Michael Zubeck ’21 – Sales and Marketing Intern, The Headshot Truck
My first weeks on the west coast were a completely new experience, to say the least. When agreeing to my internship in Los Angeles this summer my boss, Brian, told me that this was my internship and I would only get out of it what was put in. To make sure that I would get the most out of the internship, I tried to do any and every task that was available, even if was not mine.
On my third day there was a photoshoot in the office and instead of doing normal work I was the photographer’s assistant, which gave me a new perspective of how the other side of the business was ran. This helped me better understand the logistics of a shoot later when I would talk to prospective clients about how the shoot functions. Besides the photoshoot, my work was normally consistent, with my first task being to gather and then contact property managers throughout Southern California. To do this I began by researching the different firms and before long there was a list of close to 500 potential clients. Having the experience of cold calling before had helped me, but this was still not one of my strengths. Noticing this Brian decided to have me switch my focus from targeting new clients to client retention. To do this I began by researching the different ways that this is done. After talking with him we decided that my new task would be to build a software that he could use to more effectively manage his clients. This software is known as customer relationship management (CRM), would allow The Headshot Truck to communicate with customers, record information, send and receive quotes and contracts, and accept invoices all on one platform.
The benefits of having a CRM are organization and convenience, and this translates to hours that are saved from the workday. Unfortunately working with the software from the very beginning was similar to looking at puzzle pieces without the final picture. Drawing from different tasks that I had previously done, I was able to start assembling this puzzle. Before long, it was up and functioning and it was even running. This experience had made the largest impact on me. This process allowed me to see and understand the learning curve and how learning one thing, such as a photography assistant, can help with another later, like building a CRM. This experience reinforces the importance of being involved and doing as many tasks as possible. I am very thankful to the Small Business Internship Fund for providing me with this opportunity.
Sedgrick White ’21 Wabash College IT Intern – Since I have arrived at Wabash, It has been difficult to decide what profession I would like to go into in the future. Throughout this summer, I would like to think my time with the Wabash IT Department as an intern has helped ease my mind on this very important decision.
My internship at the Wabash IT Department lead me to meeting many faculty in different departments that I more than likely would not have met if I was not a part of this internship. My internship consisted of installing computer systems for faculty. Furthermore, I would set up their systems, move their files, and set up personalized requests that were specific to their systems. In addition, I also answered tickets request for faculty that may not have computer installations, but they were in need of assistance with their computer systems. A part of my internship was very helpful to me as a person who may not have as much knowledge of technology that goes beyond the basics. For example, an external drive for Wabash students is available on MyBash called BOX and I never used it and I didn’t know about it. However, through my experience with it this summer, I am certain that I will use it for my classwork from now on. I learned that Wabash equips us with so many systems on their computers that makes it possible to get the most out of your education.
As an intern for the IT department, my computer installations for faculty came with many different requests. During one installation, I had to install a laptop and dock with a monitor. Additionally, there was a request for the person to keep their old monitor and have to monitors at their desk. A request like that is actually quite frequent. The difference between this installation and others is that I had to install the monitor vertically. This is the type of technological information I gained through my internship.
Overall, my internship with the Wabash IT department was very positive. I’m still uncertain of what I will major in or the career I would like to be in for the rest of my life, but I do believe this experience has opened my eyes to a career that I didn’t particularly think about before. I think I will keep IT as a career choice that might be the right fit.
Jack Wagner ’20 Logistics Intern- CTS – This summer, I spent ten weeks of my summer immersed in the field of logistics, working for a freight brokering agency in Phoenix, AZ. The company I worked for, Commodity Transportation Services, functions primarily as a third-party logistics company that helps growers and shippers working in the agricultural industry find trucks to transport their various commodities. We function under the budget allowed to us by each customer for each individual load. Our agency is projected to broker $24 million in freight this year, so it was quite an experience to intern for the company during the climax of the business year. My ten-week internship began with copious amounts of various forms of data entry to help me learn the basics of the company. After becoming comfortable and familiar with our systems and functions, I began to build a few client lists in anticipation for the upcoming seasons’ hotspots. This helped me gain experience making professional phone calls about our business before actually making sales calls. After the first half of my internship drew to an end, I had come to a point where I was allowed to start negotiating my own business with customers. In the second half of the summer, I negotiated well beyond $100,000 of business and was ultimately able to secure and manage over $25,000 of my own freight. This means I was responsible for negotiating a budget with our customers, negotiating with trucks to cover the given loads within this budget, while also operating at or above a 10% profit margin, as well as communicating with drivers daily in order to protect and manage our business. I was able to secure roughly $3,000 in profit for CTS throughout the five weeks I spent brokering my own freight.
