Ten summer 2020 H-SC interns share advice and inspiration
You have heard or read the H-SC mission statement many times: “Hampden-Sydney College seeks to form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning.” By implication, that means that H-SC also prepares young men to compete for top-quality career positions. The degree alone, however, will not necessarily guarantee that those doors open.
An experience in the workplace—whether it be a two-week shadowing experience, a virtual micro-internship gig, or a full-summer in-person paid job with a Fortune-100 company—is the best way to significantly improve your prospects for a high-quality position upon graduation.
Why do an internship?
- Gain valuable work experience for the resume
- Give yourself an edge in the job market
- Develop and refine your skills
- Network with professionals in the field
- Explore (or rule out) a career path
- Gain confidence
- Leverage the internship into a job with the same organization
Many internships are unpaid and those that do provide stipends might be located in an expensive city. Fear not! Ferguson Career Center staff members are here to help. In addition to assisting with searches and resume, cover letter, and interview preparation, we administer several internship scholarship funds. If you find an internship opportunity that may otherwise be financially out-of-reach, you could be awarded a stipend to cover some of the costs (rent, food, transportation, etc.).
We spoke with ten students about their summer 2020 experiences and they provided some excellent advice for fellow H-SC students preparing for the internship search. Most of the these gentlemen received Hampden-Sydney internship scholarships. The following questions were asked:
- Can you tell us a brief anecdote about your experience this summer?
- What is/are the most interesting or valuable thing(s) you learned before, during, or after the internship?
- What was your biggest surprise?
- Tell us about a person you’ve met who provided some inspiration.
- What advice do you have for future H-SC students doing a summer internship?
Luke McKown ’21
Major: Economics & Business
Internship: Henderson Properties, Charlotte, NC
The most valuable thing that I have learned is how hard people work to serve others. Henderson Properties did not shut down during the pandemic. They allowed some to work from home, but a property management company can’t just quit managing property. It was truly an amazing sight to see everyone working together to make sure our homeowners and tenants were getting the assistance that they needed.
My biggest surprise is how little I knew about myself before I had to live alone in a big city. I work from about 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week. I never realized how expensive groceries were, or how much rent would cost. I am blessed to have parents that support me along with a school that supports students looking to step out of their comfort zone. My answer to #1 could also be applied here: The work ethic of some people is just amazing.
There are five people who have provided the most inspiration to me during this time. My mom and dad are first. They allowed me to move to Charlotte and work my internship during a pandemic. For that, I could never thank them enough. Next, the CEO of Henderson properties, Phil Henderson. He has been very hands on with all of his employees (over 90 of them) along with his three summer interns. Not many people can say that they feel that they have a solid and close relationship with their CEO. Blake Henderson, the son of Phil, and graduate of H-SC also has helped and inspired me greatly. He helped me get into contact with his dad, and has been very helpful all along the way. Finally, my supervisor Carrie Lanter is devoted, hardworking, and would do anything for her employees or customers. She truly exhibits what it means to be a leader.
My advice to all H-SC students is to step out of their comfort zone. I never would have thought the summer of my junior year, going into my senior year during a pandemic, that I would move to Charlotte and have an internship doing Property Management. I have not had any experience in property management. But now I know that this is a field that I definitely would enjoy working in. Finally, just be bold. Do what you would like to do. If it doesn’t work out, there always will be other opportunities.
Samuel Zohab ’21
Major: Economics, Minor: Leadership in the Public Interest
Internship: Tyger Strategies Group (remote)
My internship/summer experience with Tyger Strategies Group was great. The organization provides consulting services to other businesses. In my case, I worked with a group of H-SC students and was able to place the following on my resume after this summer experience:
- Conducted business analysis as a team member for a small business client engaged textile and building material manufacturing
- Analyzed marketing process, target market, segmentation, competition, profitability, and business processes
- Participated and collaborated in formal professional meetings in a virtual environment, primarily through conference calls
- Utilized Excel, PowerPoint, and Google document and slide sharing services
- Conducted marketing SWOT analyses and developed strategic recommendations for client’s marketing materials including brochures, website, and marketing campaign
One of the most interesting things I learned from this internship is that in the work field, you must be able to adjust to changes rapidly. Whether it be a due date, or a completely different request from a client, you must be able to adapt and overcome the change. My biggest surprise was how well prepared H-SC makes students for the work force. Some advice I could give to a future H-SC student doing this summer internship: pay close attention to what you do on campus and in class because everything you will do will be a learning experience that might be useful for your internship or other experiences off campus.
