Destination: Internship

The spring semester of my junior year became crunch time as I navigated through interview after interview. I had three incredibly unique interview experiences, and I would love to take the time to dissect them here. We will call them Retailer #1, Retailer #2, and Reynolds and Reynolds.

 

Retailer #1:

I met Retailer #1 at the OSU Career Fair where they became immediately interested in me. A recruiter and I hit it off, and she signed me up for an on-campus interview for that Friday. I was ecstatic, but incredibly nervous because I only had three days to prepare. That Friday morning, I arrived in Gerlach Hall 15 minutes before my interview and sat with shaking hands. I kept looking at the clock as the minute hand slowly shifted. Unfortunately, it kept shifting until it was over 15 minutes past my interview time. About 20 minutes past the time, my interviewers came out to retrieve me, frazzled and apologetic for being late. We walked to a private room and conducted an interview, an incredibly uncomfortable interview. The next day I received an email that I hadn’t been selected for the job, and that they could give no feedback. It was a difficult experience to feel powerless, but I moved on in my internship search.

 

Retailer #2:

I found Retailer #2 online, and sent in my application. They responded within one week and asked me to complete a second application. I filled out the information, wrote an essay, and heard back by the end of the month that I had been selected to proceed to the video recorded interview. Retailer #2 conducted their interviews with no person on the other side! For my video interview I was prompted with seven questions. Every question was presented on my screen for 30 seconds, and then I had to record myself answering for two minutes. The scary part? There was only one take. What I said was permanent and would eventually be judged by their recruiting team. After the interview I felt confident in how it went and hoped to hear back. After two months of no responses, I emailed the recruiting office saying I had another offer. Retailer #2 never responded to me.

 

Reynolds & Reynolds:

My interviewing experience was transparent from beginning to end. I found Reynolds and Reynolds through OSU’s database, and became interested in them because they had an amazing internship reputation. After doing my research, I thought it would be incredible to work in B2B (business to business). I sent my application in through email. In less than three days I had a response. No, not a computer-generated response, but a person at the other end. She sent me a link to a video about previous interns’ experiences and requested that I filled out a few forms. Two days later I was prompted to complete assessments that would gauge my credentials and cultural fit. The most daunting part was an hour-long aptitude assessment, but if anything, it proved how seriously internships are taken at Reynolds. After I passed all the assessments, I had a Skype interview, took another aptitude test, and then had a final Skype interview to finish off the process. I was required to take a drug test, and was offered an internship the day my results came in. In retrospect, all I can say is wow. I accepted a position with Reynolds because their interviewing process was systematic and intentional. I was constantly aware of my status, and the recruiter knew me by name. This meant more to me than any company could ever know.

For the struggling student climbing through interviews, I offer this advice:

  1. Be aware that you are also interviewing the company. Their actions reflect their business.
  2. If you have a bad experience with a recruiter, pick yourself up and keep striving for success.
  3. Don’t be afraid to reach out about the status of your application.
  4. Practice being on camera. Many recruiters are gravitating towards Skype and online interviews.

Unexpected Lessons Learned

With just three weeks left of interning at Unilever and living in New York City, there have been a myriad of lessons and takeaways I have have been fortunate enough to gain that will benefit me greatly in my career going forward. From social to analytical skills, it has been seven weeks of discovering new passions as much as it has been learning valuable life and business skills. Going into this summer, there were lessons I knew I’d be walking away with, but I did not expect to learn so many new things about myself and the ‘real world’ in such a short time. In this post, I’d like to share some of those surprises I’ve had along the way!

Unexpected Lesson #1: Coffee is GOOD (I think)

Not really sure if this is a good or bad thing to be honest. At first I thought it was bad because now that I’ve had it for a few weeks, I can notice a slight difference in my energy level in the mornings. However that feeling is usually instantly offset because it’s pretty darn good stuff and I just really can’t help myself. We’ll put this one as a toss up for now and then reassess in my last post this summer.

