Nick Goode ’22 — First off, I would like to thank the Dill Fund for its generosity. As one can imagine, obtaining an internship this summer was no easy task. Companies and businesses were selective when making decisions. The Dill Small Business Fund (DSBF) funded my summer experience while learning valuable business lessons.
The company that I ended up interning for this summer was Leonard-McDowell. Leonard-McDowell is a small venture capital firm located in Zionsville, IN. This firm mainly focuses on investing in Indiana technology startups. The firm is operated by CEO Frank Leonard ’86. During this internship, I made numerous connections and have had some great experiences, such as presenting to the Indiana Secretary of State to discuss what Leonard-McDowell does while figuring out how they help Indiana businesses. I was also able to expand my network to more than just the Wabash Mafia, which I believe is not easy. However, the most interesting, and to be frank, the most meaningful experience I had during this internship was doing a sales pitch to a board member from Sharpen, a call center software company. Not only was I presenting to a board member of a company, but I was also presenting at the Silo Auto Club after I was able to tour all the fancy cars in his garage.
The most important part about this internship was discovering my strengths and weaknesses. I was able to get a lot of feedback on my strengths and weaknesses and what I can do better when presenting and speaking in a business setting. Moreover, I discovered my likes and dislikes about business and help narrow down what kind of position I would like to end up in after graduating from Wabash College in the upcoming spring. All in all, none of this would have been possible if it were not for the Dill Fund.
Thomas Hansen ’23 — I would like to start by thanking the Center for Innovation, Business, and Entrepreneurship (CIBE) at Wabash College, the Dill Small Business Fund, and Jeff Perkins ‘89 for helping to fund my internship this summer. Without all your generosity, we would not have had the opportunity to receive such wonderful summer experiences.
This summer, I had the opportunity to work under Jeff Perkins ‘89. Jeff Perkins is the Managing Director of Stanton Chase: Executive Search Consultants. They are a digital-first executive search firm focused on humanizing the recruitment process and ensuring long-term success for candidates in non-profits, media, and technology. I spent the summer working in their Washington D.C. office as a Research and Business Development intern. My everyday part in the company consisted of numerous roles. I mainly aided in research for new companies, writing articles, creating business development decks that were presented to new clients, and professional development.
Another great aspect of my internship was that it allowed me to visit many places. I had the opportunity to work in our Baltimore firm for a few days and I even got to spend a week in Barcelona. Apart from the fun I had in these two wonderful cities, I was able to benefit from working with new people from all sorts of backgrounds. I quickly learned the importance of building relationships, communication, and being able to work with tons of different people. I saw how clients from each place interacted and what I needed to do to adjust to that. Also, I learned how networking plays a tremendous part in the business world. Jeff Perkins showed me the importance of building a team and that a good reputation is the most important thing you can have.
The greatest aspect of the work that I did with Stanton Chase was participating in active searches. I aided the company in researching and sorting candidates that I felt would be a good fit for our clients. To do this, I needed to learn a lot about what our clients wanted and then see if those people fit their qualifications. This was very interesting because if done right, some clients would like what I found. Most of the roles that I did research on were executive positions. These candidates, if chosen, would be representing our clients tremendously. It was awesome to be able to contribute to such a big part of a company. I am very fortunate to have been able to work under Jeff Perkins and to have been able to experience Washington, D.C. for the summer. I learned many important lessons and skills that I will hopefully carry with me once I graduate.
Quinn Leous ’23 — First, I would like to thank the Dill Small Business Fund for funding my summer internship experience. Internship opportunities are one of the experiences that help Wabash students grow the most, and without the Dill Small Business Fund, none of that would be possible.
This summer, I was fortunate enough to work as an analyst at Peakstone Group out of Chicago, IL. Peakstone Group was recently ranked the #1 lower middle market U.S. investment bank for the second quarter of 2021. In particular, I worked with fellow intern Liam Thompson ’23 while being mentored by Michael Dockendorf ’72 and Tim Trela ’72. Both employees are Managing Directors at Peakstone Group. Liam and I have learned a lot about the professional and business world.
The experiences that I have been a part of and the skills I have gained this summer have been nothing short of unbelievable. I have learned the ins and outs of what it is like to be an analyst in the investment banking world. I was allowed to make an impact on the company from the first day. Beyond researching various venture capital and private equity deals, I created a two-page teaser. Potential investors looking to increase their investments viewed the teaser. The process helped introduce Liam and me to various terms and models that someone in the investment banking industry should understand.
