After first 15 minutes of training I realized that I had no idea what I was applying for a few months ago when I came to Richmond for my first interview. I thought I was going to be a sales person and that I would be selling life insurances. However, selling life insurance is about 15 percent of what Financial Representatives do at Northwestern Mutual. One of the things I learned during this training process is that as an intern, I will have to build long lasting relationships with my clients as their holistic financial planer. I learned that my role would be more important than just delivering the product to a customer and that I will educate and lead my clients towards financial security for them and their families. At first, I though that all these nice words are just a better way to describe our job, but after hearing stories from experienced Financial Reps I realized that we can have a big impact on peoples’ lives. All that made me even more excited about my summer job.
Northwestern Mutual is a great company to work for. It has highest financial strength ratings in the industry and it was voted as “The Most Admired Company” by Fortune magazine. People who work there are truly amazing. They believe in what they are doing and they are always ready to answer any questions interns might have. Other interns are really friendly and I already made a couple of new friends. We share our experiences with each other during weekly development meetings which is very helpful.
This is my first “real” job and so far it feels great to be part of the professional world. Suit and tie don’t always feel great during the hot summer, but my mom says I look handsome. I look forward to posting again this summer and sharing more about my internship experience.
Sasha Obradovic ’14
This tour made my next few days of work easier. I am in charge of creating an emergency procedure flip chart that will be used in all stores and distribution centers. The purpose of the flip chart is to give workers some guidance and instruction during an emergency. The chart has instructions for emergencies anywhere from robberies to tornadoes. The tour gave me a better understanding of who would be using the charts and how they could help. I hope to have the flip chart ready for distribution by the end of the summer.
After lunch I sat down with two of the partners on a conference call with the other partners of the firm to discuss new potential targets for M&A transactions as well as a few IPO-able opportunities. Discussions ranged from analyzing of the direction of the military/defense/intelligence industry to breaking down each of the target companies and calculating estimated deal values. The conference call allowed for a crash course in military and defense technology as well as the processes followed for initiating a M&A deal especially with firms that have either never utilized the services of an investment bank or are skeptical of using an investment banking firm to broker their sale or acquisition.
After the initial targets were selected, no time was wasted in putting together preliminary pitch books to present to the target companies. I worked directly with one of the partners of the firm to draft a PowerPoint presentation detailing the strategy and direction that Aperture Capital wants to take with the target’s M&A transaction. This includes everything from an introduction to the firm to the firm’s estimates on the direction of the industry to potential buyers or sellers in the transaction and how the firm will pitch the deal to other buyers/sellers involved.
It’s been a pretty busy first day but I’m thankful that I was able to start interning at the very beginning of this long and fairly tedious process.
On May 20, we began our week of training in Richmond. Here we heard from former interns who had been brought on full-time and other experienced representatives who gave us their take on the business and what it takes to succeed. I enjoyed hearing from experienced reps, for it brought everything into perspective: the service reps offer and the impact they can have. Throughout our training week we caught a glimpse of what our day-to-day activities would consist of: daily meetings with our College Unit Director (CUD), phoning, client meetings, etc. After the week of training, I couldn’t wait to get started in the Charlottesville office.
Through the last two weeks I have been fully immersed in this internship. My weeks tend to be busy and organization is key. Monday through Wednesday I commute to the Charlottesville office from Lynchburg for our daily 7:30 meeting. Thursday and Friday I’m in Lynchburg, for I call in for our morning meeting and work out of the Lynchburg office on those days. Other than our 7:30 meeting and our 9-10 phoning hour, the interns and PGPs are free to spend our time where and how we see fit: additional phoning, client meetings, or writing this blog post. There are still certain expectations we must meet, but we are able to leave the office early if our daily goals have been met.
Although I’m not in the Charlottesville office everyday, I’m constantly knocking out daily expectations and setting meetings with prospects. Thus far, the most challenging part of the internship has been balancing where and when my meetings take place, for I currently have meetings in Richmond (I usually set Wednesday aside for those), Charlottesville, and Lynchburg. For the first five weeks we are required to bring a senior representative with us, so we must adjust or schedules to fit openings in the senior reps’ schedules. However, the freedom and personal responsibility we are give has made me view Northwestern Mutual as a strong career opportunity.
I believe that my time at Hampden-Sydney has more than prepared me to work with clients to effectively aid them in planning for their financial future, and I’m looking forward to what the rest of the summer has to offer.
Just a blurb from a news outlet:
(Danville, Va.) — A 46-year old Danville man scheduled for a Circuit Court trial Tuesday morning left the courtroom and jumped into the river.
