JSOM Career Management Center Internship Stories
Undergraduate students at the Naveen Jindal School of Management are now required to complete an internship to learn workplace skills and apply their newly acquired knowledge, making them highly marketable.
The Career Management Center website includes an Internships resource page. It is devoted entirely to helping students obtain and succeed at an internship appropriate for their career interests and career path.
This Career Management Center Web page, Internship Stories, recounts first forays into the professional world from a variety of perspectives. The experiences recounted here are meant to enlighten, encourage — and even entertain — as they introduce you to students, employers and programs that are now part of the JSOM internship narrative.
Employers: If you are interested in engaging with the Career Management Center and Jindal School students, contact email@example.com.
Business Analytics Divya Shankar carefully researched companies that interested her. She also connected with like-minded professionals — not to ask for referrals but rather to learn as much about their work as possible.
Research — a Lot of It — Paid Off for Business Analytics Student
Divya Shankar’s three-month internship last summer with Sabre Corporation led to a full-time position with the company, where she is a senior business analyst. For someone who has always loved working with numbers, the job is tailor-made.
Divya graduated from the Naveen Jindal School of Management last December, earning her master’s degree in business analytics. Business analysts study certain data to help a company make more-informed business decisions.
Divya is part of team at Sabre that analyzes data in order to provide answers to a variety of questions. “They may, for example, come from the supplier sales team, or from other departments within the company,” she says. “They come to us with the data, which we analyze, and then we create a dashboard [a data-visualization tool] with them in mind. One of the things I like most about my work is being able to help people make business decisions using data insights. That excites me.”
In identifying internship opportunities, Shankar did her research — and a lot of it. “I learned as much as I could about every company,” she says. “I would recommend other students who are interested in internships create a list of companies they would like to work for, research each one to learn what they are looking for and then fine-tune their courses to fit those needs.”
She also recommends students attend every networking session they can and use websites such as LinkedIn to connect with others in professions or jobs that interest them.
“Do this not to ask for referral,” Shankar says, “but to learn as much as you can about their work.”
Once students start an internship, she adds, they shouldn’t take it lightly. “They need to be extremely proactive and take on as many projects as possible,” she says. “Learn from every experience. Try to network and connect with people outside your team.”
Divya is a native of Chennai, India, where she worked as a business-development executive at a renewable energy startup, gaining hands-on experience in data analysis and visualization in addition to honing her marketing skills, finding and working with clients, and working with design and engineering teams.
She learned of UT Dallas and the Jindal School from her husband, Shreyas Sudarshan, a 2010 MS in telecommunications engineering alumnus of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Global Business Sophomore Jennifer Garcia took advantage of information she learned at a student organization meeting to connect with a nonprofit that helped her land an internship at Travelers Insurance.
Extracurricular Connection Steers Student to Insurance Internship
The saying “In the driver’s seat” reflects a take-charge, in-control viewpoint, and Jennifer Garcia’s internship with Travelers Insurance in Richardson made that happen on multiple levels. The opportunity not only inspired her to get her driver’s license, it also gave her added confidence and perspective.
“I was at a meeting of the Association of Latino Professionals for America, and the organization INROADS talked about how they had internships,” Garcia, a sophomore majoring in global business, recalls.
She went to a meeting of INROADS, a nonprofit resource for paid internships for undergraduate students, and learned there were opportunities — even for freshmen. Through follow-up, she put in an application, got sent me to a seminar on internships, and then got an email from INROADS that there was an opening at Travelers. “I asked my mentors at UTD about it,” Garcia says, “and they encouraged me. I got an interview, and a week later I found out I would get to do it.”
Starting the beginning of last June and concluding in August, she was amazed at how thorough the experience was. In fact, assigned to the claims department, she was rotating to a different business every two weeks.
“For the auto business, we went into the body shop and watched the assessment of cars, for example,” she says, the importance of teamwork particularly impressed upon her. “You saw them talk through so many aspects involved with the situation, and they were working together to figure it out.
“For the property business, we actually shadowed a claims professional. We saw them get on the roof, measure damages and talk to the customer.”
She even went to “Claim University” for three days training: “Interns from all over went to Connecticut, and we had the chance to interact with executives of Travelers and meet alumni who were past interns and now were employees. We also learned about the different diversity networks at Travelers.”
Garcia says it is a big help to take this experience with her into future professional opportunities, giving her confidence that she can be a strong contributor. “It was important to have a chance to learn from so many people,” she says. “It helped me to better visualize what corporate America is like.”
And one piece of advice she would give to other students is that it is never too early to start gaining experience. “Just because you’re a freshman doesn’t mean you can’t start looking into internships,” she says. “I’m glad I was encouraged to just go for it.”
