Ben Filippi ’21 — I want to thank the small business internship fund for making my internship with Bridge Builder Strategies possible this summer. Without the generous alumni donations that make up these funds, Wabash men (myself included) would be much less prepared for life after graduation. I spent my summer working with Mike Simmons, the CEO who graduated from Wabash, Max Kurkowski, a current Wabash student, Jeff Shields, the Vice President, and Clayton Lewis who will be a sophomore at Huntington University. I learned something different from each person and how the team of five interacted.

Ben Filippi ’21 (left) & Mike Simmons ’88 (right)

I learned several things from Mike. The first thing was how to apply my liberal arts education to the business world. It was the main goal I wanted to achieve with my first internship and Mike continues to help me find new ways to apply what I have learned from Wabash, especially as a rhetoric major, to consulting. From creating content for marketing to interacting with the powerful network in the healthcare industry, I realized how important the right messaging is. I also learned how important every day is in a small business. Mike spent way more than 40 hours a week working, but it was because he believed in what he was doing and the future success of the company. Like most college-aged students, I wasn’t thrilled when my alarm went off before 7:00 in the morning but I genuinely loved going to work every single day, and I can’t wait for my future work opportunities with Mike through the CIBE, another opportunity made possible by Wabash alumni donations. I learned from Max how to carry yourself as a college student doing such important work. He never carried himself as an intern, but instead, like an experienced employee. That mindset of not thinking like an intern in college but instead a meaningful employee gave me the confidence to work on such important projects. Jeff taught me the importance of having diversity in the workplace. Jeff was a former teacher and would always preach having the younger guys share their thoughts on everything because we had a different perspective. Just like Mike had a different perspective with his marketing background from Jeff’s teaching background. Clayton taught me the importance of communicating your struggles with those around you. Just like at Wabash, when we are encouraged to seek help from our resources. Clayton and I both struggled with time management and by him opening up about that we both worked to hold each other more accountable.

By the end of the summer not only had I learned way more than I could ever capture in 500 words, but I also found a job that I love doing, and I cannot thank the small business internship fund enough for that.