Another valuable part of my internship this summer beyond technical experience has been seeing how industry leaders communicate with each other. Liam and I have had plenty of opportunities this summer to listen in on calls between Chief Financial Officers, leaders in the venture capital space, and others. Hearing how Dockendorf ’72 and Tim Trela ’72 conduct cold calls has taught me so much about communication and emotional intelligence in the business world. Additionally, they both make time in their schedules to debrief us after cold calling. I often view these cold calls as a similar experience to learning in the classroom at Wabash, taught to share my opinions even though the person instructing me has much more experience.
Overall, I learned so much about the finance world, which encourages me to pursue a career in finance after Wabash. This summer has shown me how to be a gentleman in the investment banking world while still being as successful as possible. I want to thank Michael and Tim for being the best mentors I could have asked for this summer and being people that I know I can reach out to whenever I need advice. I want to give a special thanks to Associate Dean Roland Morin ’91 for putting me into contact with Peakstone Group and helping me get my foot in the door. I believe my internship this summer will catapult my professional career after Wabash.
Liam Thompson ’23 — This summer, I have been fortunate enough to work virtually with alumni Michael Dockendorf and Tim Trela from the Peakstone Group in Chicago, IL, alongside fellow student Quinn Leous ’23 and the Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship (CIBE) at Wabash College. I would like to thank the DILL Small Business Fund for funding my experience and affording me such a unique opportunity to work on captivating projects.
The Peakstone Group was named the #1 lower middle market investment bank for 2021’s second quarter by Axial. As an analyst intern, my main responsibilities include researching prospective companies and providing a variety of data for the Peakstone team. My daily activities include conducting individual research, along with communicating with Michael, Tim, Quinn, and other members of the team. Along with developing communication and research skills, I have worked on creating and editing presentable slide decks and teasers for clients and potential clients. Another component of the internship which I have benefitted greatly from is the opportunity to listen in on and take notes on calls within the Peakstone team and with partners and prospective clients. The experience and professionalism brought to the table by Michael and Tim, as well as by the rest of the Peakstone team have afforded me an excellent example of how to go about conducting business in the private equity realm as well as in the business world in general.
Another main aspect of my research is exploring the concept of a potential alumni commerce platform. In our research, we have explored best practices from comparable institutions as well as develop a model which could be used at Wabash. Through conversations with a select group of alumni, we are working to determine how Wabash could best benefit its students and alumni base using such a platform. Through these presentations and discussions, I have been able to sharpen my confidence and ability to present and receive feedback on a concept which we have greatly shaped and developed.
Thomas Niemer ’22 — Over the last 8 weeks, I worked at Connecta Corporation in Indianapolis. I spent most of my time going back and forth between different projects with different people. I worked mainly in shipping but spent a lot of time doing various tasks in quality.
In the shipping department, I worked with two great guys who were friendly and helpful. I reorganized inventory, packaged parts, and logged information to the database. In quality control, I spent a long-time checking parts to make sure they were up to code. In the later part of my internship, I handled invoices. I printed off the invoices, filed them, and sent them to companies. Besides that, I spent a while reorganizing filing cabinets, which involved putting away files, making sure they were in chronological order, and making sure the papers inside were organized.
Thank you, Dill Small Business Fund, for funding this internship. Without the aid of the Dill Small Business Fund, I would not have had this summer opportunity. It is important to support small businesses. The last year has been tough on small businesses and this fund helps small businesses get back to normalcy.
James Younker ’22 — First off, I would like to thank Wabash College, the Career Services Office, Roland Morin, and those involved in the Dill Small Business Internship Fund. Without them I would not have had such a wonderful experience this Summer. I would also like to thank the several individuals who made this summer internship experience one for the books; an experience that will, later on, prove to have been critical to the advancement of my professional development. A special thanks to the several Wabash Alum that worked along my side throughout this opportunity, Erik Ness, Alex Cisneros, Adalid Cruz, Fabricio Monroy, Jack Wagner, and Saul Villeda. Your guys’ expertise, insight, inclusiveness, and resourcefulness has greatly impacted me and altered the potential for a worrisome experience away from home, into a positive memory worth remembering. Additionally, to the others I had the pleasure of working with, Tristan Quintanilla, Jake Fessler, Shawn Palmer, Shawn Jr., Garrett Ness, D’Avion Peebles, Toni Ness, Derek Davis, Johnathan Price, and Jarrad Eads; you all have either acted as a mentor, teacher, and/or friend during this experience and those moments shared with each one of you will be cherished, thank you!
