Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gerard Toscani '15 @ AT&T

I had such an incredible experience at my externship in Bedminster this week. Before I dive into the details of the week, I’d like to extend a special thanks to Jack Duffy and the Career Development Center for making all of this possible. Jack’s willingness to host a handful of Gettysburg undergrads during one of the busiest points of his year reflects the strength and commitment of our Gettysburg Network.

We kicked off the week with a general tour of the facility and it was really neat to see the varying forms of infrastructure across the company’s departments. For example, in Jack’s area of the building there were more cubicles and offices, but in the Inventive Science and Collaboration Department the office setting had a much more organic feel to it. As an OMS major, I learned about company infrastructure and its reflection of corporate culture in Organizational Theory, so it was really cool to tie that into our experience.

Following the tour, Jack introduced us to Scott Martin who served as the Senior Client Services Project Manager for the Democratic National Convention. This session really gave me a deeper appreciation for the resources and effort that it takes to support such a widely broadcasted event. With thousands of people sending videos or text messages, surfing the web or making phone calls simultaneously there is very little margin for error on AT&T’s behalf.

We followed Scott’s session with a telepresence meeting that was hosted by Jim Jacen and Jessica Taylor out of Atlanta, Georgia. Jim and Jessica are in charge of AT&T’s college recruitment so it was really helpful to seek their advice on the application process. They also fielded questions about the Business Sales Leadership Development Program and provided a general background of the other non-sales oriented career paths through AT&T. Aside from the content of our meeting, I was most impressed by the sophistication of the telepresence technology.

After sitting in on the telepresence session our day was further enriched with a tour of the Global Network Operations Center. The GNOC was truly something out of a movie. Between the actual tour and the enormous display of real time network data, I walked out of there in awe. In the following days we were met by a variety of AT&T executives like Mike Downey, Brendan Floyd and Cathy Martine-Dolecki to name a few. We also touched based with several recent Gettysburg graduates who were more than happy to offer their support in the coming year.

I am truly thankful for this experience and the time and effort that it took for our host to put it all together. This externship is just one of the many opportunities that our Career Development Center offers for Gettysburg College Undergraduates. I’m looking forward to the upcoming school year and urge everyone to take advantage of the many opportunities and resources that our CDC has to offer!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kate Gregg @ NBC Universal

For the past five days I had the honor to shadow some of the most talented individuals in the digital media world at NBC Universal in New York City. The atmosphere on the twenty-ninth floor of 1221 Avenue of the Americas was relaxed and welcoming. Each office and cubicle was decorated with sports gear and paraphernalia that represented teams across the United States. Everyone was very friendly and willing to spend time with me and the other two externs. It was apparent that all the employees really enjoyed their job and had a passion for their work.

Each day was dedicated to a specific division within the digital sales sports group. The four main rotations I circulated through were ad operations, planning, sales, and marketing. I enjoyed this process because it allowed me to see which area I was most interested in. Before coming to New York, my main spark of interest was marketing but now I can also see myself working in sales.

The highlight of my week was Wednesday night when Nick took the three externs as well as the team who I was shadowing out to dinner at The Palm. I enjoyed the informal setting and getting to know these remarkable individuals on a more personal level. It was interesting and entertaining to listen to stories from Nick and the others about their college years and how they eventually ended up at NBC Universal. Each individual travelled a very different path that led him or her to working on the same floor. Another high point I experienced was going on a private tour of the NBC Studios in 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Although the department I was externing for is not directly involved with NBC’s television shows, it was educational to see where a large portion of the station’s attention and money go.

I truly enjoyed externing at NBC Universal this past week. There were so many interesting people that I met and valuable lessons that I learned. Although New York City was a bit intimidating, the office was much more relaxed and welcoming. I believe that I have a much better understanding of the business behind sales and marketing. This was a worthwhile opportunity and an amazing experience.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Max Karen '18 @ NBC Universal

