stellar Communities program is a partnership comprised of various state agencies to help spur community development in smaller communities. If a city is designated as a ‘Stellar Community,’ it becomes the higher priority for existing grant funding from the state. This enables communities to execute high-dollar projects on a much shorter timescale. Much of the application process has involved outlining projects the city plans to pursue if awarded this designation.

Mayor Barton has approached this year’s application by identifying two overarching problems in Crawfordsville. First, the city has noticed a void of young adults, ages 22-35, residing in the community. Second, more professionals working in Crawfordsville are commuting from other areas to work. To remedy this, the city is working to improve a quality of life. In turn, this will draw those demographics to Crawfordsville. Perhaps a unique project of Mayor Barton’s vision is Fusion 54.

Many Wallies are aware of the recent opening of the Wabash Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship in the Chase building. The Wabash CIBE is conveniently housed alongside Indiana West Advantage, the Chamber of Commerce, and Crawfordsville Main Street. These organizations are strategically housed together to promote healthy collaboration across these separate entities. Furthermore, it enables young talent from Wabash to be actively engaged in the community where their skills are put to good use. Fusion 54 is modeled on this concept but a much larger scale. The Fusion 54 building would be located on the corner of Washington and Franklin Street where it would house the same organizations plus a tourist’s center and senior center in a 20,000 square ft. building.

My duty is to coordinate with the department heads on collecting the necessary materials for the application process. I work with an Anderson University intern on visiting the potential sites of these projects and take pictures to send to the engineering firm. I also serve as a peer editor to Brandy Allen, director of Planning and Community Development, on the writing portion of the application. However, if I am not working on Stellar, I am in charge of other tasks, such as organizing job fairs, writing proclamations for the Mayor, or sending out press releases to local media.

This internship has been a great experience as it has highlighted the importance of the liberal arts. Throughout the summer, I have dealt with a wide variety of issues relating to political science, economics, sociology, and many more. Despite my intention to be a psychology major, I feel well equipped for my internship because of the valuable critical thinking and communication skills Wabash has instilled. Again, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and the entire staff at the Crawfordsville City Building.

Mitch Singleton ’16 A Business and Marketing Adventure

Internship pic for Wabash 1     Hello, my name is Mitch Singleton, and I am a rising senior here at Wabash College, who had the fantastic experience of interning with Allegient this summer. Allegient is an IT and Business Consulting company located on the north side of Indianapolis in Carmel. No, it is not the airline company, which I soon learned is a very common mistake people make judging by some phone calls we receive a day from people looking for their lost baggage. I was very excited to start my internship here just a few weeks back, but I did not know what to expect. Many questions were running through my head. Was I going to be running to get people coffee and donuts each morning? Or was this going to be an actual business learning experience? Thankfully, it was the latter. I have learned so much while interning here at Allegient thus far, and I am sure there is more to come.

I cannot imagine interning here is like it would be at most companies. Everyone here treats me like an equal, not like a typical college intern. They don’t ask me to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves, they challenge me intellectually, and they reward me when I do a good job. As I said, it is much different than the internship idea I had in my head previous to my start. My supervisors here have given me responsibility in many different areas of the company and allowed me to work independently to achieve goals while I have been here, yet still guiding me through the internship journey at the same time. I am still soaking it all in but I have learned much about the industry business of Allegient and the business world as a whole through my experience here.

I am technically a marketing intern here at Allegient, so I work with the marketing team and closely with the digital marketing efforts of the company. This includes managing our social media accounts, researching new media content, and scheduling/publishing content and blog posts. This was much of my day-to-day activity, but I also worked on many other projects including an employee profile survey that was to be sent out to all employees in the company and attended countless miscellaneous company meetings. They have taught me here how to behave appropriately in a professional environment, how to communicate effectively with peers, and how to take pride in what you do.

Allegient has taught me a lot about what to expect in the real world, and that was the main reason I took this internship, to learn what life would be like after Wabash. After interning here, I have come to the realization that it is not so bad! Allegient is a place for opportunity and growth. I only hope that whatever company I end up working for post-Wabash is half the company that Allegient is. I am incredibly grateful to Allegient, Wabash College, and Eli Lilly for the opportunity to have this internship because I know it has impacted my life in a very positive way. Allegient is full of great people who love their job, excel in their work, and believe in a community workplace. When they call it the Allegient family…they mean it.

Cole Crouch ’17 SBIF Cements Career Goals

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Jason Bridges ’98, Courtney Bridges (wife and business partner) of Nantucket Bike Tours with Wabash interns Cole Crouch ’17 and Michael Haffner ’16

Hello, from 30 miles out to sea!

