#InternsofNU: Div @ Morgan Stanley

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Div Dasani is a sophomore studying economics and MMSS.

Dasani 1Describe your summer internship.

As a private wealth management intern at Morgan Stanley, I was responsible for aiding my mentor in investing and growing the wealth of individuals and organizations while learning about the financial services industry. I did this by running financial reports, completing fee analyses, and creating technological solutions designed to increase the efficiency and productivity of my mentor.

How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?

I knew I wanted to gain experience in the financial services industry this summer, so I cold-called every financial institution in my area. I made sure to emphasize my work ethic, leadership skills, and eagerness to learn, and talked to as many individuals in each firm as possible. The network I had grown because of this was an invaluable resource in the procurement of my internship, as one of the individuals in this network introduced me to my mentor.

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

Learning about the financial services industry from my mentor was an extremely rewarding experience. My mentor walked me through his role at the firm, explained various technical concepts to me, and even taught me the safest and most remunerative ways to invest my income. Additionally, working at such a prestigious firm was a fulfilling experience, as I had all the resources and support I needed to prosper in this field. Every one of my coworkers was eager to share their experiences with me, and their advice really helped me grow professionally.

What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?

One of the most important lessons I learned through my internship is to never be afraid to think outside the box. Morgan Stanley rewards creativity, and this aspect of the firm really allowed me to prosper throughout my internship. I was able to use my newfound knowledge in wealth management and pair it with my proficiency in programming to deliver innovative software to my mentor, which allowed him to become more organized and efficient.

What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?

Network with as many professionals in your field as possible. Networking not only prepares you for your career by clarifying the responsibilities and tasks you will be faced with, it also provides you with invaluable connections that can open doors for you in the future. Additionally, once you form a network, be sure to maintain those connections, as this is the best way to sustain your network.

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2017 San Francisco Startup and Technology Trek Recap

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By Eli Wallace

Eli is a senior majoring in history and minoring in business institutions in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He participated in the 2017 Startup and Technology Career Trek in San Francisco.

Day 1

LinkedIn

Photo: LinkedIn

Andy Linder organized and led our visit to LinkedIn. He is a Northwestern alumnus who graduated from Medill in 2016. Andy works in sales for LinkedIn’s Global Leadership Program, and has worked there for a year.

The main event during our LinkedIn visit was a panel discussion and Q & A with six LinkedIn employees. Andy led the panel, and four of the remaining five were all Northwestern graduates. The sixth member was a recruiter. After the panel, Andy took us all to LinkedIn’s rooftop terrace where we had photo ops and many enjoyed LinkedIn’s free snacks.

Insider’s insight: A member of the sales team told us that 2/3 of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from enterprise sales.

Biggest takeaway: Create an effective LinkedIn account. Students and professionals can attract real opportunities from their LinkedIn presence. Surprisingly—or not surprisingly at all—Andy was recruited for his job via LinkedIn. The more personal, current, and polished your profile is, the more likely you are to attract opportunities.

Sutter Hill Ventures

Photo: Sutter Hill Ventures

Sam Pullara spoke to our group at Sutter Hill Ventures. He enrolled in a physics PhD program at Northwestern in the mid-1990s, but left during his first year to pursue his interests in computers and technology. Sam spent about half an hour sharing his background with the group, and an hour fielding our questions.

Insider’s insight: Sutter Hill Ventures is one of the country’s oldest venture capital firms.

Biggest takeaway: There is no standard route to becoming a venture capitalist. Sam started off in a physics PhD program in Chicago, and ended up as a technology specialist, entrepreneur, and now venture capitalist. The common thread amongst Sam and others is that they pursued their interests and said yes to attractive opportunities.

Day 2

Handshake

Photo: Handshake

David Shull and Alex Amerling spoke to us at Handshake. David was the fourth person to join Handshake after the three co-founders. Alex was the company’s first real employee. The two of them spent half of our time together telling us the exciting story of Handshake’s founding, and the other half answering our questions.

