Jack Yuan ’14: Getting “the Most” from a Virtual Internship

Jack Yuan ’14 takes advantage of networking opportunities over Sushi in Chicago with Derrick Yoder ’11 and Brian Mantel ’93

Jack Yuan ’14:  When I was searching for an internship that would leverage my writing and quantitative analysis skills, I was very fortunate to find and to get an internship focusing on consumer finance with Mr. Brian Mantel ’93.  This is the ninth week of my internship, and I have learned more than I expected from my work and my colleagues.

The way this internship works is very unique.  As a virtual internship, my job gives me a lot of flexibility. Different from working at a corporate site, I work at home and meet with my boss twice a week on Skype. The internship reinforces me being accountable for project management.  Other than the Skype conferences, I would travel to Chicago to work in person with my boss on some of the hard projects every two weeks.  While Skype meetings normally take about an hour, in-person meetings often take five to six hours, during which there is a lot of brainstorming and exchanging of ideas.  The place we meet normally has a whole wall of whiteboard, allowing us to put on as many ideas as we can.  Every meeting not only helps me better understand my task but also helps me build a consulting mindset.

My obligations in the first month included reading existing marketing materials, getting to know about America’s retirement facts, and exploring consumer financial needs.  In the early stage of my internship, I got to know about some of the marketing tools and strategies, including Porter’s 5 forces, 4P, and SWOT.  Starting mid-summer, I began to handle two main projects:  benchmarking and income statement generator.  Dealing with these two projects requires a lot of effort in gathering and sorting data.  With the help of Dr. Howland and Dr. Widdows, I was able to process my data faster with appropriate economic theories and statistical tools.

One of the goals of this internship is, and I quote from Mr. Mantel: “getting most of [my] summer.”  Not binding me with pure workloads, Mr. Mantel encourages me to meet as many alumni as I can.  One of the past interns, Derrick Yoder travelled to Chicago during one of our in-person meetings.  My boss then invited him for dinner at a great Sushi restaurant, and we had a great time talking about interesting Wabash experiences, networking skills, and career development.  Such talks then took place between me and many other alumni, from whom Mr. Mantel encouraged me to learn—two weeks ago, I travelled to New York and got a chance to meet and learn from Mr. Sava Kobilarov ’01, Mr. Nick Su ‘12, and Mr. Greg Jania ’93.

This internship is a very valuable experience.  Rather than simply improving professional skill sets, I was able to acquire a diversified experience from my internship, which helped me broaden my horizons and learn how to learn from people.  Words cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity Mr. Mantel offers, and I would like to thank Dr. Howland and Dr. Widdows for helping me solve some of the problems I encountered at work and Career Services for helping me find this opportunity.

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