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Groff ’15 Non-For Profit Experience

Ethan Groff ‘ 15 – First of all I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for their funding, which makes this all possible, and Mr. Roland Morin, Wabash class of ’91, for recommending me to apply for this internship. Over the past 6 weeks I have been the Intern at the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library (MPHPL). So, I’m a librarian you ask? Nope, not at all! However, over the past 6 weeks I have been given the opportunity to be everything in the library except the librarian (Librarians need an MLS after all). In my brief stint here at the library I have been simultaneously exposed to the world of non-for profits, and the world of education. My internship is focused around a set of projects that my bosses want me to help the library with. These include; group projects, from website design meetings to a presentation and discussion of Hoopla (an online based resource rapidly gaining popularity with libraries across the country), to individual projects, such as working on a Social Media plan, doing research on other libraries to help us plan the most up to date programs, and then attending those Summer Reading programs. Some particular highlights include, walking alongside the library in the Memorial Day parade, a local puppeteer putting on a very funny show, visiting different libraries throughout the state to do on-site research, and creating the wireframes that will eventually become the Library’s new website. Every day presents itself with new challenges and surprises, and all of these different activities mean I haven’t had a “regular” day yet!

Ethan Groff Summer Internship 2014

Now of course one of the first questions people ask me is; are you going into Library science after graduation? The answer to that is no, but that doesn’t mean this internship hasn’t been extremely valuable and insightful in helping me discover what it is I do want to do when I graduate. I have seen first-hand what it means to be passionate about ones work. The Librarians here are very passionate about helping people find the right book, but more importantly are passionate about helping people learn. The joy on the faces of the librarians and children during the summer programs (and my own joy that comes from sharing these experiences) has been a powerful teacher. In a more professional sense, this internship has taught me many of the ins and outs of running a company. My boss is in charge of hiring’s at the library, and I have gotten to see the kind of time and effort that is put into hiring new members to a staff (even if I cannot be in the interviews myself).  Through my conversations with Dena (my boss), Donna (the Branch manager at the downtown branch, also technically, another boss), and Dave (The Library director, THE boss) I have been asked to weigh in on matters that affect the entire running of the library. The projects I am currently working on include, helping redesign the website and doing research for the 30th anniversary celebration of our Bittersweet branch (Penn Township). By the end of the summer I will also be able to add budgeting (finance), Public relations, and Marketing to my resume. Needless to say, even though Library Science may not be in my future, this Internship has been very beneficial to me.

Finally, this summer has taught me a great deal about myself. Because a big part of my Internship focuses on projects that I work on independently I have had the opportunity to find out that I can be an excellent self-starter. (I have also found that sometimes I am not!) I have found out that I am very passionate about helping people learn (I think I get that from my mom, a high school teacher). I have found out that I enjoy my job much more when I am working directly with other people. Finally, I have learned that one is never too old to enjoy a good puppet show. Have a wonderful summer everyone!

Albertson ’15 StilL 630 Delivers for SBIF Intern

Kyle Albertson '15

Kyle Albertson ’15

Kyle Albertson 15 - From the moment I walked into the distillery on May 19th I knew that I was in for a summer of hard work.  I was thrust straight into the process of distilling rye whiskey and since then I have not looked back.  My internship consisted of two parts; a production aspect and also a sales/marketing aspect.  The production aspect of distilling whiskey is very time consuming; from mashing the grain to fermentation to then actually distilling the mash it takes a solid week of work.  However, there is a lot of down time in between those processes and therefore, many of my days consisted of hand filtering, bottling and labeling the whiskey to be sold into bars, restaurants and stores around the St. Louis area.  Along with that I would go on sales calls in the afternoons during the week.  Sales calls were a 4 to 5 hour process everyday. I would go to check on existing accounts as well as look into getting into many new establishments as well.  While there was tons of hard and tedious work involved there also came a lot of fun too.  Most weekends were times to get out to local places and do tastings to try and further market our product while enjoying ourselves at the same time.  Fun and hard work made these few weeks some of the best and most valuable weeks I have ever experienced.

