Dean ’20 Experiences Business Through Insurance

Jacob Dean ’20 State Farm Insurance – On behalf of myself and my fellow WLAIP participants, I would like to begin by thanking the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for funding the Wabash Liberal Arts Immersion Program. Throughout the summer going into my freshman year of college, I knew this summer of 2017 was going to be one to remember as I was one of thirty others to be granted the opportunity of interning at a place of my choosing. Early on, I chose to intern at a local State Farm Insurance Agency in my hometown of Brazil, Indiana.

Going into the summer of my sophomore year I couldn’t wait to begin my internship at State Farm and learn all the ins and outs of the insurance and risk management world. Almost immediately I was able to experience a licensed agent make an abundance of sales from simple auto policies to life policies. Within the first week I was also able to experience a financial endeavor as Jenni Marietta, the owner of the office I intern at, helped a client save and invest money as she is also licensed in financial planning with a series 6 and 63 license.

Within the office, I handle most of the retention needs. Normally I will make several calls throughout the day and make sure everyone’s policies are in order and see if there are any changes that need to be made or simply answer any questions they may have. Along with this, I am in charge of setting up the appointments to renew clients’ policies. I will pull up the agent’s schedules and place appointments throughout the day for clients to come in and renew their policies when they are getting close to expiring.

Overall, I have had so much fun communicating with an array of individuals day in and day out. Learning how the office functions has really opened my eyes. Never would I ever have imagined that so many components go into making a business operate smoothly. One thing that really caught me off guard was how complex and difficult some of the systems they use were. The first time I looked at a screen while an employee was getting a quote for a policy, I was mind blown by all the jumbled numbers on the screen. I had no idea what I was looking at! Over the course of the month I have learned simple things such as speaking to clients in a professional manner as well as learning terminology regarding insurance. More importantly, I have learned how to get my foot in the door of a business to open opportunities for myself later in my career as a hopeful business man, and none of this would have been possible without the help of the Mellon Foundation and the WLAIP.

Stachowski ’19 Given the Opportunity to Build Business Skills

Ben Stachowski ’19 LABB Intern – When I first heard about the LABB Program I felt that it was not for me. I am studying History and Biology and felt that business did not apply to me. After talking to a handful of people about the program, they told me that I should give it a shot. I was told that even though I was not studying business, this internship would give me a look into different aspects of business and would be helpful in my future career. My peers could not have been more right. After only the third week of the LABB program, I already believe that my finance, marketing, and presentation skills have improved immensely.

Week 3 was mainly focused on marketing. On Monday, Mike Simmons from Eli Lilly and Co. came in and shared knowledge he had with us about marketing. He taught us about SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and how this analysis helps companies and how they use it to brand themselves and find their competitive advantage. We also learned about the 4 P’s of marketing or marketing mix, which are product, place, price, and promotion. All of these are essential to creating an intellectual marketing strategy. We also did an exercise with Mr. Simmons that discussed the different markets and customers that Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, and Speedway target. We closed the day by speaking about the different ways we can distinguish ourselves from others. He told us that if you are looking for a job in marketing that problem solving, data analysis and curiosity are the keys to being successful.

The rest of the week, Mr. Morin talked with us about the “down and dirty” of marketing. One of the biggest points of the week was that there are two types of marketing: strategical and tactical. Many people know about tactical marketing, which is applying the marketing mix with advertisements, sponsorships, social media, etc. Strategic marketing is just as important. It helps with long-term decisions and involves determining prices and forecasts to plan research. We also looked at a handful of business cases throughout the week. One that stood out was the case about Walt Disney. We talked about their marketing and how the Mickey Mouse logo is universal and will never get old. This is one of the reasons the Disney brand is so recognizable and popular.

Overall, week 3 has been a great learning experience. I would like to thank Mike Simmons for coming in and discussing his marketing experiences and knowledge with us. I would also like to thank the Lilly Endowment and Roland Morin for giving me this great opportunity. I am excited for the next 4 weeks of learning and very confident that this program will help me in my future endeavors.

