Summer internships: a spotlight on our students

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Internships are what you make of them. They open new doors, expand your network, and they can often turn into full-time jobs down the road. They also can help you decipher what career path you are destined for.

One of the most important lessons of advice from current or former students to others considering an internship? Don’t wait. Get your foot in the door. Even if you don’t get the job, you’ll have the experience and start building your network as well.

Throughout the summer, Kelley students interned across the country – in positions at Macy’s in New York City, at The Laura Ingraham Show in Washington D.C., and at Rolls Royce and Target here in Indianapolis.

Here is a spotlight on just a few of our students’ experiences this summer:

Drew Musselman: Don’t be afraid to try new things

Before taking his summer internship, marketing and finance major Drew Musselman, BS’17, thought he would eventually work in a traditional marketing job after graduation. But after interning in Washington D.C. this summer for The Laura Ingraham Show, a conservative talk radio show, Musselman says he realized he was destined for other things.

“My advice for students considering an internship would be to try new things and to not be afraid to intern somewhere unconventional. That's what I did this summer and it helped me realize the career path that I really want to take,” explained Musselman. “Over the course of the summer, I decided I want to pursue a career in media production and communications. This allows me to pursue my passion for civics, politics and news while using my marketing degree at the same time.”

Musselman got his internship simply from being interested in the show. He says he followed the conservative commentator for a few years, and was eventually connected to one of her producers through their website, which led to this summer’s internship.

“The best part of the internship was the hands-on experience that I had. The internship focused on media production, and I also needed to be knowledgeable about current news so I could pitch segments to Laura and her producers. Working directly with everyone was very valuable and it showed me how skills learned in the classroom translate to the real world.”

Musselman says project-based classes like I-Core at Kelley Indianapolis prepared him for this internship experience; he explains I-Core was a defining moment in his Kelley career.

"My Kelley moment was during I-Core. Like a lot of people, I grew close with my group and met some of my good friends. It really changed my understanding of how business works and helped me decide what I want to do with my life."

Amadin Agho: It’s one thing to see it in a textbook – it’s another to experience it

Marketing major Amadin Agho, BS’17, was one of two interns hired to work this summer at the Target Regional Distribution Center in Indianapolis.

“I was trained in Target’s ‘inbound’ department, which is responsible for unloading the trailers containing the products sold in Midwest Target stores. After the trailers are unloaded, we are responsible for getting the correct items sent to the correct department within our building. For example -- products that are being sent to a store today would go to the ‘outbound’ department to be loaded onto a trailer, and products that will be sent out next week would go to the ‘warehousing’ department to be stored,” explained Agho.

“That is a very broad explanation of what I was responsible for this summer, and it goes so much deeper after you consider the “people” aspect of our business,” he added.

“’Businesses don’t lead people; people lead people’ is a phrase that is said a lot within our business, because without every team member -- we would not be as successful as we are today. Outside of learning how the business runs, I was challenged with fostering strong relationships with the many men and women who work at our facility. This was tested at times when I would have correctional meetings with people who were sometimes twice my age, or even just as we tried to correct behaviors in order to promote a safe and efficient work place,” Agho said. “Having to do all this as a 21-year-old seemed daunting at first, but after establishing these relationships, there was a level of respect forged between myself and my team that lasts until this day.”

At the end of the program, Agho presented what he learned and how he’d developed over the summer to leaders at the company. He says the internship taught him not only how to be a successful Operations Manager, but an effective leader as well.

“I gained a great understanding of supply chain and operations, because it is one thing to see it in a textbook -- but seeing it in real life was truly a transforming experience.”

Not only was this a valuable summer internship, but it has led to an extended internship during the school year – and he was offered a full-time position after graduation. He remembers the exact date he received that offer: August 10, and says he can’t wait to start.

“The skills I learned at this internship will help me to be successful in any field I enter within my lifetime and this was a very intentional goal crafted into this internship. Even as I work there this school year I am continuing to develop upon the opportunities I see for myself to grow even further.

His advice to current students is – start the application process early for an internship. He applied in September for this summer internship.

“Also, choose an internship that you know will develop skills for life, because -- that’s part of the purpose right? Don’t choose an internship just to have one and not to learn or gain anything, because that is truly a waste of time,” Agho explained. “Be sure to utilize Kelley’s Career Services Office, and PAY ATTENTION in X-220/X-320 because those are real skills you can utilize to put yourself ahead of the rest!”

Johnny Slivka: Don’t fear rejection – take a leap of faith

Kelley student Johnny Slivka, BS’16, refers to a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote when asked what advice he would share with other students. The quote reads, “Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

Slivka spent his summer interning at Milliner & Associates in Indianapolis as an HR and business development intern. He says getting this internship – his first one --- has proven to be a huge benefit to his future business career.

“To students without internships, I would tell them – you need to begin searching,” explained Slivka. “As a younger student, I dreaded having to get an internship. I was so nervous about getting into a new atmosphere, learning new things, and interviewing with business professionals that I didn’t take the time to search. I feared rejection, and that eliminated my drive to seek out the best internship I could. If it wasn’t for a select few people in my life, I would never be in the position I am today. Without this internship my job search post-graduation would be a nightmare."

“To any student battling internally with the transition to a completely different environment or just fear of the overall process, I completely understand, but taking that leap of faith to better yourself as a professional truly is a great feeling and can be extremely beneficial.”

Slivka says at Milliner & Associates, he’s felt part of the team from day one.

“I was able to gain unbelievable experience with this firm,” he said. “I was a part of the team. I never once was treated like an intern, but more like a full-time employee who had been here multiple years.

“Every role I was given had an overall impact on the company -- Without my duties, others on the team could not complete theirs. Overall, Milliner & Associates gave me the chance to accomplish every single objective and goal I had set for myself. My team stressed growing as a professional, and I was even offered weekly mentoring sessions to voice my opinion, ask questions, and get constructive and positive feedback. This firm has completely turned into a family to me, and I am so grateful they gave me a chance to work for this outstanding company.”

Slivka will graduate in December 2016 with majors in business management and human resources. He says he feels because of this internship, he’s ready for the future.

“I’ve made tremendous improvements in the way I work with a team, and how I communicate with the team. I have become a better professional in so many ways, and because of this internship, I have been able to discover what HR fields I may not like and what I enjoy and what I am successful in. This internship has ultimately been one of the largest stepping stones to landing my first professional job, and I am so glad I took on the challenge and accepted this role!”