Unexpected Lesson #2: NYC is not that difficult to navigate

Now this one is definitely a good surprise, and really one I was not expecting to discover this summer. Not only does your iPhone tell you exactly how to get anywhere, but the general layout of the city is fairly simple once you gather your surroundings. It didn’t happen in one day, but surely happened quicker than I thought, which I was pretty thrilled with. Now, all the myths and rumors about NYC subways are TRUE, but they get you to where you need to go so you just have to take it in. Best part about the subway is that most trains are air conditioned. Most.

Unexpected Lesson #3: Work doesn’t really have to feel like work at all

This has probably been the biggest surprise of the summer, and one I found out fairly early into my internship. The combination of having such a fun project and working on an iconic brand has made the work so meaningful that I sometimes forget that I am actually doing this as a job! However, what makes everyday worth looking forward to are the people I get to interact with. I can honestly say that I get to work with some of the most genuinely friendly and intelligent people in the world. You read that right, the world. It is amazing that I consider the ones around me as friends before I say they are my coworkers. The culture here wasn’t built by accident and anyone who has worked there could probably tell you exactly what I am talking about. Getting to connect with people from many different backgrounds has been an incredible experience and I am so excited to continue to doing so! It has also been really cool to meet many Buckeyes here, hear their stories and share my own story with them! Every fellow Buckeye has been incredibly nice and welcoming and truly speaks to the large network and support system that Fisher and Ohio State has all around the country.

The summer up to this point truly has been an eye opening experience in quite a few ways. I have been able to get more out of this opportunity than I ever thought was possible, and I still have three weeks to go! I’m quite sure there are a few more discoveries I will be making before I return to Columbus for one last ride!

Your Favorite Intern,

Austin Hennig

My Weekend Trips in Cali (Part 1)

California is a huge state, so there’s so much to explore! If you consider yourself an outdoorsy person, there’s no lack of things to do in nature here. I’ve gone on a few weekend trips that I’d love to share. After a week in the office, I think getting outdoors is the best way to refuel and reenergize the mind and body. Hope you enjoy!

Big Basin Redwoods State Park + Castle Rock State Park

These state parks are about an hour south of San Jose, so it makes for the perfect day trip. The redwoods are a must see. Fun fact, the redwoods are the tallest trees in the world and can grow to be over 300 feet tall. With over 80 miles of trails, there’s no shortage of exploration. I got on the Sequoia trail, which was about 5 miles long, and took a slight detour to see a waterfall. I kept my eyes peeled for the infamous banana slug the entire time, but unfortunately did not successfully locate one. I did catch a few of the native stellar’s jays, which had a beautiful shimmering, almost holographic coloring.



Castle Rock State Park was my second destination on this trip. I found a great trail that climbed to sensational views of the basin below. I found a cliff to rest on at the top and to take all of the views in while in solitude.

Big Sur+Santa Cruz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Sur is another natural area of California. One of my roommates and I made the two hour trip south, driving on Route 1 most of the time. From seeing people driving this route in movies, blasting music and appreciating the coastal views of this scenic drive felt surreal. It felt like I was in my own movie! We stopped several times to take in the views along the way, and eventually made it to McWay Falls, where we took in the beauty, and hiked around down to the bluffs near the shoreline. I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junky, so I had a blast free climbing different rock formations and getting close to the edge, watching the waves crash below me.

 

That night, we drove to Hollister, CA to spend the night in an AirBnB. Yes, contrary to popular beliefs, Hollister, CA is actually a place, not just a teen clothing store. It was surprisingly a small, quiet town, but our accommodation was outstanding. We stayed on a rescue farm in an ex-veterinarians office, where the exam rooms were converted to bedrooms (talk about an interesting place to stay the night). In the morning, the owner gave us a tour of the farm and their rescue animals, from horses to ostriches, they were so passionate about helping animals in need. If you’re ever in Hollister, or even California in general, I would highly recommend this experience! Check it out:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15785829

In the morning, we headed out to Santa Cruz, CA, where we spent time exploring the town. Two highlights were going to an ice cream shop that had roasted marshmallow topping for the ice cream, and going to the bookstore in the town, where I bought a book I’ve had on my reading list forever, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. So far, I’d highly recommend it.