This summer, I learned much more than the ins and outs of produce brokering. I learned about a thriving industry that I hadn’t previously given much thought to, formed relationships with some incredible people from very different backgrounds than myself, I witnessed and participated in a living, breathing example of the Wabash Alumni Base and gained an incredible amount of business experience that will transfer to any number of industries I could potentially choose to pursue. It was a formidable, yet very rewarding experience to travel to and live in a part of the country I had never experienced when I was largely on my own. While this summer had a few lonely points, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had and the relationships I formed for anything. I gained a much deeper appreciation for what Wabash has to offer once you leave campus, and this has truly reinforced my confidence in my decision to pursue the distinction of a Wabash Man.
Duncan Roy ’19 Handshake – This summer I have had the opportunity to intern at Handshake here in San Francisco. Handshake is a tech startup that connects students of all backgrounds with great career opportunities. Going from Crawfordsville to San Francisco has been a huge change, but I’ve loved exploring a city so different than anywhere I’ve been before. At Handshake, I am working with the University Success Team, which is in charge of implementing new schools on the platform and ensuring that career centers and students have all the tools necessary to use Handshake to the fullest.
My main project this summer has been working on a back to school toolkit to empower career centers will all of the tools needed to make sure their students get the most out of the platform and launch meaningful careers after graduation. One of my favorite parts about my project and working at Handshake, in general, is the collaborative nature of the office and projects. I have been working with almost every team on my project from design to product. I have also been presenting my ideas in meetings with the COO, and leaders from multiple teams across the company. One of the most influential things that I have taken from my internship so far is the power of feedback and collaboration. I have had many times where I have come up with a few ideas, then met with people from across the company to talk through my idea and get feedback, while bouncing ideas off of each other.
Being at a tech company, I have learned something new every day just hearing conversations or talking with one of the other interns that are software engineers. It has been great to work in such a fast paced environment and be around be people that are driven to keep pushing the company forward and are truly passionate about what they are doing. Deciding to pack up a suitcase and move out here to a city I had never been to before was a little scary, but luckily the group of 7 other interns have been a lot of fun to get to know and hear their stories. Especially considering we are all from different parts of the country and have different backgrounds it has been cool to get their perspectives on things. It has also been cool getting to know fellow Wabash men Christian Rhodes ‘17 and Alex Amerling ‘14 here at Handshake. In all, this summer has given me a great opportunity to grow as a person and professionally and is helping me decide what route I want to take after graduation. I will forever be thankful for the great opportunity that I have had this summer!
Maxwell Kurkowski ’20 Bridge Builder Strategies – This summer, I have been working for a start-up company called Bridge Builder Strategies. BBS is a consulting firm that’ mission is to develop strategies, processes and tactics that help organizations build bridges with their communities and create unique experiences that result in lasting relationships and impact. Along with the consulting firm, I am also assisting in developing a non-profit organization called The Crossroads Center for Social Impact. This organization aims to achieve maximum community impact and bring a better quality of life for our city and the people who live here. This will be done through collaborative partnerships with interested members of the community, funders, businesses, government, non-profits, educational institutions and the faith-based community. I have been working for Wabash Alum, Mike Simmons along with a current Wabash student, Micah Walker. My role this summer has mainly been the marketing aspect of Bridge Builder Strategies. However, this company being a start-up, I have had the opportunity to learn much more than just the marketing component.
