This summer I will be entering into a new, unfamiliar field. The field I am entering is one that has a big reputation that needs to be upheld. I am working for InStyle magazine, one of TimeIncs magazines. The magazine industry is one that is said to be prestigious, fast paced, yet always exciting. My goals that I have for this summer differ slightly than the goals I made last summer (for my first internship). This summer being my second opportunity at an internship I have guided my goals accordingly. First, I would like to make a lasting impression. The magazine industry is one that I always dreamed of being part of and now with my foot in the door I hope that I can make the people I work for remember my name. Another goal that I have is making connections. It is up to me to make something of this internship and I need to leave my comfort zone and make my own connections. I am going to use this summer as a chance to learn exactly what I want out of my future and hopefully become one step closer to achieving it.
SVN rents its office space from a place called Ann Arbor Startup Garage. Located on Liberty St., the Garage is the leftover space of Menlo Innovation, a software development company. 7 startups share the Garage, operating in an open atmosphere office from which each team runs their business. It has been exciting for me to witness other teams at work on their startups. I have enjoyed seeing the texture of other companies, as well as hearing about their ideas. The renters at the Garage are testimony to the fact that there is no mold for starting one’s own business. Founders vary in age, previous occupation, skill sets, yet all share a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation at the Garage.
An inevitable component of working in business development is that one is repeatedly faced with the word “no.” For every new deal or interested partner, there is an ocean of others who have declined. I was told the first time I conducted cold calls to expect three of 300 companies I had prospected to become deals. That maxim has not been far off the mark. More challenging still, are the halfway wins. The people who are interested in one of SVN’s products, but decide at some point in the sales process that the product doesn’t suit an investment. These engagements, while inevitable, can be taxing.
The experience imparts substantial value, however. What I have gained from facing “no” is a comfort with rejection. I have overcome the apprehension that many place around “no” and instead interpret each rejection as an opportunity to learn. And the lessons pay off. In my work with SVN, I have succeeded in developing relationships without any major prospecting list. I am no longer playing the numbers on cold calls, and instead am able to reliably secure interest from nearly every company I contact. Interest precedes investment, and although I will never be able to turn every prospect into a client, I have reached a point where I can consistently generate business for my company.
Interconnectedness is central to the technology of SVN. The software SVN develops and the motion sensors the company deploys act in synchronicity to connect people to the infrastructure surrounding them. Over the last semester, I have benefited from the opportunity to connect with the SVN team. The projects I’ve carried out have ranged from developing content for advertisements, to preparing a report that retained our team’s access to research funding. In my work, I have gained insight into how small technology companies operate. I have also learned more about my individual career plans.
SVN stands as the third startup for which I have worked across the last two years. The experience has been exciting. In each role I have held, I have worked across departments and served as an instrumental member of the team. I have enjoyed the empowerment I have held to lead my own contributions. I do feel, however, as though I am missing something. At the companies I have worked for, SVN included, I feel as though I have lacked mentorship. I value that I have been able to learn by doing in each role I’ve held, but I want the chance to learn from a team as well. Recently, I have come to consider that working for a larger company would benefit me. I remain strongly interested in technology startups, but I am eager to experience a technology business at its fruition, rather than exclusively in its development. It is with that conclusion that I am endeavoring to find employment at a large technology company, or the kind of company that funds them. I crave a new perspective on what makes a company valuable.
I’ve always considered the internship with Team Blue, since the beginning in 2016, a stepping stone to my end goal. In one year I’ve worked in three different departments, with a fourth department to come this summer. Though it may not be ideal because it is not a direct path, there is no shame in taking the long route as long as you stay the course. (Take my college trajectory for example).
Working behind the scenes has given me a good insight on what all goes into making a nationally recognized football team. I also feel that these times in other departments will help me in the long run, in the future. Should I ever make it to my end goal, I’ll be more cognizant of what it takes to make things happen, and give proper recognition to those who normally don’t get it.
Throughout this internship I have bounced back and forth between feeling underutilized to the opposite extreme, taken advantage of. The most recent experience falls back to underutilized. The events team consists of a large group of interns, which is why it is problematic at times – too many people, not enough work. To make matters more complicated, within the department, there’s some veterans, people who have been there for the last four years. So they get tasked with more jobs, or the better jobs, more responsibility, while the rest of us are guarding a locked gate for example.
But all this work, whether hard or seemingly meaningless, is a step in the right direction. I knew going in I did not want to work behind the scenes in this capacity, so I’m not surprised that I don’t feel as fulfilled. However, that being said I have taken everything in and will keep some “tools for my toolbox”, so to speak.
I will continue this path, moving into a Strength and Conditioning internship over the summer while also transferring from LSA to Kines. I’ve been molding my classes towards a Sport Management degree, and now that the cross campus transfer is complete, I can continue on to Level 2 of SM. In SM I will be taking courses that will further help my career path into the world of coaching.
Between coursework, internships, and any summer coaching gigs I get, I’ll be on the right path to my future. I never said the fast track, but, sometimes it is better late than never.
I have learned a great deal in understanding my path that I would like to pursue post-graduation through my time with Fidelity Investments. My role was client-facing, meeting with walk-in traffic daily to discuss with them their financial needs and goals. This in itself has offered me the opportunity to apply my newfound skills and knowledge to assist others in their financial situations.
In the finance industry, firms have a fiduciary responsibility to advise and protect clients’ finances and serve the best interest of the client. As part of a firm in this space – Fidelity Investments – I have found that being able to apply my carefully trained skills and knowledge to fulfill this duty has been very rewarding. It offers true warmth to be able to guide others appropriately and connect them with the right group of people when needed. Working with people in this way is what I would identify as a crucial aspect of what excites me about my role at Fidelity Investments.