 

 

And that’s a wrap! Notice how this is only part 1, well part 2 will be out soon, and may or may not include Lake Tahoe, Half Moon Bay, and Wine Country.

Cheers,

Alli

 

Living Our Best Lives

YAY! We have officially survived half of our internships. I am now in my eighth week, so I’m about two-thirds of the way finished. These past two months I have definitely learned a lot and can now share what a day in the life of a Quicken intern is like!

A DAY IN THE LIFE

To start off, as a Mortgage Banking intern, my day-to-day life probably differs from other interns’ work days that aren’t in mortgage banking; this is just to give you an idea of my work life! During my 12-week internship, I spent eight weeks on the floor shadowing mortgage bankers and learning about financial sales. The goal of the mortgage banking internship is to eventually become a full-time mortgage banker after graduation. I will say that although I have been working since my sophomore year of high school and have held a variety of jobs (I’ve worked at a restaurant, coached gymnastics, been an instructor at cheer camps, and worked in retail!) it was a very different experience for me to work in such a male-dominated industry like mortgage banking. I was also not prepared to see and hear about clients’ financial information. In order to take out a mortgage, you have to give your full credit report, income amount, and how much money is in your savings and other assets. It takes some getting used to, but I feel right at home now. Unfortunately, the mortgage banking interns aren’t legally allowed to call clients because we aren’t licensed. To be licensed to speak to a client, you have to be licensed at the federal level (more on that below!) as well as in the state that the client is looking to buy a home in. Some of the projects that I work on include texting and emailing clients, updating production boards, and auditing calls. When we’re not working on smaller projects, we listen in on calls to learn more about the industry and how to sell a mortgage. Some days I come in earlier and work later than others; we’re lucky to get overtime so I try to work as much as I can! I normally get in around 8:30, break for lunch around noon, and leave between 5-6. On some days we also attend presentations specifically for the interns and listen to speakers, mostly about sales. Quicken has a ton of fun intern events during the workday and after work, including free (!!!) tickets to a Tigers game, yoga on the rooftop, and social events at places like Punch Bowl Social! Most of them are not mandatory but are a fun way to network with other interns and within Quicken. We even took a day off of work to have Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken, speak to us about the company and its values. However, this was what my average day looked like only during the first eight weeks of the internship. For the last four weeks of my internship, I am taking the SAFE class and the SAFE exam at the end of the class, with the hopes of becoming a licensed mortgage banker.

I’m assuming you don’t know anything about mortgages (I know I didn’t!), as most people don’t until they actually have a mortgage themselves. The SAFE exam is an industry-regulated exam that every mortgage banker has to take to become a mortgage banker. As mortgage banking interns, we are very lucky to have the chance to take this exam through Quicken, and upon passing, to become a licensed mortgage banker. For these last four weeks of my internship, I am taking the SAFE class and taking the SAFE exam at the very end of my internship to hopefully pass and become licensed at the federal level! The class itself feels like a high school class because it’s from 8:30-5:30 every day, but it’s really just a semester-long college class crammed into three and a half weeks. The SAFE class consists of homework, reading, and studying, and we have trainers who teach us the material through PowerPoints and other fun activities, like Kahoot! quizzes. We also have independent study time to work on whatever we need to during class. We have quizzes and tests each week as well to ensure that we are staying on top of the material and will be ready to pass the SAFE exam at the end of the class. We are also required by law to complete a 20-hour week in class with a trainer, where we learn absolutely everything we need to know about mortgages. It is a very challenging class, and for those three and a half weeks, you have to really work hard if you want to pass. But, like everything else in life, nothing worth having comes easy. If you put the work in now, you will definitely reap the benefits later!