Steele ’20 Immersed in the World of Marketing

Weston Steele ’20 LABB Intern – This past week was a crash course in the world of marketing, and from segmentation to the 4 p’s, I feel somewhat proficient in marketing. I realized I had learned something after watching the Microsoft 2017 E3 press conference. When Mike Simmons visited us on Monday, he had us look at Microsoft’s mishandling of the release of the Xbox One. We analyzed how Microsoft mistook what their customers wanted, and failed to take their needs into account. Watching their press conference this year, it was clear to see that they are obsessed with their product, and they haven’t quite made that shift from just selling game consoles to selling entertainment. It’s sort of like the railroad industry vs. the transportation industry, and how railroads would be more successful if they expanded to branding themselves as transportation rather than just railroads.

The biggest thing I can take away from Mr. Simmons’ visit is the difference between selling “why?” and selling “what?” It’s important for businesses to tell the consumer why they are selling what they are selling, not just come out and say what they are selling. It’s not compelling to a consumer when the business is very straightforward, and doesn’t drive customers to make that purchase. It made me think about why I make the purchases I do, and what sort of products have great marketing and company appeal.

It was great to see two marketer’s opinions on the matter, and a quote from Roland Morin that stuck with me was “If you get 10 marketers in a room, you’ll get 12 opinions.” I think that’s why marketing is appealing to most, the fact that it is so very diverse, and that everyone has unique ideas. That’s why I’m attracted to the business world, because I believe for a business to be successful, it needs to have a multitude of diverse opinions flowing through it.

It’s been great to get a glimpse at all various aspects of business, and to see what drives a company to be successful. It’s feels like an opportunity to take risks in a safe environment, where there is no real fear of failure. I don’t feel afraid to experiment, and find new more efficient ways to perform tasks, and that has given me plenty of opportunity to expand my repertoire of skills. The feedback is fantastic as well, providing insight on how to improve my skills in communication, innovation, and participation within a group. I’m excited moving forward, and I’ve got a better idea of what I want to do as a career.

Beard ’20 Innovates at Summer Internship

Mitchell Beard ’20 Local Motors – For most, when they hear a young man proclaim they are interning in Washington D.C. they immediately think of our Nation’s capital building or one of the many large office buildings that span the streets of the city. In many case they would be right; however, my internship is not one of these at all.

I do not sit in an office space waiting for someone with an “important” job to give me directions to the closest coffee shop and an exact recipe of how they would like their tall cappuccino made. I do not wait around for someone to give me a stack of documents that must be taken to the copy machine. Instead, I have been given the opportunity to create a project all my own. This is possible because of the destination of my internship, Local Motors and funding from the Mellon Grant.

Local Motors is a young multi-million dollar company that works alongside designers and technology companies to co-create new products. In their spirit of co-creation, they have allowed me to use their entire laboratory within their National Harbor facility for my internship. Found within this lab are a variety of tools including 3D printers, some of which are even large enough to print out full size cars.

In order to take advantage of what this lab has to offer and give back to the company, I have started to work on a special project. Local Motors newest creation is called Olli. Olli is a self-driving shuttle bus powered by IBM’s Watson technology. This bus has the ability to converse with customers and look up destinations and take its passengers autonomously to their destination. I believe this product has great potential; however, because the shuttle is not completed there is no way the company can demonstrate the technology it has to offer to consumers. This is where I come in.

After only a few short days at Local Motors I quickly gained a lot of interest in Olli but understood that the company itself did not have a small scale version or final products to show consumers. I quickly came up with an idea how to face this issue and pitched it to the Local Motors (LM) National Harbor (NH) General Manager. I explained to him that if consumers started to become familiar with self-driving vehicles on a smaller scale, it would be easier in the long run to sell the idea of self-driving vehicles. After a while of deliberating with him and an engineer that I have been working with closely, I came up with a solution and course of action. My solution was to create a “Micro Olli”. A similar, small scale Olli that has the ability to drive around LM NH sales facility and interact with customers.

Once I finalized my bill of materials for Micro Olli, created a Gantt chart, and designed a code to run the robot, I pitched my idea to the labs director of LM. She loved the idea and quickly approved my budget to start.

This amazing opportunity would not have been possible if it had not been for the gracious help of the Mellon Grant, my family and their support, and Wabash College.

