By Valis Vicenty
Students use any means possible in order to land the perfect internship and don’t usually begin their search until their junior year, but one freshman managed to have one fall into her lap.
Sharon Buchnik found a paid internship opportunity by simply making a phone call to alumnus Joe Kelly, ’91, as part of her job as a Phoneathon caller. This job entails calling various alumni to obtain updated contact and work information, inform them about the changes to campus and ask for donations.
“I randomly got him from a pile of alumni,” said Buchnik, a human resources management major. “We had a lot in common — we had a similar major, and his wife was in Zeta Tau Alpha like me. I got him to donate money, and he mentioned I would be a really perfect addition to his company.”
Kelly graduated with a degree in business administration and credited much of his learned skills to working both inside and outside the classroom.
“There are many times where we encounter the day-to-day operations that I could look back to the classes I had and the experience I had to handle certain situations,” Kelly said.
Talon, Kelly’s company, is a professional services firm that specializes in technology and clinical staffing. As the chief operating officer, Kelly said when he spoke to Buchnik, he knew talent when he heard it.
“She was good on the phone and had talent as far as sales ability,” he said. “She was very personable, knew how to get her point across and found common interests, which is important. It’s a rare skill, something you’re born with. Since we specialize in sales environments because of our industry, it would make sense to have her come in for an internship.”
Buchnik went in for an interview with Kelly and became Talon’s first summer intern. Because of her major, she will be splitting her time between the human resources department, working with the sales team to help them gain new clientele and displaying her proficiency on the phone starting in May.
“I will be doing a lot on the phone, like talking to other companies to try to link them with [Talon],” Buchnik said.
Kelly worked with Career Services as well as many of the faculty members of the business school in order to have Buchnik receive credit for her work but was unable to because she is a freshman.
“He talked to many people in the business school because he was really trying to enforce credits, but it didn’t work,” Buchnik said.
Kelly believes that this internship may influence her to change her major.
“It is important for her to get experience in order to see a couple of different sides of the business and better determine what she wants to do,” he said. “Sometimes what you want to do is not what your skills are.”