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There are 130 students from UNK’s College of Business and Technology working as interns this summer, with 105 in Nebraska and 25 in other states across the country.
By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Tianna Engen won’t need to look for a job when she graduates from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in July.
She already has that taken care of.
The business administration major with an accounting concentration was hired last month as a corporate accountant at The Buckle’s headquarters in Kearney.
“It takes a lot of stress away, that’s for sure,” said Engen, who is finishing two summer classes ahead of the July 27 commencement.
Engen, a Kearney native who will begin working on her Master of Business Administration through UNK in August, didn’t have any trouble finding a position with the clothing retailer.
In fact, “It was almost too easy,” she said.
That’s because she worked as an internal audit and finance intern at The Buckle for nearly two years. When the time came to search for full-time employment, the company topped another offer she received to keep her around.
“Because of that internship, it made me so marketable to businesses I could start a step ahead of an entry-level spot,” Engen said.
The 21-year-old decided to stay with The Buckle because she enjoys the work and sees the potential to grow with the company, which has more than 450 stores in 44 states.
“It was kind of like the door opened at the right time,” she said.
Stories like Engen’s are common within UNK’s College of Business and Technology, which has 130 students from 13 majors completing internships this summer.
Connecting students with these opportunities is a primary focus for the College of Business and Technology Career Center and its director, Dustin Favinger.
“Internships are a great way for a student to bridge their collegiate experience into their professional experience,” said Favinger, a UNK graduate who joined the Career Center in August 2014.
Getting students out of the classroom and into businesses gives them a chance to apply their knowledge in a new setting and experience potential careers firsthand – something that can’t be duplicated on campus. It’s also an opportunity to develop relationships with employers from across the state and country.
“We’re hoping the internship will give them more insight on a good fit for a career that will allow them to utilize their talents and their interests,” Favinger said.
Sometimes students learn a certain career isn’t for them – which is good to know before graduation – and oftentimes they end up with a long-term job offer.
The Buckle, which regularly hires UNK students for its purchasing, information technology, marketing and supply chain departments, designs most internships as a path to full-time employment.
“We can add a student into an internship position and both the student and our team can make sure it is a good fit before jumping into a full-time opportunity. Our goal is to bring in talented students and allow them to explore Buckle and see if it is a good fit for them in the long run,” said Ryan Brown, a recruiting specialist with the company.
The Buckle has seven UNK interns this summer and other students have part-time positions with the company that often turn into full-time offers after graduation.
“The great thing about UNK students is they are well-prepared coming out of UNK to contribute at Buckle immediately,” Brown said. “There are many great programs at UNK training students to be successful once they leave the university. We can immediately plug these students in with one of our teams and they can begin to help advance the company on Day 1.”
Brown calls UNK an extension of the “Buckle family,” which is why the company recently signed on as a two-year “Career Center Partner,” emphasizing the mutually beneficial relationship the two entities have.
“We take pride in the university, our partnership with them and the students, and are glad that we can aid in not only furthering a student’s education but also provide them a world-class position after they have graduated,” he said.
The Buckle isn’t the only workplace where UNK students thrive. UNK hosts a number of career fairs each year that attract dozens of employers and the College of Business and Technology Career Center and Academic and Career Services can provide plenty of other options.
The Career Center will even help a business create an internship program so a student can work there.
“There’s a lot of opportunities, no matter what major you’re going into within the College of Business and Technology, to network and connect with employers early on in your academic career,” Favinger said.
“All you have to do is ask them and they’ll have something for you,” she said. “There’s really no excuse to not have an internship while you’re going to school here.”
JACLYN STAGEMEYER – KEARNEY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Jaclyn Stagemeyer landed a summer internship with Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce through the University of Nebraska at Kearney College of Business and Technology.
The senior from Arapahoe is working as the marketing and events intern at the chamber, where she’s using social media to promote events and local businesses, keeping the organization’s website up to date and developing marketing materials for events such as the Kearney Golf Classic and Oktoberfest fundraiser.
“The most important part of an internship is the hands-on experience. You learn all these things in the classroom and this is the way you’re able to apply them,” Stagemeyer said. “This is where you get that experience that’s going to be applicable to whatever future work you go into.”
Stagemeyer, a business administration major with a marketing management minor, received an added bonus through her position as she’s able to network with local business professionals and community leaders at chamber gatherings.
“That definitely is a huge benefit of being at the chamber. You get to meet so many different people through that,” she said. “It’s been a great experience.”
Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce also reaps the rewards of this partnership, according to Derek Rusher, the group’s president and CEO.
“I have said repeatedly in my short time as president of the chamber how vital UNK is to our community and how important our partnership is with the university,” Rusher said. “Having a student from UNK working in our office with our team and our members is awesome. We feel the chamber can add a lot of value to an intern and we know the quality of student that UNK produces and that the intern will add value to the chamber.”
Stagemeyer hopes to find a marketing job in the Kearney area after graduation. She credits UNK for getting the ball rolling on that process.
“The College of Business and Technology does a really good job of sending out emails and letting students know when there are openings in internships and part-time jobs,” she said.
BRENT ANDERSON – GRAYBAR
Brent Anderson likes to get out of his comfort zone.
That’s the best way to challenge yourself and learn new things, according to the University of Nebraska at Kearney senior.
“I think we all need to experience that a little bit more,” he said.
Anderson, an industrial distribution major from Kearney, is gaining this experience through a summer internship in Phoenix, Arizona. He’s spending 12 weeks working for Graybar, a wholesale distributor of electrical, communications and data networking products with nearly 300 locations across North America.
Anderson met Graybar representatives through UNK’s Industrial Distribution Career Fair and decided to pursue the opportunity.
“I wanted to experience something different than Nebraska,” he said. “I think it’s really good to get outside that bubble.”
At Graybar, he’s getting a chance to learn about the whole company, from the warehouse to customer service and sales to special projects and finances.
“It lets me dabble in a little bit of everything I want to do,” Anderson said of the internship.
Anderson wants to pursue a career in renewable energy after graduation, but for now he’s enjoying a summer in the Southwest.
“I’m looking at a mountain right now that you would never even dream of in Kearney,” he said on a recent Saturday morning.
UNK internships by the numbers
There are 130 students from UNK’s College of Business and Technology working as interns this summer, with 105 in Nebraska and 25 in other states across the country. Here’s a breakdown of internship numbers by academic major:
Construction management – 23
Industrial distribution – 21
Supply chain management – 20
Family studies – 17
Interior design – 11
Business administration – 9
Information networking and telecommunications – 7
Agribusiness – 6
Accounting – 5
Management – 5
Marketing – 3
Management information systems – 2
Economics – 1