This Summer I had the fantastic opportunity to improve my professional skills, logistical knowledge, and rhetorical abilities out in Phoenix, Arizona. I worked for Erik Ness at Commodity Transportation Services (CTS). Commodity Transportation Services, or CTS, is powered by its hard-working committed staff who play a significant role as an essential cog in the large and continuously growing logistics industry. To be particular, this company heavily interacts with large producers or shippers who look for Reefers, Semi-Trucks, or Vented Vans to send their product to the buyer. Employees here work with dispatchers, truck drivers, and large companies such as Walmart. They work on the ability to recruit, negotiate, and build relationships with carriers and/or truckers to ensure that a shipper’s product is delivered safely, efficiently, and most importantly on time. Initially, my role at CTS was to update specific spreadsheets regarding available truck loads and ones currently booked, which would assist my fellow employees in their daily professional duties as brokers and dispatchers. Additionally, right off the bat, I was put in charge of sending out what was called the Constant Contact email, a sheet showing our daily available loads, which was sent out to over 25,000 contacts. These beginning assignments allowed me to gain some critical insight into the work that goes on in this office and the logistics industry. Through these assignments, I was able to test my innovation skills which ultimately led to improved outreach, and smoother/more efficient engagement between my supervisors and their customers. After a couple of weeks, I was given more tasks vital to the company’s success such as reaching out to our associate carriers to receive crucial paperwork that helped all parties involved get paid. More importantly, I was also put in charge of our Quick Pay financial system, this is a process that gets drivers paid at the end of a load. In doing Quick Pays, I was met with many challenges but thanks to my coworkers, and a little bit of intuition, I was able to please both parties when it came to various financial transactions.
As stated previously, I was able to polish my rhetorical skills. One of the most important things I learned was the importance of defusing. Like any job, work can be stressful. Like life, not everything goes according to plan. Not everyone you interact with is going to be on their best behavior. Thus, you must be able to defuse, because it is imperative to continued success whether or not everyone may be annoyed or angry that both individuals continue to work towards success in a situation. Additionally, I was able to experience the art of negotiating. Negotiating in this business is a crucial skill to improving the company’s profits. From this, I can now tell if a truck driver is receiving a good and reasonable rate for his/her travels. Lastly, I improved my networking skills. In this industry, it is important to create relationships, especially with reliable people to ensure the product is both taken care of, and that the delivery will be made on time.
The complexity of logistics and how this business will only continue to grow is an insight I believe is worth sharing. In a conversation I had with a truck driver named Jefferey on our way down to Tucson, I asked him why he pursued truck driving as a career. Without hesitation he responded with “look in front of you, what do you see that was brought here by a truck?” The clear answer almost everything from the materials used to build the roads, the cars, and even the trees placed along the highway. They were all brought here from somewhere else. There are a ton of profitable opportunities in this business. On a final note, I wanted to thank everyone again for this wonderful experience. The CTS office in Phoenix was an absolutely incredible working environment, very friendly and welcoming.
In the summer of 2019, I got to intern for Mike Simmons, a Wabash grad and the CEO of Bridge Builder Strategies. It was my first summer internship and it gave me my first look at what working in office every day for a small consulting firm is like. In the summer of 2020,I was lucky enough to intern for Bridge Builder Strategies again but this time around it was much different.
With the circumstances of this summer we had to work from home and communicate over Zoom calls. There was no time in the office together where you could brainstorm solutions to problems on a white board in a matter of minutes or any face to face updates on deliverables. This summer Mike taught me the importance of leadership and communication and how vital those are to running a successful business in the middle of a pandemic. Mike and his leadership team managed several small groups of interns that were focused on different projects mainly around community development and experiences with measurable impact. I spent the majority of my summer researching volunteer programs for nonprofits to then create assessments for volunteer coordinators as well as social media and marketing tactics for these nonprofits that we were working with. My day to day consisted of summarizing what I had researched on specific topics and then turning that information into something that would eventually become a product that the company could offer to potential partners. As a rhetoric major and business minor, this internship gave me every opportunity to apply my classroom knowledge to the business setting especially when I was focusing on the marketing and social media best practices. It certainly was a weird summer working three feet away from my bed but because Mike prioritized communication between everyone it really helped keep us on track and make great progress on our projects. When a team was behind where they
wanted to be Mike would spend several hours a day on Zoom calls with that team to work through problems and he would always value everyone’s input which gave all of the interns a chance to bring to the table everything they had to offer.
