Lucas Budler ’24 — This summer, I worked for a people-centered startup called Bridge Builder Strategies with CEO Mike Simmons ’88, aiming to provide underserved college students valuable and experiential opportunities and resources such as mentorship, internships, and skill elevation. I worked on the ‘ExP Learn’ branch of the company, focusing on research, strategic analysis, and product development. As a student, I was fortunate enough to be able to make tangible contributions towards the direction and development of the product. My voice and insights were respected and considered in the building of the company’s premier service. As a rising sophomore, I never expected to find myself discussing market research during a business pitch meeting. Yet, over this summer, I was on multiple calls with potential development partners, explaining how our business could guide and empower college students to better engage with career services departments.

My internship was set up as a virtual/in-person hybrid, allowing very efficient teamwork and collaboration with other interns from Wabash. We worked two days a week online, and three days in person at a local working space. This gave us a perfect balance of home-to-work productivity and gave me insight into what the future of the professional world could look like. Further, this internship experience built skills that will allow me to be a better employee, and be more prepared for upcoming experiences. My biggest takeaway from this opportunity was the importance of being versatile in the workplace and finding new ways to build an arsenal of skills and abilities as an employee. Bridge Builder Strategies was the perfect internship to improve my understanding of multiple channels within a business and learn from my weaknesses.

Finally, I would like to thank Wabash College, Associate Dean Roland Morin ’91, CIBE Senior Fellow Anthony Mendez ’20, and the CIBE team, as well as CEO Mike Simmons ’88 at Bridge Builder Strategies for this experience. This has been a launching pad for my career, and I am excited to implement the skills I have learned over this summer in future opportunities. I am also grateful for the ability to learn about the professional world, while simultaneously making contributions to the community around me.