After a fifteen minute car ride to the station, an hour long train ride, and a 25 minute walk through the bustling streets of Manhattan, I arrive at the doorstep of the massive building that is home to NBC Universal. I was feeling apprehensive and definitely had a newfound respect for the people who make that commute every morning. I obtained my visitors pass and took the elevator up to the 31st floor. After speaking with the receptionist, I was told I could wait in a seating area. Shortly after, the other two externs arrived and we chatted about our commute and what the week might have in store. After a few more anxious minutes of waiting, we were led into a big conference room with a number of people sitting around a massive table. Everyone introduced themselves and gave a little background about their life. Some of the people joked with one another and I began to feel more and more comfortable. Then Nick Johnson introduced himself and told us about how after graduating from Gettysburg, he worked at a handful of different places before ending up at NBC. It was intriguing and a little reassuring to hear about how someone who was in a similar situation that I’m in now landed at such an amazing company in a great position. After the meeting we were each assigned to a different department. I was given the opportunity to shadow a number of people in the Ad Operations department. At first “Ad Ops,” as it was referred to, was a little overwhelming being as it is a very computer oriented department. After sitting with a few Ad Ops employees, I began to grasp a number of the concepts and it became more interesting once I understood how it worked in to the bigger picture. At Ad Ops, coordinators essentially take files (either picture or video), which they call creatives, and set them so they show up in the correct places at the right times on the NBCSN website. It sounds simple but it is actually very complicated. One of the coordinators even had me follow a long list of instructions and go step by step to set a banner and video ad to appear on the site. So if you happen to be on their website, you may see an ad that I set to show up. In the following days I sat with employees in three other departments (sales, sales planning, and marketing). Every person I met could not have been nicer and everyone was happy to answer any questions I had. Now having gone through all of the rotations and spending a week there, I would consider myself lucky to work at a place like NBC Universal.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Renee Stephens @ MORR Dental Solutions

My four-day externship with Ms. Maria Melone was so much more than I could have expected. Before the externship, when I first read about what Maria does, I imagined her being someone who works with numbers in an office. However, as a pre-dental student, what attracted me to the externship was that Maria works strictly with dentists, although it was still a bit unclear to me what she did for her job.

When I arrived on Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to learn several things about Maria’s job. Her and her three partners started the company, MORR Dental Solutions, only a few years ago. Since then, Maria has been working hard to establish her company, which has already come a long way. Maria works with dentists and dental specialists across the country to help value their practices, facilitate buy-ins and buy-outs, as well as provide several other services. While she does crunch numbers in her office as a part of her job, she also communicates often with clients in-person, over the phone, and through email, travels to see dental practices first-hand to help with her valuations, and provides emotional support to her clients.

Throughout the week, Maria told me a lot about her job, allowed me to sit in on both in-person and over-the-phone meetings, and gave me projects to work on that helped me understand how number crunching helps with her valuation work. The knowledge that I have gained from evaluating numbers and listening to Maria’s explanations will help me immensely when I become a dentist and am looking to buy and manage my own practice. I now know what aspects of a dental practice give it the most value on the market.

When sitting in on one of Maria’s meetings, I was excited to hear that she will be speaking on behalf of her company in January at a conference in Boston called the Yankee Dental Congress, where 28,000 dentists and other professionals in the dental industry will be in attendance. I expressed my interest in attending, and was invited to come help out with some things at the conference. I will somehow have to find a way up to Massachusetts again for that, because I would really love to volunteer my time, listen to Maria speak, and hopefully get the chance to meet many dentists from New England and other parts of the country. In addition, I actually got the chance to visit Boston already! Maria was kind enough to drive me all the way there and take me to a restaurant for some authentic New England seafood. She is a phenomenal and fun person, both in and out of the office.

My week at MORR Dental Solutions has prepared me for my future more than I could have hoped for. I now see how much more beneficial it was for me to spend my week with Maria rather than to have spent it gaining more shadowing hours with a dentist, as I already have a significant amount of hours shadowing dentists and specialists. This externship has given me a different perspective of the dental field that will give me a leg up when it comes time to operate a practice of my own. I give my endless thanks to Maria for everything she has done for me this week and I look forward to hopefully seeing her again in January!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Kaitlyn McCrudden @ Unum

Located in the appropriately named city of Portland, Maine, Unum not only provides over 160 years of employee benefits leadership services to its clients, but also creates an extremely supportive work environment for its employees. I had the pleasure of experiencing Unum’s distinct corporate culture firsthand this August through my externship with Carol Ryan Ertz, AVP Leadership Development in Corporate Human Resources. Carol created a packed schedule for me, which provided an opportunity for me to meet with anyone in Human Resources from the Vice President of HR Global Operations to summer interns and everywhere in between. With every employee I met, Unum’s values of integrity, commitment, and accountability were reaffirmed. I realized that when I am looking for companies to work for, it is crucial to research the organization’s values and how they are applied in the workplace.

Going into the week, I hardly knew anything about Human Resources. I knew it was a department committed to fostering personal relationships and a department that attracts extraverted personalities, but not much beyond that. Nearly every employee in HR that I met with held a role that interested me in some way. The beauty of the department, and Unum in general, is that the culture allows for easy movement amongst positions. Another comforting realization I had was that if you are passionate about a position, your previous background becomes less important. A company will be willing to give you a chance if you prove yourself as enthusiastic, self-driven, and motivated. From that point on, they will partner with you to find a good fit for you within the organization.

