Students Sold on Value of Internships
(Editor’s Note: The following story documents the value of the internship experience for Providence College students. As noted, PC will host an Internship Showcase on November 14.)
Providence, R.I.--As he sits in a classroom studying finance at Providence College this fall, Brian T. Biga ’12 (Fair Haven, N.J.) already knows what it’s like to apply his knowledge to the fast-paced world of Wall Street.
For 10 weeks, from June to August, Biga worked 12- to 15-hour days as a summer analyst on the trading floor of Jefferies & Company, a global securities and investment banking group headquartered in New York City. The experience drew upon everything he learned in his college business courses.
“I was able to build upon what I learned in the classroom and see how it applies to the real world,” said Biga. “I was surprised at the level of knowledge they expect you to have going in--they expect a lot of you.”
For Marissa E. Louro ’12 (South Dartmouth, Mass.), who hopes to study constitutional law after graduation, a summer internship also provided invaluable experience. Louro worked for eight weeks, from mid-May to early July, as an intern in the office of U.S. Sen. Scott P. Brown, D-Massachusetts.
Louro, who is studying political science with a minor in writing, was surprised to discover that much of her learning on Capitol Hill occurred in social situations. She represented Brown at a wine-tasting at the New Zealand Embassy, for example, and she was expected to play in softball games between interns and senators on the National Mall--competitions that the senators “take so seriously,” Louro discovered.
During those social occasions, she observed political behavior using methods she learned in her empirical political analysis class with Dr. Mark S. Hyde, she said. A course on public policy that she took with Dr. William E. Hudson was also essential. Both are professors of political science.
Justine E. Harrington ’12 (Hanover, Mass.) is studying studio art, with a concentration in digital imaging and a minor in writing. But it was her work-study job with PC’s Office of Athletic Media Relations since her freshman year that inspired her to seek a summer internship as a media relations intern with the Boston Celtics.
Sports and art have common themes, Harrington discovered.
“Working in a sports-related industry can allow you to be creative. It can be a very dynamic work environment,” said Harrington. “Especially in the professional world, the focus is on entertainment and community engagement. Organizing an event, whether through a game or community outreach, is always a great opportunity to bring participants together. This is where my passion for sports lies.”
All Providence College students are encouraged to hold internships, said Patricia A. Goff, interim director of the Office of Career Services (OCS) and college internship coordinator. Career development takes place both inside and outside the classroom, Goff said, and recruiters look for internships on student résumés.
Each year, about 350 PC students hold internships for which they are awarded academic credit, Goff said. Current students will have the opportunity to hear more about opportunities during an “Internship Showcase” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on November 14 in ’64 Hall at the Slavin Center.
Biga found his internship through a link on the OCS Web page. It marked the first time that Jefferies & Company, which employs several PC alumni, has recruited at the College. Biga was interviewed on campus, then chosen to fly to New York for a day-long series of meetings and interviews before his selection.
Louro applied by submitting her transcript and essays directly to Brown’s office, and then underwent a telephone interview before being chosen.
For Harrington, the key to her “dream internship” came during a “Pathways to Success” networking event sponsored by the Future Friar Executives. There she met Amy McDevitt ’09, corporate sponsor activation coordinator for the Celtics, who encouraged her to apply.
Working as professionals
During their internships, the students were expected to work and dress as professionals.
As a summer analyst, Biga lived in a New York University dormitory, wore “business casual” clothes, and was paid a pro-rated first-year salary--“pretty good, especially for a college student,” he said.
“I liked the fast-paced nature of the work,” said Biga. “Each day is a whole new day. From the time the market opens, it’s very fast-paced. As a young person I find it exciting.”
Biga credited Jefferies & Company with giving him access to those working in upper management. He loved the “direct exposure to the market.” During broadcasts of market reports on CNBC, “I would look at the TV and I would see the back of my head as I was working on my computer,” Biga said.
Louro’s duties in Washington included answering telephone calls from constituents and writing summaries of their concerns, representing Brown at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, and giving tours of the Capitol to visitors.
Senate internships are unpaid, but Louro found housing in a sorority at George Washington University, and learned to cope with “unbearable” heat.
Since entering PC, Louro has been an intern in local government, with the mayor of New Bedford, Mass.; at the state level, with a state representative; and at the federal level, with Brown. She liked the last the best.
“It was great, honestly, just being in the Senate, and seeing all these people walking around,” said Louro. “We saw Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul.”
Chance for creativity
Harrington’s duties with the Celtics included compiling daily news clippings, interacting with the media, maintaining a database of sports statistics, and assisting at community events. She was excited to help gather information on players in the NBA Draft because they included MarShon Brooks ’11, who played for the Friars. She was able to commute from her home to Boston and worked 40-50 hours each week.
Harrington was never a sports fan until she began working in sports information at PC. Now she has found her passion.
“A lot of what I’ve learned at PC, to be able to better communicate through writing and speaking, would transfer well to a career in public relations,” Harrington said. Through courses in design, the art of visual and critical analysis, and art history, among others, Harrington learned “how the past can influence the way things are now. I have learned how to truly think, and my PC education has given me so many tools to be well-rounded. I can’t imagine studying anywhere else.”