Making the Most of Summer
By Amanda O'Rourke and Megan McDermott '14
For many business students, summer means continued learning, with the offices of major domestic and international companies replacing traditional classrooms. Summer 2016 was no exception. From top U.S. brands to international corporations, students spent the summer earning the relevant work experience employers seek. But work experience is only a fraction of the benefit students gained during their summer internships.
Erin Byrne '17, who participated in Prudential Financial's prestigious summer finance internship at the company's headquarters in Newark, N.J., expanded her prospects through the company's many networking opportunities.
One of her favorite experiences was attending a Senior Finance Leaders Breakfast. "We were given the opportunity to talk to these leaders and receive advice for our futures, tips for success and get an overall feel for Prudential long term," explains the business administration-finance and economics major.
The wisdom of her experienced colleagues and her work in the Asset Liabilities Management department primed Byrne for the final assignment of her internship-a presentation to Prudential leadership that served as an interview for their Finance Leadership Development Program. The three-year program allows associates to gain experience by rotating through different parts of Prudential. With so much at stake, the internship could easily feel intimidating, but events like the Senior Finance Leaders Breakfast help to create a supportive environment.
Cesaltina Fernandes '17, a business administration-finance and economics major who also landed a summer internship at Prudential, agrees with Byrne's assessment. Working in Prudential's Group Insurance Finance-Expense Management department, Fernandes observed how "meaningful relationships" and "symbiotic sharing of experiences" lead to success.
"Networking is the most useful non-technical tool that any business professional should have," she says.
Lauren Tishkevich, a junior finance and economics major, returned to her home state of Maine and L.L. Bean, the company where her mother worked for 18 years. Tishkevich recalls "being amazed by the authentic love of the outdoors that both the company and all of its employees shared" since she was a child.
"As someone who loves to be outside exploring, hiking, kayaking and more, it felt like a natural fit to come to a place where the company and employees felt the same," she says.
Though the environment was familiar, Tishkevich gained a fresh perspective through her work in the Financial Planning & Analysis department. "This internship contextualizes everything I learned previously," she explains.
As Tishkevich pored over financial statements and projections, built spreadsheets and crafted presentations, she gained a practical understanding of the material she covered in courses such as Financial Accounting, Using Computers and Global Business Perspectives.
This summer marked junior James Norman's third internship with Moody's Investors Service, a "Big Three" credit rating agency based in Manhattan. Currently a treasury intern, the accounting major worked on creating a process to monitor global bank fees and a system to track intercompany transactions.
The internship built on Norman's previous experiences with the agency, and he credits Susquehanna's Career Development Center with preparing him to take on more complex responsibilities and strengthen his relationships in the agency.
"[The center] allowed me to brush up on my soft and hard skills alike, so I can be successful at keeping those relationships and performing at a high level," he says.
John Martone, a senior accounting major, also knows the importance of relationships. His advisor, Associate Professor of Accounting Jerry Habegger, connected him with an alumnus who directed him to PricewaterhouseCooper's recruiting department. The connection helped Martone land an intership in the company's Manhattan office, assisting with corporate tax returns and research into potential clients.