Kyle Albertson SBIF Blog 2014 StilL 630After having gone through all but a week of this internship I really feel that I am ready to start thinking about starting something like this on my own – once I am graduated, of course.  This internship was able to give me a full prospective of the ins and outs of owning my own small business.  Luckily, because I was the second employee I was able to fully participate in every aspect and it was truly a great experience.

I would sincerely like to thank David Weglarz ’03 (Owner and Master Distiller of StilL 630), Scott Crawford, Wabash Career Services, and the Small Business Internship Fund for allowing this internship to become a reality for me.  I really encourage anyone looking to hone their skills in any aspect of a small business to apply! There definitely isn’t another internship out there like this one.

Hoffman ’16 Business Plan Impresses

Corey Hoffman ’16

Corey Hoffman ’16 - One of the major aspects of the LABB program was the business plans. For each of the two business plans we had to develop, we were divided into teams and had to develop a fully functional business plan (or at least what we were able to produce within the time restriction). For the first business plan, the group was divided into teams of three, and each group was given the task of developing a business plan for a restaurant. The catch was, one group had to do a food truck, one a sit down restaurant, one a franchise, one a bar, one a deli, and the last a café. This wide range of options led to some amazing creativity, a trait that appeared rather absent in many students’ initial surveys. After two weeks of many dedicated hours of work, the day to present had arrived. We were to present in front of a panel of judges, who each had tens of thousands of dollars in “play money” in which they could invest however they pleased. My group, consisting of myself and Weston Gregg ’16, created a business plan for a food truck called Golden Boy Burgers, located in Lafayette, IN. We were able to obtain the most investment money due to our low startup costs.

Using our experience from this first business plan project, we divided into new groups of four or five to create a business plan for any business of our choosing. The four groups did a recording studio, a 3D printing company, a CrossFit gym, and a social media marketing company. All groups had greatly improved from the first set of business plans, despite having one week less to do it. Other than the fact that the group sizes were roughly double those of the restaurant business plans, we were all much more experienced and understood much better what needed to be done and how to do it.

Through these business plan projects, we were able to virtually immerse ourselves in real world business, by developing financial plans, marketing strategies, brand development, and product. While there is obviously much more detailed matter that we were unable to cover due to the time restrictions, we were all able to take away a lot from these experiences, and can eventually implement them into our careers.

I would like to give a huge thanks to the Lilly Foundation and Roland Morin ’91 for making this program possible and also to the judges of each business plan for providing helpful feedback.

Scofield ’17 Consulting Project Impacts College

Daniel Scofield ’17

Daniel Scofield ’17 – Each year the LABB program interns are assigned a consulting project to work on based on a request from the college.  The problem that arose this year for the program was the Wabash Scheduler.  It was put upon us to analyze and come up with recommendations on how to improve the current system and we absolutely had no restrictions.  We were then divided up into three separate groups to see who was able to come up with the best plans on how to fix the scheduler problem.  Once assigned to our groups, we held a community forum as well as meetings with individuals from various departments who actively use the scheduler.  The forum as well as the meetings allowed us to gain valuable input and knowledge on the current issues with the scheduler.  After we had enough data and understanding of the scheduler, it was time to put our critical thinking skills to the test and begin coming up with possible solutions.

We were told that cost was not an issue and this allowed the groups to explore all possible outcomes which varied from a simple remodeling of the current system to an extreme which was to introduce a third-party software.  I was a member of the group that thought it was in the best interest for the college to move on with a third-party system.  Since the software was far pricier than remodeling the current system, it was very important for us to convince the audience that the software was what the college needed to fix all of the current problems with the scheduler.  The ease of use and time saved using the software would compensate for the higher price which is what we advocated.

After all of the research had been done and numerous practice presentations had been completed, it was finally time to stand up to give our recommendations.  Some would say it could be a little intimidating presenting in front of the president, deans of the college, and many other high up officials of the college, but to myself I just saw it as a chance to explain my group’s ideas in order to help out the college.  Since I believed in the product that I was presenting it made it very easy to try and sell it to the individuals in the audience that morning.  It was a great honor being able to work on this consulting project because it showed the great amount of trust that the college held in us.  It’s not very often that a college passes along a significant campus problem to a group of students and that is what makes this program so special.  Not only do you learn the essentials of business through discussions and site visits, but you also have projects that you have the opportunity to see all the way through.