Some of the important roles I have assisted in include, strategy development and business planning, business development opportunities, social media strategy and website development. I have also attended business meetings associated with current and potential clients of Bridge Builder Strategies. During my internship, there are a few things that stick out to me that I have learned. As a whole, seeing how much time and work it takes to start a company has been eye opening to me. There are many things that go on behind the scene in a company that need to be done in order for a company to be successful. Seeing this happen first hand has been an experience that you cannot get in a classroom or online. I have also learned many basic marketing tools that are used by companies to help enhance their brand. There is much more to marketing than what you see. It has to do with empathizing with clients, building relationships, and understanding the needs and wants of customers. Business vocabulary is another skill that I have made strides in. During my internship, I have had to do tons of research. As I began reading countless articles and familiarizing myself with the field of work I am in, I realized that there are many words that I just had never seen before. This gave me lots of trouble understanding many important components of my role this summer. So, every time I read something I did not understand, I wrote it down, researched it and did my best to understand it. This was one of my biggest takeaways this summer. Understanding how to research properly and teach myself things online has been extremely helpful in my success this summer. The second half of my internship has been developing the official website for Bridge Builder Strategies. Before my internship, I had no knowledge of building a website. I was a bit nervous to take on this role, however, after much research, YouTube videos and playing around on the website editor, I can now say that I can build a website on my own. I am near the end of my internship and I am finishing up the Bridge Builder Strategies Website.
I am extremely grateful I had the chance to work with Mike Simmons this summer. He has been an amazing mentor to me as well as an educator. I have learned more than I could’ve imagined this summer and I am excited to take what I have learned and apply it to school, future career opportunities, and my everyday life.
Justin Raters ’19 Obvious Shirts – During the spring semester, I was presented with the great opportunity to work for a small business by the name of Obvious Shirts. Obvious Shirts is a t-shirt company that began as a hobby for founder and owner Joe Johnson, Wabash class of 2011, but has blossomed into a very popular and interesting brand. As a huge Chicago Cubs fan, Joe began to make shirts that had funny, sarcastic, and obvious sayings about Cubs players on them. Since then, the shirts have become licensed by the Major League Baseball Players Association, and are now dipping into other fanbases such as New York and Washington D.C. As a huge Cubs fan myself, I was ecstatic to work for such a fun company while getting to enjoy being in Chicago for the summer.
This position was very exciting for me because it was my first opportunity to work for a small business. It was great to see how much effort and work goes into running a small business, but also the many advantages there are as well. On a day to day basis, I would come into work and begin to collect the orders from the previous evening. I would then fill envelopes with t-shirts for each order and have them shipped to the customer. I was then given an email address that customers could reach out to with any problems or concerns they had about orders or navigating the website. I found that having this link between customer and staff was one of the most important pieces to making a small business run smoothly and be successful.
Being in the office and on the computer was not the only thing I did this summer, though. Early on in my internship, I was able to be a part of selling shirts at a weekend long sports memorabilia convention in Chicago. It was clear that not only selling online but selling shirts in person was a very important piece in spreading the brand name and engaging with customers. It was great to hear customers’ stories about the comments they get on their shirts, and their ideas for new shirt designs. Working the convention, though a bit more stressful, was one of my favorite parts of my internship.
Although my internship for the summer has ended, I will be continuing my work for Obvious Shirts by being a brand ambassador for the company. It is mine and Joe’s goal that Obvious Shirts will soon have a Wabash collection on the website, as well as the possibility of other colleges in Indiana. I am very grateful for this opportunity that was given to me by Joe Johnson ’11 and Roland Morin. This internship gave me the experience that I was looking for in a small business setting and provided me with a number of connections that I am sure to use in the future. I am very excited to have had of such a fun summer opportunity, and to continue my work with Obvious Shirts in the future!
Josh Janak ‘21 Adorant Group – This summer, I have been working for a start-up company called Adorant Group. Adorant Group is led by Wabash graduate, Brian Mantel and the company is creating a platform called MyMoneyRoadMap. Since I am working on a platform, my internship has allowed me to work from my house because all my work is online. The platform is being created for financial advisors to purchase and help their clients be prepared for any of life’s financial needs. Instead of constantly calling the financial advisor, Adorant Group is creating an online platform that can instantly answer any of your financial questions. There are some competitors that sell similar products but very few have created anything as in-depth as the platform Adorant Group is establishing.