Insider’s insight: Hollywood depictions of startup founders are more accurate than you think. David and about seven others on the original team spent the earliest days of the company traveling around the country in an old, beat up Ford to sales and investor pitches, and working out of a rented house in Silicon Valley.

Biggest takeaway: The best ideas come from solutions to problems. The founder of Handshake came up with the idea after experiencing firsthand how difficult it could be getting good jobs from lesser known universities. He originally started by using the expertise he had gained from job recruiting to help his friends get jobs. After graduating, he decided to take a leap of faith and start a company doing it.

Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

At Pinterest, we got a tour of the office, and spoke with a panel of employees who were Northwestern alumni.

Insider’s insight: Pinterest has a giant pin made of Legos in their building.

Biggest takeaway: Take opportunities when they come your way. Many of the alumni that spoke to us were not from San Francisco, but went there when they had the opportunity to work at Pinterest. Most of them are happy for doing so.

Thumbtack

Photo: Thumbtack

We were lucky enough to have one of the three co-founders of Thumbtack, Sander Daniels, speak to us. He spoke about his personal background, the early days of the company, and then thoughtfully answered the many questions we had for him.

Insider’s insight: Although Thumbtack is a software company, none of the three co-founders come from technical backgrounds. Sander graduated from Yale Law School, and the other two co-founders have a background in politics.

Biggest takeaway: “It’s important to have civic minded founders.” –Sander Daniels. Sander and his two co-founders began brainstorming ideas not necessarily to start a company, but to start an organization that would have a sizable impact on the world around them. Sander’s and Thumbtack’s story was a reminder of the importance of looking to serve others as opposed to only thinking of yourself.

Alumni Panel

Photo: Startup and Technology Alumni Panel

The panel was held at Northwestern’s beautiful San Francisco campus. Andy Linder, Zack Moy, Jo Lee, Avy Faingezicht, and Michael Krakaris spoke to us. They shared with us their backgrounds, answered questions, and spoke with us individually after the panel discussion. They were all fairly recent graduates (within about 5 years out). Despite their youth, two out of the five had started companies, and one had just sold his company two weeks before speaking to us.

Insider’s insight: While the panel members certainly valued their academic education from Northwestern, they credited extracurricular activities and experiences for teaching them skills that were most applicable to their careers. For example, Avy worked internships during the school year after his manager at a summer internship told him he was deficient in important computer skills. Avy ultimately got a job at Apple upon graduating.

Biggest takeaway: Very little in Silicon Valley is predictable. Two of the five panel members had started companies. One was 27 and the other was just 23. This would be seen as unusual in most environments, but in Silicon Valley, it is common. Silicon Valley is not the best place to go for one looking for a traditional career path. But if someone is comfortable with uncertainty along with opportunity, it’s a great place to be.

Day 3

Facebook and Instagram

Photo: Facebook and Instagram

Our last visit of the trek was to Facebook and Instagram’s campus. There was a panel discussion and a tour of the sprawling campus afterwards. Just about anything one would need could be found there: several restaurants, a dentist’s office, an arcade, and much more.

Insider’s insight: There were only eight people on the team that built the Instagram Stories feature. Many entrepreneurs look at a large, successful company like Facebook and believe it’s almost impossible to compete with it. In reality, only so many resources and attention are allocated to any given project. It was the responsibility of eight people to create a competing product to Snapchat.

Biggest takeaway: It’s possible to find an entrepreneurial environment in a large, mature company. Despite the fact that over 17,000 people work at Facebook, everyone on the panel spoke of their ability to work on the things that interested them most, and with a relatively high degree of autonomy. If freedom to run is what someone is looking for, there may be more options than what they’d initially expect.