My internship at Nantucket Bike Tours with Jason Bridges ’98, and his wife, Courtney, has been informative, active, and transformative. I am learning and developing a working knowledge about small business in the hospitality industry. I am building more professional relationships and social skills than I ever could’ve imagined. Some of the skills include developing self-awareness as it relates to others and my own attitude, values and behavior patterns (like smiling more). Additionally, I am always striving to succeed at daily or weekly goals and challenges.

Throughout the last month and a half, the day-to-day experiences working at NBT have taken the small business aspect of this internship to the brink. Everyday, Michael Haffner ‘16, Jason, Courtney, and I, the NBT team, lead at least two bike tours – a town view and tour out to Cisco Brewery. But aside from leading daily bike tours, Michael and I are constantly developing social media campaigns, networking door-to-door with our business cards/brochures, creating advertising strategies with hotels and other local businesses, learning QuickBooks, editing the website, and booking more bike tours! Together, the NBT team makes simple and complex decisions in areas such as marketing, pricing, website design, etc., around the dinner table, over delicious coffee at the Handlebar Café, or during an intense game of euchre.

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Crouch applies some Small Business elbow grease to the NBT equipment

Learning how to effectively compliment others, as well as understanding others’ motivations, interests and desires have been the single greatest lessons I’ve learned this summer. In his novel, How To Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie stated, “The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.” Every week, we are reading a new chapter in the novel and then applying Carnegie’s lessons to our everyday experiences.

Although I’m interning 861 miles away from Indianapolis, after just day 10 on the island, Nantucket began feeling like a second home. Ever since I arrived off the ferry, Jason and Courtney have fully immersed my fellow interns and I in the community and culture here on the island. Whether it is biking hundreds of miles around the island, running in a weekly community 5k run, attending the Maria Mitchell Red Tie Soirée Gala at Sankaty Head Golf Club, or volunteering on a Saturday evening at the Comedy Festival, we are continuously making our presence known as engaged community members and leaders.

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Crouch and Haffner with Courtney Bridges

Overall, this internship has challenged my goals and career ambitions in more ways than I ever imagined. My two dreams of owning my own business and becoming a lawyer have been even more cemented this summer. I will carry with me the experiences and lessons, as well as relationships and memories for a long time. I look forward to applying them in the future.

I would like to thank all of the alumni contributing to the Small Business Internship Fund. I am extremely thankful for my opportunity at Nantucket Bike Tours, which has been made entirely possible through the efforts of alumni at Wabash College.

Michael Haffner ’16 Takes “On” Nantucket

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Haffner ’16 with fellow Wabash intern Cole Crouch ’17

As I searched for internships this summer, I knew I wanted to do something unique that would have a lasting effect on my life.  I was longing for an internship experience where I truly had to “buy into” the business.  I wanted an experience where I felt like I could make a difference, learn lifelong lessons, and think on my feet.  My internship at Nantucket Bike Tours with Courtney and Jason Bridges ’98 has met and exceeded all of these expectations.

I have learned many things while leading bike tours around this beautiful island 30 miles out to sea.  The first lesson I learned was that, when running a small business, one must be “on” at all times.   Whether eating out at a restaurant, walking through town, or eating dinner at home while booking a bike tour for the next day, a small business owner must always be “on.”  In a tight-knit community like Nantucket, one must be smiling, friendly, and eager to seek conversation with others at all times!

Another valuable lesson I have learned thus far is to be involved in the community.  Whether volunteering at a local event, supporting a friend’s endeavor or even just showing up to town meetings, it is important to be involved.  Not only does this help create relationships you may not have had, but it also shows that you are a leader in your community.  We have been given the privilege of a Wabash education and in turn, we have an obligation to give back and lead when possible.

One of my goals for the summer was to become more comfortable and confident in social environments.  In addition to reading and analyzing Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People, Courtney and Jason have put Cole Crouch ’17, Kazimir Koehring ’18, and myself in social settings where we need to interact with others.  We discuss the importance of body posture, eye contact, and confidence.  Being a naturally shy person, this was difficult for me at first.  However, after attending events such as the Maria Mitchell Gala, the Samuel Owen Art Gallery, and the Nantucket Comedy Festival, I have become more comfortable when seeking conversations and approaching others.

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Jason Bridges ’98 (center) with wife Courtney are hosting 3 Wabash interns through the Small Business Internship Fund in summer 2015. Haffner ’16, Crouch ’17, and Koehring ’18 are working in both of the Bridges’ businesses: Nantucket Bike Tours and The Handlebar Cafe, for a broad small business operations experience. Bridges have hosted many interns during their 4 years in the SBIF program.

