Hello! My name is Cara Armstrong and I am excited to share my internship experience with you over the course of this summer. I recently finished my third year at Ohio State, majoring in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance and a minor in Leadership Studies. This summer I am interning at Cisco Systems in Research Triangle Park, which is located in North Carolina between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Along with two other interns, I am living in a house in Durham, near Duke University. Thankfully, my internship did not start until June 12, so I was able to relax for a few weeks of the summer. I am excited to dive into my internship, but first I will tell you a little about myself and how I secured my internship.
Beginning my freshman year at Ohio State, I was unsure of what I wanted to pursue within the finance field. I got involved in the Undergraduate Finance Association and went to their weekly meetings to learn more about different careers and companies within finance. These meetings helped me weed out jobs that I knew were not right for me, like investment banking and financial advising. My sophomore year led me to a new job at Fisher College of Business in the Undergraduate Leadership and Engagement Office. I completed administrative work supporting different co-curricular programs, such as student organizations. Over the year, I networked with different companies, joined new organizations and decided that I was going to travel abroad to Europe for the summer. Deciding not to have an internship between my sophomore and junior year worried me because I did not wish to hinder my future chances at gaining an internship or job. In hindsight, traveling abroad did not hinder my career outlook, but rather broadened it. Interviewers and employers love that I had overseas experience and gained valuable skills that could seldom be taught through school or work. Over the course of the summer I traveled to New York City, went on the Sustainable Business Global Lab in Copenhagen and Rotterdam, spent time in Amsterdam with new friends, lived in Germany with extended family, traveled to the Alps, went to a Euro Cup soccer game in France, visited Rome and Barcelona, along with the Spanish islands of Ibiza and Formentera. The new experiences were invigorating and allowed me to become more independent and adaptable.
When I got home, I started my junior year and began my search for an internship for the following summer. During this time I became the Vice President of Operations for the Undergraduate Finance Association, switched my minor to Leadership Studies, and started in the Business Analytics Industry Cluster. My responsibilities at work increased as I became Peer Impact Consultant, where I help students get involved in co-curricular activities to assist them in finding a career path and developing outside of the classroom. I applied to many different internships, but one company caught my interest. I had seen Cisco Systems on campus the previous year, and they came to the Finance Career fair where I was able to speak one on one with someone in the rotational program. Knowing the opportunities I would have at a giant technology company like Cisco, this company quickly became the place I wanted to work. I learned everything I could about the company and the rotational program. Going into the first interview I felt prepared and confident in my interest in the company. After the interview I emailed my interviewer, thanking him for his time. I also emailed the person I met the Finance Career Fair, telling her how my interview went. After about a week I received an email asking for a second round interview. I was ecstatic that my personality and passion for the company had paid off. Thankfully, I got an email a few days later congratulating me on getting the internship; I couldn’t have been happier! The next 8-9 months following were difficult because I desperately wanted this new phase of my life to begin. Rather than being nervous for my new internship, I welcomed my new work with open arms!
by Sarah Steenrod
While it seems like just yesterday (okay, so more like 13 years ago) I was an intern at Neiman Marcus in Las Vegas, the lessons I learned and experiences I had a during that pivotal time in my college and professional career are crystal clear. Here are some tips that will help make your internship a success:
- Set goals. Having personal and professional goals can help you make the most of your summer, stay on track, and know if you have achieved what you set out to do.
- Ask questions. An internship is a learning process and you may need to seek clarification along the way.
- Participate in all intern and company activities that you are invited to. It’s a great way to meet fellow interns and people at the company who are investing their time in your experience.
- Share your ideas. People want to know what you think, so speak up!
- If you finish your work, ask for more. By taking initiative, you may end up with an awesome project or learning experience.
- Pack your lunch. You’ll save money and calories. It’s absolutely fine to join your colleagues and treat yourself to lunch every once in a while, but you will thank yourself at the end of the summer if you don’t blow your paychecks on takeout sushi.
- Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Always be sure to follow the dress code. Make sure your clothes are clean, neat, and pressed
- Get a good night’s rest. If you’re used to going to bed at 2 a.m., the sound of the alarm at 6 a.m. is going to be a rude awakening (literally and figuratively). No one at your workplace will care if you’re tired, so don’t look or act tired.
- Consider your internship a three-month interview. This is your opportunity to make the most of each day with the potential of getting a job offer at the end.
- Ask people if you can be of help to them. You might think you don’t have a lot to offer, but perhaps one of your colleagues has a child that is considering your university and would love to hear your perspective.
- Explore the city…and the food. If you’re in Cleveland, don’t miss the West Side Market and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. St. Louis is famous for fried ravioli. In Houston, be sure to try the BBQ.
- Exercise. Take a brisk walk, ride a bike, run, do yoga! Do whatever you like, just get moving!
- Drink water. That’s what the water coolers are for! Eight 8-ounce glasses day is what’s recommended, but if that sounds like a lot, just start with a couple glasses a day. It also helps to get a water bottle that you really like.
- If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, find a way to fix it, and move on. Don’t make excuses.
- Connect with alumni from your school. Use your university’s alumni club. Tap into the LinkedIn Find Alumni tool.
- Check in regularly with your parents, family members, and friends and let them know how your internship is going….they will appreciate it.
- Say please. It’s amazing how many people will be willing to help you if you ask nicely.
- Follow all computer rules and lock your computer when you step away from your desk. Also, if your company has a social media policy, refrain from posting on Facebook during work hours.