Conclusion

The San Francisco Startup and Technology Trek was an incredible learning experience. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been exposed to so much valuable information and such impressive people in such a small time period—just two and a half days. We saw software companies and venture capital firms, companies in their infancy and mature companies like Pinterest, and we even got to speak with the co-founder of a billion dollar startup. The trek gave me a firsthand perspective on something I had only read about before—the startup and technology environment in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Going into the trek, I was deciding between accepting a job offer I received in San Francisco, or asking the firm to give me an offer in Chicago. My mind was made up to accept the San Francisco offer before my plane had landed in Chicago after the trek. My decision was largely informed by this trip to San Francisco. It may be possible that this trek changes the trajectory of my life. I hope that future students find it as valuable as I did.

Photo: San Francisco Startup and Technology Trek

Job (re)Search Resources: Tips and Tools for PhDs

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elysseBy Elysse Longiotti, M.A., M.S., Assistant Director, Student Career Advising, serving doctoral students in The Graduate School.

It’s never too early for graduate students to start exploring different career pathways. If you’re considering an industry outside of or in addition to the academic job market, NCA grants you access to many online databases and resources to help you explore your options and develop a focused job search when the time comes to apply to positions. Approaching professional life after graduate school can be daunting; having a strategy in place to treat your career exploration as a form of research can help limit that anxiety. You can find links to all of our (free!) databases on the Internship and Job Search menu under Student Resources.

Hoovers, Vault, and WetFeet are three tools in particular that can help you conduct targeted research. These three resources alone grant you access to various industry-specific career guides and thousands of employer profiles to help you answer questions like: Who are the primary employers to be aware of? What are the current industry employment trends? What are the typical roles available to someone with your level of experience?  Hoovers specifically will allow you to make a list of employers according to criteria such as geographic location and industry of interest.

While these are wonderful ways to learn more about organizations and positions within targeted industries, I suggest using resources such as Versatile PhD (also on the NCA website) and LinkedIn alumni pages to learn more about others’ experiences. Not quite ready to contact people for an informational interview? Versatile PhD is an easy way to hear about others’ experiences– providing detailed, first person narratives of PhDs and ABDs who have gone on to successfully pursue careers across more than 20 industries (data science, nonprofits,  policy, and publishing, just to name a few). Accounts are divided according to the writer’s former discipline, and further by the industry ultimately pursued.

If this sounds like a lot of work, think about when you applied to your current PhD program and the amount of research that went into that process. You wanted to be in a department with faculty you would want to work with, resources you would want to have access to, and a community that you would want to be a part of. Fit is just as important for the next step you take, regardless of the position you ultimately choose to accept. Keep in mind that none of these tools in and of themselves are the “end-all, be-all,” but when used together, they can help you create a clear picture of the types of positions and organizations that would be a good fit for you.

Overwhelmed by the prospect of determining which industries align with your skills and interests?  You can always make an appointment with our career counselors. They are here to help graduate students assess their interests, values, strengths, and skills. Through a series of assessments and reflection, our counselors help students discover different career paths and identify potential industries to research further. If you are unsure as to what the next step to meet your career goals should be, make an appointment in CareerCat today!

#InternsofNU: Tushar (McCormick ’18), Qualtrics

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Tushar Chandra is in the Northwestern class of 2018, studying in the McCormick School of Engineering. He is majoring in computer science and the Integrated Science Program, and he is also completing his MS in computer science.

Describe your summer internship.

This summer, I had the pleasure of working at Qualtrics in Seattle, WA. While Northwestern students might recognize the name from the bottom of the many surveys they take, the survey platform is just one piece of Qualtrics. My role was as a software engineering intern on the employee experience product. I worked specifically on the action planning feature, a service enabling organizations to take action on survey results to create meaningful change.

How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful?

I learned of this opportunity during the winter 2016 career fair, but didn’t end up with them that summer. In the fall, I was contacted by a recruiter about summer 2017 internships; I went through a few rounds of interviews and accepted a position by November. Most helpful to me were resume advice and interview preparation materials.

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

I enjoyed and appreciated the level of ownership I had of my project. Working on an important, customer-facing feature excited me, and I loved being able to dive in and gain a deep understanding of our software and services. In doing so, I gained a lot of confidence in making decisions while working on a real product.

What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?

