Category: Internships and Co-ops

Securing Your First Business Internship as a Husky

By Matt Chard, third-year management information systems student

The first moment I stepped onto Michigan Tech’s campus, I became overwhelmed with emotion. It was an exciting time—balancing classes, joining student organizations, and making new friends—all while looking to secure my first summer internship. With so much going on, you may wonder where to begin to find that first internship. Let me share my story and help answer some of your questions.
Photo of MTU student Matt ChardMy first introduction to Michigan Tech Career Services was only weeks into my first semester. I walked out of class to find the center of campus filled with the newest vehicles from Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Ford Motor Company. As a motor enthusiast, I was interested in learning more, so I took the initiative to talk to the company representatives. I had a casual conversation about the new vehicle features and I ended up learning about career opportunities, which got me fired up to apply what I was learning in class to industry. I was now determined to get an internship! 

As the semester continued and the Fall Career Fair approached, I attended several résumé help sessions, where company representatives spent time providing feedback to strengthen my résumé and help me create an effective elevator pitch.

I felt ready for my very first Career Fair. Dressed head to toe in professional apparel, improved résumé in hand, ready to deliver my pitch. After more than four hours, I talked to about 20 companies. Feeling confident, I was getting ready to leave when I saw that the Harley-Davidson booth line had dwindled down to just a few folks. I saw on their Handshake page that they were only recruiting engineers. Still, my passion for riding motorcycles brought me to the booth. The conversation started with a brief introduction, quickly moving the topic to the motorcycle on display. I gradually shifted the conversation to how business students provide value even in an engineering workspace. I handed the representative my résumé before departing.

That evening, I received a few phone calls to set up interview times for the next day. Fortunately, I attended a Career Services’ mock interview practice session and was prepared. After the interview, I felt that I nailed it, but what was next? After sending follow-up emails thanking the representatives and reiterating my excitement for the positions, I received an offer letter for a summer internship with Amway and a four-month co-op with Harley-Davidson during the fall semester. All of my hard work and preparation paid off! I reached my goal of securing my first internship.

I found that the best strategy was to utilize Career Services, emphasize your passion regardless of its relevance to the job, and, most importantly, work on interpersonal communication and the ability to engage in small talk to develop relationships. 

In addition to campus-wide programs like Career Servies, to help facilitate the process of getting prepared for your first internship, the Michigan Tech College of Business has a program called Professional Blueprint. It is a series of steps and resources to guide you toward reaching your dream career. Plus, as you progress through the Blueprint, you earn College of Business swag and get an honors cord to wear at commencement!

I am glad I took advantage of every opportunity available to me. Michigan Tech prepares you not only in the classroom but through a variety of career experiences. There is no doubt you will be ready to create the future after leaving Michigan Tech!


My Nontraditional Internship

By Jacob Mihelich

Last summer I chose a nontraditional path for an accounting major and interned as a personal automobile underwriter at Auto-Owners Insurance in Lansing, Michigan. This experience was both challenging and eye-opening for me; not only did underwriting expose me to a new industry, but it also taught me the value of soft skills. Student stands in from of Auto-Owners InsuranceI approached Auto-Owners Insurance at the Fall Career Fair last year hoping to land an internship in their accounting department. After talking with the recruiter about open opportunities and my mom’s position as an underwriter at another company, she suggested that I apply for the underwriting internship. Insurance has always been interesting to me, so I gave it a shot.

Although I was hired as a temporary employee for the summer, I was treated as a new hire, receiving a full-time employee’s training and the freedom to make underwriting decisions. I had a wonderful trainer and training group that I spent five weeks with. The six of us took a light-hearted approach to learn the material, but there was certainly a lot to understand. Underwriting is a detailed process that takes many factors into account to ensure that each insurance policy is properly written to ensure adequate risk, rating, and eligibility. Learning this skill was very involved, but Betsy was sure to keep things interesting with conversation and even bubbles in our training area for when we needed a break.

Once I completed the training, I moved down to the underwriting floor, where I would spend the rest of my summer. I was paired with a rotating mentor who sat with me for an hour each day for a month to review my work before I released it. Throughout this time, I was slowly allowed to release my work for processing without it being reviewed. 

Oftentimes, the agents I worked with had been doing their jobs for longer than I have been alive, but I had the final call on if a policy was written correctly. Since I was essentially auditing the agent’s work, it was inevitable that I would need to make a correction from time to time or ask for additional information. When I made a decision to adjust policy or ask for more information, I needed to ensure it was necessary, as it affected both the agent and insured. I did my research and asked for help from experienced underwriters when I was in doubt. Once my decision was made, finding the best way to explain my position then became the challenging part, as I had to strive to be confident in my decision while also remaining open to the agent’s viewpoint and the circumstances. Although I did my homework, I too made mistakes. I quickly admitted my error, apologized sincerely, and corrected the issue. I realized that everyone is bound to make mistakes, so it’s about how we rebound that matters.

