When most people think of summer, they think of beaches and vacations. For many college students, however, summer is the time to look for some of the most valuable experience they can receive: an internship. The importance of a college education in many careers can’t be understated, but there are certain skills that aren’t taught in classrooms that a good job candidate needs. An internship is the perfect place to cultivate those skills.
IWCO Direct recently welcomed seven summer interns―including myself―to its Chanhassen campus. We come from diverse backgrounds, studying everything from management to engineering. Working in many departments throughout the company, each intern is involved with a variety of projects that let them hone the skills they learned in the classroom and develop new ones that make them an asset in any workplace―and I should know. This is my fourth year as a summer intern at IWCO Direct and the second department I’ve worked in. Each year has offered new opportunities to learn. From communication, to having productive meetings, to managing independent projects―even something we all thought we had mastered like Excel or Word can be improved at IWCO Direct.
The summer interns working on IWCO Direct’s Chanhassen campus this year are:
- Josh Everly – senior at St. Cloud State University, Software Engineer Intern
- Alex Hoffman – graduate student at Truman State University, Continuous Improvement Intern
- John Hokeness – senior at the University of Minnesota, Marketing Services Intern
- Kal Lunde – sophomore at the University of Arizona, IT Intern
- Austin Patton – senior at Iowa State University, Safety Assistant Intern
- Cory Rickheim – senior at Minnesota State University―Mankato, Marketing Services Intern
- Madison Schumacher – recent graduate of the University of Rochester, Technical Writer Intern
Of course, summer interns also learn about the (surprisingly complicated) direct mail industry, giving them an appreciation for the way a large, diverse organization comes together to get things done. No matter which department they work in, interns make important contributions to the company, helping the whole operation with all its moving parts run smoothly. Speaking from personal experience, they’ll never look at a piece of mail the same way again!
Interns also get to experience the amazing mentorship that IWCO Direct offers. When I’ve spoken with my fellow interns this year, they’ve noted the friendly, supportive environment whether they’ve been here a few days or a few weeks. Mentors at IWCO Direct aren’t afraid to challenge interns with hands-on and important work, but they’re also ready to help when needed. It’s truly a learning environment where questions are encouraged, new viewpoints and ideas are listened to, and problems are seen as avenues for improvement.
Sure, an internship isn’t as glamorous as a beach vacation, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable or enjoyable. This summer, the other IWCO Direct interns and I are excited to make meaningful contributions and do the kind of engaging, hands-on work we’ve only prepared for in school. After all, there’s plenty of time for beaches on the weekend.
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