This past January, Gemma Dufoe externed at Benetrends Financial in North Wales, PA with Storm Miller, UC ’12. She decided to do this externship because she wanted to explore her interests and see what she could potentially do as a career.
To make her application stand out, Gemma visited the Career and Professional Development Office to have her resume reviewed. First, she had to select three externships. The sophomore decided that she wanted to do an externship related to Finance. Then, she factored it down to location and proximity to her house. Next, Gemma researched all of the companies to see if they had something interesting to offer. Overall, she chose her top three externships based on location and career interests. Before starting the externship, the sophomore researched the company and her sponsor and came up with a list of questions.
On her first day at Benetrends Financial, Gemma was a little nervous, but the friendly environment helped calm her nerves. She met with her sponsor and he told her about the company and they had a great conversation about his job, Ursinus, and any questions that Gemma had for him. The majority of what the sophomore observed was her sponsor interacting with clients and in meetings. She also got the chance to observe other departments, as well. Gemma’s favorite aspects of the externship were observing the corporate and professional environment and getting to know her sponsor while making connections with other people in the company.
The most effective questions that the sophomore asked her sponsor were about how he prepared for his career during undergrad, how he got to his current position, and which internships did he complete while in college. Gemma recommends calling your sponsor first and then following up with an email. “Make sure to send a thank you relatively soon after your externship is over,” adds the sophomore. As of right now, she is connected with her sponsor on LinkedIn. According to Gemma, the connections that you make in the workplace are very important because she believes that her sponsor can be a valuable asset to her. “He offered to help me with my resume and recommendation letters if I needed them. I was only there for three days, but through those days, I was able to make connections that will be beneficial for my future,” explains Gemma.
Externing at Benetrends Financial allowed her to figure out that she doesn’t want to go into sales as a career, but she does know that she is interested in Finance and helping people with their financial positions. Everyone at Benetrends was very friendly and welcomed to help and teach Gemma about what they do on a daily basis.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
The coolest part of the experience was learning about the professional world. The greatest reward that came from participating in the Extern Program was connecting with her sponsor.
If Gemma participated in an externship again, she would not do anything differently, and she definitely wants to participate in the program next year. The sophomore advises, “Keep your options open. You may find an opportunity in a field that you don’t think you’re interested in, but it may turn out to be something that you love!” She would recommend this externship to anyone interested in sales and consulting.