Tag: internship

With nearly 30,000 Olin alumni working around the world, chances are you will find one at a company you are interested in. The Weston Career Center hosts alumni panels throughout the year where alumni share advice on job interviews and what it’s like to work at major corporations as well as startups. In February, alumni from Amazon, Dell, eBay, and MasterCard, in addition to a guest from Square, were here.


Elle Dalconzo is a junior at Olin from Los Angeles, CA, majoring in Finance and Marketing. She’s active on campus as a facilitator for The Date, a TA for ACCT 2610, a member of Alphi Phi Sorority and Delta Sigma Pi Fraternity.

The Olin BSBA Undergraduate Program will be highlighting students throughout the semester to share their experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

I was able to ask Elle a few questions about her experience this summer as an intern with Brunello Cucinelli in Manhattan. Elle learned of the internship through Professor Sneider’s Luxury Goods course. The Luxury Goods course was taught on campus in the spring and then traveled to New York over spring break to visit brands such as Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bloomingdale’s, Burberry, DKNY, Loro Piana, and more.

She had the opportunity to work in the men’s and women’s showroom which included staging product before appointments, assisting clients in selecting and recording styles, as well as prepare (photograph and swatch) style orders for individual accounts.

When I asked about her experience with the Olin Immersion Program, she had this to say:

“I would definitely recommend any Olin Immersion program. You never know who you are going to meet. I know it sounds cheesy and cliché, but one of the pillars of the Olin Business School is experiential learning. Use the immersion programs to delve into something that peaks your interest, or something you have never heard of. When looking for an internship, go for an adventure, not a resume blurb. Adventures make connections too, and summers are too long to waste in a poorly lit copy room!”

Thank you to Elle for letting us feature her in our first Student Spotlight of the year!

“We may be a VC firm, but we’re as scrappy as a startup.”

Colleen Liebig, my boss at St. Louis venture capital firm Cultivation Capital, told me this on the first day of my internship.  In the whirlwind two weeks that I have worked at Cultivation Capital, I have quickly gained an appreciation for what she meant. I’ve had the opportunity to get my hands dirty and, in the process, learn a great deal about venture capital and the world of startups. Here are four life lessons I’ve gleaned that can apply to any intern, entrepreneur, or worker:

  1. Stay On Your Toes

Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are expected to have more than 20 different jobs in their lifetime. If my first two weeks at Cultivation Capital are any indication, that estimate seems low. In merely 14 days, I’ve researched recruitment software, conducted due diligence on potential investments, and helped generate attendance at an important event. Practice makes perfect, so never get complacent about learning and growing.

  1. Everything is a Negotiation

Interning at a VC firm has provided the opportunity to practice a piece of advice I received from basically all my business professors: everything is a negotiation. For example, try bargaining with a coworker to exchange your strawberries for a couple double-stuffed Oreos.  Also, be aware that software salesmen may initially resist lowering the cost of a recruitment software. Yet let their emails cool in your inbox for a week, and suddenly they have some killer end-of-quarter sales. Just like you shouldn’t only check out the first link on a Google search, you should always try to get the best deal for yourself and your company.

  1. Jargon Matters- Sometimes

“Detailed self-starter with a proven track record of leveraging innovative synergies to streamline processes.” This is the kind of LinkedIn summary that makes people laugh out loud. Everyone knows that certain buzz words convey nothing substantial. However, as with any culture, certain jargon does come in handy and I’ve received a crash course on industry vocabulary: KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), capital calls (requests for pledged money), and AgTech (agricultural technology). Speaking the language is not sufficient for success, but it is necessary.

  1. There’s Always Room for Improvement

One advantage startups have over established corporations is their ability to avoid bureaucracy and move quickly on openings. Sometimes opportunities present themselves that make perfect sense. I learned this during a meeting between Cultivation Capital and Jessica Stanko of the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship, WashU’s entrepreneurship hub. Surprisingly, there has been minimal communication between the two outfits. Moving forward, Cultivation and Skandalaris will collaborate much more closely to educate students about the thriving entrepreneurship scene in St. Louis. Both groups will also help connect students with startup companies: Cultivation always needs talented interns for their portfolio companies and the Skandalaris Center wants to help students discover their passion for startups. Never settle for the status quo, because there is always room for improvement.

When I introduce myself as a dual MBA, Master of Architecture candidate most people are surprised and question the combination as unusual, unique and occasionally contradictory. It should come as no surprise then that my summer internship fell under the category “unconventional”.