In the future, if I pursue a role in the finance industry, as I obtain my licenses such as the Series 7, Series 63, Series 66, and other important titles such as Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Financial Analyst – to use these skills to have a large influence on the planning and preparation on important life events for an individual and their family is something very valuable. It is a humbling experience, and I hope to continue learning more about client-facing Financial Consulting roles and positively impact the lives of many people throughout all the important stages of life.
This internship with the Michigan Football Team has really strengthened my interest and desire to work in athletics. I have always loved playing and watching sports growing up, but getting to work on the inside of my favorite football team has really made my desire more potent.
One of the skills I really need to develop in order to work in this industry is public relations. I am (very much so) a people-person, and love to talk to people and connect with them in whatever way possible. Unfortunately in athletics (and in the real world), people are not always very friendly, and sometimes public relations means learning how to deal with a belligerent fan or donor. Overall, it involves saying no and denying people many times, whether it be autographs from the head coach or deluxe on-field VIP passes to the game. I do not enjoy saying no to people and I try to avoid that conflict, and for a job in athletics and for most jobs in real life I really do need to work on being more assertive and learn how to say “no” effectively. The way to develop this can be found in the internship as well as outside of it. In my internship, I am presented with many opportunities in which I have to say no to people, including dealing with high school coaches, like I talked about in my previous blog post.
But, there are also opportunities to say “no” in everyday life. Sometimes a friend needs your help and you do not have the time, or your classmate wants your notes because he wasn’t doing his fair share of the work. I need to recognize these opportunities both inside and outside of the internship, and continue to learn how to say “no.”
This last Saturday was the annual “Spring game” for the Football team, where half the team scrimmages the other half in the Big House. It usually draws about fifty to sixty thousand people, as well as many high school recruits who Michigan is hoping will commit to attend school here and play on the team.
For this spring game, my job was to work by myself in the Junge Champions Center, a sort of in-between football/basketball center that holds events in between Crisler Center and the Big House. It was supposed to be a low pressure and easy job, but it ended up being anything but that. There was a major miscommunication between my department (events) and the event team that helps usher Michigan stadium, so that first there was no bag check, which recruits, VIPs, and their families have come to depend on since bags are not allowed in Michigan stadium. I had many people screaming at me for the lack of a bag check, and I was an easy target since I was the only one there. The event team with ushers was supposed to send one member to help run the bag check, but somewhere along the line there was a miscommunication, and that did not happen.
In addition to this, the ushers and people outside of the Junge Center were encouraging members of the public to go in and use the bathroom, which is strictly prohibited by the football team. That led to many random members of the public wandering around in restricted areas that lead to the Big House locker rooms as well as Crisler Arena. Finally, many high school coaches tried to take advantage of (what they perceived to be) a lowly intern to demand on field passes for them and their friends, which we were under strict orders not to give out.
All of these factors and more led to an extremely stressful day. Luckily, my supervisor was extremely attentive to my troubles and had her phone right next to her so I could call her with any problems (I took her up on that at least six or seven times), and she did her best to talk me through the difficult situations, as well as working to fix the miscommunication that was going on. Things eventually started to work as they should, and it could not have happened without the help of my supervisor, and a couple prayers.
I think this internship confirmed the path I want to take after I graduate. I am going to continue working toward going to law school. There are many types of law that one can study and practice so being able to learn specifically about family law has been very interesting and eye opening. The firm I have been interning at is very small and tight-knit so being able to learn from the owner himself has been great. I have not only learned about estate law but I have also learned the different aspects that come with owning a business.
In the future, I will try to get experience at a larger firm in a different area of law other than estate planning. This will hopefully help me decide what type of firm, larger or smaller, fits my personality and interests the best. Additionally, in order to expose myself to the many different types of law, I will specifically choose classes that teach different aspects and concepts of law. For example, this semester I have been taking a comparative law and policy class, which has taught me the different methods of comparing international law. This will eventually help me narrow down exactly what type of law I want to study.
Once again I need to revisit my failure to become an on-field manager. As I have stated before, after receiving the news in February I was really deflated. Naturally within the first week or two I went through all the stages of grief; anger, sadness, questioning…it was hard for me to accept. Had it been one spot, I think I would have dealt with it better. But to be told there were four other people (out of 25) better than you is a little alarming.
Despite how discouraged I was and how much I wanted to walk away from it all, I continued on with my internship. As mentioned in a previous post, I reached out to the student managers asking what areas I needed to work on for a potential next year interview. I also had a member of the staff searching for answers for me as well.
The managers never responded back, even after running into one in the halls at Schembechler who acknowledged my email and said he needed to get back to me. The staff member on the other hand was able to follow through and collect information that was somewhat helpful. From what he found, the managers all felt I have a very strong resume and interview and was at the top of the list. However, the only negative piece was that I “didn’t have the rabid fandom that typical managers possess.”
Learning that bit of information only infuriated me more. The entire Team Blue organization preaches they don’t want “Michigan’s biggest fan”, yet there I was. I don’t know how to sell them that I’m a “Michigan Man” anymore than I did without coming across as overbearing.
This was my Plan A, and there was no Plan B. Because of that I needed to take a minute and reflect on my direction in life. After some time spent tabling ideas I concluded that I will extend as a fifth year senior, allowing me to double major, and allowing me one more chance at the position. I also have made headway into changing positions within the internships. Over the summer I will be working two days a week with the Strength and Conditioning coaches. It is mainly a blue collar job, but it is a foot in the door towards a student manager position, and I’ll be working closer to some of the coaches.
Just because a door closes, doesn’t mean that it’s locked.