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Internship Success Stories

According to Fox Business, 2011, internships are touted as the best way for college students to get their feet wet in the labor market. Many of our UIU Peacocks have benefited well from their internship experience and are here to share them with you.

 Alex Kluesner

Madison Wilkin

What is your major?
Mathematics and Financial Management 

When is your expected graduation date?
May 2016

What was the internship/company you interned with?
Western Personal Lines Field Product Intern for Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines, Iowa

Why did you seek it out/how did you obtain the internship?

I sought out an internship because I knew how valuable it would be when it came time to look for a job my senior year. The job market is competitive and employers are looking for internship experience. I applied right through Nationwide's website and went through a set of interviews before being offered the position. 

What did you hope to gain from this internship?
Through this internship, I hoped to gain valuable knowledge that I would be able to use with a future career. This internship in particular was unique in that I was given the opportunity to job shadow any area of Nationwide that I wished. I took advantage of this opportunity and job shadowed seven different parts of the company including pricing and research & development to name a couple. 

What did you learn from doing this internship?
I was assigned a mentor during my internship. She was very supportive and helped me with any questions I had related to my job or my future career goals. From my internship, I was able to further my knowledge about personal lines insurance as well as become more efficient using Microsoft Excel. I was also introduced to another software called Tableau that is becoming popular with business intelligence and analytics. 

After graduation goal?
After graduation, I do not have a particular career that I am set on. I am keeping my options open and have started to apply to a number of positions within the financial or insurance industries. 

What would you say to someone thinking about doing an internship but they are still not sure?
I think an internship is a must for anyone. The job market today is way too competitive and having internship experience is going to set someone apart from other candidates. Internships allow you to take what you have been studying in school and actually apply it to a real life situation/job. It's a valuable experience that should not be overlooked. 

Feel free to mention anything else!
For myself, I took applying for internships very seriously. Last year, I applied to over 200 internships. Yes, it was very time consuming, and I received a lot of rejections. However, through the process I went through a number of different interviews which helped me become more confident when I interviewed. When spring rolled around, I had a couple different companies I could choose to intern with. I chose Nationwide because of the opportunities they presented for interns. It was a paid internship that also paid for my housing. Through Nationwide, interns also had the opportunity to participate in the "Do More in the City" events which was a summer series through the Greater Des Moines Partnership. There was a series of community engagement and professional development opportunities for area interns. It was great to meet other interns as well as professionals in the area. For example, I had the opportunity to eat breakfast with the CEO/President of Principal Financial Group. 

 Taylor Williams

Taylor Williams

What is your major?
Mathematics, Financial Management, & Accounting

When is your expected graduation date?
May 2016

What was the internship/company you interned with?
Northwestern Mutual- College Financial Representative

Why did you seek it out/how did you obtain the internship?
I was looking for an internship for my Financial Management Degree and I wanted to do it during the school year so I looked up places in Fayette and walked into Sharon Orr's office (Northwestern Mutual Financial Representative here in town) and I asked if they offered internships. After a few rounds of interviews, I got the internship.

What did you hope to gain from this internship?
I was hoping to gain some knowledge of the finance business and to find things that I liked to do and didn't like to do because I am unsure of what job I want to do come graduation.

What did you learn from doing this internship?
I learned more than I could even share! I had to take exams to get my Iowa Insurance Producer license so now I know a lot about the different types of insurance. I had to go to sales school with other interns and learn how to sell insurance so I learned a lot of valuable skills there as well. Besides the amount of knowledge I gained about financial planning and how everyone's situation is so different, how to work well with people was the biggest thing I took away from this internship.

After graduation goal?
My plan is to have a job lined up with a company in the finance department when I graduate. I will be applying to places all over in Madison, WI and Milwaukee, WI.

What would you say to someone thinking about doing an internship but they are still not sure?
I would say absolutely do it. There is always something to gain from internship experience and the connections you make are great and very useful!

 Nicholas Kleitsch

Nicholas Kleitsch

What is your major?
Business Marketing 

When is your expected graduation date?
May 2016 

What was the internship/company you interned with?
Management Recruiters 

Why did you seek it out/how did you obtain the internship?
I obtained the internship through a business and personal connection with Theresa Klostermann (Taylor’s mother). She had offered the internship to me because of the business opportunity. She was kind enough to offer the opportunity and I had to interview for the position. I worked with another college intern all summer long for a company called Work Rocket.  

