Class Handouts Come in Handy During Summer Internship

If you ask a Fuqua student what they want to do with their class handouts after final exams, very likely the sardonic reply includes the word “bonfire.” But with the benefit of hindsight, let me say, how wonderful it is that we are living in a digital age which makes it harder to burn old class handouts and assignments. If not for electronic handouts from such ‘alluring’ classes like Decision Models, Information Management, and Operations, the analytical parts of my projects for QuickQuid, the brand I interned for at Enova (an online financial company) would have been a lot more overwhelming.

The skills of persuasion I learned from the Management Communication class at Fuqua came in handy during the implementation stages of my projects at Enova. (Learn more about Daytime MBA classes.) I was a part of the Strategy & Operations team, and believe me, introducing new procedures into a large call center is a whole lot more fun when one has learned how to first build credibility among the target group and then clearly explain “what’s in it for them”(WIIFT). The daunting task of changing management processes surprisingly turned into an enjoyable teamwork exercise as I gained insight from the experience of call center representatives while putting my persuasion skills learned at Fuqua to good use.

Revelations

I’ve had two more revelations from my summer internship in Chicago. First, that being an international student (I’m originally from Germany) makes it harder to land an internship, but that it’s important to seek one out because of the experiences that are gained. My summer internship has allowed me to become part of an amazingly mixed team with diverse skill sets and backgrounds. For me, the key to securing an internship was to not get carried away by all the different events, meetings, networking occasions or job postings. Instead, I focused on my main, relevant core skills and experiences, and it lead me to find the right match with a company. I highlighted this match in my resume, in a way that resonated with company.

My second revelation is to be aware of the critique of the industry in which you work, but wait to form your own opinion. I interned in an industry that I had basically no pre-knowledge about: payday lending. When reading up on this topic in preparation for the internship interviews, I bumped into an array of openly critical comments in the media. The truth is that it pays off to make the effort to come to one’s own conclusions. I am now deeply convinced of the value of this business model and its positive impact. And coming from a pre-B-school background in emerging markets microfinance (the core skill/experience that I sold myself on during the internship hiring process), I see myself qualified to make this statement.

In a nutshell, I have a few other takeaways from my internship so far:

  • Keep your class handouts or save them as digital copies because you never know when they’ll come in handy.
  • If you love consulting but resent suits and endless travels, try in-house strategy & operations.
  • Keep your sensors wide open and expect un-marketed wisdom from just about any colleague in just about any workplace.

P.S. Thanks to Fuqua professors (Paula Ecklund, to name but one outstanding example) who provide electronic handouts! Thanks to Daytime alumni Arad Levertov, VP of Operations and Eddie Oistacher, Strategy & Operations Manager, who are exemplary in keeping Team Fuqua alive at Enova! Thanks to all my other colleagues at Enova for being phenomenally supportive and helpful!

Ralf Kloeckner

More posts from Ralf Kloeckner

Daytime MBA, Class of 2013. Find out more about me...

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6 Responses to Class Handouts Come in Handy During Summer Internship

  1. Prashant Tomar says:

    Hi Ralf,

    Great to hear about your intern experiences and the transition to a different Industry :) I am a prospective international student and i am very interested in Fuqua, i come from a sales consulting background (BI, DWH etc) .

    I have few queries, it will be great if you can share you e-mail and we can connect :)
    Good Luck!

    Cheers,
    Prashant

    • Ralf Kloeckner says:

      Hi Prashant, thanks for your note! I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Please feel free to post some specific questions here, since other readers may also benefit from them. You are also welcome to send an email to askastudent@fuqua.duke.edu and a current student will respond to your questions. Thanks again! I hope you continue to enjoy this blog.

  2. Prashant Tomar says:

    Thanks Ralf,

    Well, I wanted to understand the employer’s perspective in hiring students for intern. Are courses done prior MBA valued while interviewing a student from a different industry(pre-mba) or a small stint in a related industry makes a better impression.

    Prashant

    • Sheryle Dirks says:

      Hi Prashant,
      Thanks for your interest in Fuqua. I’m the Associate Dean for Career Management here and am happy to chime in with thoughts on your question and to invite others to share their opinions as well.

      As with many questions in the career process, I think the answer is “it depends.” The bottom line is recruiters hire career changers who connect the dots between themselves (their knowledge and transferable skills) and the company (their hiring and business needs). Whether you leverage coursework, work accomplishments, or other experiences to convince an employer you have what it takes to successfully make a career switch, making that connection in a way that is clear, compelling, and consistent with the organization’s values and culture is what’s fundamentally important.

      I hope that helps!

  3. Prashant Tomar says:

    Thanks Sheryle !

    What you said makes a lot of sense. I might have taken a similar approach if i were to hire a career changer. This settles my doubt :)

    Appreciate your help and thanks for putting up the blogs, it gives us a good view of the culture @ Duke.

    Prashant

    ps- one suggestion, an alert mechanism(email ?) to notify the person about any activity/reply on his post/comment would be great.

  4. Pingback: Concentrations: Which to Choose? | Daytime MBA Student Blog

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