Whittington ’15 Business Crash Course

Joel Whittington ’15

Joel Whittington ’15 - The Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) program has been one of the most educational experiences I have had at Wabash, and it is almost over. It’s hard to believe that there is only one week left of the LABB program. It has been a challenging summer so far; by this point we’ve covered everything there is to cover about business startups and starting businesses of our own.

With our business plans done, IBM was the focus of this last week. The tech giant is a far cry from the small startup companies we had read about. Like the other firms we have looked at, we read a study covering a major decision that affected the direction of the company in a major way. This study dealt with IBM’s creation of BlueGene, the world’s fastest computer, in the early 2000’s.

We did more than just read about the company. On Wednesday we got the chance to talk, via Google Hangout, to Bill Kerst, a self-proclaimed ‘Wabash Groupie’, and Rob Shook ’83. Both are employed by IBM and have traveled the world on projects for the company. We spoke for a little over an hour about the pros and cons of working for Corporate America as opposed to smaller firms. Surprisingly, Rob told a story about how IBM had taken care of his family on one of his business trips to Australia in a way that didn’t fit with the ‘Evil Empire’ persona that big corporations all seem to have. At the end of the talk, these two very successful men gave some advice on getting our feet in the door in a large corporation like IBM. Bill’s advice was to “shadow people wherever possible” while Rob ’83 strongly advocated interning, which is how he got his start at IBM. Both men were cool to talk to and it was a pretty laid-back conversation. Like everything else in this program, I got a lot out of this conversation. This program really is a crash-course MBA. I never would have thought I could learn as much about business as I have in the last six weeks. I’ll be a little sad when it’s over after next week, but I know it’s been worth every minute and I’m glad I was chosen to take part.

Purucker ’16 Classroom to Healthcare

Scott Purucker ’16 - It is incredible to think that my internship with Tx:Team is already half way completed. I guess what they say is true, time really does fly when you are having fun.  Not only am I enjoying the internship but I also feel that I am making, as President Carroll Nelligan always says, meaningful contributions to the company and their mission of allowing everyone to live the healthiest life possible.

Purucker '16 with Spencer Sheridan '12

Purucker ’16 with Spencer Sheridan ’12

This summer, thanks to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment, I have the opportunity to work as the Finance and Clinical Operations Intern at Tx:Team in Indianapolis.  Tx:Team is a nationwide therapy provider whose home office is located here in Indianapolis.  They have therapy sites in Indiana, South Carolina, Maryland, and Mississippi.  I have been fortunate enough to visit several of the sites located here in Indiana and meet many therapists who are often the face of the company.  Prior to the start of my internship at Tx:Team, I had little knowledge of the therapy and healthcare industries, but thanks to the patience and knowledge of all the employees of the home office as well as copious amounts of reading, I have grown to have a much better understanding.

My daily tasks at Tx:Team include updating several key metrics and compiling reports on these metrics, as well as attending meetings about the direction of the company in the future.  In addition to these daily tasks, I have been working on several larger projects.  These projects include creating a dashboard to better track the success of different therapy sites and creating a presentation regarding a new coding system that will be implemented soon.  Both of these projects have allowed me to contribute meaningful work to the home office and I have learned a great deal from them.  I have used quite a bit of my knowledge from classes at Wabash College for both of these projects.  Most of all, my use of Microsoft Excel.  Not only have I used the tools that I learned in the classroom, but I have also used critical thinking to make my way through these projects. I look forward to completing these tasks and taking on new tasks to help Tx:Team.

I am working with three fellow Wabash men at Tx:Team: Scott Benedict ’98, Spencer Sheridan ’12, and Patrick Bryant ’16.  Each of them have been very helpful in guiding me as I work and are a large reason for my incredible experience thus far.