What did you hope to gain from this internship?
I hoped to gain overall exposure to the business world.

What did you learn from doing this internship?
I learned about general business, how sales work, communication skills and how to respectively communicate with CEO’s and general managers.  I also learned more on the use of excel and internet research. I worked with cold call sales and selling the Work Rocket services to companies. 

After graduation goal?
I, quite honestly, will hopefully walk into a full time position with Management Recruiters and I will intern as a recruiter again this summer.  I will then have a greater understanding of how recruiting works specifically so that after graduation I will have a very clear image of what I will be doing after college. 

What would you say to someone thinking about doing an internship but they are still not sure?
The advice I would give to someone is that you have to go for it. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked through the door but walking out I felt like a new person. To be honest, in the position I was in doing cold call sales, I got destroyed on the phone and yelled at and felt stupid but you will have to force yourself to push through. My thought is you might as well get your butt kicked everyday as an intern than wasting a year of your career on the same process. It’s all about growth and development. Every day I interned there, I grew as an intern and as a person. You learn the intangibles of business and how people do things that you wouldn’t neccesarily learn in class. Another aspect to look at is after the internship I realized I didn’t want to do cold call sales for the rest of my life, so you learn if you like the job or not. Connections is also key.  You obtain many connections during an internship. Business is all about who you know so if your employee knows someone else’s employee, there is a small connection which gives you the advantage. 

Feel free to mention anything else! Take the leap and go for it.  Be coachable and listen well.

 Bobbi Ney

Bobbi Ney

What is your major?
My majors are accounting and management. 

When is your expected graduation date?
I will be graduating in May 2016.

What was the internship/company you interned with?
I have interned with Kremer Kehe Financial in West Union and The Spectrum Network in Decorah.

Why did you seek it out/how did you obtain the internship?
For the Kremer Kehe Financial internship Randy Thomas mentioned it to me and I looked into it more. For The Spectrum Network my aunt heard about it and mentioned it to me so I called to see if there were any available internships. 

What did you hope to gain from this internship?
I hoped to gain more knowledge of the accounting field and gain a variety of accounting aspects. I also hoped to possibly get my foot in the door or have them give examples of places possibly hiring full time.

What did you learn from doing this internship?
For Kremer Kehe I helped during the tax season so I learned about the tax side of accounting. I also learned just how busy tax season is for tax preparers and some of the processes they go through to finish a tax return. For The Spectrum Network I learned more of the everyday processes of accounting. I mainly did accounts payable but I asked questions to the Senior Accountant and was given other assignments where I looked into other parts of their business.

After graduation goal?
I am currently planning on sitting for the CPA exams and finding a job somewhere. I hope to stay in Northeast Iowa and in a small business. I think being able to work in a Co-op would be interesting to me because I grew up on a farm.

What would you say to someone thinking about doing an internship but they are still not sure?
Definitely do an internship! It made me realize that in class we learn the concepts but I was extremely unsure of the whole accounting process a business does every day. I also think it helped me because it was hands on and it proves I still have more to learn. Talking to your boss helps because they talk about little things they have learned along the way give you pointers for your future. Also in some instances the boss may end up hiring an intern full time after their graduation.  

 Dom Hillesheim

Dom Hillesheim

What is your major?
Double Major, Marketing & Communication Studies with Sports Emphasis 

When is your expected graduation date?
2018

What was the internship/company you interned with?
The Chicago Bears

Why did you seek it out/how did you obtain the internship?
I want to be a sports marketing manager when I get out of school so I thought I should obtain some real world experience. One of my father’s friends told me about the opportunity. I received an interview that required me to go to Soldier Field. It was a group interview with other students from huge universities such as Missouri and Kentucky. A few weeks later I received an email informing me that I would be on the training camp team and the game day staff team.

What did you hope to gain from this internship?
I wanted to gain as much real world experience that I could. I also wanted to open up the possibility of getting my foot in the door with a great NFL organization.

