Summer Internships: The New Bottom Line
Number of business school students completing summer internships has more than doubled since 2011
- By Jon Reidel
One of Sanjay Sharma’s primary goals when he was hired as dean of the School of Business Administration in 2011 was to increase the number of students completing summer internships. With only 30 percent doing so at the time, he set an ambitious goal of more than doubling that number.
Thanks to a series of initiatives designed to refocus the business school’s career preparation process as part of a Career Success Action Plan, the number of students landing internships in 2015 has reached 80 percent. With employers giving nearly twice as much weight to graduates’ work experience as to their academic credentials, according to a survey in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the increase couldn’t have come at a better time.
The primary drivers of the increase have been a new internship website, the hiring of an employer relations and outreach administrator to work in collaboration with UVM’s Career Center, and additional funding for programs which encourage students to consider internships. These initiatives compliment the growing campus-wide efforts to promote internships, as noted in a 2014 Wall Street Journal article Wall Street Journal article.
Many students in the business school are spending their summers at companies across the country in their respective concentrations of accounting, finance, marketing, and business analytics, among other disciplines including sales and communications. The following synopses provide a sampling of just a few.
Name: Laura Fiacco
Hometown: East Greenbush, New York
Company: Viacom International Media Networks (New York, New York)
Title: Nickelodeon Channel & International Program Sales Marketing Intern
Job duties: Creates and manages the editorial content and design layout of a bi-annual International Evergreen newsletter for Nickelodeon. Develops marketing materials; maintains key aspects of a business-to-business website; produces competitive reports and property analyses of competitors; and provides campaign and event support for Nickelodeon initiatives.
What I like most about the internship: “I love how hands-on my internship is and how I have actual responsibilities that are important to the company's success," Fiacco says. And working in the entertainment industry has its perks, she admits, like, “meeting famous people and attending fun events.”
Name: Dina Clark
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Company: EMC (Hopkinton, Massachusetts)
Title: Customer Service Business Operations Intern on the Process Team
Job duties: Shadows company professionals working with customer service programs and work with them to determine what to improve as the company moves to storing data in the cloud.
What I like most about the internship: Using basic Microsoft programs in a more professional and technical way and learning new programs such as Visio. “It is very interesting to see skills learned in the classroom directly translate into the work force,” Clark says. “It is a great company to work for, especially as an intern. They value their interns and demonstrate this by putting on frequent intern events and making sure that each intern walks away with valuable new skills and knowledge at the end of the summer.”
Name: Kaitlyn LaGue
Hometown: Berlin, Vermont
Company: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) (Boston)
Title: Assurance Intern
Job duties: Learns about the PwC Audit process through shadowing and hands on activities with three levels of employee mentors (associate, senor associate and partner) as they work with clients.
What I like most about the internship: “The people and the experience. My mentors have been fantastic in guiding me through my internship, what to expect, and helping me understand the purposes behind day-to-day action items," she says. “The experience is absolutely eye opening, and shows how to use knowledge from classes in the real world…. I find it so interesting to witness an audit in the health service industry. It also allows me to understand what Big Four accounting is really like, and I love it.”
Name: Peyton Leveillee
Hometown: South Londonderry, Vermont
Company: DigitasLBi (Boston)
Title: Integrated Production Intern
Job duties: Responsibilities focus on project management and include helping scope projects, staff teams, make timelines, schedule check-ins, and test ad units.
What I like most about the internship: “Being a part of the corporate culture of DigitasLBi. The company understands that for employees to do good work they need to be happy, so they are always trying to make your day better,” Leveillee says. "I have been able to enjoy some pretty sweet perks such as bagel Fridays, a harbour cruise and tickets to Red Sox games.”
Name: Alicia Clark
Hometown: Pawlet, Vermont
Company: Aldi (South Windsor, Connecticut)
Title: District Manager Intern
Job Duties: Rotates every two weeks to work with employees in different divisions including merchandising, staffing, supervision of policies and employee development and corporate strategy.
What I like most about the internship: “I love the ever-changing nature of the position. It is undoubtedly busy, but very hands on which makes the work very satisfying.” And the internship is an exact match for Clark's career aspirations. “At UVM I am studying business and nutrition in preparation for a career in the food business. The high volumes of the grocery business paired with everlasting demand keep the industry extremely competitive. I look forward to being a part of this competition, and plan on building on what I have learned in the classroom and the internship program.”
Name: Maggie Smith
Hometown: Scarborough, Maine
Company: Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (South Burlington, Vermont)
Title: Corporate Communications Intern
Job duties: Leads media outreach campaigns for largest company-wide volunteer events in Vermont and Massachusetts. Responsible for drafting press releases, FAQs, compiling media lists, pitching news outlets, and writes internal and external content for the corporate website.
What I like most about the internship: “I've been able to work with people in marketing, community relations, innovation, and even the sensory lab… Keurig Green Mountain has given me a ton of opportunities to grow and thrive.” The internship, she says, has shown her the value of the range of classes and experiences she's sought out during her time at UVM. “I've realized my biggest successes have come about by being hungry and willing to learn. The skills I've been able to apply over the course of the summer have been a big collaboration of my business classes, English classes, art classes, and experiences as a teammate and friend.”
Name: Ali McClure
Hometown: Blue Bell, PA (Suburban Philadelphia)
Company: Temple University Athletic Department (Philadelphia)
Title: Intern for Temple Owl Club
Job Duties: Data analysis and research to identify future programs to increase awareness of the Owl Club, which promotes resources to enrich the lives of student-athletes. Collaboration with Temple employees and fellow interns for visual presentations for internal Owl Club leadership and incorporating messaging to attract new members.
What I like most about the internship: "Being able to implement the theory I have learned in the UVM classroom to a "real world" experience. I am on the swim team at UVM, so I am familiar with teamwork. The Owl Club has a team feel, and the Temple leadership is eager to share their experience and guidance to assist me in completing my tasks and learn firsthand from the administration's point of view of athletics." Getting an inside look at the student-athlete experience at more than one university (first UVM, now Temple) has piqued her interest, she says, in exploring the field after graduating in 2017.