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.
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!