Over the course of the summer, I have been presented with many different obstacles that have resulted in life lessons and valuable skills. Since Adorant Group company is a start-up, team meetings take place at unusual business hours. For example, every Tuesday night the team enters a google hangout room from 9pm to 11:15pm which have forced me to stay focused on my job and the goals at hand. Another skill that I learned was the value of good writing and online coding. Brian would task me with writing financial articles that were intended to be on the platform. These would be roughly 5-page in-depth articles about a certain financial topic such as “buying a house.” After gaining a few skills in the writing, Brian asked me to begin coding certain webpages to be added into the platform. Since I am not an experienced coder, it took me a few days to understand how it worked but eventually, I began to master the process.
Throughout the summer, I have learned and experienced what it is like to have a real job. Working for Adorant Group has been a positive example of the passion and energy is takes to make a product or service successful. The individuals on my team work on the platform after their job in order to make it as successful as possible. The most important skill that this summer internship has taught me is to find a career and work with passion in whatever job you attain. While working extra time for a start-up seems like a lot of work, the individuals are passionate about making this company successful. Adorant Group has taught me that drive and hard work is the key towards success.
My internship with Adorant Group has been a valuable experience and I have learned some useful skills for my future career and internships. I thank Brian Mantel for his expertise and mentorship and wish his company nothing but the best.
Trevor Hix ’19 Rotary Jail Museum – I’m Trevor Hix and I will be a senior this coming fall at Wabash College. My summer internship has been working with the Montgomery County Cultural Foundation at the Rotary Jail Museum. Built in 1881 and starting operations in 1882, the Rotary Jail of Crawfordsville is one of the hidden treasures most people don’t even know about. I had only heard of it through passing before my internship. With the summer approaching and time running out, I went to Roland Morin who helped place me at the Jail. The day-to-day things I do while at the jail are things like giving tours and working on escape rooms; that’s right, escape rooms. The main reasoning behind my internship is to design escape rooms for the Rotary Jail. The beginning of escape rooms being run out of the jail is multipurpose. One of the reasons for the escape rooms is to help bring money into the organization. Being a non-profit organization, sometimes it can be hard to pull in a lot of money at one time. Another purpose is to help reach out to the community. Entertainment can be hard to find, no matter the city you’re in. Some of the complaints I have heard from local community members is that there is never enough to do and they have to travel to places like Indianapolis, Terre Haute, or Lafayette for a fun evening. The escape rooms will give these community members the opportunity to have a fun evening without all the hassle of a drive. Finally, the escape rooms have benefited me almost more than anything. Being a Political Science major and Rhetoric, Psychology double minor, design has never really been a part of my education. It was nerve-racking just thinking about stepping into a field of work that I only had a passing-by knowledge on. But thanks to the Wabash College Liberal Arts education system, I have been able to utilize my critical thinking skills to rise to the challenge. Not only have the escape rooms gone well throughout this summer, but the Rotary Jail has also given me the opportunity to reach out to the community. At least once a month we do a free movie night that allows members from the community come to the Jail and have a nice relaxing evening. Also throughout the summer, we have held two Art Camps that let kids come in afternoons for a week and do fun arts and crafts. This internship has also given me an opportunity to outreach to the Wabash community even stronger. This coming October, the MCCF while be hosting a Haunted Jail that will be run in the Rotary Jail. My boss, Brittney Combs, has developed the idea to have the Haunted Jail become a scare competition between Wabash College and the school down south. This opportunity will help the Wabash Brotherhood give back to the community. Internships are one of the most essential you can do during your time at college; gaining experience, taking a chance in a field you may not know a lot about, and extending your network. No matter your previous experience, Wabash prepares you for anything. WAF.