King ’16 Business Plan Satisfying Experience

Brenden King ’16

Brenden King ’16 - It is hard to believe that 5 weeks have already passed in the LABB program. In these first 5 weeks, we have covered everything from writing a business plan to a crash course in marketing and finance. Roland Morin ’91 our instructor and boss was not joking when he said we would receive a mini MBA this summer. This past week may have proven to be the most challenging, but most rewarding, for the course. For our past business plan we were given a few weeks to gather information and present our idea, for this time around we were given a week and I think the entire group agrees that we were able to deliver.

Split up into groups of four to five, we were each tasked with finding an idea for a business and presenting it to prospective investors. My group was made up of Ryan Anzalone, Thanh Tran, Denzel Wilkins, and myself. After a few sessions we came to the idea of a 3D printing schematics company. With only a week to prepare our group, along with the other three, we used every minute we had granted to us to put together our plan.

The end result could not have been more satisfying. All of the groups were able to build their plans with only a week for preparation. The other businesses that my peers created were a marketing firm, a record label, and a cross-fit gym – all of which were researched and presented professionally. The next and final step for the program is the consulting project for Wabash College. I would like to thank the Lilly Foundation and our instructor Roland Morin for making all of this possible.

Zurek ’16 Business: Challenge and Reward

Mason Zurek ’16

Mason Zurek ’16 - I came into this program fairly hesitant. Business was just something that never seemed to suit me. I’m not a numbers guy, but I love to read and write which is why I’m fairly sure I want to be an attorney. Also, I enjoy competition immensely and law seemed like the proper way to go. So, I figured I could take this program and learn more about business in order to help me later if I go into corporate law.

Yet, as we learn more about business, and specifically entrepreneurship, I find myself hooked for two reasons: the challenge and the potential reward. The idea of putting everything you own on the line in order to be successful is scary, yet enticing. What could be more possibly exhilarating than seeing your gamble pay off? I view it as a competition against myself; seeing if I can actually set out and start a successful business is now something that greatly interests me. The other reason I mentioned, reward, is more of a dream scenario. Building a successful business and selling it off for enough money to retire comfortably by 40 would be wonderful.

In conclusion, I have been having a great time with this internship. I’ve been engaged, questioned, and forced to rely on the analytical skills Wabash has taught me. I’m looking forward to the next two weeks.

West ’16 Confirms Interest in Chemistry Career

Korbin West ’16 - Since I started my internship, I’m quickly learning how little I really know about chemistry. And that is a fantastic feeling. While my internship is flying by, I’m trying to pick up as much as I can because there is no better learning environment than an immersive one, like that provided by the Indiana Internship Program. For the past month I’ve been working at Perfinity Biosciences, a small bioscience company in West Lafayette. Perfinity mainly focuses on proteomics, the study of proteins. Every person is made of tons and tons of proteins, just like the hemoglobin in our blood or the insulin in our pancreas. However, there is still so much the world doesn’t know about proteins, which is where Perfinity steps in.

Without getting too technical, we find ways to break down and analyze these proteins so others can discover more information about them. Imagine you find a newspaper that has been crumpled up into a ball, this will be our example protein. To be able to read the paper (a.k.a. extract information from the protein), we have to find a way to un-crumple it without ruining it. In a way, this is what Perfinity does for other researchers/drug companies, so that they can find new ways to battle disease and discover more secrets of the body.

West '16 transfers a protein solution to test tubes, allowing him to simultaneously monitor a dozen reactions over the course of a day.

West ’16 transfers a protein solution to test tubes, allowing him to simultaneously monitor a dozen reactions over the course of a day.

As an intern, I spend a lot of my time helping out wherever I can. The majority of my time is spent in the lab, where I have various responsibilities. My daily activities range from making stock solutions for our spectroscopy equipment, to validating old protocols and researching new ones. My time here has greatly helped me develop my chemistry skill set, as well as strengthening my abilities in many other aspects. Although some of my work is quite challenging, I’m continually learning from my co-workers how to approach these issues and I’m picking up plenty of new techniques and methods. However, just like any liberal arts experience, I’m learning much more than just the chemistry behind it. Whether it’s discussing the economics behind our product, presenting results at company meetings, or anything in-between, I’m constantly rounding out my experience.