Global Business and Marketing Senior Casey Sublett’s two 2016 internships included one assignment at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and another at KPMG in Germany.
Top Internships Take JSOM Student to Washington and Munich
Global business and marketing major Casey Sublett is well aware of the unique opportunities she has pursued with the support of the Jindal School’s Career Management Center internship program, the Davidson Management Honors Program, and the Collegium V Honors Program.
She has completed several internships since entering JSOM in 2012, including two, nearly back-to-back, in 2016.
From January to late April, Sublett interned in Washington, D.C., with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). She then traveled to Munich, Germany, where she interned with professional services firm KPMG.
Sublett is a senior member of the Davidson Management Honors Program. Members usually come in as freshmen and become part of a cohort, a group of students who attend honors classes together.
“Our culture in the Career Management Center is to help our students realize how important internships are while at school,” says Tom Kim, assistant dean in charge of the center. “We offer many opportunities for students and employers to network, and Casey has been involved in every aspect to improve her chances for placement after graduation.”
In Washington, Sublett worked full time as an intern for CEQ in the offices in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the West Wing of the White House. CEQ coordinates federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies initiatives.
The internship was part of the Archer Fellowship Program established by The University of Texas System in conjunction with Former U.S. Representative Bill Archer. Students take nine hours of classes focusing on policy, economics and persuasion, and earn internship credits with media outlets, think tanks, nongovernmental organizations and such government entities such the U.S. Department of State, the White House and the Supreme Court.
“I’ve always had an interest in environmental policy,” Sublett says, “but I lacked experience in the field. At CEQ, I worked in the office of the chief of staff. I helped staff prepare briefing materials, and I worked on background research for memos or other projects.”
“I was aware of environmental issues before,” Sublett says, “but working with CEQ really opened my eyes to many more issues and helped me identify my interests.”
Three weeks after her CEQ internship ended, Sublett traveled to Germany, where she helped staff at KPMG conduct information technology audits. Even though IT was not a field she had previously considered, Sublett says the internship was a valuable experience. “It allowed me to try something new and experience a business environment in another culture,” she says.
Internships have been a required part of the Jindal School’s undergraduate programs since the fall of 2014. Before that, a number of internships went unfilled, says Undergraduate Dean Marilyn Kaplan. The number of international internships to be completed by JSOM students is estimated at 101 in 2016-2017, compared to 24 in 2014-2015.
“We want students to be confident in their careers and what better way than to intern at a variety of companies,” says Kaplan.
Accounting Senior Mohamed Bakayoko says staying focused “for the long haul” is one key to internship success.
One Big-Four Intern Opportunity Turns Into Two
Senior accounting major Mohamed Bakayoko has a dream of becoming a CPA and using related skills for a future in entrepreneurship as well. With that in mind, one of the Big Four accounting firms is a strong place to be. Ernst & Young snapped him up for a summer internship, but not before, Bakayoko says, he completed a rigorous interview process.
“You need to stay with it,” he says. “It includes initially applying, the school interview process, to going downtown where you stay overnight and interview. You need to be focused for the long haul.”
In downtown Dallas, the EY Assurance internship from June to July had him working with three different teams — in the financial, manufacturing and healthcare industries. His work included working on quarterly audits, bank reconciliations and, at times, he was up to his neck in Excel.
“I gained even more of an appreciation of auditing,” he says. “I think being a people person helps because they want to get a sense of you, in addition to your skills. I have to say that it’s good practice to see the auditing process at Ernst and Young, and it makes you more comfortable with assisting going forward.”
And Bakayoko is looking forward to the spring. That is because roughly two weeks after his summer internship concluded, EY asked him to return as an intern auditor.
His advice for those looking for a chance at similar internship opportunities?
“You need to bring a positive attitude and give them a sense that you’re up for learning and helping with anything,” he says. “Take the initiative and know that you have to occasionally speak up — because they will sometimes ask for your opinion. Some of them have been in your shoes, and they want to help you grow. A lot of what you get out of it is up to you.”
Accounting and Information Technology and Systems Tax or audit? Senior Chidambara Vinayagam wondered if she was in the right accounting track. An internship at Thomson Reuters helped her decide.
On the Right Track? Internship Helps Answers an Education Question
Senior accounting and information technology and systems major Chidambara Vinayagam recently completed an internship with Thomson Reuters in Carrollton, where she found the answer to a nagging question she had about her future career.“I’m on an audit track, but I have wondered if maybe I should instead have taken the tax track,” she says. “This experience showed me that I’m on the right track. I don’t have those questions anymore.”
