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Student testimonial: Jessica Houston

Degree pursuing:

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in marketing and a minor in communications, Columbia College Day Campus.  

Expected graduation: May 2014.

Extracurricular activities at Columbia College:

Vice president, Alpha Chi National Honor Society; member, Emerging Leader’s Institute; vice president, Columbia College Republicans; secretary and treasurer of Collegiate DECA; member, Academic Dean’s Advisory Board; member, Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society; member, Committed and Serving Together (CAST); member, International Club; member, The Pride.

Employer name:

The Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia, Mo.

Internship title:

Sales and marketing project intern. 

What did you do in that position?

The internship focused on aiding the vice president of sales in developing the 2013 sales and marketing plan for the newspaper. This involved conducting research on a variety of components, including the Tribune’s products and services, promotions, and costs and pricing strategies. I also gathered information on primary local industry history and trends, top competitors, current subscription statistics and overall market share, and future growth areas. I also learned a lot about the business aspects of a newspaper by conducting a strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) analysis, examining business and non-business customer profiles, and understanding the newspaper’s competitive advantages and disadvantages.

I worked with another intern throughout the summer to develop this research into a marketing plan, along with a presentation highlighting the plan’s key points. I also aided the marketing department with planning, marketing and set up for several special events in the community. When I was not working on the plan or helping with events, I also participated in several webinars and sales staff meetings throughout the duration of the internship. 

How was that experience?

My experience at the Tribune was phenomenal. I had the opportunity to work closely with some key business leaders in the Columbia community that truly cared about my personal and professional development. Their care and concern for showing me how to apply what I learned during the internship to my future academic and professional career were both inspiring and invigorating.

What have you learned?

Not only did I learn a lot about my own personal work ethic in tackling and completing projects on a deadline, I also learned a lot about working with other people. Whether it was the intern I worked with, or the marketing and sales supervisors that guided me, I learned more about working closely with a team than I have in any other experience I have had up to this point. Developing the sales and marketing plan required a lot of searching for information from various sources and being creative and resourceful enough to find the information I wanted. I also learned more about applying facts to real situations and analyzing trends in an actual market than I have had the opportunity to do previously. It was also interesting just working in a business environment and learning how things are actually run and communicated in a real professional culture. One of the biggest topics I now better understand is the many levels upon which a segmented business competes outside of its particular industry.

Did you use the Grossnickle Career Services Center?

Yes, the Grossnickle Career Services Center helped me to not only narrow down my original career choices, but also provided me with other internship sources, as well. Once I secured the job at the Tribune, the career center helped me understand and complete the paperwork to secure the college credit I received from the internship. The Grossnickle Career Services Center helped me connect with all of the appropriate resources I needed to ensure I had a stress-free internship!

What Grossnickle Career Services Center resources did you utilize?

I made an individual appointment with the Grossnickle Career Services Center when I first found the advertisement about a job opportunity at the Tribune. Since I had never had an internship of the kind the Tribune was offering, I made an appointment to help me understand the appropriate steps to take in securing the internship. The Grossnickle Career Services Center also provided me with an extensive list of other available internship opportunities in my field.

What would you tell other students about your experience with the Grossnickle Career Services Center?

The Grossnickle Career Services Center staff was extremely friendly and willing to help me however they could. I really appreciated and was surprised by the staff’s flexibility to work with me when it best fit into my schedule. After my original meeting with the staff, I was sent additional information and helpful resources to further my knowledge on available local internships. I felt that the staff genuinely cared about my success and was interested not in just placing me in an internship, but also really wanted me to be successful and happy where I ended up.


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