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Jonathan Alcala ’18 Practice Makes Perfect at CTS

This summer, I had my professional head start through the Small Business Internship Fund organized by the Schroeder Center for Career Development , something I did not expect as a freshman. Although we were acquainted within the first few weeks of my freshman year, I never expected to have my first professional experience under the tutelage of Erik Ness, ‘94. Arriving at the Commodity Transportation Services office, I believed I was prepared for whatever the summer could throw at me. However, this was far from the truth. Not only was I expected to perform at the level of my peers, some whom were returning for their second summer with Erik Ness such as Derek Andre ‘16, but also to learn as much as I could about the industry.

Throughout my first few days, a feeling of nervousness and excitement was persistent, but after a week of work there was no time for insecurity or lack of confidence. I not only was expected to handle paperwork and analyze several carrier agreements, but I also had the opportunity to negotiate deals alongside Wabash alumni. The CTS office provided a perfect balance in many aspects, which helped maximize my contribution. Throughout the busy days of work, I felt a demanding office environment while also feeling comfortable to ask for help whenever needed. At times, a fellow broker and friend, Alan Ortiz ’17, and I found ourselves trying to find the right words to explain our internship experience, and although we enjoyed different qualities of our job, we both recognize the great learning experience that it was.

As time progressed, I felt the responsibility and duties increase dramatically, but, to my advantage I had been well prepared by that same team that demanded more of me. By the time my internship approached its last few weeks, I had gained confidence in my work, and this quality was a must. My very first call at CTS was far from successful, but after the hundreds of daily calls I had to make, I learned that practice does make perfection. The confidence I had gained communicating carried over with me whenever ideas and reports had to be presented. I had developed my skills so greatly that I will continue to work for CTS on campus. I am excited to see what the continuation of this experience will bring to my professional development.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity Commodity Transportation Services for the opportunity I have been given, and of course to Erik Ness ‘94 who has been a great mentor. I would like to also thank the Small Business Internship Fund and Career Services office, as none of this would be possible without their help and willingness to invest in our professional development.