Out of the Blue Box

August 26, 2008

I just finished a 12 week stint as an intern at a credit card company, in the midst of a never-ending credit crisis. The only things I was above in the food chain this summer were used car salesmen, and probably your mortgage broker. Despite what sounds like pretty glum circumstances – I have to say, this summer has been quite a learning experience. While I have gleaned significant insight into the world of credit card consumer research and strategic planning, it is the more practical skills and less-business related lessons that I am finding the most valuable:

  1. As a former Equity Trader, I have re-learned how to communicate with colleagues without yelling, pointing, singing – yes, singing – or throwing foam objects across the room. (meta-lesson here: companies really do have personalities all their own, and there will be culture shock as you adjust)

  2. I have reached new heights of Presentation Zen: less is more, humor is good, background details can be read about later (this from a former spreadsheet monkey!)

  3. Maybe the most important lesson so far – companies really do exist where highly engaged, talented, committed, MBA-type people can seriously experience what it means to have work-life balance (noted particularly by my daily gym routine, and nightly dinners with friends and my fiancΓ©).

All in all, regardless of how the credit market turns, my summer here will have served its purpose: Opening my eyes to things outside of my Bloomberg terminal; Reaffirming that family life is a valid and realistic reason to go back to school; Oh, and filling that consumer-focused gap on the resume while getting to network with some really great people. I make my return to SOM this Thursday and can't wait to hear about the experiences my classmates had over the summer. And from what I've heard about the new class, they are a pretty impressive bunch themselves and I am excited to meet them and see the personality they add to the SOM Halls. Graduation: 272 days and counting

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Dawn Behrens