McAtee ’19 Gains Valuable Experience for Future Career

Kyle McAtee ’19 Test Gauge and Backflow Supply Inc. – My internship this summer is taking place in Indianapolis, IN at a company called Test Gauge and Backflow Supply Inc. This internship is about marketing, sales, and project management. The company that hired me deals mostly with supplying plumbing companies, fire protection companies, and cities with back-flow systems, which deal directly with water safety. Basically it separates the good water from the bad water and we sell them for the manufactures. Along with that, Test Gauge provides customers with technical support in the field when they’re installing and receiving the parts needed to do their jobs. My boss, James Probst, really took me under his wings and guided me, trained me, and taught me many critical things this summer. He started this company along with another entrepreneur in 2012. This job really pushed my understanding of personal relationships with customers and employees. Something my boss emphasized to me was, in order to be successful you have to treat people as if they’re human beings, people matter.

On the technical side of things, my understanding of Microsoft office was pushed. Not just word, but excel was the main thing I have worked with this summer. Deciphering data, and organizing spreadsheets was half of my job. In order for Test Gauge to run smoothly, we needed to be more organized and have all customer information more accessible. Along with Microsoft office, I learned our company’s personal portal that monitors inventory, sales, and customers online. This was something I’ll need to get used to if I want to continue in management.

One of the more interesting days in this eight-week internship happened when we met with a committee from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). This board included the commissioner of IDEM, Bruno Pigott. This was exciting for me because I sat in on a, at times heated, debate about Indiana Legislature and watched my boss not back down from something that could affect the state’s clean water supply. By far, the biggest thing I learned from this internship was how to do REAL work, but not only working hard but also being passionate about things. Maybe I won’t be working in the field of back-flow when I’m older, but the experience I had this summer will prepare me for any job I have after Wabash.

This opportunity was something that would have never been possible without Wabash Career Services, the Lilly endowment, and the people supporting me along the way. Thank you.

Murphy ’20 Performs Under Pressure at Commodity Transportation Services

First and foremost, I want to thank and praise the generosity of all of those involved in making this internship experience possible. I would like to thank Wabash College for putting me in a position to learn and grow this summer, as well as the Lilly Endowment for funding my endeavors this summer. This past month at CTS has been one of the most transforming experiences that I have ever been a part as I have progressed in ways that I had never thought possible. From the first day, my fellow interns and I were “thrown into the fire”, as we were placed on the phones communicating with unique and differing people from all around the country moving produce and brokering freight. This was a world that I was completely naive to and after this experience, I have become completely immersed within logistics. My boss, Erik, has instilled a newfound confidence in myself when I communicate with others, as well as, taught me new and effective ways to go about problem solving in a department that I am not familiar with. These skills are directly applicable to struggles I have, and will continue to face in the real world each and every day, and I see myself becoming a well-rounded individual from this opportunity as a whole.

Participating within a successful business has also shed light on the importance of communication within today’s society. Commodity Transportation Services is a business that has been built and grown around hard work and communication, and the attitude of the employees has rubbed off on me, changing me for the better. Working in the logistics business is high pressure and is a very intricate profession due to the several moving parts and factors that have a major effect on a simple task being completed. I have learned to become more organized while handling multiple projects at a time, while finding a more efficient way to get things done in a timely manner. The multitude of skills that I have been able to gather in my short time here has been insurmountable, and will be easily transferable into many aspects of my life.

Currently, I have progressed into booking and handling my own loads of freight moving throughout the country, similar to full-time employees. This has put me in a position where I have to be extremely responsible, and I have learned to be tactful in my approach to problems that constantly arise. As my final weeks at CTS approaches, I hope to become even more confident and comfortable with working with others in this ever-changing business. Though challenging, I have been able to learn so many things from my time at CTS and will continue to progress. With this being said, I cannot be more grateful to Wabash College, Erik Ness, and the Lilly Endowment for this experience.

