Wake Forest University Business and Enterprise Management students had the chance to showcase their valuable internship experiences to local business leaders, faculty and fellow students during the 2nd Annual Table Top Trade Show on Sept. 22 in the Benson Center.
The show included 102 different displays created by students who completed internships in a wide variety of fields such as: consulting; fashion and retail; finance and banking; government; manufacturing; marketing, public relations and advertising; non-profit; professional sports; sales; service; and telecommunications. Internship locations were diverse as well, encompassing cities throughout the U.S. and international locations of Dublin, Shanghai, and Cape Town.
"We encourage the students to discover an internship that makes their heart sing," said Dr. Holly Brower, director of internship development for the Business and Enterprise Management program. "We hope the Table Top Trade Show helps the interns develop and showcase the ability to tell their achievements and experiences in a succinct and professional way."
Three students took home awards for their Table Top Trade Show presentations.
Janice Szeto ('11) earned the Showstopper Award along with a $500 check. She was an intern in the branding department at Diesel in New York. "I learned a lot about brand management and how much it takes to put on an event, down to the tiny details," Szeto said. Her display included sticky notes of daily "to-do" reminders, samples of Diesel clothing, and a book showing the planning, timing and distribution of the Diesel's branded New York City activity guide.
Alexander Campbell ('11) and Linleigh Hawk ('11) earned the two Spotlight Awards which come with $300 prizes.
Campbell was an intern at 22squared, an advertising agency in Atlanta. He focused on new business development and brand planning. "After spending the summer with 22squared, I figured out that finding the right corporate culture is not only important but an absolute necessity when deciding on a workplace,” he said. “We accomplished an unbelievable amount of work this summer, but because we all were such great friends, the work never felt like a chore. I can honestly say that not once this summer did I wake up and not look forward to going into the office -- it was truly such a blessing.”
Hawk's internship was also in the advertising field. She served as a business development intern at Blue Ocean Ideas, a brand development agency in the greater Baltimore area. Towards the end of her internship was promoted to a lead social media strategist position. “I experienced firsthand what it is like to be passionate about what you do, and what significant value resides in that opportunity,” Hawk said. “I came to appreciate the ability of a company to incorporate and uphold such strong, unique, and honest values into every aspect of its daily operations and interactions.”
Several students had the chance to experience the internal operations of their favorite professional sports teams. Alex O'Connor ('11) went back to his hometown for the summer to complete a sports marketing internship with the Chicago Bears. "It was behind the scenes of training camp and events that the Bears had in August. I helped set up, take down, do customer service and worked to keep corporate sponsors happy," he said. "It really made me appreciate all of the work that goes into every football game. It gives you a different point of view."
Afton Vechery ('11) was able to combine her passions for science and business during an internship at KeraNetics in Winston-Salem. She focused on the commercialization of research and spent time in the lab, learning how to test ideas. "In order to be a successful biotech business, you have to understand the science that is going on and be able to articulate it in business terminology," she said. "You have to have an idea of what is going into your product so you can make decisions from that point.”
The chance to use his finance skills in the music industry attracted Stephen Chuckray ('11) to an internship position at EMI Christian Music Group in Nashville. He worked in the accounting department, dealing with album sales forecasting, distribution of other labels, invoices, and returns. Chuckray also had the chance to explore other areas of the business. “It’s amazing, I got to see the whole process from the talent scouting to how they are developed, to how they are connected to writers, record their music and get music to stores."
The Business Enterprise Management Internships include a minimum of 200 hours over a minimum of five weeks. Students keep a weekly journal highlighting tasks and challenges encountered along the way as well as reflecting on what they are learning and how it is linked to their coursework. They also write an organizational analysis of the host organization and finish with a portfolio that captures their accomplishments and personal growth during the experience.