This summer challenged me in ways that I had never experienced before but I learned how important leadership and communication are and how to effectively do thosethings even in difficult settings.
Mitchell Beard ’20 —When you approach many College Seniors and ask them what they did over the summer, you are sure to get a variety of different answers. “I went to the beach with my friends.” “Read a few great books.” “Went on a family vacation.” And while I could give all of those answers, what stands out for me is my 2019 summer internship working as a marketer and business analyst with Safe Hiring Solutions, made possible by Wabash College and the Mellon Grant.
The first few days of work were boring, to say the least. The Director of Marketing, Claudi Hurt, gave me my first few assignments, all in research. She told me “this is one of the most import
Mitchell Beard ’20
ant jobs we do here. For us to fulfill our commitment to security, we must first understand the needs of our clients and who they are before we can do much of anything else.” At the time I was kind of disappointed, but then by the end of my internship, I realized how right she was.
After gaining a grasp of the importance of security, the current market we are in, and the needs of our customers, I started to do web development. This was a struggle for me at first since the last time I had done any website coding was in high school with outdated methods. However, I quickly picked it up and within a few weeks of my internship recreated all three of their company pages to a platform that was aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and functional on a mobile device. After completing this project, Mike McCarty, CEO & Founder & Wabash Alum, recognized my talent in creating marketing material and shifted me to my next project, managing social media.
My initial thoughts, this is going to be easy. I do my social media, how much different could it be? Within the first post or two, I realized something important. These posts are in some ways representing everyone in the company, but I’m the one speaking. Do I sound like them or me? After asking myself this question, I moved to the next, who am I speaking to? Then I realized something. I already had the answer to both questions after doing all that research at the beginning of my internship, and after shaking my head for a few moments after realizing how right Claudia was, I continued my work.
Finally, this summer I had the chance to collaborate with Eric Stauffer, VP of Technology & Wabash Alum. We worked on a variety of tech projects together such as moving older server files, updating a chat box, and working on developing new software.
As I reflect on my summer internship, I’m thankful for the opportunity. I have been able to grow both professionally and personally. I look forward to my senior year continuing my work with Safe Hiring Solutions as a Sr. Innovation Consultant with the Center for Innovation Business and Entrepreneurship.
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.
Nick Winter ’21 — This past summer, I have had the opportunity to test my liberal arts education in the world of sales. No, there is not a sales 101 on the Wabash curriculum. My Rhetoric Major, as well as a wide breadth of courses from Biology-101 to Accounting-202, helped me adapt and become successful in my internship this summer. It is a true testament to the fact that Wabash gives you the essential formula to understand and learn new topics on the fly.
Financial technology or fintech was not a subject that I had a deep understanding in un
Nick Winter ’21
til this summer. I went through the interview process and was hired as a Market Development Associate for Adorant Group in Chicago. Adorant Group is a fintech company that has developed a platform called MyMoneyRoadmap. This platform was created to help financial advisors prospect, interact, manage, and plan for their clients on a whole new level. The platform makes it streamline and easy for a CFP to manage and navigate their books of business.
One of the first tasks I had to do was take a crash course to learn the platform. This seemed like an endless task at first; however, members of the team were able to get me up to speed and make the transition as easy as possible. After learning the essentials of the platform, I was able to practice cold calls and demo scripts with senior sales members of the team. It was important to focus on language selection, tone, and substance to create a successful phone call.
The sales coaches were able to help me “ask important questions.” By asking important questions, I was able to learn more and more about the pain that each advisor had. This allowed me to learn about the needs of their practice and how our software may be a good fit. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I took coaching head on every day. Members of the Adorant team were more than a pleasure to work with. The challenges that I faced during my experience did not seem daunting because of the great team I had around me 24/7. I am very grateful to receive this paid internship from the Small Business Internship Fund. I am looking forward to using the skills I have learned this upcoming semester at Wabash.