It was a tough year for interns across the country. COVID-19 caused many companies to shift to a remote workforce, cut jobs, freeze positions and cancel internships.
But some businesses established virtual internships, and a few College of Business students were able to take advantage of those.
Making the best of unprecedented times
Last summer, Spencer Quinn, a graduate student in the Master of Accountancy program, was looking forward to his second internship with Deloitte, a leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory service. Deloitte has a long history of hiring COB accounting majors.
Quinn interned for Deloitte in the St. Louis office in 2019 and expected to intern in the Dallas office in 2020. Regrettably, the pandemic shattered those plans. His internship was shortened from an 8-week program to a two-week virtual session.
“It was disappointing, but when I had many friends who lost their internship opportunities entirely, I considered myself lucky,” said Quinn.
During the internship, he networked with different teams in the Dallas office and trained with other interns in the Midwest region. Quinn learned the basics of an audit, the firm’s practices and culture and much more.
“Opportunity is there, and virtual internships will be what you make of them,” Quinn said. “My internship wasn’t what I expected or planned, but having a good attitude and a willingness to learn will always be beneficial in life.”
His positive attitude must have made an impression because Quinn signed on to start in the Deloitte Dallas office as an audit associate next fall.
Getting what you give
Jensen Worsley, senior risk management and insurance major, was a virtual intern for Ryan Turner Specialty, a leading wholesale distributor of specialty insurance products and services.
“It was nothing I have ever experienced before,” Worsley said. “Since my internship was through the corporate office, I was in meetings with interns from all over the nation.”
Worsley was able to widen her scope of interests, learn from a variety of employees through daily Zoom meetings and listen to the CEO of the company.
The last week of the summer, Worsley and a group of other interns presented their projects to a panel of employees. Her group placed fourth; she won the Most Enthusiastic Award.
“Prior to participating, I really didn’t feel I would learn much,” Worsley said. “I was wrong. An internship is going to be what you make of it, and you are going to get out of it what you put into it.”
Having an open mind
Avionne Jones, junior finance major, was a finance and operations management intern for EdOps. EdOps provides business management services to charter schools.
She encourages other students to have an open mind when it comes to virtual experiences.
“You have to be very willing and adaptable to this way of virtual learning because it is new to you and your employer,” Jones said. “You can’t be scared to speak up and ask a lot of questions. Enjoy yourself and get comfortable with it.”