The amount I learned from the people around me. Working with driven and talented engineers every day meant that I could talk to anyone around me and end up understanding something new from them. One of the core values at Qualtrics is the idea that we’re all one team — even though I had “my team,” I was able to learn about (and once, contribute to!) services and software that others owned. The real-world experience and knowledge from working in this kind of environment was extremely valuable to me.

What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?

Be persistent. It took persistence to find this internship (notice that I heard about Qualtrics over a year before I got this job), and it took persistence to succeed in it. There were times when I felt lost, or like I didn’t know what I was doing, and all it took was asking someone around me for help. That’s the reality of working in a fast-moving company, where being ready and excited to learn and ask questions is essential.

NYC Media Trek 2017 Recap

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By Helen Murphy

Helen is a senior majoring in English Literature and Art History in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and participated in the 2017 Media Career Trek in New York City.

In late August, Northwestern Career Advancement took students to job sites across the country to connect with alumni and learn about various industries. I partook in the Media Trek in New York City along with other students from various fields of study, ranging from incoming sophomores to seniors. Overall, we visited nine companies in two and a half days, which made for a busy few days!

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We had a jam-packed first day with visits to four different media companies from all different areas of journalism. We started the day at 30 Rockefeller Place visiting NBC Universal. At NBC, we learned about their extensive internship and post-grad opportunities, as well as their famous page program. The next stop of the day was New York Magazine. We talked to Northwestern alumni from all the different areas of the magazine, from The Cut, their fashion blog, to Vulture, their television and film blog. After New York Magazine, we headed to the Quartz Office. Quartz is a newer digital media company that is on the cusp of the new era of journalism. We discussed how many outlets are pivoting to video rather than editorial content, and how it’s useful for aspiring journalists to diversify their skillset beyond writing. We ended our first, very busy, day at the New York Times, where we engaged in a panel discussion with Northwestern alumni who work at the Times. The topics ranged from general career advice to what the New York Times is doing specifically to cover politics in the age of the Trump administration.

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On our second day, we visited three sites: InDemand, Vox, and TIME Inc. InDemand is a company that supplies movies and sports coverage to cable companies. It was a nice visit because it was an area of the media industry that was different from the editorial journalists we had spent most of our time with. Vox, like Quartz the day before, is a newer digital media site that is focused on ushering in a new era of digital journalism through video and interactive articles. At the TIME offices, we were able to meet with Northwestern alumni from different TIME publications including Sports Illustrated, Real Simple and TIME. The journalists we talked to at TIME, all recent Northwestern graduates, discussed the hiring process and job application process they went through after graduating.

Our final day, we had two site visits, both with business-focused publications. We started the day at the Wall Street Journal, where we talked to a panel of three reporters about reporting on business and economics, and how to earn and keep a source’s trust. We also got a tour of the Journal’s large and hectic newsroom, which was incredibly cool to see. After visiting the Journal, we headed over to our last visit of the trek— Bloomberg Media. At this round-table discussion, we talked a lot about the set-up of the Bloomberg offices that is all designed to encourage transparency between higher-ups and employees.

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Overall, the Media Trek provided us with the unique opportunity to connect with journalists who have careers that many of us aspire to have. We were able to ask questions, get advice, see newsrooms in action, and network with professionals. We came away from the trek more informed about careers in media and journalism, and with connections to help us achieve those careers.

Northwestern Career Advancement leads career treks to organizations in Chicago throughout the year. The application period for summer multi-city treks typically opens in spring.

Alternatives to a career in consulting

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Career counselor Christina SidersBy Christina Siders, NCA senior assistant director, providing career counseling to students in McCormick, Medill, SESP & The Graduate School.

If you happen to be on campus at Northwestern in the late summer and early fall, chances are you’ll hear the word ‘consulting’ more than a few times.  Rest assured, though this might be one of the most ‘visible’ professions on campus right now, it is one of MANY career options our students pursue. In fact, only about 14% of the class of 2016 reported being employed in the consulting industry upon graduation. So, what careers exist that might be like consulting without the 80 hour workweeks, constant travel, and anxiety provoking case interviews?

