How I Spent My Summer Break 2018

10 Things I Learned from my Summer Internship
By Sasha Novitsky‘20

This summer, I worked as a Finance and Accounting Intern for the Town of Truckee, CA. Read on as I detail my ten most valuable lessons learned, both personal and professional, while experiencing the “office life.”

# 10: Good things come to those who wait.
In May, after months of searching, being ghosted, interviewing and getting denied, I was finally offered a position working for the Town of Truckee. Therewas some stress and hassle associated with starting the internship process early, but I still was offered a position that was interesting and exciting.

# 9: Even after starting college, living in your parents’ house is not so bad.
Think about it. You don’t have to pay rent, food magically appears in the fridge, and heck, even sometimes you come back from work to find your bed miraculously made. Most days, I probably spent close to two and a half hours finding food and cleaning. It isn’t until you live alone that you realize how much time your parents spent on you daily.

# 8: Doing nothing at work sucks.
In school, I was always ecstatic when the teacher’s lesson plan wasn’t quite long enough for the full class period, leaving me with a precious few minutes at the end to goof around with my classmates and “do nothing.” But in a work setting, “doing nothing” takes on a completely different meaning. A full time job requires a level of ownership where you are constantly looking for ways to contribute, whether someone told you to or not.

# 7: The grand “I’ll meet people wherever I go” mentality is a lot harder in practice.
Living alone in a borderline rural area was probably the most difficult aspect of my summer. After the first few lonely weekends, I started traveling to my friends or having them come to me every weekend. It’s difficult to get dropped into a completely new community and connect with new people.

# 6: If you like reading, utilize your drive time.
No, I am not telling you to read while driving. However, you can fit all those books you put off during the school year because you didn’t have the time to read by listening to them while you drive! Over the course of the summer, I “read” an additional 6 books while commuting.

# 5: The impressive tag team of Excel’s “V-Lookup” and Filters.
Working in a finance office, there was a lot of Excel work, and I was always looking for efficiency. Here’s my best tip: If you can figure out a way to build your Excel spreadsheets using the intimidating V-Lookup command and Filters on every column, DO IT. Your life will be made so much easier. Provided you write it correctly, V-Lookup will automatically populate the fields accurately and the Filters will make it extremely easy to screen out the unwanted data.

# 4: The importance of fluency in numbers.
While it’s important to be able to efficiently manipulate your data with Excel, it is even more important to understand what that data means. Within my first week of arriving at the internship, I was volun-chosen to transcribe the annual, 400-page budget into a pretty, double-sided sheet of paper, so the public actually understood how the local government spent their hard-earned tax dollars. After completing this undertaking, I began my real assignment for the summer – I was to make the first edition of the statistical section of the Town of Truckee’s annual financial reports. Without actually understanding what I was doing and what the numbers represented, neither of these tasks could have been completed.

# 3: Work can be social too.
I worked in an office with about 14 people, almost all women, where the average age was mid to late 30’s. Every person in the office was incredibly kind. We got along well. With the amount of time you spend with and around your coworkers, you must like them to actually be happy at work. Find people that keep you entertained, are kind and challenge you to be the best you.

# 2: Make the most of your time at school.
Yeah, yeah, I know. This is cheesy and cliché. But clichés come about for a reason, right? This summer has taught me that every second of our time at school should be maximized. Those people that you think are interesting but haven’t talked to that much? Go talk to them. That class that’s right up your alley but not necessarily part of your major? Take it. Never again will we be in a place where our lives are so flexible and malleable, that we can pick up and try something new just because. Really, make the most of all the experiences offered. Kick open each and every door as you discover it.

# 1: Love what you do!
This summer, the most impactful thing I learned is the importance of doing something enjoyable. If every day you wake up excited to go to work and tackle the next problem, you will be happy to be there (and your boss will love you because you’ll be more productive). Your work is a massive portion of your life, and your emotional experience at work kind of dictates how you’ll feel in the rest of your life. Don’t work for a company just because they give a great starting salary or you already know a few people there. Go work somewhere where the work genuinely interests you. Love what you do and do what you love!

