This summer I had the opportunity to intern at Equity Resources, Inc., an esteemed Ohio mortgage firm. I worked in the Closing Department on a variety of tasks with my main responsibility completing Verbal Verifications of Employment. I also had the opportunity to manage my own pipeline of work in which I updated and validated important realtor information to ensure future business for the company. Each week I participated in a professional development seminar given by a leading executive in the company on topics to improve professionally, personally, and prepare for future career endeavors.
My STEP project was transformational in terms of my understanding of myself and my assumptions of work in the business sector. As an International Studies major I held concerns with whether my major would prove to be applicable to organizations not directly related to international affairs. I was interested in pursuing this opportunity with Equity for a variety of reasons, but especially curious to see how my educational experiences in International Studies would correlate in a corporate realm with domestic interests. My assumption, or fear, was that my education would be difficult to transfer to a corporate workplace. I was very excited to see how well my natural skills and those refined through my time at Ohio State prepared me well to be an active participate in the mortgage sector. Through helpful and patience leadership I was able to learn how to succeed in this environment and complete my tasks in an effective and efficient manner. Through my time at Equity I was grateful to learn how I could be a contributing and valuable member on the Closing Team.
During my time at Equity Resources, Inc. I experienced a variety of events and interactions that I believe will prepare me well for future endeavors. In particular, the work and tasks I completed helped me to refine skills of timeliness, prioritization, and attention to detail. My main role of completing Verbal Verifications of Employment involved a timely balance of meeting deadlines and protecting highly confidential information. In order for a loan to close I was apart of the last steps before a customer signed. My job was completing the process that assured the borrower still maintained a job in order to ensure their credit would continue and they would be able to repay their loan. These calls involved me having to quickly establish a professional repertoire with outside organizations and utilize problem solving skills. I needed to be persistent in obtaining the information through calling back and reaching the qualified individual to verify the information all within the timeline that matched the closing date dictated by the rest of the company. I had to manage conducting over a hundred calls a day while also being able to instantly switch into a different task and retrieve information on a moment’s notice when a returned call came in. This required me to be incredibly organized, think quickly on my feet, and be able to come back to the task I was doing before being interrupted by another call. These skills of being able to establish rapport with other organizations, manage multiple tasks at once, and maintaining quality customer service as all skills I will take with me in my future career.
In addition to learning skills to complete my assigned role, I also learned how to work on a team in a corporate environment and interact with managers. My role of Verbal Verifications of Employment needed to occur within a certain timeline of the closing date of the loan. Each loan was different in the number of days I had before the loan closed to call, the number of companies I needed to call to verify employment, and who I needed to speak to verify. The varying nature of loans meant that sometimes all the information was readily available to complete the verification, but there were other times when I needed to reach out to other members of the Equity team in order to have all the information I needed to complete the calls. Since each loan was so different through this process I learned how to balance researching information on my own and at what point it was appropriate to ask a fellow employee to stop their work in order to help me with my own. This taught me the importance of asking questions. But also ensuring my questions were thoughtful and well researched as to ensure that each member of my team had the time they needed to complete their own tasks. Not only did I discover how to be creative in my research, but I also learned how to distinguish patterns and be creative in problem solving.
Creative thinking and problem solving were important skills I refined during my internship. These skills will prepare me to be a contributing and thoughtful member in my next job. Typically, loan files follow a certain protocol according to each state the loan is being processed in. Since I was working in the main office I was completing verification for loans across the country, which accounted for 16 different state procedures, that were funneled through the main office. Differences in state procedures lead to some verifications being more straightforward to complete than others. There were times I was not clearly provided all the information I needed to complete a verification, but I learned where else I could look within the loan file to obtain the information. In this creative problem solving endeavors I learned how to read tax forms, self-employment licenses, and a variety of other government forms in order to find leads for verifying employment. Although I had never personally filed the majority of these forms for myself, I learned how to decipher their complexity. This taught me how to be courageous in learning new things and to be creative in finding solutions.
Another set of events that helped to open my worldview were the ‘Lunch and Learns’ that took place during my internship. Each week all the interns at Equity would come together to eat lunch and hear a presentation by an executive leader of the organization. The topics were all professional development related and varied from learning more about the mortgage industry, personal finance, establishing credit, interviewing practices, and much more. Each presenter shared their information and then allow time for the interns to dialogue and ask questions about the presentation. It was wonderful to hear insight from top level management on how they were able to improve the lives of families while finding personal, professional success. As an intern, it can be very intimidating to reach out to upper level management, but having these intentional times to network helped to break these barriers. The presenters were also able to give us insight on how each of our roles as an intern fit into the goals of the company and were helping other employees. I also found these presentations incredibly helpful in terms of learning best practices to prepare myself professionally and financially for life after graduation. Overall, the ‘Lunch and Learn’ program was an excellent way to grow professionally and learn good practices for future financial endeavors.
My internship at Equity Resources, Inc. was instrumental in preparing me for my future career. This transformational experience taught me skills of professionalism, managing and completing multiple tasks, creative thinking, and gave me hands-on corporate experience. I am very grateful to have been a member of a company that strives to improve the lives of families in the community and across the United States. In terms of professional goals, this internship helped me to see that my degree is applicable and valued in a corporate and domestic setting. At the end of the internship I received feedback of things I did well at Equity and was awarded the title “Outstanding Intern”. According to my manager my strengths included my eagerness to learn new things with a special attentiveness and taking notes during trainings. In addition, my manager included I was valued as a hard worker, a driven and goal oriented individual, having high attention to details, and successful at multitasking and prioritizing with a sense of urgency. In fact, as senior interviewing for future jobs, I have been able to draw on my lessons from Equity as valuable experiences that have prepared me for my career. The STEP Transformational Experience gave me the opportunity to grow professionally and personally as a contributing individual to the workforce. I now have the skills and the confidence that my experience interning has well prepared me for future professional endeavors and personal success.