Anthony Falden was set to go to trial on a charge of possession of cocaine. Police say he left the courtroom, walked to the Martin Luther King Bridge, and got on the Riverwalk trail. From there, he jumped into the Dan River.
Police negotiators tried to get Falden to grab a buoy they tossed his way. They said Falden would grab the buoy, but then would let go.
Police got in contact with Falden’s family members by cell phone. When his daughter showed up, Falden came out of the water. He was a hundred yards downstream of the bridge. The incident lasted about thirty minutes.
Falden was not hurt, but he’s being taken to the hospital for an evaluation. Additional charges are pending.
By the end of today I will conclude my first week at Silverline CRM in New York, NY as a Consulting Intern. Silverline is a boutique Salesforce.com consulting firm that specializes in delivering custom business solutions by leveraging cloud computing systems. Silverline’s service offerings include end-to-end deployment of Salesforce.com’s SalesCloud and ServiceCloud applications, Force.com development services, integration with on premise and off premise applications and databases, data enrichment and migration services, and end user and administrator training. I interned for Silverline last summer as a Sales/Marketing/Management Intern. I began my first day by meeting all of the new members of the team. Last year the company had approximately ten employees in the New York City office. When I returned this summer the office has doubled in size and space. The company has operated for almost three years, and I am the first intern to return for two consecutive summers. I was also the company’s first intern.
Like many companies in information technology and related industries, culture and diversity are vital Silverline’s operation. All employees are free to wear what they choose to the office and contribute their own uniqueness to the firm. For example, our Development Manager occasionally wears shorts to the office, one of the Partners wears jeans, and our Solutions Architect commutes each day to work by long-board while our Support Manager commutes by in-line skates. Furthermore, our Vice President of Sales—a major fan of the Green Bay Packers—insists on playing with toys as well as occasional breaks to bounce around on a medicine ball. In the developer space of the office there a ping-pong table for recreation. The company operates a kitchen with snacks and fresh food for all employees to consume. Last year I was astounded to learn rather quickly that swearing and expressive language is tolerated in the office. Finally, (as if all the preceding details are not peculiar enough) all employees have unconditional control of their work days and work hours and may choose to come and go as they please as well as choose to work from home.
While many people believe that excessive freedom and amusement are divergent from professionalism in a work environment, combining such things has been successful at Silverline. It all seems to work out because the company is performance-driven and rewards accomplishments. In fact, this year the company has a sales pipeline of $8 million USD halfway through the fiscal year for over 4,000 billable hours of services and product licenses. The company has a long list of clients including investment banking firms, financial services, sports leagues, healthcare services, private equity, and high tech firms. I was surprised when preparing for my internship earlier this year when I discovered that Hampden-Sydney has about 3-5 percent of our entire alumni network working in information technology and related industries. I strongly believe that a liberal arts background is compatible with work environments similar to Silverline.
In fact although my internship at Silverline is partially technical, I have found that many of the skills I have learned at Hampden-Sydney correlate directly with skills which I need to be successful in a technical business environment. As a future consultant for Silverline I will be required to become familiar with business processes, process flow analysis, requirements definitions, preparing configuration workbooks, data models, detailed functional design, and project plans. I will be responsible for working effectively individually as well as with the rest of the team and clients toward customer satisfaction and implementation of success deployments of our systems. At Hampden-Sydney I learned project management through group work in my Corporate Finance course, data analysis in Managerial Accounting, issues regarding cyber security in Issues in American National Security, and strong verbal skills in Public Speaking. I have also developed sound critical thinking skills through my rhetoric and logic courses which gives me a comparative advantage when analyzing documents and data for errors. My Hampden-Sydney education empowers me to listen to clients’ needs, dismantle such needs in a logical manner, and function as a bridge between sales and delivery teams to implement the company’s solutions to such needs. The values of the Honor Code are also important to the nature of the firm. Clients tend to have a lot of sensitive information in their customer relationship management organizations so companies like Silverline are sensitive about how we handle each client’s data. The company requires employees that keep sensitive data confidential and the Honor Code of Hampden-Sydney means a lot to my supervisors as it illustrates strong ethics which transfers to business ethics.
I am excited for the rest of the summer and the opportunities that will grow as I develop a robust sense of what my professional life will resemble after Hampden-Sydney. At the end of my first week at Silverline, I met with Matt Guill, a Hampden-Sydney alumnus of the Class of ’06 currently studying at Columbia Business School. We discussed the evolving environment of the business world and the significance of integrating liberal arts with practical, technical, and managerial proficiencies which are in demand. I sincerely hope that other students consider careers in information technology and consulting firms like Silverline. My blog will foster any curiosity other Hampden-Sydney students have in these industries. Namely, I hope to illustrate that careers in information technology exist outside of the established stereotypes of tech support.