- Ask for feedback. Some supervisors will be good at giving you positive and constructive feedback, while others may be less forthcoming. If they know it’s important to you, they may be more likely to give it.
- Avoid office gossip. If someone talks about others to you, they are probably talking about you to others.
- Pay attention to your experiences, reflect on them, and jot down a few notes. Your worst on-the-job experience may someday be your best interview story. The trick is remembering all the details.
- Wear sunscreen. Seriously
- Be present and enjoy the experience!
- Keep in touch. Don’t wait until you need something to e-mail your former supervisor. Send an e-mail every once in a while to check in and let them know how you’re doing.
- Thank people and let them know how they impacted your life and career. A handwritten note is a very nice touch.
Sarah Steenrod is Director of Undergraduate Career Consultation and Programs in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Want to stand out for job opportunities? The 2015 Leadership Summit is an annual, all-day experience that seeks to bring together aspiring student leaders from across Ohio State’s campus. This event will allow you the opportunity to uncover your leadership strengths and network. The itinerary includes a VP of UPS opening speaker, break-out development sessions held by industry professionals and dinner with company recruiters.
The 2015 Leadership Summit will be held at the Ohio Union on January 31st from 1-7 PM.
Deadline to register is December 15th.
Find out more information and register online http://www.osuleadershipsummit.com/student-registration.html!
One of my favorite things about interning at Marathon this summer is the opportunity to lead my intern class by serving on the Intern/Co-op Advisory Board (otherwise known as ICAB) as the Chair. I know I’ve talked a little bit about this in my previous posts, but we finally had our first official ICAB social event last week!
After a week and a half of hard planning, we were finally ready! Last Friday, we had about 70 interns gather in the auditorium for “Intern Speed-Meeting.” We sat the interns down at tables of six and gave them five minutes to introduce themselves, state what department they were working in, and answer two questions on the screen before rotating a few of them. The questions weren’t the typical “What’s your favorite movie?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” questions, but rather thoughtful invocations such as “If all 50 states went to war with each other, which state would win and why?” and “What is the most useless superpower?” to make everyone step out of their comfort zone and think outside the box.
I think the event was a success! We had a few logistical errors that popped up when we got there such as deciding where to seat everyone and figuring how to rotate the interns, but it all worked out in the end! I’ve heard some great feedback about the event and I feel like everyone had a good time getting to socialize with their fellow interns. After all, we are all future potential employees of Marathon and happy company makes a happy company!
Our next ICAB event is a “Lunch and Learn” with one of the refining experts in the company to learn more about the refining process and the backbone of Marathon. I am so proud of my board and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with them this summer! Serving as ICAB Chair is one of the highlights of my internship thus far and it really has taught me much about leading a team and the importance of staying organized and making yourself available to others. For all future interns/co-ops at Marathon, I definitely recommend applying for one of the board positions. Not only is it a great way to meet people and a nice resume-booster, it is also fun and extremely rewarding.
As a side note: I had breakfast with Donald Templin (the CFO of Marathon!), a senior VP of Corporate Planning, a VP of Finance, and the finance interns last week! Starting the day off with a talk about leadership, the importance of fully grasping every opportunity, and a delicious breakfast casserole was definitely an experience to remember. I am so thankful to have had that opportunity.
I can’t believe I’m on my fourth week of my internship. Time certainly has flown by!
Until next time, everyone!
It’s hard to believe that I just finished up my second week with Marathon Petroleum! I’ve been learning so much, meeting so many people, and having just an all-around fantastic summer. I am so blessed and thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given this summer from the projects that I have been working on to the chance to be the Chair of the Intern/Co-op Advisory Board and so much more!
Due to confidentiality matters, I can’t go into too much detail about my projects here at Marathon, but you can rest assured that I am loving going to work everyday and learning more about the importance of competitive intelligence in the field of business development. My supervisor, my mentor, and my co-workers are all incredibly helpful and always willing to answer any questions that might come up. It’s pretty cool how they instill so much trust in their two interns to work according to our own pace and produce high-quality results.
A project that I have been working on that I can actually talk about is a case study with the finance interns regarding the ROI of a $40 million acquisition simulation. This is based on a past business deal in Marathon’s history. Being a marketing major who might not have done too well in Jay Wellman’s 3220 finance class, I was and still am a little worried about this project since finance isn’t the area of my expertise. My team and my supervisor know that I am ready to learn and willing to help out where I can, but recognize that this isn’t where I feel the most comfortable so I am thankful for their understanding.
I’m a little shy around new people, so I’ve really been trying to push myself to get out of my comfort zone and make friends since I knew almost no one coming to Findlay. Thankfully, my roommates are fun to be around and like to hang out. We always have interns sending out emails for “Wing Night Wednesdays” and get-togethers at various houses so I try to go to what I can to meet as many people as possible. Everyone has been so friendly. After all, we’re only here for three months so why not try to make the most of it?
Finally, being the Chair of the Intern/Co-op Advisory Board has been an amazing experience. I organized and ran my first board meeting earlier this week and I’d like to say that it was a success! I even got a reservation for the fancy director’s room with the big plasma TV so that was kind of cool. We conducted a productive brainstorming session to come up with ideas for social, business, and community service related events for the summer 2014 intern class. Getting to develop my leadership skills while getting involved at Marathon Petroleum is a fabulous experience and I am so glad to have that opportunity here!
Ten more weeks! I feel like it’s going to fly by before I even realize it, but I’m ready for the ride of a summer.
Until next time!