For three weeks, a select group of students have been applying their business skills in ways they never imagined. They are solving real business problems and interacting with executives and corporate recruiters all while being taped by an aspiring director doing her first Web reality show.
Now, it is just a matter of days before the 10 students participating in the inaugural season of “The Intern” will find out who will win and receive a paid internship from Louis and Company.
“During the course of this competition, students have had fun but this has also been a great learning experience,” says Marguerite Endres, coordinator of Internship & Alumni Relations in the College of Business Administration and who helps organize the competition. “Students have learned what it really takes to sell a product, to work as a team and to succeed without compromising ethics or morals.”
“The Intern” is both a competition and a Web show conceived by history student Desiree Duzich — who also serves as the show’s director — as well as club members in the American Marketing Association. Similar to contestants in “The Apprentice” on NBC, “Intern” competitors face a series of challenges that test their strategic planning, product promotion and communication skills. Challenge winners receive interviews with recruiters from Prudential and NBC Universal, among others.
On campus, the competition is most widely known for bringing in Danielle Murcia’s (international business and marketing, ’07) Crepes Bonaparte gourmet food truck. Murcia, who also starred in the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” let student teams compete to see who could sell the most crepes. The response was so overwhelming that some people waited in line two hours. Others were so excited to eat Murcia’s crepes, they placed 25 orders instead of the usual two or three.
Competitors have also presented for a cadre of Target executives on how to improve the company’s supply chain operations and offered ways for the business owner of WineStyles Claremont to improve store sales and increase wine club memberships.
To qualify for this competition students had to meet certain academic requirements and show a commitment to professional development, either through a job or club involvement.
Between working full time and taking classes, Ronnesha Taylor, a senior studying management and human resources, has time for little else. Still, when she heard about “The Intern,” she felt compelled to try out for the competition.
“I felt this could be my opportunity to get involved in something and network,” Taylor says. “Being in ‘The Intern’ has turned out to be not only a good networking experience, it’s a good life experience. Being able to go out and promote yourself, that’s what you are going have to do when it’s time to get a real job.”
One more challenge remains before the winner is announced at the College of Business Administration Recognition Night on Friday, May 20.
(Top photo: Heena Mehra passes out cards during a competition for “The Intern” with Crepes Bonaparte on April 15, 2011. Bottom photo: Intern contestant Steve Seo tries to get the crowd’s attention during the Crepes Bonaparte challenge.)