In addition to these great lessons, I have improved my ability to think on my feet.  It is impossible to predict what will happen on a bike tour or where the day will take us.  When running a small business, one must be open to change and have a stable mindset when challenges arise.  Whether we’ve been picking up last minute bikes for a tour, fixing bikes, or scheduling last minute customers, I have learned to make quick, responsible decisions.

As a rising senior interested in a career in dentistry, I am grateful to be learning these lessons now.  Meeting different people on the bike tours each day, attending community events, and always being “on,” have given me a glimpse of the relationships, interactions, and insights that are all a part of running a successful small business.

I believe that my entire experience so far will enhance my ability to practice dentistry one day and will allow me to enjoy the relationships I build with my patients.  I am thankful that Wabash is able to provide great opportunities like this through the Small Business Internship Fund.  I see great value in experiencing a small business first hand and I look forward to learning more throughout the summer.

John Dotlich ’18 Business Plan Presentations


Dotlich ’18

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The LABB students present their Business plans in front of a panel of judges

Over the course of this internship, we had the chance to create two business plans. This was an interesting, challenging, and rewarding experience that I am glad to have been a part of. The first business plan we were assigned to create was one for a restaurant. I was in the lucky group that was assigned to design a business plan for a food truck. The catch was that we only had a week to do it. My responsibility was writing the financial documents. This was a useful experience because we were taught how to use Excel to create the financial spreadsheets, which will most likely be a useful skill to have in many future careers. Although it was time consuming and stressful, I do believe I learned a lot about budgets, income statements, cash flows, and balances. The next business plan we were assigned was to create an app. This was a challenge because in this technologically frenzied culture most app ideas already have been created. I had never heard of writing business plans for an app, but I have learned that there is more that goes into creating an app than you think. I had the assumption that if you were good with computers, creating an app would be cheap and easy; which is not true because designing and programming can take months and cost thousands of dollars to develop. The group I worked with came up with a business plan for an app that acted as an index for recipes and suggests meals that can be made from entering ingredients. Overall, I thought writing these business plans gave me useful tools that I will use later on and have given me confidence to be able to write my own someday. I learned about presenting to investors, working with partners, and the preparation that goes into creating the first version of a business plan. The only thing I wish was different was if we had more choice in what industry we were making business plans for, because I think it would be interesting to create a plan for a product or service company. I would like to thank the Lily Endowment through which I was able to take part in the LABB program.

Parker Redelman ’18 Consulting Work


Redelman ’18

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The LABB students await their turn to present their business plans inside the MXI

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, summer time in Indiana is in full swing. Unfortunately it also means this years LABB program is coming to a close and all of us are scurrying to finish our consulting and business plans. As deadlines draw near, we shifted our focus from case studies to polishing up our final reports. Along with our daily morning discussions over Shark Tank, the first half of the week was spent with us all working in our teams for the consulting projects. We wanted to make sure we offered beneficial and viable solutions in order to help both Dr. Drury’s and Dean Raters’ concerns they presented at the beginning of the summer. As we finished our consulting we began to work in our smaller business plan teams in order to discuss the final presentations to investors on this coming Wednesday. We wanted to make sure everyone understood what was going on and be ready to get started working on Monday. When the time for us to present our business plans came we all gathered in the MXI and awaited for us to present to a panel of judges. Dean Raters was present and opened up the presentation by explaining to the judges and other members of the faculty/staff who were present what we had been doing the past 7 weeks. He also acknowledged the work of Weston Gregg ’16 who had been an integral in making sure the entire LABB program was a success. After all the groups presented the judges were then tasked with providing funding for the proposals. When the numbers were all in my group’s app idea titled MealMaker received the most funding. I would like to thank the Lily Endowment. Through its generous funding of the LABB I was able to gain many valuable skills the impact of which I am sure will continue to aid me in all my endeavors.