She worked in the tax sector at Thomson Reuters, which provides electronic information and services to businesses and professionals in the financial services, media, legal, tax and accounting, and science markets.
“It was a positive experience that helped me confirm where my interests lie,” Vinayagam says, “What I liked most about being a support representative was having the ability to teach people about a software that they are not familiar with. Guiding them to reach that ‘aha’ moment was a very rewarding experience. Also, being able to talk with people during times of high stress is an important skill to have, and I discovered that I really enjoy helping people. Additionally, I determined that a more customer-facing role, as opposed to tech support, would be more in line with my personality.”
Vinayagam, who hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, got her internship through a UT Dallas Career Expo, where she gave representatives from Thomson Reuters a copy of her résumé. It was her first “official” internship, although she previously has worked in other offices.
To other students considering internships, Vinayagam’s advice is to be open to opportunities. “Take advantage of every opportunity you get and learn as much as you can from each experience,” she says. “Even though my internship was in tax support, and that’s not what I want to do as my career, I still learned so much.”
A Foot in the Door at McKinsey & Company
When you apply for an internship at a consulting leader such as McKinsey & Company, just getting an interview puts you in select company.
Jindal School alumna Nishita Shetty landed in an even loftier starting spot: McKinsey & Company asked her to apply.
“I heard from them through LinkedIn, and I think the time I put into my profile there definitely paid off,” says Shetty, who graduated from JSOM in May 2016 with a master’s degree in information technology and management. “I tried to focus on underlining the tasks I had that would apply the most to my opportunities.”
Her LinkedIn summary features long lists of expertise, technical skills and functional skills before it even mentions where she has worked.
Her graduate teaching assistant experience at JSOM, she says, also caught McKinsey & Company’s eye. She worked in this role for two courses, Business Data Warehousing and Enterprise Resource Planning.
Shetty had her foot in the door, but the challenge was just beginning. There were four rounds of interviews overall. The earlier ones partly looked at her background, and the later rounds included a focus on understanding her analytical skills.
“They would give you a case scenario and wanted to see how you would deal with it,” she says. “They weren’t just wanting to learn about what I’ve done but to see how I could solve problems. They want to see if your mind works in a way which can help them.”
Finally, she was chosen for an internship. “It was a great feeling to get the chance, and I actually had two internships before landing a full-time job with them,” she says.
The student speaker at the Jindal School’s May graduate commencement ceremonies. Shetty now works in New York as a business technology consultant for the company, focusing on the healthcare sector.
Looking back, Shetty loved that McKinsey & Company respected interns and would potentially implement their ideas. “The internship can be what you make it,” she says. “But you need to have faith in yourself and need to be able to jump in and participate.”
Monica Powell, senior associate dean at JSOM, says Shetty’s experience drives home the point that you must be ready to put your brainpower on display if you want to succeed at top internship interviews. “They’re looking for people who can be innovative,” she says. “It’s not the time to just hold back.”
Powell also says she advises students who land a coveted interview at this level to identify contacts within that company that they can talk to. “They are a first line to understand how interviewing might be done and to understanding the organization and their different lines of business. Why not have more information than less?”
Another JSOM alumnus, Udyan Sharma followed that advice and landed as an associate at McKinsey & Company focusing on product and delivery analysis.
“Before I was ever offered a job there, I made it a point to reach out to people who already worked there, who had been through the process and to make sure that I’m on the right track,” Sharma, who earned both an MS and an MBA in 2015, says. “I also wanted to do my homework on whether I was ready for McKinsey because you don’t want the opportunity before you can give positive results.”
Sharma looks back on his education and sees Jindal School advantages that helped him achieve the opportunity and thrive in it
Sharma notes that there were a good number of JSOM courses that directly correlated to what his job would be. “I have a (master’s) degree in business analytics, and it’s all about helping businesses,” he says. “Courses in operations management, marketing strategy and marketing analytics are just some of the ones that have made me feel comfortable when it’s come to this path.”
Healthcare Management Seniors Osuchukwu and Parra set themselves up for success by studying Aprima Software, Inc. before they arrived, demonstrating excellent communication skills and sticking to a goal plan they created with their internship supervisor.
Precious Osuchukwu and Erick Parra have become exceptional communicators, according to Michelle Matthews, internship supervisor with Aprima Medical Software, Inc. Erick and Precious, both entering their senior year as Jindal School healthcare management students, received rave reviews during a recent intern site visit conducted by BS in Healthcare Management Program Director Britt Berrett.
Matthews said she was thrilled with the interns and said they “did their homework about the organization prior to starting the internship.” Beyond that, “Erick and Precious showed up with a willingness to learn.”
