Fritz Coutchie ’15 – When I first met my sixteen co-workers and our boss, Mr. Roland Morin, I was unsure if I would find my summer internship fulfilling. The LABB internship program is meant to round out a Wabash liberal arts education with practical business experience and knowledge, while simultaneously bringing value to the College.
Our boss, Morin is a 1991 graduate of the College and understands how to work with Wabash students. Initially, Mr. Morin was stern and often reminded us that we can be fired. Since, he has revealed a warmer side and taken a genuine interest in our lives.
Our first week was filled with discussions of leadership and finance; we read cases, articles and listened to guest speakers. While all of those opportunities were great for learning the practical applications of the theories we studied in our readings and class discussions, the most fulfilling experience I had was taking the StrengthsQuest StrengthsFinder inventory. StrengthsQuest is a program run through Gallup, which provides insight into how to optimize a person’s top five “talent themes.”
Talents are innate; however, too frequently individuals allow their talents to remain dormant. StrengthsQuest helps an individual identify his/her natural strengths and provides suggestions on how the talents can be developed in the future. Dr. James Jefferies, Assistant Director of Career Services, ran a group seminar to supplement the suggestions StrengthsQuest provided. Each of the “talent themes” relate to how one thinks or works with other people. Dr. Jefferies demonstrated how understanding the “talent themes” of others could aid in teamwork.
My top five strengths were Ideation, Learner, Strategic, Woo, and Command. In plain English this means that I naturally make connections between ideas well, I desire the accumulation of knowledge, I tend to think in patterns, I enjoy meeting new people and I readily make decisions and influence others. None of my strengths lend themselves to building deep connections with others or with execution of tasks. I would do well to work with individuals who possess the “talent themes” I lack.
Throughout our internship we will be expected to work in teams and create business proposals. I anticipate knowing each other’s “talent themes” will be instrumental in constructing and working within these teams during the internship. Once the summer is over, the idea of “talent themes” will provide a future framework of thought when dealing with others and seeking out those who thrive in ways that I do not.
Now I look forward to the rest of the LABB program. It is evident that this internship is intended to increase the self-awareness of those participating. As we learned on our first day, a good leader has a high degree of self-awareness and a good businessperson is generally a good leader.