Seth Gunderman ’16 Gaining Knowledge


Gunderman ’16

This has been one of the most helpful programs through my Wabash career.  Being a Wabash student, it is hard to gain real-life Business experience other than internships or externships.  But the L.A.B.B. program has been a perfect segue for me.  Throughout the 7 week program I have added new Business lingo to my vocabulary as well as learned professional lessons.  One of the many great lessons was taught by Joe Trebley ’01.  Joe told the L.A.B.B. students to never say, “No”.  He reminded us that saying no only closes doors that have yet to be opened, but by saying yes there is a high percentage of more opportunities opening up for you in the future.  A perfect opportunity for us to apply this lesson was in our consulting project.  After watching some episodes of Shark Tank to better our knowledge of how to conduct a business pitch, Dean Raters challenged us to help the Dean’s office better communicate their roles on campus to prospective students, current students, alumni and parents.  Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 1.29.41 PMWe were open to suggest whatever we found best for the school.  The first place where we found place for revision was on the Wabash College webpage.  After research was conducted, one suggestion was to simplify the website by changing the format.  This would help visitors better surf through all the Wabash College information.  We also suggested that a “People” page be created that would have specific bios and job descriptions along with a picture for each employee of the college.  We thought this would help students, parents and alumni remember who they were meeting while on campus as well as know their roles to the College.  Our last big suggestion was to hold weekly campus meeting called “Deans and Donuts”.  This would allow students to pitch their perspectives to College changes or potential changes, but also allow student to talk the deans in a more casual setting.  The L.A.B.B team is now just waiting to hear feedback from the judges on our proposals.  Finally I would like to thank the Lily Endowment through which I was able to gain this valuable knowledge and experience.

Griffin Levy ’17 Preparing Final Business Plans


Levy ’17

The final week of LABB program is upon us, such a bittersweet time full of late night presentation practicing and afternoon El Charro runs. This week was mostly focused on one thing, getting our App pitches ready for our final presentation on Wednesday, July 1st. The first two  days we had no classwork so my whole group and I got together at the CIBE office in downtown Crawfordsville and hammered out every detail about our App. A little background about our app, it is a life organizational app that pushes you to accomplish and set more goals for your self, in its simplest form to explain it is x-box achievements for your life and an updating bucket list. The name of the app is LyfeGoals. On Monday we worked on flushing out of idea more, making sure that our presentation had everything we needed and that it was really clear what our app was. Tuesday was pretty much the same, but this time we putt together our PowerPoint, it took all afternoon, and later in the evening we re-grouped and practiced the presentation probably eight to ten times. By the time it reached eleven at night on Tuesday we had our PowerPoint together and were well practiced in what we were saying for our big pitch the next day.

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The LABB students working at the CIBE Offices

The big day is here, it’s the day of or final pitch and the competition is fierce. We all arrive at the MXI around 8 and my group makes sure to squeeze one more practice in before we do our final presentation. The way these presentations works, is five judges from the Wabash community come and each have $50,000 to invest in whichever App they like the most. The can invest there money in which ever way they want, and our group needed some big time money to win. Our group ended up going second and the presentation went pretty well. We all did the best we could do individually, I think some of the questions we got asked were really tough and had no answer for which ended up hurting us a lot. Most of the questions we got drilled on were things about target market in advertising, which we didn’t have a lot of explanation for. After every group had gone the judges spent time privately deliberating on who should get the money. When they were done they all came out and gave us some feedback group by group. The biggest thing they said about ours was to make sure we know our audience and have compelling reasons to sell our app. We ate lunch and just like that, it was over. Thursday the 2nd was out last day, a bittersweet time. We all arrived at MXI and discussed what we did and didn’t like about the LABB program with Roland, and we also talked about how we think our presentations went the day before. We found out how much the investors put in each company, and our group only got $25,000 so we ended up tying for last with another group. A little disappointing, but we did our best. And just like that, we had turned in our iPads and the LABB program was over. Overall a great experience and something that really changed how I view business and entrepreneurship. I would like to take a moment to thank the generosity of the Lily Endowment which allowed me to participate in the LABB program.

Nicholas Frye ’16 Wrapping up LABB


Frye ’16

For the final week of the program, we met in our groups to finalize our business plans and presentations for the apps that we have been working on.  My group was working on the Cardbazaar app.  The Cardbazaar is an app that could be used to buy, sell, or trade unwanted to gift cards with people across the nation.  Our group and the other groups had been working on our different apps for several weeks now, so we already had most of the information that we needed.  We were just meeting to fine tune all of the information that we had gathered and fill in the loose holes to our environmental analysis, marketing strategies, and our financial overviews that we had already written.

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All the Phi Psis in the LABB program pose for a dapper photo

After all of the information was gathered we were able to make our PowerPoint to use for the presentation. To make our presentation even better some of the group members were able to make the format of the application and add in features that would make it simple to use.  Once this was all put together, we then began the process of rehearsing the presentation.  I could not tell you how many times that we ran through the whole thing, but I can tell you that it all payed off during the actual presentation.  Our group ended up tying for second place out of all of the presentations. The next day after the presentations was the wrap-up session.  Here we discussed options that we could do to improve the program in the future by adding or taking away certain aspects of the program.  We then turned in our iPads, which was a shame considering that they had been extremely useful throughout the summer.  Of course, after this was over we all delivered our goodbyes to each other and we all went our separate ways.  I had a blast this summer being an intern for the LABB program.  I was able to learn so much information in such a short time and would recommend this program to everyone for next summer.

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