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Krannert Summer Intern - Dana

Student in front of Erie SignMBA Student

Pre-Program career: Had no full-time work experience before entering graduate school

Previous Degrees: Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics with a secondary emphasis in Management from Juniata College

How did you best prepare for your internship experience?

I really tried to make the most of my classes at Krannert and think about how I would be able to apply classroom knowledge to real world problems. This is especially helpful because we get to take classes from all of the core functions during the first year. I am finding that material from many of the core curriculum classes is reappearing at work.

Also, I am always looking to continuously improve my leadership skills, so I took on multiple leadership positions during my first year at Krannert. These experiences have helped me to become more vocal with some of my ideas at meetings, for example. This is something that I can easily apply to my daily meetings at ERIE.

What are some outcomes the organization will have from your internship experience?

ERIE has me working on several different projects within the Diversity & Inclusion Department. The biggest thing for us is knowing what to do with our data and how to communicate our findings. For example, I built a database to help keep the information about our vendors in one common space. This makes it much easier for them to use the data now that it is in one database, as opposed to multiple Excel files.

One project that I am currently working on will help the company to see different areas where bilingual Agents would be beneficial. With data from the 2010 census and information about our Agents, I am finding where there are gaps in what we offer and what the residents need. This information will be sent out to the field so they know where there are opportunities for market penetration.

My capstone project includes researching other Fortune 500 companies that have Employee Network Groups in place. I will also be conducting a company wide survey to gauge the interest of ERIE Employees and see what benefits they believe Employee Network Groups can provide. At the end of the summer, I will present on my findings through an impact analysis document and a formal presentation to senior executives.

Those are just a few examples of what I have been working on all summer. Let’s just say they know how to keep me busy!

What will you take away from your internship experience?

I definitely have a greater appreciation of what happens in many different facets of a company. Although I am working in the Diversity & Inclusion Department, I am also able to meet with leaders across other departments and learn more about the world of insurance. Overall, my knowledge has greatly expanded and I will leave knowing that I made a meaningful impact during my time at ERIE.

What has been the most challenging part of your internship?

The biggest challenge for me is having just the summer to learn about the company and complete all of my work. I came in on day one ready to hit the ground running because even though 12 weeks sounds like a long time, the days fly by during the internship. I sometimes find myself baffled by the acronyms and different terminology and I have to ask someone to explain it to me. There is actually a handbook full of ERIE’s acronyms, and I definitely have not learned them all yet.

What do you enjoy about your internship?

The people I work with! Everyone is always so friendly and helpful. My department is very small, with only three full-time employees, but that provides me with a wealth of opportunities. I really get to know everyone on a personal level. From the moment I arrived, I knew I made the right choice to join ERIE for the summer. Some of the things that I mentioned in my interviews seemed small to me at the time, but when I got to ERIE my coworkers seemed to remember everything that I had said. It was like they already knew me before I even set a foot through the doors. I also love that I am able to interact with people from all of the different Divisions at ERIE. I regularly attend meetings with people from all across the company and am able to get exposure into what their job is like.

How did you find your internship? What drew you into this company?

I first thought about the type of company or organization that I would enjoy interning at. I actually stumbled upon a job posting on the Erie Insurance website and decided that the internship sounded interesting. I was looking for more of a pure analytics internship at the time, but working in a Diversity & Inclusion Department also aligned well with my interests. I knew it would be a good challenge for me, so I decided to submit an application.

I was attracted to ERIE because of their family values. Everyone I spoke with throughout the interview process made me realize just how much ERIE Employees enjoy their jobs. Even though it is a Fortune 500 company, and you still get to benefit from all of the resources that a company like that has to offer, you feel like you’re at home when you walk through the doors to go to work every morning. This is probably one of the reasons that ERIE boasts such high retention and low turnover rates. They are hiring for the long-term, not just to fill an open position.

What has surprised you the most and the least about your internship experience?

I am most surprised by the autonomy that ERIE gives their interns. I expected to be able to work independently on my projects throughout the summer, but I love the fact that if I have a crazy idea I am allowed to run with it. On my first day, I was told that they wanted a different lens but on Diversity & Inclusion, and ERIE has given me the opportunity to do that with a lot of guidance but without holding my hand every step of the way.

I am least surprised by the way ERIE treats their interns and employees. The environment is very welcoming, even as an intern. It seems like every day there is a different event going on when I walk through the Atrium. From snow cones, popcorn, and ice cream sundaes to guest speakers, ERIE is always trying to enrich the experience of their employees. The internship program is well established, with over 70 interns work across different departments and divisions at the Home Office in Erie, PA. This means that their additional opportunities exclusive to interns, such as a formal mentorship program, Lunch and Learns, and numerous social events.

What courses from the MBA program have you found beneficial?

One of the most helpful courses would definitely be Management of Organizational Data with Professor De. I had never built a database before walking into that class, but had some previous experience with coding. Experience with SQL came in handy when I built a database in Access for one of my first projects. I am also finding that my weeklong study abroad course International Marketing in Paris has been very beneficial. It was my first experience abroad and it has given me a different perspective that I am able to apply at work.

What courses do you plan to take upon returning to Purdue?

Advanced Business Analytics, Student Managed Venture Fund (SMVF), and Marketing Research are a few of the classes that I am slated to take in the first module upon my return to Purdue. I will be building up my analytical knowledge in many of my classes and getting practical experience in other courses such as SMVF.

Advice for someone looking to work at the company you are interning at?

ERIE is really a great company to work for. One of the biggest pieces of advice I would give someone is to do their homework on the company. ERIE definitely takes pride in their company and their commitment to serving their customers. If this is something you are passionate about too, ERIE will give you numerous opportunities.