Externships. Whether you applied for one, two, or six (an inspiration to us all), if you’re a living, breathing Carleton student, you know that the highly sought after, and the much coveted “unpaid experiences” in a variety of prospective career fields can often be difficult to land. Despite the application rigor, however, externships provide students with new and diverse experiences in a variety of fields, and this year, students were able to access the largest amount of externships than ever before.
Jonathan Gillespie ’18 said his week-long experience at Wind Point Partners, a private equity firm in Chicago, helped him discover his ultimate career goal: working in finance and private equity. During the week, Gillespie not only navigated the logistics of company acquisitions and refinancing, but also sat in a Monday morning meeting, where all of the partners, principals, VPs, and associates of the firm came together to discuss the firm as a whole.
“It was really interesting because people got to present the specific portfolio companies they have been working on, and thus I got to see the reactions of other people at the project’s progress or regress,” Gillespie said.
He also mentioned that having some knowledge of an industry before going into it was advantageous, and “of course it will be great to have experience at this sort of financial firm when applying for future internships.”
Sarah Kochanek ’18 experienced a different kind of revelation than Gillespie. Kochanek spent a week at the Dalton School, an independent private K-12 school in the Upper East side of Manhattan, observing students’ day-to-day schedules and working closely with teachers.
Kochanek said she had been considering a career path in education, but after the externship decided that a full-time teaching position probably wouldn’t be for her. Kockanek still strongly recommends participating in the program, though, because “being able to make connections in places you otherwise wouldn’t is an invaluable opportunity that everyone should take advantage of.”
As one of the fastest growing fields, computer science internships are notoriously hard to obtain, but Michael Vue ’17 managed to land one at Thrivent Financial for three weeks as a business technology extern. He shadowed various Thrivent employees in the IT department and learned about their respective positions and responsibilities, such as managing web servers, writing scripts for autonomous FTP protocols to transfer client data and building web applications for internal and client use.
Vue said his favorite part of the externship was learning about a Fortune 500 company’s work culture and how its operations are run, though occasionally meetings could be dull. Still, however, Vue said his time at Thrivent Financial was valuable.
“Even though externships are unpaid, the knowledge that the employees are willing to share is worthwhile and invaluable,” Vue said. “At my current internship, all of the AGILE/SCRUM [software] development I learned about at Thrivent have come into play and use at Thomson Reuters, where I currently work.”
Finally, Alison Lorenz ’18 worked with Brandt & Hochman Literary Agency, Inc. for three weeks. Brandt & Hochman is a company in the media/ publishing field that represents authors trying to sell their work and helps secure legal rights.
Lorenz primarily read manuscripts submitted by authors for representation, then wrote brief summary reports offering her opinion as to whether the work was worth pursuing.
Lorenz said that she “personally loved getting to read the stories people were submitting, and getting to be brutally honest with my opinion.” However, Lorenz also said that after three weeks, the reading became quite tedious and confining, and that she would probably be more interested in the editorial side of publishing.
“You’re bound to get something out of it, even if it’s just realizing for sure that whatever externship you had is not something you want to do in the future,” Lorenz said.