To answer that question, first think about the essential tasks of a consultant:

  • Pitching and reporting involves helping to prepare and deliver compelling project proposals to a client, a task that is also important in sales, marketing, advertising, or public relations. To learn more, identify these industries as your ‘interests’ in CareerCat to receive tailored messages regarding job postings, recruiting timelines, and employer activity on campus.
  • Research is central to the life of a consultant, whether it involves reviewing financial data, interviewing past employees, or surveying customers. If research is something that excites you, consider a career in, well, research.  Look for positions like ‘Research Analyst,’ ‘Data Scientist’ or roles within governmental agencies who use research to inform legislation and policy reform.
  • Analysis involves using quantitative modeling and/or statistics to organize, make sense of, and summarize large datasets for a client. Analysis is becoming vital in all fields, but especially in market research, engineering, data science, or financial services.  When searching, use keywords like ‘analyst,’ ‘research,’ or ‘data.’

Also, think about what appeals to you about consulting. Is it because you gain exposure to a range of business areas within a company or industry? Many students are attracted to leadership/rotational programs for this reason. These programs rotate associates through various business functions to encourage ongoing mentorship, in-depth training, and loyalty to their organization. There are a myriad of companies offering rotational programs, some of which include Visa, Kraft, L’Oreal, Google, Morningstar, and LinkedIn. When looking for these opportunities, try searching ‘program,’ or exploring the company’s diversity initiatives. Keep in mind that because the company’s motive is to retain great talent, you should have a strong interest in the organization itself, beyond just the rotational structure.

The bottom line:  there are numerous careers and occupations out there to pursue.  If you’re uncertain as to what might fit you, consider making an appointment with a career counselor at NCA, or browsing our industry pages on our website. Most importantly, have fun exploring – the opportunities are infinite!

#InternsofNU: Catherine (Medill ’18), FCBx

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Catherine (Medill '18) spent her summer interning at FCBxCatherine Zhang is a senior in Medill studying journalism, marketing and business institutions.

Describe your summer internship.

As an account management intern for FCBx, the agency’s experiential marketing division, I spent my summer working on big Anheuser-Busch brands like Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Golden Light.

My internship has given me the ability to think strategically about how an experiential activation could give people a personal taste of a brand. Whether through Chipotle pop up shops at Lollapalooza or Corona-sponsored Electric Beach concerts at rooftop bars, I now see these events as a way to create relationships and connect with consumers.

In my ten weeks working here, I’ve been able to touch the before, during and after of events that my team plans and executes. I’ve gotten to work on presentations that I know our clients will see, as well as sit in on all of our calls with AB brand managers. That’s not a privilege that every internship allows, but I find that it heightens the stakes and urges me to double check my work and pay more attention to details.

Another thing I’ve appreciated about FCB’s internship program is the learning and development sessions that cover everything from presentation skills to PowerPoint skills. When a company sets aside time in our schedules to have these trainings, it makes me feel as though they are invested in me and my own professional development.

How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?

I never would have known about FCB if it weren’t for Northwestern Career Advancement’s marketing trek last summer, when I visited FCB’s New York office as well as a few other agencies. We heard from alums and other representatives, and I was intrigued by the agency’s roster of impressive clients and work.

Before I even got the internship, I remember hearing about FCB’s flat organization, meaning that you really can meet and interact with anyone there. And it’s true – I set up coffee chats with people in my office, people who were on different teams like Strategic Planning and Analytics, and even the CEO of FCB. Everyone was willing and happy to give me a moment of their time so that I could ask questions and learn more about the agency and their experiences.

What is one of the most impactful learning experiences you’ve had during your internship?

Probably the most stressful part of the internship was our week-long Think Tank, a hackathon of sorts. The interns were divided into teams and tasked with coming up with an innovative marketing strategy for a brand. In a matter of days, after many late nights and extra cups of coffee, we dissected the business problem and brainstormed an overarching concept as well as three activations to execute our ideas. After lots of constructive feedback from both account and creative managers, we presented our ideas to a panel of judges that consisted of the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Talent Officer, the Chief Strategy Officer and more. In the end, I got to know my group very well and better understood the comprehensive process of creating and pitching a marketing strategy.

