In the Spring of 2019, CESR launched the Impact Internship Program, created to connect business students with local, mission-driven companies such as EcoProducts, CleanWell, Teatulia, Bobo’s Oats and more! Our summer interns including Rebecca Reder, Clayton Oxford and Daniela Withaar spoke highly of their experiences with these companies, and each student took away critical skills and valuable insights from their role.
Senior Becca Reder interned at CleanWell this summer where she focused on research to identify sustainability certifications the company may want to pursue. Her experience has helped her to develop communication skills, both written and oral, in business settings. Part of her day-to-day involved calling professionals as well as meeting with her team to discuss strategy. Due to the small size of the office, Reder was able to gain access to individuals in high-level positions within the company.
“It was great to be able to work closely with the CEO,” says Reder. “It felt like working for a startup, but it was more organized and everyone had a ton of experience. This internship helped me to see a completely different side of business.”
This internship at Cleanwell was a memorable experience for Becca, and she hopes that others will take advantage of these opportunities as well. For any students considering applying through the Impact Internship Program, Reder offers the following advice:
“Apply for all of the ones that seem interesting and interview to see which feels the best for you,” says Reder. “Experiment with different roles and types of companies, and pursue opportunities that may not be your first choice. You might find that you’re interested in an industry or position that you hadn’t considered before.”
Another student, Clayton Oxford, interned in the marketing department at Bobo’s Oat Bars. At this internship, Oxford’s primary responsibilities focused on wholesale outreach to potential clients such as markets, coffee shops and Universities. Bobo’s relied on Oxford to make growth recommendations for the company as well so they could better compete with major industry players. The most important takeaway for Oxford was that communication is key:
“Marketing for a company that cares about the triple bottom line means knowing how to communicate what the company supports and selling that mission to the clients,” says Oxford.
In addition to the development of his business acumen, the culture at Bobo’s made this experience unique and worthwhile for Oxford.
“My coworkers were all fun and accepting people,” says Oxford. “They were flexible and energetic, which made me more productive. Bobo’s is a good brand that seeks to do good work, and at the end of the day, they’re here for more than just the money.”
The company’s morale pushed Oxford to work hard from the start, despite his initial uncertainty about his preparedness for the job. Oxford quickly discovered that although there was a learning curve, he was well supported by his supervisors. For any students who share the worry that what they learned in school is not enough for a job in the business world, Oxford reassures students that “...when they hire you, they don’t expect you to know everything. Just be sure to ask questions if you’re confused.”
Daniela Withaar spent her summer at EcoProducts, working as a marketing and research intern. She spent the majority of her time researching international legislation and policies to identify opportunities and restrictions that pertain to the business. For example, many countries are banning single-use plastics, which could provide space for EcoProducts to enter the market.
“It was interesting to see these legislations from the perspective of EcoProducts because they simultaneously created both opportunities and barriers for the business,” says Withaar.
Withaar was also asked to update the company's internal resources in order to improve the accuracy of their life cycle analysis.
“It was challenging for me to understand the supply chain spreadsheet because it had been created by someone else, it was highly complex and there was a lot of missing data in their supply chain map,” says Withaar. “Ideally, I would be able to precisely locate sources to determine an accurate transportation footprint, but Google Maps has trouble identifying many international addresses. That’s what’s frustrating about global business: it’s harder to get a lot of specific information and it’s not easy to figure out who to ask or how to track it down.”
Her internship was challenging, but Withaar loved working with her supervisor, David Fridland, who was always supportive and charismatic. From this experience, Withaar gained perspective on the complicated makeup of supply chains and the various legal barriers that companies face in pursuing sustainable ventures.
For those interested in applying through the Impact Internship Program, Withaar encourages students to visit the Career Peers to fine-tune their resumes and cover letters and to set up a mock-interview with a career adviser to help build confidence.
Are you looking for a similar internship experience? Start applying today! The Impact Internship Program has been extended to provide students with opportunities year-round, and there are currently four part-time positions available where you can gain professional experience during the school year! If you’re interested, apply on Handshake by searching “CESR Impact Internship Program.” Email email@example.com with any questions.