Blog post by Grace Goldstein, MBA & Master of Architecture candidate, 2015
President, Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Association

Washington University (WUSTL) touts itself as an interdisciplinary, cross collaborative university, and while that feels hard to believe on the 3rd day straight in studio working towards final deadline or locked in study rooms during ICE week, my internship epitomized that ideal.

I took a joint architecture – social work class my first year at WUSTL and was introduced not only to the world of social work but also to my partner for the semester, a graduating student in social work focusing in international development. Emily and I ended up with a great project, a look into each other’s worlds and a connection to another part of the university.

We didn’t talk until almost a year later as I was finishing up the first year of my MBA. Emily was now working for Maji Safi Group, a non-profit organization operating in Shirati, Tanzania. Maji Safi needed a designer (read cheap/free) and Emily recalled her semester-long encounter with an architecture student. Tanzania_Blog Post2It’s hard to pass up any opportunity as an architect to design your own building (ever) especially before graduating from school. I jumped at the chance offering both my design services and applicable skills, like budgeting, from the MBA. Not unselfishly, this “internship” fulfilled every box I wished I could have checked on Weston Career Center forms, but couldn’t – design focus, MBA focus, non-profit/social good, and travel.

I knew very little about Tanzania before I left. The sum total of my knowledge included friends and friends of friends exclaiming, “I know someone who went to Tanzania,” an introduction to the Maji Safi and the information about Shirati, Tanzania posted on their website, and a suggested dress code that included skirts below the knee and shirts with sleeves (a very different wardrobe than the one you would find in my closet).

Tanzania is an east African country bound by the Indian Ocean on the east, Lake Victoria to the northwest and surrounded by Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. Tanzania is home to the Serengeti, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar Island and as a result is as much a tourist destination as an intensely local population.

Fast-forward five weeks, a safari, countless hours in planes and airports, a week with the Swiss Family Robinson exploring Mwanza and acclimating to Tanzania, and the grown up version of sleep away camp in Musoma spending days working and evenings throwing the Frisbee, gathering for family dinners and projecting movies and time to move to Shirati. It’s unfair to boil my first five weeks down to a run-on sentence. It does the experience an injustice; I would need a book or at the least a pamphlet to describe the collage of culture that I was exposed to, woven threads of conversations, people, Swahili bumbles, mundane activities turned epic in their variety, and encounters with animals, food and stories.

I will start the summary story with our 2-hour drive from Musoma to Shirati. Shirati is a village on Lake Victoria in the Mara region, home to 150,000 people. Shirati is also the home base for Maji Safi Group and very dear in the hearts of Max, Bruce and Emily. So, anticipation and excitement to get to Shirati was high and had been anxiously building for weeks. I heard stories about the Mamas and the Community Health Workers, the KMT Hospital and the puppies that were awaiting their parent’s return to the Shirati House. Mama Deborah, who runs the house in Shirati and kept us all fully fed at all hours of the day and Judith, the Mama of the Community Health Workers had been built up to god status in my head before getting to Shirati (the description was more than accurate). If I had a scale for “venturing into the unknown” the meter would have been topping the scale as we drove into Shirati.

I would highly recommend when visiting a village in Tanzania to visit one where the organization you work for and the people you are working with are highly respected in the eyes of the villagers and their employees. MSG_SingingI have never met (descriptors are accurate, not exaggerated) a more welcoming and excited group of people, much less employees. I’d consider myself a pretty friendly person but I couldn’t keep up with the enthusiasm of each of the CHWs. Saying “hello” to someone is a conversation in and of itself in Kiswahli. It is one of the first things I tried to tackle in Tanzania and the last thing I managed to become passable at. There are so many different ways to say hello and each version requires different responses; it felt like an art form and certainly a window into the lost art of conversation, which in the US has been reduced to empty letters sent anonymously over text message.

Tanzania schoolMaji Safi has 16 employees each of whom has been trained in community health practices and has passed tests to qualify them to go out into the village and educate their community about WASH practices. They wear their uniforms with pride, each shirt proclaiming “Niulize kuhusu Maji Safi!” ask me about clean water. Over the course of three weeks in Shirati, this phrase would come to epitomize the spirit and dedication of Maji Safi Group and all the Community Health Workers.

MSGBathroomThe original premise for spending the summer in Tanzania was to design the Community Resource Center (CRC). One of the first agenda items in Shirati was to hold a design workshop with the CHWs. The workshop was designed to introduce the premise of the CRC to the health workers and to engage them from the beginning in the discussions and design of the center. After a day of designing we had 4 unique, beautiful designs for the center. However, the true power of the exercise was in the explanation each team gave for their design: the juxtaposition of different spaces, the need for designated rooms and the potential they saw for the growth of the organization in dedicated built forms.