Patrick Haley ’21
Major: Economics & Business
Internship: Tyger Strategies Group (remote)
The most interesting thing about my Tyger Strategies internship was that I was able to work with a wide range of companies in various industries from around the region and see first hand how they operate.
The biggest surprise was that so many companies can benefit from outside consulting service, advice, or assistance, regardless of the size or success of the company.
One inspirational person that I met (virtually) while working with Tyger Strategies this summer was Nate Oliver (H-SC ’16). Nate has led by example by showing me how to work with co-workers in a professional manner to avoid conflict.
Some advice that I could offer to future H-SC students looking to intern over the summer is to not worry so much about paid vs. un-paid when searching for internships, but to try and find the best fit for you and maybe find something with a flexible schedule. Any experience is better than nothing on a resume.
After this summer internship I was able to add this experience to my resume:
- Partnered with alumni advisors and fellow interns to provide solutions on a variety of issues;
- Performed market research, applying software package recommendations to facilitate increased efficiency;
- researched and analyzed economic data; and
- Developed a case study forecasting various securities markets and the general US economy after the passage of the CARES Act and other stimuli as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Jack Hilbert ’22
Major: Mathematical Economics
Internship: Capitol Financial Solutions, Raleigh, NC
My biggest surprise is that I was able to work in an office during the summer of 2020 and it was interesting to see how well non-remote working has adapted to new social distancing standards.
The person who has provided me the most inspiration was Will Smith, my boss. He is an incredibly inspirational person who blocked off an hour of time each week to personally sit down with me to work on personal and professional development (all on top of our normal business operations).
My advice to a student doing an internship in the future is to do absolutely every task given to you, and to never turn down an assignment. Internships are about learning, and I have been fortunate to complete assignments in an incredibly broad array of areas, which just widens my own horizons.
The Capitol Financial Solutions internship provided an opportunity to:
- Support and facilitate marketing, sales, customer service, financial analysis, and various brokerage activities for four independent Certified Financial Planners (CFPs);
- Engage with originators of financial products and services;
- Analyze data with spreadsheets, databases, and proprietary financial software; and
- Shadow CFPs and receive personalized and professional development and insight into the financial planning industry.
Caelan Gold ’21
Major: Applied Mathematics
Internship: Art Cream Ice Cream, Orwigsburg, PA
My internship with Art Cream Ice Cream went very well and I learned a lot about manufacturing and supply chains. I have never worked with a manufacturing company before, so it was great to get the experience.
The most interesting or valuable thing(s) learned before, during, or after the internship:
I have taken much time to read the cash flow statements, and I have a strong understanding of what each line means. The cash flow statement is critical to Bob’s business because time is an integral part of managing money flow. Cash is king. It was interesting that many of the companies we did business with still prefer to use checks and the mail rather than electronic payment systems.
Biggest surprise: I’ve had to run some deliveries because of the limited staff and COVID-19 restrictions. Sometimes it takes the whole day, but a hiccup in the supply chain means we need to plug the hole fast. A manufacturing company needs a successful supply chain because timely delivery of the product is very important.
Person you’ve met who provided some inspiration: Bob Carlson. He’s my boss, and he has a trove of knowledge from his experience in the dairy business working at Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever, Sunkist, Yuengling, and some other companies. He’s also a Harvard graduate, and he’s very intelligent. He has a lot of executive experience and I love hearing about his stories and experiences.
Advice you might give to future H-SC students doing a summer internship: Always show initiative. If someone has a problem, then an intern should never be scared to present a solution.
Grant Paramore ’22
Internship: Tyger Strategies (remote)
One of the most important things I learned during my summer internship was how to use interpersonal skills within a professional setting. For example, knowing how to communicate with and delegate tasks to team members is critical when trying to meet deadlines and get work done for a client.
The biggest surprise I encountered was seeing how difficult it can be to coordinate tasks with a group, especially remotely. Keeping everyone informed and up to date with relevant information can be challenging.
Both of my internship alumni advisors, Logan Leathers and Nate Oliver, have been inspirations to me. They perfectly encapsulate what it means to be Hampden-Sydney men within the corporate world.
The most important piece of advice for future H-SC students looking to do a summer internship would be, always act like a Hampden-Sydney gentleman and remain honest in your professional dealings.
J. Stanton Camp ‘22
Internship: Patrick Henry’s Red Hill, Brookneal, VA
With the focus on the internship being about enslaved history at Red Hill plantation, I have had the ability to go through primary documents from Patrick Henry’s era and after. I have learned much more about Patrick Henry and about his role in Virginian and American history.
The most valuable thing about this internship I have done so far relates to a report I am writing about the history and culture of enslaved blacks at Red Hill in relation to Patrick Henry and the surrounding area. I have learned so much about writing a professional report, which differs from class papers. Much of the information in these reports were also done by me, so I have had to do foundational research relating to the topic.