Day by day, I felt myself improving greatly on skills vital to a corporate environment. On my first day, a meeting I had with one Vice President in HR was blocked off for 45 minutes but I ran out of questions after 15minutes. Although I tried not to let it show, I was extremely embarrassed. I felt like I wasn’t cut out for Human Resources because at the time, it seemed like I clearly did not have the communications skills necessary to succeed in the department. However, by the end of the week, I could hold a professional, intelligent conversation with a VP and think of questions on the spot. I gained much more in 4 days than I ever could have imagined: knowledge of human resources, an understanding of Unum’s corporate culture, and an improvement of my communication skills. Carol could not have been a more wonderful host and I will cherish my experience with her. My externship has allowed me to envision myself in a corporate environment and left me excited for my postgrad future.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Konrad Neptun '17 @ AT&T

My name is Konrad Neptun and I just completed my externship week at AT&T in Bedminster, New Jersey.  Prior to this experience, I was unsure of how impactful this externship would be on my overall Gettysburg experience.  However, now that I have completed my externship week, it is safe to say that it has opened many new doors for me.  For example, I was exposed to new fields such as the Internet of Things, which is something that I did not know existed prior to this week.  I had the opportunity to meet with many different employees and gain valuable career advice from both entry level and very successful executives.  Also, the exposure that I gained about the telecommunications field is something that I will undoubtedly take with me for the future.  When looking back at the externship, I tried to get as much exposure as possible in hope that I could simply learn as much as possible.  One of the most interesting experiences from this past week was visiting the Global Network Operations Center for AT&T.  This is the place where they monitor and control the entire network and seeing this in person blew me away.  Also, it was fascinating to see from a business perspective how AT&T works.  Personally, I had only witnessed AT&T from a consumer perspective and seeing it from the other side really opened my eyes to how much the company does and offers outside of mobile-to-mobile connectivity.  An example of this is when we met with an employee who talked about how connectivity to the network and overall business solutions plays such an important role in AT&T’s yearly revenue.  My host, Jack Duffy, talked to us a lot about how his role in planning the conventions for both the Republican and Democratic national parties plays into the company.  All of this exposure was fascinating to me and I learned so much about the entire field.  All in all, this externship provided me with the opportunity to experience an industry that I was interested in.  I learned many valuable networking tips and by meeting with many executives and hearing their advice, I feel much more confortable with networking going forward.  Therefore, I am grateful for this experience and am looking forward to using these new skills when I am abroad and eventually back on campus in the spring. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Brianna McEwan @ Fidelity Charitable

This past week I was given the opportunity to intern at Fidelity Charitable, a small company within Fidelity Investments, which helps donors to set aside and distribute money for charitable giving. Grant Kaley was our host and he worked with us throughout the week while we did research and prepared for our presentation on the last day.

Our assignment was to go out to the NC State and UNC campuses to interview millennials to learn about their views about giving to charity. By the end of the week, we were hoping to have discovered some ways that Fidelity Charitable could appeal to the younger generation.

Victoria, Uri, Matt and I split up into groups of two for our interviews around the campuses. Although many students on both campuses attempted to avoid speaking with us, the interviews that we were able to get ended up being extremely useful and interesting. As we continued to interview more and more people, we were able to focus our questions and guide the student towards topics that would help us more with our presentation.

My favorite interview of the entire trip came from a 21-year-old Economics major. It was nice to interview him because we barely had to ask questions. He told us that he was interested in starting his own charity after school, so he seemed very well versed about charities and his views on donations. Tori and I enjoyed his interview because he really got us thinking and actually helped us to figure out better questions and come up with possible ideas and solutions that we could use in our presentation. While the interviewing process was challenging, it definitely is a great skill to have and will benefit me in the future.

After our two days of interviews, Mr. Kaley taught us how to create "Point of View Statements," which we used to identify the needs of millennials. These statements helped us to gather the large amount of information we had collected and make them more concise so that we could make use of it all.

Mr. Kaley brought a few of his colleagues to come watch our presentation on the last day of the externship. Our presentation started out by introducing ourselves and telling why we wanted to participate in this externship program. I wanted to participate because I thought that it was a great opportunity to see what working in the real world would be like. We have all taken classes and are trying to figure out what we want to do with our lives, so I think that this experience is very valuable and can help us learn more about different careers and what each would entail. We then presented our ideas and solutions to the problems. The one we chose to focus on was one that rounded up your credit card purchases to the nearest dollar or 5 dollars and the extra money goes into a charitable