It was an enterprising summer for NIU student interns

From left to right: Sean Hastings; Alex Tam; David Herrera; Barbara Fouts, NIU Assistant Director of Career Services; Cathy Doederlein, NIU Director of Internships and External Relations; Liz Skorupski; Jaquis Covington; Charles H. Howlett, Instructor and Director, Professional Sales Program; Mark Groza, Assistant Professor in Marketing; Rajan Kaul, Instructor in Marketing

It’s safe to say David Herrera means business.

A senior majoring in marketing, Herrera was one of six Huskies who put their business acumen to the test during a sales management trainee summer internship program at Enterprise Holdings.

“I have gained an inside experience on sales and customer service along with tips on running a business,” Herrera, of Aurora, Illinois, said. “The internship was definitely worth it.”

Herrera and NIU students Alex Tam, Liz Skorupski, Jessica Mendoza, Sean Hastings and Jaquis Covington were part of the summer internship program that allows students to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it in real-world situations.

“Internships allow students to demonstrate to employers what they do and what they know,” NIU Career Services Director of Planning and Assessment, Brandon Lagana, said. “When they get back to the classroom after these experiences, the content of their courses means more to them because they have firsthand experience.”

Drew Butts, group talent manager for Enterprise Leasing Company of Chicago, said the summer cohort included 39 interns from area universities who were trained and “taught levels of sales and service recognized as the best in the industry.”

“The entry-level opportunity gives students a chance to learn and grow proficient in running our business,” Butts said. “They also receive professional development along the way and promotions are all internal which means they are ahead of most employees if they come back after graduation.”

Lagana shared the sentiment.

“The Enterprise internship is one that many companies – in many industry sectors – are very aware of as one that is an outstanding experience that helps students prepare for the work world,” Lagana said. “Students come out of the program well prepared for a variety of fields.”

The summer internship program culminates with a presentation where interns offer creative solutions to a problem or a way to generate business and increase customer satisfaction. Besides gaining valuable work experience, interns have an edge when it comes to landing a job.

“Over the past 15 years, NIU has placed more interns in our program who have gone on to great careers at Enterprise than any other Midwest university,” Butts said. “They are hardworking and truly embody the spirit of teamwork, initiative and creativity.”

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