Dhara Singh '20

This summer I worked as a strategy intern at Shapiro+Raj, a market research and insight firm in Chicago that works with pharmaceutical and retail clients. As a member of the strategy team, I was brought onto a range of research projects to provide direction, strategic recommendations, and higher level summaries of the data. The internship program also allowed me to explore and learn about all aspects of the company, particularly new business development and qualitative research.

As an economics and psychology dual major, I finished my sophomore year still trying to figure out the ways in which I could combine my interests in data and understanding human behavior. I was excited by how relevant my psychology courses were in market research, especially the applicability of behavioral economic frameworks.
Getting to explore Chicago (especially the food) was an exciting experience that challenged me to become more independent. I will definitely be taking everything that I learned this summer with me while I study abroad in Milan, Italy this fall.

Linnea Uyeno ’20

This summer, I worked as a product management intern at Glassdoor. During my nine week internship, I was tasked with developing a new user acquisition product. I had the opportunity to work cross-functionally with the UI/UX design, editorial, data science, marketing, engineering, and product teams to design this product and integrate it into the platform.

I started off the project by evaluating the market through competitive analysis of existing products. Then, I used this research as a framework for designing and then conducting user interviews and surveys. Next, I analyzed the data from the user research and communicated specs to the editorial and design teams. At the end of my internship, I worked with our engineering team to translate the content/designs into a reality on the platform. Overall, my biggest takeaway from the internship was understanding the importance of tailoring my communication style towards various stakeholder groups.

Additionally, I had the opportunity to see Glassdoor go through a transition period. During the first week of my internship, Glassdoor was acquired by Recruit Holdings. The most exciting part was watching the pivot in product strategy that transpired after. In fact, just a few weeks after I started, Annie Pearl '05 took over the product organization. In a time of transition, I watched Annie effectively bring the team together. Annie, like myself, once worked at the Kravis Leadership Institute during her time at CMC. It was truly inspirational to see the KLI leadership theory and practices that I have learned about applied in a real company!

Mimi Thompson ’21

This summer, after attending “Moonshot House,” a whirlwind trip hosted by KLI which connected students to social entrepreneurs, I returned to Bangkok. My first year at CMC was honestly the most experiential year of my life: I braved white-water rafting, celebrated Halloween for the first time, acted in the Athenaeum play, and took new classes, but I was glad to be back home re-navigating the BTS sky train and feeling the familiar humidity.

Back in Thailand, I started an internship at Jaab Cards, a card design company ( Jaab Cards creates beautiful handmade cards, providing work and training to unskilled and often underprivileged women in Thailand, and supporting breast cancer outreach projects. I started out “floating” around the office; gaining an understanding of the company and my newly assigned task of redesigning the website. One of my ambitions is to learn how to code, so I now feel a little closer to achieving that goal. We wanted the website to highlight the beauty and sophistication of Jaab Cards and also emphasize the social cause behind the business, which undeniably supports and empowers women.

Each Jaab card is dusted with sparkles and at the end of each day, I returned home covered head-to-toe in glitter– my reputation at CMC as the girl who loves glitter reaffirmed! I learned more about how to edit basic code, use Photoshop, and ‘mix and match’ color combinations. By communicating with the Jaab Cards workers, my Thai language improved and we developed a more effective inventory system for raw materials. Currently, whenever I have a spare moment, I add finishing touches to the website, ready for its launch. I am thankful for being able to work at Jaab Cards, strengthening my cataloguing and organization, and adding website design to my skills.

Between catching up with friends, passing my driver’s test (yay!), celebrating my sister’s graduation, and traveling around Portugal with my family, my summer was a wonderful way to end my first year. As a sophomore and first year guide, I am excited to share my holiday stories and get back into the CMC swing.