The second work driven goal of the trip was to create a budget for Maji Safi. Two weeks later and countless hours spent pacing the porch, drinking glass bottle sodas and calling CHWs to answer reference questions, we had a budget. But like the design workshop and most of our activities in Tanzania the process was arguably as important as the budget itself. I was in a unique position to participate in conversations that were refining and redefining the mission of the organization, the core values and the direction of the individual Maji Safi programs. It’s an unusual experience to sit with a dedicated and driven leadership team and debate the power of a single word in setting the course for an organization’s impact evaluation, growth trajectory and program structure.

I still find it amazing months later, how powerful those three weeks in Shirati were. We spent all of our time together, sleeping, eating, working and playing and the result was that three weeks in Shirati felt more like three months and made leaving a lot harder. I had become much more invested in the future of Maji Safi than I had expected and didn’t want the summer to end and with it my involvement in the organization. The result: I agreed to be the Maji Safi Group Treasurer for the next year and have received approval (officially) to design the Community Resource Center as my Masters Thesis Project. I now have the benefit of designing the CRC with the support and guidance of Maji Safi Group, my thesis advisor, my peers and the resources the Sam Fox School make available. With any luck I’ll be back in Shirati soon, meanwhile the adventure will continue from afar in St. Louis.

I’ve never been much of a traveler or that adventurous a person, and I had things I didn’t want to miss back home like the football team, friends, and my girlfriend. But that all changed when my older brother went abroad when I was a freshman.

Christopher Levine,  Economics and Strategy Major, class of 2015, shares his semester abroad experience.

For any students reading this I am certain that on every campus tour you took before deciding to commit to Wash U. you were told about the amount of study abroad programs available to you. This makes sense, study abroad has become a much more popular thing to do these days and it seems like my Facebook is always flooded with friends’ pictures from their own study abroad adventures. I, however, always ignored that part of the campus tour.

I’ve never been much of a traveler or that adventurous a person, and I had things I didn’t want to miss back home like the football team, friends, and my girlfriend. But that all changed when my older brother went abroad when I was a freshman. The thought that this might be my only chance – maybe in my lifetime – to go to a foreign country and to live there for five months became a reality.

So it was settled then right? I was going to go abroad and have the best semester of my life just like all of my friends had said when they returned home. But they weren’t kidding when they said how many programs you could actually participate in as a Wash U. student and I was again on the fence.

I knew I wanted to go to London because I could speak English, live in a big city, and the culture, mainly soccer, had really grown on me since going to college and my brother’s  return from Manchester.

The London Internship program is by far the most popular at Olin and I even had two friends that had participated in the past and enjoyed it. The problem was that I had heard this program is basically Wash U. in London, meaning you stay with your Wash U. classmates and don’t really interact with English people, especially students, like you would in other study abroad programs that were also available at Wash U. I went back and forth, weighing the pros and cons of each, and ultimately decided on the London Internship Program and I am very happy that I did.


Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

As part of the European Olin Study Abroad programs, you travel to an assigned European Union member country and then meet up with everyone in Belgium for a crash course about the EU. This had to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my time abroad.

After an interview with a government official in Malta, I couldn’t stop thinking about how cool it was that with just one partner’s help, I had successfully set up an in-person interview with a significant Maltese official in the EU process.

I’ve since started my internship at one of the world’s most renowned soccer clubs and am in the process of completing the longest and most academic research paper of my life. I don’t want to compare my experience with anyone else’s, but I do know that when I return home I will be so proud of what I have accomplished.

I know the title of this blog begs a question that many college students face, but I cannot answer that question definitively. I have shared my feelings about my personal experience abroad hoping to give another perspective, but nobody can decide if studying abroad is right for you except yourself. It is a time for personal exploration and there is only one person who can decide if that is the right thing to do.

While the incoming full-time MBA class of 2015 is in the midst of Gateway Olin (GO!) orientation, the class of 2014 full-time MBA students are wrapping up summer internships.

Most of us will spend the month of August waiting for full-time employment offers while we update our resumes with all the rich new content from the past few months.

Career fairs and online job postings will start appearing faster than we know it so the relatively open month of August will be greatly appreciated.

Pictured above from left to right are most of Olin’s Sigma-Aldrich Summer MBA Interns:
John Turner Peters, Ezra Chaskelson, Yueying (Jessie) Lin, William Tod Raeber, and Guillermo Hermida.