Ben Stachowski ‘19 enFocus – This summer I interned at enFocus in South Bend, IN. My internship consisted of working on two projects throughout my eight weeks in South Bend. Both projects required frequent client meetings, internal team meetings, research, and presentations. I sought to intern at enFocus because I wanted an internship that would allow me to grow my entrepreneurial and professional skills while getting the chance to make an impact on the projects that I worked on. enFocus’ brand promise is “Smart People. Bold Ideas. Greater Good.” This message means that enFocus believes that if they empower talent then they can help to build better communities by creating opportunities to start new ventures and innovate within existing organizations.
In my first project, an enFocus fellow and I worked with the Elkhart County Solid Waste Management District to implement a recycling education program into the Elkhart County Schools. This project was in its very beginning stages, so I had to complete a couple of weeks of best practice research before I could start convening focus groups and taking site visits. Once research was completed, I set-up these meetings and helped to facilitate a handful of them to gauge the best ways to get recycling curriculum into the schools. After hearing from many different schools in the community, we realized that many of them did not even recycle. As many consultants and entrepreneurs have to do, we had to make a pivot in our project and turn our focus to getting recycling bins into the schools before we could implement the recycling education curriculum. I finished my project by presenting my findings to the Elkhart Solid Waste Management Advisory Board and writing an internal final report for the next fellow that was going to continue this project and to the advisory board to summarize what we had completed and a timeline for the future. The hopes are to have this project off the ground by the beginning of next school year.
As for my second project. I worked with another intern and fellow to create a business plan for a film office in Goshen, IN. This project had a lot of client meetings to grasp the interest for the film office and surveying filmmakers in the area to figure out what was important when creating a film office. Once collecting this data, we performed a market analysis and then wrote the business plan. Off of the business plan, we created a presentation that would later be presented to the City of Goshen.
Overall this internship has been a great experience. The fellows were very welcoming and open to any and all of the intern’s ideas. There was truly a family atmosphere at enFocus, which allowed everyone the opportunity to work at their peak potential. I would especially like to thank Patrick Jones (Class of ’15) who is the Program Director at enFocus and the CIBE for giving me this great opportunity. I am very confident that this internship will help me in my future endeavors.
Ifrat Zaman ’20 The Coaching Toolbox LLC – This summer, I virtually interned with The Coaching Toolbox LLC. The Coaching Toolbox LLC is a company that provides the highest quality resources for high school and college coaches to improve their programs. This troubled me at first because I was not a sports-person, but upon starting my internship, I quickly learned that my work was solely based on digital marketing, something that I was familiar with as I was a participant of the Marketing Immersion Program. From the very first day, I was working alongside the founder and president of the company, who is a Wabash graduate. I learned various technical skills necessary to operate websites. These were online tools that analyzed the traffic of the website, tools to create web pages, and SEO tools to optimize the website’s incoming traffic. The best part of my internship was that I was given ample opportunities to apply my newfound knowledge of these tools by applying them to existing websites. By the end of the first week, I was working on increasing the traffic to the website, which increased by over 300% by the end of my internship. I also worked on optimizing the website using SEO tools and created user-friendly sales pages for the company’s e-commerce site. Besides working on improving the company, I also participated in the daily operations, like scheduling emails, social media posts, push notifications, etc. Besides the technical skills, I also learned to manage my time efficiently because I had to meet deadlines for the daily operations, while also working on longer projects like creating a sales page. This taught me how to prioritize when working on several tasks at the same time. I also had to learn to multitask, and I usually found myself working on two tasks side by side. I believe these were my greatest takeaway from the internship as I would be using these abilities in various stages of my life. The internship was a great experience. Working alongside the President and DirectorofSalesof the company allowed me to get a glimpse of the several aspects that mold together to operate an “online” business. The work was divided among the three of us and we even bounced off ideas to improve the company. I definitely felt that my ideas were heard and executed. Overall, it was an amazing exposure to the vast world of digital marketing. Thank you very much to Mr. Brian Williams (president), Mr. Kevin Roy (Director of Sales), Mr. Roland Morin, Ms. Julia Perry, and Ms. Cassie Haganfor providing me with this opportunity. Check out The Coaching Toolbox website here:https://coachingtoolbox.net