“Aprima will teach interns and employees the skills, but it is very important to have a baseline knowledge to be set up for success,” Matthews said. “Both students were open to feedback and received constructive criticism well. Erick and Precious were quick to understand their responsibilities and regularly exceeded expectations. They each consistently demonstrated excellent communication skills, which are essential to this line of work.”
Healthcare management students create a student goal plan with their supervisors during the first two weeks of an internship. The plan is reviewed and used as a guide for learning. For Erick and Precious, the plan they created included learning basic guidelines for medical billing, gaining a proficiency in Aprima software and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines, and obtaining real-world experience in healthcare administration.
A poster Erick and Precious submitted at the end of the internship highlighted the goals and objectives, and detailed their accomplishments. They were able to apply concepts they learned in class to the experience they acquired working with Aprima’s electronic health record (EHR), practice management (PM) and revenue cycle (RCM) solutions.
After working for Aprima RCM, I can truly say I could not have asked for a better organization to teach me real-life experience in the healthcare administrative field,” Erick said. “They have made every accommodation to balance both school and work, while handing me the tools I needed to succeed in this company. With the experience I have learned here, I know I will take it with me wherever I choose to go after I graduate. I highly recommend anyone looking at a career in the medical field to start here.”
Working in revenue-cycle management “taught me a lot, “ Precious said. “It bridged an understanding of insurance guidelines, clinical procedure and diagnostic codes, and accounts receivables. My experience at Aprima has proven to be invaluable. I now see things differently in healthcare by paying attention to the constant changes….. I would highly recommend this work and internship opportunity to any healthcare management major at UT Dallas.”
Based on precedents Precious and Erick set, Matthews had these words of advice to pass along to future interns: “Do your homework before you start. Come in with an open mind and a positive attitude. Be proactive. Set goals and plan to hit them. Be prepared to work hard.”
Ericsson’s Road to a Possible Internship
When you talk about successful companies, Ericsson ranks right up there. But how does a student rank up there in terms of snagging an internship? Curtis Ludwig knows. As global university relations program manager for Ericsson, he is quick to impart that a résumé may be a starting point, but it is a fresh mind as much as what is on paper that will likely win an applicant one of the 600 to700 internship spots he estimates are offered every year for Ericsson’s North America region.
“Many internships are from the technical side, such as engineering, but about 25 percent of our interns are going to be coming from business school, marketing, those areas,” Ludwig explains. “Business school students we’re looking for are those predominantly with an analytical background. We look for students who can do critical thinking to help with decision making, and that could apply to marketing, sales or even a human resources type of role. We love seeing extracurricular activities — case studies, research, hackathons — but working at a grocery store or even pizza delivery can be valuable to us also. It really depends on how the experience has improved your thinking.”
What happens during an Ericsson internship? Ludwig estimates that 90 percent of the time is “real world work” and 10 percent is work for individual skill development and leadership.
“We also do an internship showcase every semester in the North America region, looking for solutions to a true business problem,” he says, adding that a past internship presentation involving algorithms actually went on to be adopted by the company.
“We’re looking for special people when it comes to choosing interns,” he says, “but there is more than one way to stand out.”
Curtis Ludwig’s Tips for an Ericsson Internship Interview
- Bring concrete examples of where you used critical thinking and showed analytical skill
- Don’t just rely on what you did in the classroom when citing what you believe to be relevant experience
- Be prepared for off-the-wall questions and be willing to approach them thoughtfully
Amy Troutman, director of the Professional Program in Accounting, has been at the helm since the program began nearly a decade ago with the aim of giving students a leg up in the profession. The numbers coming back say PPA has more than exceeded expectations. Many things stand out about the program, but being able to place more than 90 percent of students in internships ranks near the top.
During students’ junior year, “we have more than 20 accounting firms come to interview prospective interns, including all of the Big Four,” Troutman says. Those accepted usually do the internship during the spring of their senior year, and “many times find themselves with an offer from the company and knowing they have a job to go to once they finish the program — a program that gives them a master’s in accounting when it concludes,” Troutman says
Troutman, also a senior lecturer who teaches an accounting ethics course as part of the program, says it is a great relief to students to come back for their final year with a job in hand and being able to then focus on their certified public accountant exam. A CPA herself, Troutman says program members are passing at a significantly higher rate than average. “What’s also beneficial is that we’re placing them in internships all over the country — New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta — so a job possibility could exist in so many places,” she says. “I think the students are pleasantly surprised in how ready they are to perform at internships at impressive companies. It only seems to boost their confidence.”