Shanil Verjee ’21

This summer I had the opportunity to engage in three different programs. In the first week of the summer, I participated in Kravis Lab’s ‘Moonshot House’ Innovative Solutions Fellowship, which was held at a beautiful lake house in Lake Elsinore, CA.

I spent a week living with a group of CMCers of all ages, and a team of inspiring and successful social entrepreneurs who run enterprises all over the world. These entrepreneurs are making incredible social impact and are truly changing the world! Throughout the week, we participated in team building activities and workshops to build skills for success in social innovation, and were split into groups of three and assigned a major world issue. My group was assigned terrorism and nuclear warfare. Throughout the course of the week, we were tasked with finding a solution and developing a pitch for our problem.

The week was incredible and full of surprises-- including a surprise trip to Disneyland! I learned so much from the social entrepreneurs, and was inspired by their various journeys to develop their organizations, as they all overcame many hardships to get to where they are today. The week culminated in a pitch competition, where each group of students pitched their solutions to change the world. It was amazing to hear how much everyone’s solutions and pitches had progressed and improved in just one week, and learned that it is not impossible to change the world, if you focus on one small issue and put all of your energy towards solving it. My group won the pitch competition and we have been invited to have dinner with two social entrepreneurs in Los Angeles sometime this school year.

In June, I participated in the 5-week-long Harlaxton College Study Abroad Program, housed at Harlaxton Manor in Grantham, England. During the weekdays, I took a positive psychology course in which I studied the science of happiness and of making our lives better and more meaningful. I found this to be a very uplifting topic, which focused on an under-discussed area of psychology. We discussed various aspects of positive psychology such as optimism and attachment, and learned about cross-cultural differences in approaches to positive psychology. After classes we were able to embark on field trips to small towns surrounding Grantham, which allowed me to immerse myself in British culture beyond the well-known tourist areas.

Each weekend, students were allowed to travel throughout Europe. During these weekends, I decided to explore London, Cambridge, York (England), Dublin, the Cliffs of Moher, Howth (Ireland), and Edinburgh (Scotland). Immersing myself in the various cultures and interacting with locals was a valuable experience that I will never forget.

In August, I was fortunate enough to be invited as a student helper to another Kravis Lab ‘Moonshot House,’ on the Machangulo Peninsula in Mozambique. This program was geared towards social entrepreneurs whose enterprises had made it to the semi-finals of the prestigious Echoing Green fellowship. A group of mentors who have received the Echoing Green fellowship also attended the program. These mentors ran workshops and brainstormed with the Echoing Green semi-finalists, to address the pain-points of their organizations, and to build their skills for entrepreneurial success.

My role as a student helper was to be a confidant, note-taker, and assistant to the entrepreneurs, as well as a workshop participant. As a result, I learned about the many moving parts of running an organization, and I hope to use my knowledge in the future as I think about starting my own business one day.

Cameron Cash '20

Last summer, I was involved in a number of different activities.

Professionally, I had a ten-week internship working for Constellation Energy in Houston, Texas. Constellation is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, and Constellation Energy provides the competitive and wholesale energy supply function for Exelon.

I supported the Data Management department. My tasks ranged from doing some of the day-to-day work of an analyst, which involved gathering and verifying information and data to support the efforts of the sales team, to handling a large project, in which I was responsible for cleaning up and establishing a new plan regarding interval data subscriptions.

The internship allowed me to improve my technical and professional skills. I learned new systems and gained experience in networking and interacting with company employees in various roles, functions, and geographies. At the end of my internship, I created and presented a PowerPoint presentation for the leaders of the company regarding my large project. Overall, my internship was a rewarding experience.

In addition to working for Constellation, I helped coach a high school travel baseball team. This experience gave me insight into teaching others and sharing my knowledge of something that I am so passionate about, baseball.

I closed out the summer by returning early to CMC for training as a First Year Guide, or FYG. My team of FYGs and I led a WOA trip to San Onofre, and served as a resource for first year students to help ease their transition to college. We will continue to be there for them throughout the year.