BALANCING WORK + YOUR (SOCIAL) LIFE

This topic is something that I think a lot of people struggle with; I know I do! Although it’s very tempting to come home from work and go straight to bed (and sometimes your body just needs to take a nap), now that we are adults we have responsibilities. As a perfectionist, it has always been hard for me to let go of work and school even once I’m not at work or in class anymore. It always helps to take a deep breath and to let go of everything work-related until you go back to work the next day. As exhausted as I am when I get home, I always make a to-do list in my head of what I have to do before bed. It normally consists of eating dinner, working out, showering, and doing anything “fun” if I have time (i.e. Netflix and/or social media). It’s important to make the most of the time you have after work, because believe me 8am comes around very quickly! It’s also important to enjoy the small amount of time that you have to yourself at night and take time to relax. There really is no key to balancing your work life and personal life, and nobody is perfect, but the easiest way to balance your life in a healthy way is to prioritize. I always try to do the most important things first and then if there’s time for the not-so-important things I do those last. It’s not ideal, especially because I try to be in bed by 11 so I can get up the next day at 7. But being in a time crunch after work has actually helped me because I don’t have time to procrastinate and I end up being more productive! At the same time, be sure to schedule time to go out and do fun things. There’s nothing wrong with being a workaholic, but especially when it comes to summer internships, you’re still in college and you should still be having fun, especially on the weekends! It will probably be hard at first, but over time you will get the hang of it.

Well, that’s it for now! I’ll be back sometime soon with more updates on how to “Live Your Best Life” 😉

This will be fun dance moms GIF by Lifetime Telly

bossy beyonce GIF

the office party hard GIF

From Intern to Full-Time Employee

With the internships coming to an end, the one thing that some of you may have on your mind is, “How am I going to wrap everything up and try and turn this internship into a full-time offer?”. While this can be an intense question to think about, there are some things that you can do to get a feel for the potential and make your interest known.

It’s not uncommon for companies to start having these conversations with their interns before they leave the company to go back to school. With that being said, it’s important to keep in touch with the people at the company instead of just waiting to hear from them. This will show them that you take the initiative and are interested in the company. It will also help you to be remembered and give you a better chance of being placed sooner rather than later. Going along with the keeping in touch, it’s important to continue that networking that you’ve hopefully been working on throughout the entire internships. The more positive connections and relationships that you build with both the people on your team and in other departments, will help you stay in touch with the business and could also help make you known. You never know what doors these connections could open for you now or down the road after you’ve already been working for a couple of years.

Make sure that you finish strong with the internship and don’t slack off even though the summer may be over, and you’re headed back to school and your friends. Keep in mind that you’re still very much expected to give the company your all and learn up to the moment that you walk out of that door on your last day. It’s the least that you can do for the opportunity that they have given you this summer. In addition to that, make sure that you are continually talking to your manager and set up a meeting with them to discuss all of the things that you did well and can improve on in the future. This will help you develop yourself further and make you more marketable as an employee, but it also shows your willingness to learn and better yourself.

Finally, make your intentions known. If you are wanting to move on into a special rotational program or certain role in the company, don’t be afraid to set up a meeting with someone who oversees that program or an HR person to discuss that. Make sure that you’re not coming off too aggressive with it, but just show an interest. Ask good questions that will provide you with helpful information about how that job or program works. Inquire about interviews or potential opening and understand that while they may not be looking for people at that moment, you are showing interest can help you get that job in the future or a role that is similar in the meantime.

All in all, there’s nothing wrong with making your goals clear to someone in the company. A lot of time people make the mistake of not discussing their desire to work at a company and so they miss out on an opportunity that could have been theirs if they just spoke up. If you feel uncomfortable about bringing these topics up, lighten up the mood by getting lunch or coffee with the person and make it less formal by making it more of a chat and not a meeting.

Good luck wrapping up your internships and make sure that you get the most out of these last couple weeks!

Cheers!

Hunter