Give three words that sum up your internship experience.
Transparency, Family, Introspective
How did you learn about your internship?
“Near the end of Spring semester, I was sitting around in my apartment with no job or any sort of aspirations. I was in a funk to say the least. I knew I had to do something with my life because I was going stir crazy! So I decided to use my free time to help others and I created a fundraiser for Women and Children’s Horizons, a women’s shelter here in Kenosha. I just started emailing everyone I could and banged on every door until someone would listen to me and let me pitch them this thing I created. They loved it. So much so that they offered me an internship right on the spot.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t take on an unpaid internship with them directly because I am broke as a joke, and I usually work in a factory most summers just to make ends meet. After hearing my plight, Carthage’s Sarah Harris (Senior Director of Development) stepped in and quite literally changed my life. She talked to me about the Great Lakes Career Ready Internship Grant Program and helped me connect with Career Services. After a discussion with Career Services staff, I applied to one of their paid summer internships with Leeward Business Advisors. Although I do not have a business background, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about a new industry.
Instead of working in a 100-degree factory this summer, I am working at a place where I have my own office and my own business cards. That may not seem like much to some people, but it has changed my entire life and the way I now view myself in terms of self worth to potential employers. In the Fall, I look forward to connecting with Women and Children’s Horizons to move forward with the fundraiser. I know that I can use my relationship development experience at Leeward Business Advisors to have a successful fundraising event.”
Describe your internship.
“Leeward Business Advisors is a technology consulting company that is headquartered in Kenosha, WI. They help drive the business results of their customers by providing advisory services, relevant technology solutions, and support.
As the Business Development Associate Intern, I am responsible for mining lead lists, databases, and social media sources to identify qualified customers. I participate in business development meetings with potential customers and assist in the delivery of customer strategy planning workshops.
They joke around that I am the ‘Quintern,’ but they treat me as a regular full-time employee. I have total creative freedom to tackle any problem in any way that I see fit. They actually encourage me to run wild and do whatever it takes to get a meeting with someone so I can share my story with them as well and build relationships throughout the community. Officially I’m in sales, so I do everything that encompasses that department. It’s really more about building relationships at this point in time as opposed to actually selling anything.”
What do you enjoy most about your internship? What are some of the challenges?
“Leeward Business Advisors is one giant family. I hang out with my bosses at least three times a week outside of the office and have even introduced them to my parents and girlfriend. My boss Michael is a fantastic role model with a triumphant story of climbing his way to the top and bringing everyone along with him. Michael also has a great psychological mind. By that, I mean that he understands the concept of reciprocation. He knows that if he does all of these things for his employees, that they will in turn feel indebted to him and want to work that much harder to ‘pay him back’ in a sense. It’s truly genius. The only challenge that I have is that I have never taken a business class at all at Carthage. Therefore, I have no idea how business works! Thankfully, my internship has taught me a lot about the business world fused with a particular brand of applied psychology.”
How does your internship fit with your long-term career goals?
“It has taken them and flipped them entirely. I never considered myself a business man by any means until I took this internship. I have never even taken a business course of any kind before. Working with Leeward Business Advisors has completely changed my perspective on my future, and I see myself working with them for a very long time.”
During your internship search, how did you make yourself stand out to employers?
“Transparency. After two months of sitting around in my apartment filling out job applications, I had accepted defeat. I’m from Ossian, Indiana, and every summer since I was 18, I have worked full time in a factory. I’m not your typical businessman by any means. I got tired of using this ‘professional Quinn’ persona and just started to be myself to everyone I talked to. People can tell when you are being genuine as opposed to following some script as to how a good businessman is supposed to act. The people who are genuine are the people they want to deal with, not some cookie-cutter businessman that they already see 100 of every day. Don’t be afraid to be weird. Be you in every sense of the word. Oh, and wearing goofy clearance rack ties always help me stand out, too. :)”
What did you find to be the most helpful during your internship search process?
“Career Services was incredible in my search for an internship. They were instrumental in helping me not only find a job but building my self esteem and ensuring me that I am perfect for a lot of different jobs.”
Do you have any tips to share with other students about your experience?
“Believe that you are incredible. You don’t have to know what it even is that you are incredible at yet. Just know that there is something out there for you that is perfect for your skill set. The more risks you take, the more times you fail, the more leaps of faith you endeavor will only help you in the end become a stronger person and ultimately, enjoy a happy life doing what you love.”