Part of a series about summer internships from Olin MBA ’20 students. Today we hear from Nathan Boerneke, who worked as a business management intern for the National Park Service.
I had an opportunity this summer to spend my time assisting and learning within an organization I have always been passionate about: the National Park Service.
The business plan internship is a consulting internship focused on solving complex problems while navigating the nuances of a mission-driven service. I was teamed with a fellow intern to create a strategic plan for Buffalo National River in Northern Arkansas.
I prepared for the interview through case prep practice and speaking with former interns from various MBA programs. Most importantly, I clearly understood how I aligned with the mission of the park service, which allowed me to communicate my passion for the role.
Olin prepared me with the skills to provide immediate value to the park. I continually fell back on my education to address challenges in a formulaic manner. Additionally, my project with the Center for Experiential Learning was a fantastic precursor to assist in managing executive communication.
The internship was a great opportunity to apply the skills I am learning in the classroom and from my peers. It renewed my excitement to take advantage of every opportunity available at Olin as I enter my final year.
A day in the life
I started every day by waking up in a national park. My co-consultant and I drove the 5 miles of dirt road out of the park and commuted to headquarters located in the big city of Harrison (population 13,000). The morning typically consisted of data analysis regarding visitor information, financials, and various other park specific data pools.
The afternoon entailed driving around the park to interview staff and see how areas of the 135-mile-long river way are utilized. After leaving the office, I typically spent my time further appreciating the Buffalo River by either canoeing, fishing or hiking around the park into the late evening.
The National Park Service internship left me with two primary takeaways.
First, understanding the mission of an organization is critical to provide value and ensure professional growth.
Second, the knowledge and skills taught at Olin are translatable to nearly any opportunity.