Nordelo ’20 Develops Valuable Marketing Skills

Emmanuel Nordelo ’20 Elite Pest Elimination – This summer I have had the opportunity to become a marketing and sales associate for an up-and-coming company called, Elite Pest Elimination. I have had the chance to work with one of my wrestling coaches, Mr. Castro, and his brother, Joey Castro, the company’s manager. As a marketing and sales associate, I have had a couple of memorable moments in the last four weeks. Mr. Castro has made me responsible for the creation of our website, along with the creation of our fonts, web page address, etc. So far, the most memorable memory I have if the first “project” Mr. Castro put me in charge of. Without mercy, Mr. Castro immediately made me in charge of contacting one of their clients that lives in London in order to have him create multiple fonts and our company logo for the website. I remember having to send this client information about our company and having to gather information about his efforts in negotiating a price. I had to use Google Currency Converter to find the correct conversions from U.S dollars to Pounds. Having to deal with the time change was also another obstacle I faced; I actually had to use the World Clock App on my phone in order to set up alarms that alerted me when to email our customer. Aside from this experience, I have also had to contact many other clients in order to present our services to them. I personally feel that my internship experience is much different from others because we do not actually have a set location/office where we meet. Every day, I wake up to an email from my bosses explaining what those day’s goals are and I have to accomplish them without having anyone there to push me and make sure I finish them. So far, I have truly enjoyed my internship experience; which surprises me since I have never really been interested in marketing prior to this experience.  I would like to thank Wabash College, as well as the WLAIP Program for the amazing opportunity that they have been able to present me with. I am sure that I have developed skills in the last four weeks that will help me later in life. I am excited to see what the next 4 weeks of my internship brings me and what new things and new people I will meet because of it.

McMann ’20 Experience in the World of Logistics

Zach McMann ’20 Commodity Transportation Services – To start things off, I want to thank everyone who has made this astounding experience possible. Thank you to Wabash College for the opportunities given to me. Thank you to the Lilly Endowment for making this internship possible. Thank you to my friends and family who have supported me through every aspect of my journey making it to the point. The past month has been nothing but a massive learning experience for me. Helping some of the logistic brokers in the office has taught me more than I could imagine. I have gained confidence in multiple areas of communication, logistical analysis, and brokering. Erik has taught me how to lead conversations while on the phone with other brokers and customers. The other brokers in the office have taught me valuable skills in analyzing spreadsheets and creating my own. One of the most interesting things that I have learned would be communication with truck drivers. There is a science to it for sure. A large aspect of speaking to them is realizing that they are humans too. They are people who make mistakes and at the end of the day, communication is the most important detail in life. Without communication, Commodity Transportation Services would be non-existent. Another aspect of this business that I have learned is organization. I have never been an organized person and that has truly caught up with me since I have been working here. I have made mistakes because I did not have my work in any order. The other gentlemen the office have taught me valuable skills such as spreadsheet creation or file coordination to keep me on my feet. To them, I am forever grateful because I know that these skills will come in hand through the rest of my three years at Wabash. I know I will be using my communication skills in the future as well. When I began working at CTS I wasn’t sure how to talk on the phone or communicate effectively with others that I did not know. After a few weeks and some training, I have learned how to sound more confident while conversing business. It has made me realize that other people want to make money as well so it has made it easier for me to influence whether or not they want to accept my offers. Bartering is a large part of this communication so learning how to read people’s voices has truly helped me succeed. Another portion of the job that I will value throughout my time at Wabash will be the note taking. I have learned how to take quick yet effective notes while here in the office because there is often times little information that is given to us. The opportunity given to me from the Lilly Endowment and Wabash College has been humbling to say the least. I will be eternally grateful for the people that have made this available to me and my fellow Wabash men. There is no amount of thanks that can be given to truly express these opportunities.

Williams ’20 Extraordinary Opportunity to Lead in the Workplace

James Williams ’20 Property Manager at B.E Property Management – I would first like to thank Wabash College for the numerous opportunities placed upon me to excel and grow as a person. Being a member of the 2016 WLAIP program allowed me to choose a fully paid internship for the 2017 summer of my choice. An extraordinary opportunity, I pondered where I should partake my internship at. Being from South Bend, IN I had made networking connection that lead me to secure a potion as a Property Manager over Irish Crossings of Notre Dame through B.E. Property Management.

When asked if I was interested in this position, I felt that it did not fit my personality, and was unsure of what skills I would be able to build. However, after speaking and meeting with Lisa Brunner, the owner of B.E. Property management, she quickly reassured that I would learn many new skills and this opportunity challenge me and help me grow as an individual.

In the first weeks of my summer internship, I found out Mrs. Brunner was correct in every way possible. After being given the agenda for the week, I thought the next few days would be simple. However, it was not until performing these activities as well as managing 2 crews that I knew that this was going to be much more difficult than I had thought. The most difficult thing I faced was trying to manage two crews comprised of many people with different attitudes and personalities. Managing, teaching, and learning side-by-side with these individuals really helped develop my patience as well as my communication and team building-skills. Being the youngest property manager is most definitely difficult, but with developing my leadership skills at Wabash prior to this experience definitely had an impact on my work, as I feel that I could accomplish that of what older managers do.

