From Madrid to Minneapolis and Paris to Plano, seniors in the Wake Forest Business and Enterprise Management (BEM) program followed their passions around the world to gain valuable career experience during the summer before their senior year. The Tabletop Trade Show, held Sept. 6 in the Benson Center, provided an opportunity for students to share their internship experiences with fellow students, faculty and staff while competing for prizes.
“We challenge each of them to go and do something special for their employer,” said Gigi Parent, Manager of the BEM Internship Program.
The Showstopper Award, which came with a $500 prize, went to Martin Booth (’12), who was an intern at Coca-Cola Refreshments in Cincinnati, Ohio. Booth completed a capstone project to find ways to improve safety practices at Coca-Cola. “I came up with a campaign slogan called Safety PAYS and PAYS is an acronym for: Protect yourself and others, Assume responsibility, Yield results, and Secure your future,” he said. As part of Booth’s research for the safety campaign, he participated in safety meetings and rode along with delivery drivers throughout Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Coca-Cola liked Booth’s results enough to implement many of his Safety PAYS recommendations.
Spotlight Awards of $250 were given in four different categories this year: research, creativity, presentation and organizational skills. Aaron Bullock (’12) earned the Spotlight Award for Research at Hanes Companies. The Spotlight Award for Creativity went to Brittany Bornhofen who was the Creative Arts Program Chief during her internship at YMCA Camp Seafarer. Two students earned Spotlight Awards for Presentation. Kathryn Peacock (’12) was a marketing intern at FedEx, and Elizabeth Farr (’12) was a marketing intern at PepsiCo. The Spotlight Award for Organizational Skills went to Shawn Tracy who was a member of the Youth Baseball Road Trip Staff for Dugout Media.
Wake Forest BEM students completed 116 internships during the summer of 2011 in a variety of industries. Brooke Camps (’12) was among those who decided to work with a nonprofit organization. She has customized her major to concentrate on environmental science management and negotiations, so African Rainforest Conservancy in New York City was a great fit for her passions. “It was the most amazing experience and I learned a lot about conservation management and nonprofit management. I got a taste of everything,” she said. Among her duties was planning a fundraiser called “Summer Party in the Concrete Jungle.” The event at New York City’s first ecofriendly nightclub was a success. “It takes a lot of dedication to get things done at a nonprofit,” said Camps
Patrick Szawara (’12) and Sebastien Damas (’12) were summer interns at advertising giant BBDO in two different offices. Szawara worked the account management of Starbucks from the New York City office. “This is easily the best work experience I have ever had,” he said. “There are a lot of perks in advertising, including the free Starbucks.” Szawara also had the opportunity to meet some celebrities like Seth Myers from Saturday Night Live and hip hop artist Cee Lo Green. Damas, who is focusing his studies on international business, went to work for BBDO in Paris. His accounts included Emirates Airlines, Johnson & Johnson’s brand of baby products in France and HP. “They put me on small accounts because most internships in Paris are six months long, but by the end of my summer internship I was working on the HP account,” he said. Damas was born in Paris and is fluent in both French and English. That served him well in the BBDO Paris internship. “My internship was solely in French, but anyone in the company who needed English translations came to me.”
Samantha Perrotta (’12) was an intern at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Florida. Her duties focused on planning and carrying out summer events. “I came to work every day, excited,” said Perrotta. She submitted a sample of an article she had written for Old Gold & Black to earn an opportunity to write coaches biographies in a tournament program. “You have to be willing to put yourself out there. Be assertive, not aggressive,” she said.
Reflecting on the success of the BEM summer internships, Gigi Parent said, “Those students who picked an internship based on their passion and what they want to do in life had incredible results. You get out of it what you put into it,” she said. “This is a unique program and it’s one that’s working.”
The Business and Enterprise Management Internships include a minimum of 200 hours over a minimum of five weeks. Students keep a weekly journal highlighting their tasks and challenges and write an organizational analysis of the host organization and finish with a portfolio that captures their accomplishments and personal growth.