Business students find success thanks to Silberman and Sakin
Former Mars, Incorporated intern, and future Mars employee, Marah Geltzer poses with some colorful M&Ms during her summer internship. Geltzer scored the position with help from Mary Sakin, Silberman College of Business’s director of applied business learning. (Photo courtesy of Geltzer and Mars)
By Kenna Caprio
College at Florham senior Marah Geltzer spent the summer at — not on — Mars. In the People and Organization department, she worked on four human resources projects at Mars, Incorporated, the company best known for making M&Ms®.
“All interns work on real time projects that are going to affect the organization,” says Geltzer, a management major from Cream Ridge, N.J. “They hire their interns with the intent of giving them a (full-time) job offer, after they prove themselves over the summer.”
Geltzer landed an offer at the end of her Mars internship in Hackettstown, N.J., nearly nine months before her expected graduation date in May 2014. And she landed the internship with help from Silberman College of Business faculty and staff.
“Recruiters want to see practical experience and work in a company before hiring,” says Daniel Wischnevsky, executive associate dean for undergraduate programs in Silberman College of Business. In order to expose more students to internships, the Silberman administration hired adjunct faculty member Mary Sakin as director of applied business learning.
“Mary contacts companies, builds relationships, works with students and matches them with an internship,” says Wischnevsky. “Once a student goes through the process, and it’s a good experience, companies call us again, creating opportunities for future students.”
Since starting her new role in January 2013, Sakin has placed more than 100 undergraduate students in internships at companies including BASF, Dun & Bradstreet, Morgan Stanley and Michael Kors. These newly-developed opportunities place emphasis on real world work experience.
“The only way you’re going to get a job is to get the experience,” says Sakin. “These are formalized internships. Students are not filing and making coffee.”
At Mars, Geltzer’s projects covered “new hire assimilation,” dealing with how to make new employees feel more comfortable, and university relations, specifically relating to the process of hiring interns.
Compiling suggestions for restructuring the intern hiring process brought Geltzer into close contact with high-level managers in sales, marketing and other departments. “It was up to me to provide my best suggestion. It was intense.” That independence allowed Geltzer to network within the company as she proved herself. The internship also solidified her decision to pursue a path in human resources, as a full-time employee at Mars.
“FDU really did help me find out what I’m good at, and what I’m interested in, helping me become a more well-rounded and successful individual,” says Geltzer.
For Ahmed Amarouch, a senior at the Metropolitan Campus from Frankfurt, Germany, an internship at Relax America — a tech startup in Chatham, N.J. — is the chance to get in the ground floor of creating a new brand.
“Now I have the insight of how to develop a company from the very beginning stages,” says the finance major and marketing minor. “Whatever you’re doing can really influence the brand.”
He represented the company at the NJ Tech Meet Up on December 16. “People today are so overloaded with information, and there are so many startups, that they need to understand the idea quickly, so it stays in their memories,” he says. “Right now, we are analyzing marketing to find the best way to expand the business.”
At SoundBoard Angel Fund in Morristown, N.J., Jake Terhune is embracing his entrepreneurial side, too. In his internship, Terhune conducts research on startups for angel investors — who have personal capital to invest in fledgling companies — to see if they might want to invest. He looks into a start up company’s industry, the competitive landscape, leadership, sales, market place and more.
“What I really enjoy about it is getting to see what investors ask these companies,” says the College at Florham junior from Morris Plains, N.J. “If I start a company, I’ll need money, and because of this internship, I’ll know what investors are looking for, including an exit plan, patents, products and recurring revenue.”
Both Amarouch and Terhune secured their most recent internships with guidance from Sakin.
Sakin’s office conducts mock face-to-face and phone interviews, facilitates the streamlining of résumés and encourages students to “do their research” on the company they’re interviewing with. “I never just send somebody out without practice,” she says. “You have to know what that company does and why you want to work for them. Know what your skills are and what you can do for them.”
Zhameka Stuppard, a Metropolitan Campus accounting major and junior from Hillside, N.J., went to Sakin for advice after Sakin presented in her Interpersonal Skills for Organization class. “I thought, ‘I need help. I’ve been applying and nothing’s been working. Let’s try this.’ So I called her.” What followed is similar to what other Silberman students report: a personal and sustained relationship with someone familiar with and engaged in the business world.
The two worked on Stuppard’s résumé and then “did a few mock interviews in person and speaking on the phone. We kind of role played.”
The result was a nine-week summer internship at Tribeca Oven in Carlstadt, N.J., where Stuppard learned the essential accounting program QuickBooks. “Before I even finished, I got another email from Mary that she sent out my information and résumé to another internship.” That email ultimately resulted in an internship at SuarezBaldomero, P.A., an accounting firm in Lyndhurst, N.J. “I did my first audit there,” says Stuppard. Paying bills and working on payroll, she worked her way up to a part time position this fall.
When Sylwia Krol, a College at Florham junior and finance major from West Milford, N.J., met Sakin, she was a sophomore looking to “gain more experience and exposure and grow professionally.” She did just that over the summer at Dun & Bradstreet in Center Valley, Pa. in the marketing operations department, increasing engagement across the company and promoting Chatter, a sales enablement tool.
“The more internship experience you get, the better off you’ll be. There are so many opportunities out there. You just need to take advantage of them to expand your network and secure a job,” Krol says.
Krol and Terhune both just recently landed internships at Morgan Stanley, following five rounds of interviews and coaching from Sakin.
Prior to officially facilitating internships, Silberman College of Business started the Professional Development Program (PDP) two years ago to bring students together with established alumni and potential employers, plus University faculty and staff.
Speakers at PDP events share how they went from “backpack to briefcase” and students practice networking and etiquette skills. The culminating PDP event this semester, following a career fair and business competition, was a “Let’s Go Live Dinner” on each New Jersey campus, says Sakin. There, students put an entire semester of practice into play, mingling with potential employers, and resulting in interview and internship offers.
Silberman students interested in joining PDP can find more information on the college’s Facebook page or through faculty emails. To set an appointment with Sakin, contact her at 201-692-2136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.