My favorite skill that I have encountered thus far would have to be the mastering of a zero-turn Mower. The zero-turn mower is our main mower equipped with a grass striping kit to make the lines in the grass defined and noticeable. By my second week of cutting grass, I was encouraged to cut the grass more often due to my fine lining of the grass.

One thing I have learned thus far, is that it is important to remember people’s preferences when managing their landscape. For example, many older residents like longer grass around four inches long, where younger residents prefer their grass to be around two inches. Typically, we like to meet them right in the middle and keep the grass at 3 inches in order to meet the preferences of both demographics, while keeping the grass looking even. Another thing I have learned is to get to know the people you work with. One of my crew workers prefers to be called by a different name, and by doing this we have been able to develop a relationship and we feel more comfortable with each other. Keeping people’s preferences in mind is important so they know you care about them.

One thing that has really opened my eyes during this internship is seeing peoples burning desire to work. Some of my crew members are faced with difficult situations, such as having no ride to work, or no one to watch their kid, but somehow can always show up on time and be willing to work hard. Seeing their smiling faces even in times of adversity really made me appreciate them and encouraged me to be the best I could be.

I have really enjoyed my time as a property manager because it has given me an opportunity to tackle many different tasks. I have done irrigation systems, lawn care, resident care, and billing/filing. I never had thought being a property manager at Notre Dame would teach me such a diverse set of skills, which have encouraged me to be a better leader, manager, and person.

Again, I would like to thank Wabash College, IU Health, and B.E. Property for this great opportunity to learn, grow, and excel as a person. Thank you!

Marr ’20 Financial Literacy Helps Solidify Business Pitch

Alexander Marr ’20 LABB Intern – First off, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and Wabash College for allowing my peers and me to experience the LABB program. It truly is a learning experience as well as a place to gain and build relationships.

This week, we learned from Valerie Griffin about three different financial statements. She walked us through a program that helped us make our own income statements as well as balance sheets based on statistics from different companies. If any of us wish to run our own business, it is essential to be able to successfully write an income statement and balance sheet. We also created business plans for food trucks and presented them to investors, which proved rather nerve-wracking. Later in the week and following into the weekend, we had an opportunity to communicate with Wabash alumni at Big Bash.

On Tuesday, we gave mini pitches of our business plans for food trucks. Intended to be around 7 minutes, each turned out to be about 20 due to constructive criticism as well as questions from investors. Many of us felt unprepared, incapable of being able to answer questions that were presented, which gave us incentive to develop our business plans with greater depth. Further research and new ideas were needed to create a full business plan and a successful pitch. Luckily, we were given until Thursday to regroup and take considerations for our plans. One addition that my team included in our final presentation was a sheet with backgrounds and personalities of all our group members, which gave a basis of who we are and where we come from. Another concept that my group developed further was a budget that focused on the initial costs and each monthly cost, which let our investors envision the start to our business.

On Thursday, we gave our pitches on the full design of our food trucks. Four groups made and presented an entire business plan for investors to hear, who appropriated money to invest according to how well each business plan was. We also saw our peers present their ideas as well, which helps establish standards for these presentations and gives expectations for progress for future business plans and presentations. As nerve-wracking as it was, it was great to hear positive feedback about how much we have progressed as well as hearing that Roland Morin was impressed with our work.

Friday and Saturday gave my peers and I our first opportunity to network since we began the LABB program. I conversed with more than 40 alumni, of which 2 handed business cards to me allowing me to contact them in search for a job in the future. Many of the alumni were very curious about the internship that I have this summer, and the idea seemed to strike all their attentions. I recognized the importance of the key ideas to remember when networking, including a proper handshake, speaking with confidence, and being open minded. Taking the time to focus on being able to effectively network has a greater importance than I had initially thought.

It certainly has been a busy and full week, with many learning experiences in the classroom as well as introducing ourselves in the real-world setting. I can say that I have gained knowledge that makes me better understand the business world. Again, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and Wabash College for making this experience possible. I am looking forward to what the next 5 weeks have in store for myself and my peers.

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