My biggest surprise occurred when I was invited to examine and study primary documents from the 18th century relating to Charlotte County, Virginia. I was able to read through priceless historical items, which really had an impact on me.
A person who has inspired me was my supervising mentor, Caitlin Pieper. Her work at a historic site is something I would love to do after I graduate.
My advice for fellow students is to lock in an internship very early. I had mine locked in before spring semester or winter break. I started early to prevent myself from getting overwhelmed about having to find an internship. Many people I know were not able to get one, and this was even more the situation within this current pandemic. However, when this current crisis ends, try to find an internship before anyone else even thinks of starting.
Jared Medwar ‘21
Major: Engineering Physics
Internship: Jones|Carter Civil Engineering, Fort Worth, TX
Even at the halfway point of my internship, I learned more than I could have asked for. I would say the most interesting and most important things I have learned involve the procedures for engineers to navigate the design process from preliminary design work, to starting the real design, and eventually create a finished product. Learning in school about engineering is extremely difficult; being able to see how this is all applied in the real word is valuable information and experience. I had a ton of fun learning how to solve problems creatively and being able to take those idea and put them into a real design using autocad software and being able to present them to clients.
My biggest surprise for this internship is seeing the amount of thought and care that goes into an engineer’s work. Every issue must be accounted for no matter how little the detail may be. Things that seem simple such as deciding where to put a fire hydrant may need a lot of thought and strategy to place them where they are most efficient and best suited. Realizing that small things can make a big difference in how a design layout may change has been a very surprising thing to me and has opened my realization to the care that is needed when doing this type of work.
My mentor at Jones|Carter encouraged me to learn as much as I possibly can. He willingly answered my many questions and pushed me to learn things in my own and challenge me to use creative thinking. He has encouraged me to test out my ideas to see how they will turn out even if they may not be the best solution so I can learn and fully understand what I am doing.
My biggest advice for others doing internships is to not be afraid to ask questions and explore the job they are in. There are many components that come with working with a specialized job that it is important to understand all aspects. There are things as simple as sitting in on a phone call that could teach you a lot about how a business works and better understand the process in which companies operate. For me, engineering has a large number of factors and moving parts involved. Asking questions and doing my best to understand each component helps to better understand not only how to do things, but why we do the things we do. Anyone with the opportunity to have an internship should take full advantage in trying to learn the “why” behind things as if you never ask that “why” question, you may never fully comprehend how the work you are doing is beneficial.
Charles Dulaney ‘21
Major: Economics & Business
Internship: Tyger Strategies Group (remote)
Over several weeks last summer, I was able to work on a team of students through Tyger Strategies Group providing consulting services for a company in the textiles and building materials industry. My job included researching cities across the country to provide insight about where they should focus on expanding.
The most interesting thing that I learned was the extent to which proficiency in Excel and collaborating remotely as a team are important job skills. The biggest surprise has been just how great it was to work with a team of H-SC students on the project under the guidance of Nate Oliver and Logan Leathers, our directors. They were very supportive and consistent throughout the internship.
Advice that I would give a future summer internship would be to do as many as you can. This is my second internship, and it has been very rewarding to link knowledge that you have obtained in the classroom to the business world. The more experience you get, the more you will be able to hone in on your skills, thus pushing forward your career development.
Andrew Parker ‘23
Internship: Tyger Strategies Group (remote)
Through my internship Tyger Strategies Group, I learned the valuable skill of communicating and cooperating with a team in a work-environment. The ability to coordinate with a team and execute tasks well is an essential skill.
The biggest surprise is how much consulting for a business can actually improve a certain aspect of it—for example, my team was able to do the research and provide a recommendation for an important piece of software that our client needed. Through our recommendation, our client, a Hampden-Sydney alumnus, was able to save his time, money, and improve his business in a meaningful way.
My biggest inspiration was the managers of the Tyger Strategies Group, including Nate Oliver. Tyger Strategies was founded by H-SC alumni specifically to provide tangible experience for current H-SC students in consulting. It feels great knowing that even alumni who are recent grads put in time and effort to give back and take care of current students.
My biggest piece of advice would be to not hesitate to reach out to the Career Center. My initial internship for this summer got cancelled, and I would never have been able to land a role with Tyger Strategies without the help of the Ferguson Career Center.
Thanks, Andrew, for that perfect segue to the conclusion of this blog post!
We are here to help you with your career development needs.
Stop by the Ferguson Career Center in the Brown Student Center, call us at 223-6106, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Schedule an Appointment on Handshake.