What did you learn from doing this internship?
I learned how important the fans are to the organization. Without the fans, the team, league and game would be nonexistent. I also learned a process called “The Bears Way”. This is a process that all Bears employees use in order to make sure all fans enjoy their experience.

After graduation goal?
I would like to play baseball as long as I can but after that I would love to be a marketing manager for a team in the NFL, MLB, or NHL.

What would you say to someone thinking about doing an internship but they are still not sure?
Do it for sure! The amount of experience you receive from getting out there and actually doing the job out in the real world is second to none. It also looks great on a resume to say you worked for a prestigious company.

 Taylor Kostermann

Taylor Klostermann

What is your major?
Marketing & Management with a minor in Human Resources 

When is your expected graduation date? 
May 2017

What was the internship/company you interned with? 
Rockwell Collins. I am on the Employee Relations team in the Human Resources Department. 

Why did you seek it out/how did you obtain the internship? 
I discovered the internship via LinkedIn. The manager of the University Relations team posted the internship. 

What did you hope to gain from this internship?
I hoped to gain more real world experience during my time at Rockwell Collins. My end goal is to have a career in Human Resources, so I hoped to gain experience that would give me insight into my future career that I couldn't receive in the classroom. 

What did you learn from doing this internship?  Through my internship, I understood why Upper Iowa requires their students to have internship experience to graduate. Nothing beats the real world experience. The experience you get at an internship is not something that can be taught in the classroom. One thing I enjoyed about Rockwell Collins is the size of the company. They employ over 20,000 employees so I was able to see how the corporate world works. This internship allowed me to explore different jobs in the Human Resources field. It helped me realize what my passion was and what I want my future career path to look like. 

After graduation goal?
My goal after graduation is to work in the Human Resources field.      

What would you say to someone thinking about doing an internship but they are still not sure? 
Trying something new and getting out of your comfort zone is the best way to grow as a person. If you're not sure what you want to do in the future, an internship is the perfect way to find out. If you intern with a big company, you might get the opportunity to shadow several different departments and find something you can see yourself doing five years in the future. Employers find real world experience valuable, and your chances of getting a full time job after graduation are greater if you have that experience. 

Alex Kluesner

Name: Alex Kluesner
Major: Agricultural Business
Graduation: May 2015

What internship did you have? 
Agvantage FS

Why did you seek out an internship?
To help further my knowledge in my desired work field, and to get a real life working experience.

Why did you choose this internship? What did you hope to gain?
I was already working for the company and they actually suggested it. I chose to stay there in hopes to learn more about the company.

What did you actually learn from this internship? What do you feel you have gained?
I really gained a first-hand experience on how to deal with customers and got a great sense of how a business actually operated.

What was the result of this internship?
I gained a lot of experience and have been offered a full time sales position after graduation.

After graduation goal?
Get a job using my degree, at a place I will enjoy, and hopefully making at least $40,000.

What would you say to someone thinking of doing an internship in a field they are not sure of? Should I bother?
I say go for it. Any experience will be great. Just getting to experience how actual businesses work is great. It's all about getting out of the classroom and getting first hand, real life, experiences.

Madie Wilkin

Name: Madie Wilkin
Major: Mathematics and Finance
Minor: Computer Science
Graduation: May 2016

What internship did you have?
Undergraduate Math Research at Michigan State University

Why did you seek out an internship?
To gain a better understanding of mathematical research and help me decide what I wanted to do after graduating from Upper Iowa.

Why did you choose this internship? What did you hope to gain?
I chose this internship because I was interested in the research projects they were offering. The program at Michigan State was also aimed towards women in mathematics. By accepting a position in the program, I hoped to learn how to do mathematical research, build my resume, and create a network of people.

What did you actually learn from this internship? What do you feel you have gained?
This research program taught me that mathematics has a vast number of careers that it is applied to. I was able to be introduced to programming in MATLAB, coding up basic fast summation methods and a study of the dynamics in a Penning trap. Each week, we gave presentations to summarize our group's progress. This program helped me to become a better presenter and work well with a team to complete work.

What was the result of this internship?
The REU program at Michigan State opened my eyes to how much you can do with a math major. This internship also sparked my interest in working with computers, so I decided to minor as a result of the program. I was able to meet new people who I still stay in touch with and create a personal relationship with my mentor to use later in my career for recommendations and support.