The past couple weeks have been an absolutely incredible time for me. I continuously wonder if I’m going into the right field, as I’m sure is also the case for many of my fellow classmates. I would ask myself “What if I can’t stand working in the lab all day?” or “What if I don’t have what it takes to make it?” Now, I’m happy to say, that I don’t find myself asking these questions anymore. I’ve enjoyed every second of my time here at Perfinity and although I’m not nearly done with working to improve my skills and proficiency in chemistry, I feel confident in my decision to pursue chemistry.

 

Taylor ’15 Applies Passion for Start-ups

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am start-up crazy. I love learning about start-up companies, working for start-up companies, and generally try to incorporate them into conversation as much as possible. So when looking for my summer internship it was a clear choice to interview through the Small Business Internship Fund (SBIF), which offered a chance to work with start-ups/small businesses across the country with a stipend. Yeah, I’m getting paid to learn. I met some really great alumni during the interview process who were all working on some really cool ventures. In the end, a start-up consulting firm called W-Advisors & Co. seemed liked the right fit.

Taylor '15 attends Detroit Economic Club Luncheon

Taylor ’15 attends the Detroit Economic Club Luncheon session titled “De-Globalization: Retooling Global Operations for Strategic Advantage.” Pictured (from left to right) Jim Moffat, Chairman & CEO Deloitte Consulting LLP; Dr. David Cole, Chairman Emeritus, Center for Automotive Research, Chairman, Auto Harvest; David Szczupak Executive Vice President of Global Product Organization, Whirlpool Corporation.

W-Advisors & Co. is a consulting firm based out of Detroit, MI and is run by David Woessner ’01. David had spent the last 7 years consulting for large firms like Deloitte and P3, but now he was ready to put the skills he had acquired to the test in his own venture. His interview process required the examination of a series of work packages and the creation of a proposal on the packages I would like to work on. The interview process was unlike any other I had in the series and it was the first sign that this internship would be learning intensive. It did not let me down.

My internship could be broken down into three sections: business development, corporate consulting, and personal growth. I have spent two weeks so far in the city of Detroit helping to establish W-Advisors as a company and a brand. I’ve gotten the chance to attend networking events like the Detroit Economic Club luncheon, where I met some of the biggest movers and shakers in Detroit; participated in a meeting with C-level executives; and built out many of the company structures that will exist once my internship is complete.

The other four weeks of my internship have been spent in Greenville, SC working at the ZF Transmissions factory. I have been playing a supporting role here, along with a team from P3 North America, as we work to help our client overcome some systemic obstacles they are facing. The days run from 6am-6pm for 6 days a week, with some more outside assignments sprinkled throughout the gaps. I thought my 8am Research and Methods class was tough. I’ve had to become a PowerPoint/Excel pro, because I’ve learned that communicating through visual representation is key in consulting. My biggest achievement so far is turning 2 months of truck check-ins/check-outs (over 2,500!) stored in boxes, into a meaningful data set, and eventually into meaningful slides, in order to show the impact our team has had on shipping and receiving. I’m now managing a multi-million dollar project plan, and with that learning more than I could have imagined about the way a nearly $1B factory is run.

Woessner '01 and Taylor '15

Woessner ’01 and Taylor ’15 at the Wabash Admissions Networking Event held at a Detroit Tigers game

If you know me, you know that on top of being fascinated with start-ups I am also very interested in understanding the way people work. This experience, so far, has challenged my conception of myself and of the professional world. I’ve seen that sometimes executive meetings can look just like fraternity chapter meetings and that even pay checks are not enough of a motivation for a work force. I’ve seen that some people, no matter the age, are still not able to put themselves after the greater good. I’ve seen that just because you want something doesn’t mean that you are willing to make the tough choices to get it. I’ve also seen that there are people out in the world who truly want to make the most positive impact that they can. I’ve met people who have opened up to a curious young man and shared themselves in the hopes that their experiences would help him grow. I’ve seen people driven by such passion, that even though they are unsure of what is to come, they are certain that what they are doing is right. I’ve learned that if you want to see it in the world then you must be willing to create it. I’ve found mission, courage, and strength inside myself that I thought was a distant possibility. It’s only week 5. Let’s see what the rest of this internship has in store.