What did you enjoy most about your internship experience?

Overall, I’ve loved interning at FCB because it feels like working at a small agency but with the resources of a large one. People never really stop brainstorming and there’s no rigid process to follow in the work, and you can actually get to know the wildly smart people who work here. Also, the coffee bar has the strongest cold brew I’ve ever had. Beyond our day-to-day work schedules, I’ve found that my team is truly caring and great to be around.

On the day of our office outing, the last thing I expected to happen as I was walked up the escalator in the John Hancock building was to trip, rip open my toe and have to cut the afternoon short. A few hours later, after getting 6 stitches in my toe, I was completely content with heading back home, but my manager Matt and my colleagues at FCBx convinced me to meet up with them at a tiki bar along the river and even called me an Uber. I loved being part of a team that knows how to both work hard and play hard.

 

What Does Pre Law Really Mean?

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lynn-pageBy Lynn Galowich Page, JD, Assistant Director, Student Career Advising, serving students in the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP); Northwestern’s pre-law adviser

I inevitably have a fair amount of pre law appointments that start with, “I think I want to go to law school and pursue a career in law but I am not sure what I need to major in or do to prepare.”  In fact, many upper class students who have decided to pivot from something else and now explore law think they are too late to pursue law school.  They believe they missed taking some prescribed undergraduate pre law requirements. Great news for all of these students: unlike medicine or some other career paths, there are not any specific requirements or major needed to apply for law school.

According to the American Bar Association (ABA):

Being “pre law” does not denote a student’s major or program of study; instead, being prelaw identifies a student’s educational goal. Students are surprised to find out that there is no particular suggested major, nor are there any specific courses required for entrance to law school. There is no single path that will prepare you for a legal education. Students who are successful in law school, and who become accomplished professionals, come from many occupations and educational backgrounds. Some law students enter law school directly from their undergraduate studies without having had any post-baccalaureate work experience and others go to law school after working for some time. Those who work before going to law school come from many different jobs and industries.

Since there is not a set pre law major, students planning to go to law school should take courses that will provide opportunities to hone the following skills that law schools look for:

  • Critical reading and ability to synthesize complex material
  • Logic and problem solving
  • Research and writing
  • Oral communication skills
  • Relationship building and collaboration
  • Organization and management

For students who do want to delve into a law related studies, Northwestern offers The Legal Studies program. This program has both an undergraduate major and minor and provides an environment where students and scholars study legal issues using the methodology and perspectives of the social sciences and humanities.

The bottom line is that students who are interested in possibly going to law schools should choose a major they like and strive to do well in, since GPA is a major factor in law school admissions.

Outside of the classroom at Northwestern students can explore the field of law in many ways, including:

Experiential Opportunities

The NEXT externship program
Chicago Field Studies/Legal Field Studies track
Various internship & research opportunities

Student Groups

Phi Alpha Delta – Coed Professional Legal Fraternity
Northwestern Mock Trial Team
Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review

Informational Interviews with Legal Professionals

Northwestern Network Mentorship Program
Our Northwestern Alumni Directory
LinkedIn – join Northwestern Alumni Group

Finally, as Northwestern’s pre law adviser, I am here to help students explore and prepare for legal careers, including assisting with all aspects of the law school application process. I offer one-on-one advising, workshops and a pre law newsletter. Any interested student can make an appointment with me through CareerCat as well as sign up for the pre law newsletter by indicating law as an industry interest on their CareerCat profile.

#InternsofNU: Jamie (SoC ’18), Daryl Roth Productions & Daryl Roth Advertising

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jamie1Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf (SoC ’18) is a theatre and sociology major, also enrolled in the IMC and leadership certificate programs.

Describe your summer internship. 