After graduation goal?
After graduating, I would like to work as an actuary.

What would you say to someone thinking of doing an internship in a field they are not sure of? Should I bother?
Yes! Any available internship should be taken advantage of because it tells you so much about the career field. It helps you be able to determine if it is the right future for you and allows you to build a great resume because of the experience you will have.

Kozo Soda

Name: Kozo Soda
Major: International Business
Graduation: May 2015

What internship did you have?
Marketing Intern in the UIU Office of Career Development

Why did you seek out an internship?
I sought it for real business work experiences. The internship I applied for had supervisors and an intern colleague so I thought this would give me mock experience for after graduation.

Why did you choose this internship? What did you hope to gain?
I was looking for an internship that could be done on campus. I saw an e-mail from the Office of Career Development, looking for marketing intern and I applied for it instantly. Marketing is the field I enjoy, and through this internship, I was hoping to gain knowledge and experience that could benefit my future career and my marketing club on campus.

What did you actually learn from this internship? What do you feel you have gained?
I felt that managing a schedule was a tough task to achieve. Everyone has a different schedule but I had to find the times that everyone was available for meetings I was supposed to conduct. There were different tasks which had to be done on different days, so I had to be multitasking in many cases. Therefore, I feel like I gained management skills.

What was the result of this internship?
I would say that I had no extremely difficult tasks to complete but had one large project, the Senior Social to plan and coordinate. Unlike in an officer's position in clubs, the responsibility was larger for this type of event. Things had to be done in professional and formal ways, including e-mails and meetings. For me, it was a great experience that I could get while I am a student, and that can benefit me after graduation.

After graduation goal?
I am going to Boston in November for a Career Forum designed for Japanese-English bilinguals like myself. Hopefully I will get a job in Boston in my field, and travel the world with that career path.

What would you say to someone thinking of doing an internship in a field they are not sure of? Should I bother?
I would say go apply for the position that is available to you. You will never know if that field is something you will enjoy or not until you actually experience it. If you dislike the internship, then you can choose different areas that you are interested in. If you enjoy the internship, then that is something you may want to do after graduation.

Tim Rueb

Name: Tim Rueb
Major: Business Management & Marketing
Graduation: May 2015

What internship did you have?
I was a Polaris Industries Corporate Headquarters On-Road Accessories Intern.

Why did you seek out an internship?
I have been in love with Polaris Industries since I was a kid riding their ATVs and Snowmobiles. When I found out they had internship programs I made sure to call to get my foot in the door.

Why did you choose this internship? What did you hope to gain?
I chose this internship because of the incredible company I could be working for if I were to be hired. I knew that it was a company I wanted to be with out of college. I was hoping to gain experience working in a corporate office and wanted to get my foot in the door before applying for them after I graduate.

What did you actually learn from this internship? What do you feel you have gained?
The amount of knowledge I gained from working at Polaris could not be measured. Everything I worked on or worked with was very hands on and eye opening. I was able to travel to corporate events, meet and work with many Vice Presidents as well as other top leaders of the company. I learned a lot about marketing research, target markets, comparing our products to our competitions' products and just a lot of life long skills that I will never forget.

What was the result of this internship?
The result of this internship, for me, was not only learning so much but also potential job offers when I graduate in May. I was challenged at Polaris and worked with a lot of great people, now it is time to maintain the relationships and hope for opportunities post-college.

After graduation goal?
After graduation I hope to travel to a large city on one of the coasts to find a job and learn about the lifestyles and ways of business. I have now worked at two corporate headquarters in the Midwest and it is time for me to learn about business in the field outside of the Midwest. After I travel and gain those life experiences I plan to move back to Minnesota.

What would you say to someone thinking of doing an internship in a field they are not sure of? Should I bother?
To me this is a double edged sword. Why I say that is because the greatest part about an internship is it's not permanent. It's all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new. You never know what you truly don't like until you experience it. Also, you may not learn about how you want to do business, but you may learn exactly how you don't want to do business. On the flip side, an internship is a great way to learn more about what you thought you may like. I know a lot of people who have liked what they study but then do an internship and lose interest in that field. I would recommend experimenting. Try something new, and if you don't like, great, nothing is keeping you there.

 

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