How Real-World Experience Makes You Employable
Posted on February 19, 2018 by Nico Sferra '17, a DelVal business alumnus .
My name is Nico Sferra, and I am a December 2017 graduate of Delaware Valley University’s Department of Business and Information Management. My concentration was in finance and marketing. I have been asked to share my experience at DelVal and importantly, how I secured my new position.
As a student, getting good grades is important, but equally important is proving to future employers that you actually learned something in class by completing meaningful internships and demonstrating you can think critically beyond academia.
As an undergraduate, I completed two internships and worked as assistant director at DelVal’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center. I landed my first internship at Nissan North America doing internet marketing. The following summer, I landed a position at Adelphi Research, a company that performs market research for pharmaceutical manufacturers. Interestingly, these were two internships, in completely different industries and different disciplines than my intended career path. The important thing was that they were complementing the education that I was receiving in finance and marketing.
I was initially concerned that I didn’t have the experience needed to land a finance job, which was what I really wanted, as noted above. I applied to multiple job opportunities and received interviews at a few companies. What I learned throughout these interviews was that my experience in other positions complemented my finance courses in a way that made me more attractive to employers. By obtaining a high GPA in class, I proved I was able to grasp financial concepts, but more importantly, my internships proved that I had a whole host of additional skills that would be useful to my new employer. I demonstrated creativity, problem-solving, and innovation skills at Nissan, and complex data analysis skills at Adelphi that proved to be crucial skills needed for the job I landed. I now work in Strategic Accounts Finance for AmerisourceBergen, a global pharmaceutical wholesaler.
My internship experiences made the job search process much easier than anticipated. No matter what, the job search process is going to be difficult, but my well-rounded resume meant that I had options in different industries and different disciplines. Possibly the most important part is that it gave me a lot to talk about during interviews. This meant that instead of a series of questions and answers, it was more a conversation between myself and the employer about the value we brought to each other.
Coursework and obtaining a degree are important, but more important are your experiences and the connections you make along the way that demonstrate you can bring value to your position. Real-world experience is a crucial part of proving that you are employable.