I spent my summer interning at Daryl Roth Productions/Daryl Roth Advertising. For the advertising company, my responsibilities ranged anything from group outreach for potential ticket sales to helping prep for an opening night of an Off-Broadway show. For productions, I did a lot of script coverage and assisted in various research and development of new work that is being produced for regional or Broadway theaters.

How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?

One of my Northwestern mentors (who I met through the Network Mentorship Program) told me that Daryl Roth was one of the absolute best to work for in the business. I had heard of her before, knowing she produced Kinky Boots, The Humans, The Normal Heart, War Horse, and a slew of Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning productions. I cold-called her office number and asked if they were taking interns and her assistant told me to forward my resume and cover letter. I landed an interview, and that led to my internship.

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

Because I was the only intern in the office, it allowed me to help out in a lot of different areas and meet almost everyone in the company, and no two days were the same. For productions, I would get to read scripts submitted to our office and write summaries/feedback notes that Daryl herself would read. I also got to be in the room during a new musical reading, scout out an experimental performance, taste donuts from a potential caterer, and attend an Off-Broadway opening night party.

What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?

Try to get to know as many people as possible at all different levels and places in their careers. Treat every task with the same amount of enthusiasm, even ones that are not as intellectually challenging, because your attitude is so important and if people like being around you, it’ll make all the difference.

What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?

Take rejection, learn from it, and move on. Honestly, a lot of hiring decisions are based on being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people. However, you can help yourself by putting in the preparation work with cover letter/resume/interviews and maintaining confidence throughout the process.

 

How to Have a Successful Skype or Virtual Interview

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LauraBy Laura Myers, associate director of student career advising, serving students in the School of Communication and Bienen School of Music.

Congratulations, you landed an interview! You’ve been practicing answering interview questions but you just found out it’s not over the phone, or in person, it’s virtual! Whether it’s a Skype interview or a digital interview using a program such as HireVue, it’s important to plan ahead and present yourself in the best way possible for ultimate success.

Preparation

Practice: Mock virtual interviews with a friend or career adviser can help you gain confidence, improve your interview skills, and get familiar with the technology.

Location

Make your space interview-appropriate. A quiet room free of distractions with a neutral wall to serve as a backdrop is best. Ideally, this is a space that you have to yourself, but if others will be nearby, let them know in advance so that they can give you privacy for the duration of your interview. The last thing you need is a knock on your door in the middle of your interview. (If you’re in need of a quiet space for your virtual interview, interview rooms are available for Northwestern students in NCA’s Interview Center at 630 Lincoln St. Email recruit@northwestern.edu to reserve a room.)

Think about lighting. You want to try to look the same virtually that you would in person. Place a lamp at either side of your desk (at the same height as your webcam or higher) to ensure the room is well lit. At the very least, make sure you don’t have a light shining behind you.

Consider the location of your webcam. I think we all know by now that the selfie shot from above, though annoying, is a really flattering angle. The best position for your webcam is at your eye-level, pointing slightly down.

On-Camera Presence

Present yourself professionally. Dress in business professional attire for a virtual interview, just as you would for an in-person interview. Also, be mindful of your body language. A smile and good posture convey confidence and enthusiasm!

Make eye contact with the camera. Instead of looking directly at your computer screen, focus on the camera to maintain natural eye contact with your interviewer. It may help to place a post-it note with a smiley face above the camera hole.

Technology

Test your connection. Confirm that audio and video are clear prior to your interview for both you and the person with whom you’re connecting. Make sure that you have a strong Wi-Fi connection (or, even better, connect to a router with a network cable to avoid a disconnection).

Update your profile. When doing a Skype interview, your interviewer will see your Skype username and picture, so it’s important that both are professional.

Minimize interruptions. Shut out of other computer programs beforehand so that the video screen is the only window open during the interview. This especially includes applications that make noise, such as social media and Gmail.

Post-Interview

Send a thank you note. Make sure to get your interviewer’s contact information, if you don’t already have it, and send a note within 48 hours. Find tips for writing a thank you note on the NCA website.

Sources and Additional Information on Virtual Interviews