What does it take to land a high-profile internship? Just ask Anna Vickers.
The Crown College junior will start an internship this summer with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (now known as Gallagher), a large international corporation in the insurance and risk management industry, based in Illinois.
After an intense application process and an official interview, she found it was her previous work at a small T-shirt startup, her Christian upbringing and faith in Christ, her pursuit of a degree at Crown, and a humble attitude about her giftings and skills which helped her the most.
Building blocks to success
Raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Vickers decided early on as a high-schooler to think about both her college and career plans. Her father, Ian Vickers, served as a pastor and a missionary in a Christian and Missionary Alliance and worked as a business consultant and CEO of non-profit companies. Growing up, her dad noticed Anna had strong business acumen.
“For me, the thing that stuck out the most with Anna–the thing that made her a good candidate for this internship–was her experience with sales and managing people,” says Ian. “She worked at a small T-shirt manufacturing business and as a junior in high school, Anna had to learn about what it takes to run a business and serve alongside others in a non-profit.”
He says Anna learned a lot about global awareness as well. Anna was born in Paris, and she was constantly surrounded by internationals who talked about their work overseas.
Landing the internship
That foundation prepared her for attending Crown as a freshman in 2016. Her internship also fulfills an academic requirement for her degree in Communication, which is a key part of her training and preparation.
Anna first heard about the Gallagher internship in high school. Then, before the official interview, the company provided some tips about the qualities they desired in their applicants.
Dr. Scott Moats, the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost at Crown, helped her by conducting mock interviews and identifying her best skills and abilities.
“I was always very disciplined in high school,” she says. “I have three different planners I use now! I am someone who enjoys being organized, since my life goes into chaos otherwise. In the interview, I planned to focus on the skills I had already developed.”
Anna found out the company was looking for someone who was a hard worker, so she knew she should use that term when she answered questions. Her biggest tip to other students is to start preparing for an internship long before the application ever starts.
This past fall, Anna completed the official application and then conducted an interview over Skype with Kevin Murphy, the Area President for Gallagher in the Atlanta office where Anna will work. She’ll also spend a week in a satellite office in Chicago for training.
“Anna had humility in terms of realizing that her journey to understand our business will be a long one. Because we’re serving clients every day and no client is the same, our interns need a humble perspective and not assume they know everything already,” says Murphy.
Murphy says he is excited to have Anna on his team because she also brings a new perspective as far as how millennials and Generation Z think, and having her attend meetings with clients in those age groups will help with the consulting business he runs. For Anna, it means being present at high-profile meetings as part of the sales and marketing process.
“There’s nothing more valuable than having Anna sit to my left at a meeting with a client and speak to what it will take to recruit and retain the upcoming crop of young people in that generation,” explained Murphy. “We’re excited to expose our business to Crown top performers who can see how we operate through so many different lenses.”
For Anna, it’s an exciting opportunity to prove she is ready for any challenge.
“This is a very big deal and it is very selective,” says Anna. “They explained it as not just an internship but a nine-week interview. My day-to-day will be different and they will move me around quite a bit. The idea is that the internship turns into a career.”
The overall value
Murphy says he noticed several things about Anna during the interview process. He found she had a humble attitude and, since the company works with international clients, she had a strong awareness about global issues. In the end, it was all of those attributes developed over time that helped her the most–and will provide a platform for her to develop the skills even further.
For those considering an internship, it’s a good lesson in how the process typically works. It was even a factor for Dr. Joel Wiggins, the President of Crown College, who started his own career after an internship. “I know the power of a really good internship,” he says. “Anna’s achievement is outstanding and the opportunity will be game-changing.”
Dr. Moats explained that he has seen how internships can help students at Crown excel beyond the classroom and help them develop strong work ethics.
“In today’s competitive job market, graduates continually need to differentiate themselves,” says Dr. Moats. “Internships are a key way to learn skills, sharpen knowledge, and hone dispositions. Anna excels at taking risks to achieve her goals. She is outgoing and personable. She learns quickly and is always seeking ways to improve. Anna will do very well with Gallagher as her values of service and conscientious work ethic aligns perfectly.”
For Anna, it’s an exciting venture–with greater things to come.
“I’ve always been that person who is excited about something new–I have never been afraid of change,” she says. “Preparing for my career is why I’m at Crown. I’m very much excited about this opportunity and I know this is where God wants me to be.”