The original class had just 22 students, she says, and the newest one has close to 90. Troutman has been extremely proud of how the program has blossomed over the years, led by a group she categorized as highly motivated. “The original class now has people in manager roles at public accounting firms and in charge of leading young professionals,” she says. “I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to watch the results.”
Zekiros spent the summer after her junior year working full time for Liberty Mutual Insurance in Richardson as an intern in the company’s Personal Insurance Property Operations Department. During the first semester of her senior year, she worked as a part-time finance and accounting intern for Riveron Consulting in Dallas.
“Liberty Mutual and Riveron Consulting were very different and gave me multiple perspectives,” Zekiros says. “I experienced what it was like to work in a large corporation and in a smaller business in different industries. I could see how I performed in the different environments.
“Therefore, I was able to identify my strengths and weaknesses in these areas. The result was I understood more clearly what I wanted out of a work environment and I looked for a rotational program that fit those qualities.”
Zekiros will graduate in May from the Naveen Jindal School of Management and start work in August as a risk analyst in JP Morgan Chase’s leadership development program.
Before both of her internships, Zekiros worked at JSOM’s Career Management Center, where she saw how the University’s support of students all comes together. CMC staff members helped her revise her résumé, meet with employers on campus and prepare for interviews. “I gained confidence from one-on-ones with employers at JSOM networking mixers. I also attended career expos, but the networking mixers were more helpful for me. I learned more about different industries and how to make my internships the best experiences possible,” she says.
As a result, Zekiros applied for the Liberty Mutual internship even though it was in an industry she had not previously considered. “I realized it would broaden my experience.” She says that her time there provided her with views of different management styles and strengthened her professional skills.
Three Pieces of Advice from Saron for Fellow Students Embarking on an Internship Search
- Don’t give up if your first attempt doesn’t work out. Learn from the mistakes and move on.
- Be persistent while still maintaining professionalism.
- You never know where the next opportunity is, so keep an open mind and network!
Not every JSOM student has such a clear view of a career path as Dodson, who waited a few years after high school to start college.
“I knew what I wanted,” Dodson says. “My first choice was Deloitte.” Dodson’s challenge was to prepare for Deloitte’s case study interview style. So he reached out to Neil Johnson, assistant director of JSOM’s Career Management Center, who helped Dodson prepare for the problem-solving interview sessions. And through the CMC, Deloitte and other employers held case-study prep sessions for students.
Whatever the circumstance, the JSOM Career Management Center is ready to help undergraduate students meet their JSOM graduation requirement of completing an internship.
“We bring in employers for mock interviews, networking events and informational sessions,” says Tom Kim, assistant dean and CMC director. “It stretches our staff of 11 who are supporting 8,000 students. Talking to employers helps guide students toward what they really want to do.”
And employers benefit from the opportunity to recruit students face-to-face, Kim adds.
Dodson participated in as many CMC opportunities as he could. He attended industry meet-and-greets. CMC managers helped him improve his résumé by adding metrics and changing his organization and formatting.
During his summer internship at Deloitte, Dodson worked on two projects as a business technology analyst in a position similar to that of new hires. He spent much of the summer at a client’s location in Virginia. His hard work paid off; shortly after the end of his internship, he accepted Deloitte’s job offer to work in the digital service line of its Technology Consulting group and will start after graduation.
Dodson advises students to take advantage of the CMC early in their studies. “Go to events, especially when employers are there,” he says. “Even if it is not an employer you are interested in, it will give you experience meeting them and learning about their opportunities.”
As a result, Su recently was offered a full-time position by IBM as a solution sales specialist and a move to New York City. She will start this fall.
“I got my internship through connections within the sales program,” Su says. “Networking played a huge part for me.
“I wanted to get an internship to be able to apply what I have been learning over the years to the real world. In addition to that, I wanted the opportunity to immerse myself in the day-to-day operations in the corporate world. I also viewed an internship as a great way to expand my network. It also is a great résumé builder, as well as shows that I had hands-on work experience.”
Su has excelled in numerous sales competitions at JSOM, including recently being part of a two-person team that won the prestigious International Collegiate Sales Competition’s Sales Management Case Competition.
Su, who grew up in Plano, Texas, chose UT Dallas because both her parents and older brother are alumni. Her parents, Eric H. Su, MS in MIS and MS in MAS’83, and Shuhui D. (Daisy) Su, MS’85, earned degrees after moving from Taiwan. Her brother, Patrick, graduated with a BS in Finance degree in 2009.
“UTD has provided with me so many great resources — from all the classes, great faculty and staff, and professional development events,” she says. “It has provided me with a foundation of the necessary skills to thrive in the business world. Your time in college is largely dependent on who you surround yourself with, and I’m glad I surrounded it with the great minds of people at UTD and JSOM.”