By Katie Dickens, Communications Intern
The Wake Forest University School of Business requires a rigorous summer internship program for all business and enterprise management (BEM) majors. The annual BEM Tabletop Tradeshow serves as a reminder of how much the students accomplished between semesters.
All rising senior BEM students must complete an internship that lasts anywhere from four to eleven weeks, working a minimum of 200 hours for course credit. Unlike internship credit granted at other schools, BEM students follow an academically defined schedule, complete weekly check-in papers, and are assigned a faculty adviser for the course of their internship.
At the end of their internships, students must prepare a professionally oriented portfolio that summarizes their work. The Tabletop Tradeshow serves as an opportunity for students to visually showcase their portfolio, share their experiences with peers, and compete for cash prizes.
Supervisors walked through the internship displays, chatting with students and observing the various tri-fold displays and props. Many remarked that they were impressed with how vivid the displays were and how they brought student internship experiences to life.
“What stood out for me this year was the increased attendance by employers, students, faculty, staff, and administrators,” said Gigi Parent, director of internship development at the School. “The employers were engaged with their summer interns and attended to show their support. We were also pleased to see faculty from departments outside the School of Business visit the tradeshow to view the displays.”
Pete Woods, a professor in the school of business and internship supervisor, said he especially enjoyed getting to know his students outside of the classroom during the summer months.
“The most interesting and gratifying aspect of serving as an internship supervisor is getting to know the students as they blossom professionally and personally throughout the course of their varied experiences,” Woods said.
Like many of the other internship supervisors, Woods teaches many of his internship students in class during the fall.
“It is an added bonus that I get to work with many of my interns in my Integrated Marketing Communications class either before or after the internships,” he said. “We are able to integrate the internship experiences into classroom discussions.”
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Nadia Belton won the 2017 Showstopper Award, a $500 cash prize, which is the grand prize of the five awarded. She interned in the women’s wholesale department at Moncler in New York City.
“Moncler is a brand I’ve loved for a long time, so being able to work for them was incredibly interesting,” Belton said. “My primary role was to support the wholesale department with anything from small projects such as preparing for and helping during buyer’s appointments with major department stores, to more important projects such as making the seasonal training manual and analyzing selling data for their newest collaborations.”
Belton said that she gained invaluable career experience thanks to her summer internship.
“My internship was very engaging, hands-on, and diverse in the projects I was given,” Belton said. “I learned that the luxury industry is working towards environmental sustainability and that this is an industry I can make a positive difference in. In the end, I gained much more than great connections and a resume booster—I gained invaluable experience that couldn’t have been learned from a lecture or textbook.“
“I’m so proud to witness the growth of these students every year,” Parent said. “Now I get to start the whole process over again with a new class! It’s the best part of my job.”
The complete list of winners:
2017 Showstopper Award: Nadia Belton
Employer – Moncler, New York, NY
Spotlight Award Research: Natalia Mendoza
Employer – NASCAR, Charlotte, NC
Spotlight Award Creativity: Zach Searle
Employer – FedEx, Memphis, TN
Spotlight Award Presentation: Will Dixon
Employer – Berkeley Research Group, Washington, DC
Spotlight Award Organizational Skills: Hannah Singerling
Employer – Merrill Lynch, Washington, DC