My teammates were always willing to help and support me. I also got to know the other underwriting interns in my building. We’d take short breaks to have breakfast pizza to celebrate the team or for a birthday card to get passed around for everyone to sign. We also hosted larger celebrations throughout the summer like a salsa competition and a barbecue. When I reflect on my experience, learning the type of people I want to work with was one of the most important parts of my internship experience. When you get to work with friendly people, everything else is better, too.  Group of people stand in Auto-Owners Insurance office buildingI couldn’t have asked for a better intern experience than the one I received at Auto-Owners. I learned so much about how auto insurance works—a useful skill for anyone. I also improved my soft skills and confidence. For anyone who is considering an internship that doesn’t quite fit their path, I say, go for it!

An internship is a great way to try something new. Why spend the rest of your life wondering what may have been? 


My Internship with Bank of America

By Breanna Stohr

student stands in front of canal
Senior finance major Breanna Stohr’s summer internship shaped her career goals.

My summer internship with Bank of America in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was a memorable one. The opportunities I was given were unbelievable. I am proud to say I was able to find not only my dream job but my dream company as well!

I experienced both the retail and the wealth management side of the company. On the retail side, I worked closely with my market leader and the leader of the Student Rush program. Through this program, I traveled to Grand Rapids colleges and universities to engage them in the opportunity of Bank of America coming onto their campus to teach financial literacy to students. I connected with many student-life representatives within the Grand Rapids community area. It was great!

In the downtown wealth management office (previously branded as Merrill Lynch, the American investing and wealth management division of Bank of America), I networked with established financial advisors within the Grand Rapids area. There, I cemented my career plan to become a successful financial advisor after I graduate this spring. I worked closely with a financial advisor on research projects including bank rates, budgeting tips, digital apps, unique ways to change daily habits in your financial life, constructive criticism, and hospice and home health care.

Throughout my internship, I grew as a young professional by experiencing many different work environments. Being a student from Michigan Tech made me stand out for sure. I demonstrated to teammates at Bank of America what Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics students can do, and also how involved the University is with preparing its students for the professional world.


It’s Okay to Be Undecided

by Emma Melchiori

As a huge pack of new Huskies joins the Michigan Tech family this fall, I am finding myself reflecting on the beginning of my journey at Michigan Tech, and particularly, the uncertainty I felt surrounding my major. It did not take me long to realize that engineering was not for me, and I was worried that it was not a good thing to feel this way.

If any new Huskies are reading this, I am here to tell you: it is okay to not feel settled in the major that you chose when deciding to come to MTU. If you feel like you made the wrong decision, do not panic. There is more than enough time for you to switch your major and make any changes necessary to ensure that you will get the right education for what you WANT to do!

Two students eating
That’s me, on the right, just beginning my journey in business last year

When applying to Michigan Tech, I applied into environmental engineering and shortly before classes started in the fall, I switched my major to engineering management because after finishing out my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to do business as part of my career. After my first week of classes, I figured out that engineering was just not something that I was interested in. This is when I discovered the general business pathway within the School of Business and Economics. Although you cannot graduate with the major of general business, it has helped me to immerse myself in all sorts of different business classes to find out exactly which business path I want to travel down. It’s the perfect placeholder for a major if you know you want to end up in some field of business, but you aren’t sure exactly which one yet.

And remember, it is okay to be unsure!

Through general business, I have taken different business courses already and there are many more to come, of course, as I am a sophomore here now. So far, I have taken a liking to accounting, and am planning to declare my major in accounting soon. Other courses that I have enjoyed surround topics like economics and marketing. Some of these business courses can fill elective slots as well, so if you are simply curious as to what a business course might have to offer but do not want to declare a major in the School of Business and Economics just yet, why not take a business course and see what it is all about? It certainly can’t hurt! Maybe it could lead to a minor in business?

The thing that really sparked my excitement for accounting was the internship this past summer with an environmental engineering firm in my hometown of Marquette, Michigan. I was an accounting intern at a company called TriMedia Environmental and Engineering Services. It was a great learning experience for me, and I was able to do hands-on projects and tasks, which gave me a preview of what an entry-level job in accounting might look like. For these reasons, I urge anyone who wants real-world learning and a view into what a career in their field might look like to seek out an internship. For me, this experience sold me on accounting and helped me to envision what I want my future to look like.

If you are thinking of changing your major, my best advice to you would be to do the necessary exploring to find out what you love to do and chase that. I would rather be pursuing a major that I love than pursuing something that I will be kind of happy with. It might feel scary to abandon a major that you have declared for yourself, but from personal experience, I am much happier now that I have found accounting, and I believe you can find the perfect major for yourself, too!

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