Business Students' Summer Internships Pave the Way to Employment
- By Jon Reidel
For business students like senior Victor Hartmann, the decision to spend the summer working at a local restaurant or outdoor camp no longer seems like a viable option. Not if they intend to compete for coveted corporate jobs against the thousands of other business school students flooding the job market come graduation, most of whom will have already completed coveted summer internships.
“Internships are essential for an undergraduate because without one you really don’t have a lot on your resume to offer,” says Hartmann, who is interning for online digital advertising giant Digitas in Boston. “It’s competitive out there, and you need something to set you apart. When it comes to landing a job it’s all about having done it before.”
Hartmann is among 60 percent of the students in the UVM School of Business Administration performing business-related summer internships at companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ralph Lauren, Vtrim, Oppenheimer, Boeing, Jet Blue, General Electric, Ernst & Young, Dealer.com and others. The increased emphasis on internships has contributed to almost 70 percent of the Class of 2011 receiving full-time job offers within three months after graduation, according to an alumni survey.
“Internships add tremendous value to the student experience because students acquire hands-on training in a professional environment, allowing them to integrate the theory learned in the classroom with the actual practice of business solutions,” said Sanjay Sharma, dean of the School of Business Administration, who hired a full-time career counselor dedicated to helping students land internships and launch successful job searches. “Internships also enable employers to take a closer look at the students and decide if they want to employ them full-time after graduation. Experiential learning opportunities such as internships, study abroad, case competitions, networking events and business speakers have become a critical component of the undergraduate curriculum here at the School of Business Administration.”
Revamped efforts by the faculty members like Associate Professor Susan Hughes and her colleagues in accounting; improved and newly formed recruiting relationships with firms in Boston and New York; and improved alumni connections with top business professionals like Sean Riley ’90, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston, have resulted in students landing high-quality internships.
“Internships, especially in public accounting, are particularly important as successful interns receive full-time job offers for positions starting next year,” says Hughes. “If the intern had a good experience, it’s likely they will accept the offer, or at least keep it open while exploring other possibilities. It’s a great feeling for them to enter their final year of study knowing they have a position they truly want waiting for them after graduation.”
The following is a sampling of some of the summer internships held by students from the School of the Business Administration.
Name: Elizabeth Bernier
Hometown: South Burlington, Vt.
Company: Vtrim Healthy Weight Management (Middlebury, Vt.)
Job title: Sales and marketing intern
Job duties: "I am working on research as far as which markets we will go into next and looking at who the program will work best for," Bernier says. "We are rolling out a new website soon, so I am helping with the beta testing for it."
What she likes most about the internship: "Vtrim is a very small company at the moment and is in the process of building the brand, so it is very interesting to see what goes into a start-up company and all the different aspects and details that go into every decision that must be made within the company. It has been a great learning experience so far."
Future plans: "I am planning on working in marketing when I graduate and would eventually like to open my own business."
Name: Ward Waesche
Hometown: Greenwich, Conn.
Company: Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. (New York)
Job title: Summer analyst (high yield fixed income research)
Job duties: "I’m responsible for building company valuation models, building debt schedules, updating models, listening to earning calls, preparing presentations/company reports for clients and sales/traders both within and outside the firm."
What he likes most: "I enjoy not only learning the ins and outs of companies as we evaluate their various debt instruments," Waeshce sayd, "but how we effectively/efficiently interact and communicate that information across our own traders/salesman and also people on the buy side of the business."
Future plans: I’m seeking a full-time position in nearly the exact same line of work in the NYC area.
Name: Jason Fish
Hometown: Potomac, Md.
Company: Ernst and Young (Washington, D.C.)
Job title: Intern, mergers and acquisitions
Job duties: "I'm dealing with mergers and acquisitions on both the buy and sell side," Fish says. "We work with clients on finding a strategic partner to acquire or sell to, and I specifically am a part of the business valuations and deal structuring. I have worked on deals ranging from $10 million to $200 million."
What he likes most: "I really like the fast-paced environment of the internship, as every day is different, requiring new quantitative skills I have to learn."
Future plans: "I plan on either starting my own company or work for a strategic consulting firm, and/or would like to move into private equity in the long run."
Name: Justin Marquis
Hometown: Milton, Vt.
Company: National Life Group (Montpelier, Vt.)
Job title: Staff accountant – Equity Services Incorporated (broker/dealer subsidiary of National Life Group)
Job duties: "I'm responsible for creating and booking journal entries and recording all revenue and expenses. I prepare month/quarter end financial statements and analyze any monthly variances and differences from projected plans."
What he likes most: "I enjoy being able to apply what I've learned in college toward real world situations, Marquis says. "I also like learning about how the company operates and how an insurance company makes a profit."
Future plans: "I hope to join a large auditing firm after college, obtain my CPA, and continue to expand my knowledge on the accounting profession."
Name: Patrick Marshall
Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
Company: Vista Produce (Puebla, Mexico and Miami, Fla.)
Job title: Management accounting intern
Job duties: "Preparation of monthly financial statements in multiple currencies, budget and financial statement analysis, preparation of management reports, and participation in weekly meetings with management. I recently spent a week in Puebla, Mexico collaborating with onsite accountants developing an English chart of accounts and preforming a physical inventory."
What he likes most: "What I most enjoy about this internship," Marshall says, "is the challenge of working for a startup company that operates internationally. This internship has allowed me to develop and refine my accounting skills and has given me the experience necessary to fluently speak and understand the language of accounting. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to learn a little Spanish and to travel to Mexico."
Future plans: "I will be finishing up my master's in accounting at UVM and then seeking a full-time position at a large accounting firm."
Bonus internship: Marshall is currently working on his second internship of the summer at Johnson Lambert in Burlington as a summer audit intern preparing corporate tax returns and participating in all stages of the audit process, including planning, testing, and fieldwork.
Name: Victor Hartmann
Hometown: Cohasset, Mass.
Company: Digitas (Boston)
Job title: Project manager
Job duties: "I work with different teams (creative, tech, new business, etc.) to identify key deliverables and outcomes for a wide variety of advertising clients," he says. "I do a lot of organizing and scheduling aimed at leveraging each area of expertise in the company to help us get from point A to Point B."
What he likes most: "Working with people from every department and hearing them share their ideas has been really valuable in terms of finding out where I might like to work in the future. I’ve really enjoyed working with the creative team."
Future plans: Work in advertising in a creative capacity