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Professional Sales Students Embark On Summer Internships

May 18, 2011

Job-specific training is an important component for new hires in any industry. For Baylor Professional Selling majors, it's expected - while they're in school.

This summer, Baylor's Professional Sales students will engage in internships in various cities across the country. An integral part of the curriculum, these short-term, paid placements provide students a critical educational experience as they prepare to transition into the work force. Sales faculty members work with companies to ensure that student internship experiences are full and rewarding.

"Hands-on learning experiences are fundamental to the students' professional and personal development," said executive director of the Center for Professional Selling, Andrea Dixon. "The faculty provide an intentional framework for the program, but the students' work in the field and early exposure to the corporate environment through their internships empowers them to take ownership of their careers."

Although faculty members, including corporate relations director Karen Lancaster, work on behalf of the students to help facilitate the internships, the majority of the internship process is in the hands of the students.

"Our contacts with these companies are just the starting point," Lancaster said. "We begin the process, but it's really up to the student to see it through to completion."

JR Weaver, a junior from Pleasanton, Calif., and Hannah Kroening, a junior from Fort Collins, Colo., will be interning this summer with supply chain services leader, McLane Company. McLane is currently ranked No. 239 on the Fortune 500. Prior to being selected as interns, Weaver and Kroening participated in three interviews with McLane, one on Baylor's campus, and two at McLane's home office in Temple, Texas.

"McLane invests a lot of time and money in its interns," Weaver said. "Its goal is to train interns and ultimately hire them." Weaver will be based in Phoenix for his internship, and will travel to San Diego and New Mexico shadowing current McLane sales representatives. "The summer internship will tell a lot. I'm excited to get a feel for the company and see if McLane and I would be a good fit after graduation."

Greenwood Village, Colo. junior Tessa Trimble and Austin junior Gui Julio accepted internships in Calif. with No. 106 on the Fortune 500 list, 3M. Training takes place in St. Paul, Minn. in late May before interns are sent into the field. Trimble and Julio, assigned to roles in the Los Angeles/Huntington Beach area, will be interning as sales representatives in 3M's Electrical Markets and Commercial Graphics divisions, respectively.

"I am nervous to be living alone in another state," Trimble said, "but I am looking forward to the connections I will make and the knowledge I will build through my internship."

Like Trimble, Mark Crouse, a junior from Montgomery, will be living in another state for the duration of his internship. Nestlé, No. 44 on the Fortune 500, chose Crouse as an intern through a highly selective interview process, which began through an online application and concluded with a Skype-based face-to-face interview. Crouse will be working as a sales representative for Nestlé in New York City.

"I'm looking forward to working in the Northeast," Crouse mentioned. "The culture will be a lot different from Waco, and it's a great opportunity to work for a really strong company."

After a brief period shadowing senior territory sales managers, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. junior Spencer Anderson, San Antonio junior Joanna Murrieta, and Chattanooga, Tenn. junior Jeb Phillips will each be responsible for overseeing around 30 convenience stores through their internships with Altria, who is ranked No. 137 on the Fortune 500. On top of analyzing financials, promoting new products, and managing product placement and signage in assigned territories, interns are responsible for a comprehensive strategic account presentation to be given to Altria managers and executives at the conclusion of their internships.

Of the 200 applicants for Altria internships, only 60 were selected to intern in 2011. Joanna Murrieta hopes her time with Altria leads to a full-time position following graduation in 2012.

"Altria is looking to hire, as long as the fit is mutually beneficial," Murrieta said. "I've really enjoyed my interactions with the company so far, the starting salary and benefits are great, and I could see myself working for them if the internship goes well."

New to offer an internship program in sales is health care services provider, Concentra. Concentra is a division of Humana, which is ranked No. 73 on the Fortune 500. League City junior, Colyn Squires, and Dallas junior Sam Turtletaub met Concentra representatives at the Hankamer Marketing and Professional Selling Career Fair, and now will serve as the company's first "official" sales interns.

"It's an exciting opportunity for us and for Baylor," Squires said. "We will be promoting health care services to businesses within a five-mile radius of Concentra's care centers." Squires' internship will be in Houston and Turtletaub's will take place in Chicago.

As Professional Sales students leave campus and prepare for internship opportunities, they recognize that summer internships, while fun, serve an important role in career development.

"Internships are a gateway to experience and ultimately, job placement," Dixon said. "The Professional Sales program takes great pride in preparing students to be strong, competent employees and we enjoy seeing their continued success."

As of May 2011, all graduating Professional Sales students have been offered jobs, some as a result of internship opportunities through the academic program. Student job placement is a core objective of the Professional Sales program, and the class of 2012 is on track to continue the trend of full placement upon graduation.

For more information on the Center for Professional Selling at Baylor University, visit:

www.baylor.edu/business/selling.

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