Samantha Chesney joined the Corporate Cash Management Team at Provident Bank in 2015 as a summer intern. She was subsequently hired for a part-time position while attending Fairleigh Dickenson University in Madison NJ as a full-time student. Samantha graduates this month and I had a moment to sit down with her as she reflects on her hard work and what she gained from this experience.
What were your original expectations from an internship with Provident Bank?
Before I started my summer internship I researched cash management products and services. I had a general understanding of them, but didn’t know exactly what to expect being an intern in the department. I was working as a client assistant at the time for a market research company, and figured it would be similar. However, when I got to Provident, I wasn’t getting everyone Starbucks and making copies for them. I was given tasks and projects to work on, while learning from my manager as a mentor. The experience was more than I could have ever imagined.
After accepting a position with Provident you continued your studies full –time. What was the secret to successfully balancing both commitments?
The key to balancing both school and work was planning and prioritizing. Each semester I carefully scheduled my classes around work as best as I could. I broke down what a typical week would consist of, and designated times during the week for homework, and during the weekend for studying and projects. Since I was only part time at work, I had to prioritize what to focus on each day, and confirmed with my manager and colleagues.
Were you able to apply your academic activities to your business environment or alternatively have you been able to take your work experience back to supplement your class work?
My freshman and sophomore year I took “Management Information Systems” classes which have been a huge advantage in the business environment. In those classes I learned how to utilize excel more proficiently, which is a skill I apply every day at work. My experience in the cash management department helped me in many of my classes, particularly my auditing class last semester. When we got to the chapter about auditing cash flows and setting up internal controls, I explained all of the services the bank has to offer. This was much more extensive than the book provided, and I was really excited to promote how we can help businesses.
Do you have any thoughts to share with fellow students on how your parallel arrangements will have long-term impact on your future career goals?
I think it is very important to work or have an internship while in college. On days off from class, most students will either binge watch Netflix, or focus on their school work and career. Making small choices each day to learn will shape your attitude, and have a long term impact. I made the choice to work at Provident on my days off from school, giving myself a hands on experience. Having such a busy schedule has prepared me and motivated me for my future career goals.
Any final thoughts for employers seeking to offer part-time arrangements to full-time students?
Offering part-time arrangements to full-time students is a great idea with many benefits. As a student, I was able to bring in skills from my classes, and gain knowledge from my colleagues and managers. Managers with part-time college students can gain the millennial perspective, create relations with Colleges and Universities, and mentor eager learners.