My STEP experience I chose was to complete an internship to gain leadership and real world working experience.
Dwellworks is a relocation services provider for corporations. It is a small private company of 225 employees with offices located in Cleveland (headquarters), Detroit, New York City, Puerto Rico, Costa Rico, Mexico, Canada, and Luxembourg. Dwellworks provides destination, valuation, and property management services to companies who are relocating employees. For example, my job in valuation services was to process orders as they came in to our system, create a list of appraisers in our network of suppliers, and send the list to the transferee. My function was essentially a supply chain management role, and I was able to learn how important operations management is to a company. Something I valued was how my bosses spent their time training and developing my knowledge of Dwellworks, and explaining how my role was important in the big picture of the company. When I was fully confident in my ability, I was trusted with the same workload that full time employees received. I could tell how much they appreciated my work ethic and drive to do the best I could, and I did my best to continuously improve to return the faith they put in me. I was also asked to try and look for any areas of improvement in their processes. Throughout the summer, I went above their expectations and was able to identify several opportunities for efficiency enhancements. Besides my daily workload, I worked on a project with several other interns to present to the CEO and CFO at the end of the summer. This was a great experience for me as I was able to greatly improve my problem solving and presenting ability, but also build friendships with my fellow interns. What I enjoyed the most about the project was that the problem we were tasked with solving was an actual problem Dwellworks wanted an answer to. They took our solutions seriously and commended us for our great work.
Due to the small size of Dwellworks, I was able to learn directly from the senior leadership of the company. Being able to see the vision for Dwellworks from the CEO and CFO’s perspective gave me a better understanding of how managers strategize and lead companies. Ultimately, what made my experience at Dwellworks valuable were the people I worked with everyday. Dwellworks has a unique, fun culture and this rubbed off on me throughout the summer. My summer was enjoyable because of the friendships I had with my coworkers. It helped make adjusting to working everyday from 9-5 easier and the summer seemed to fly by because of it. I was able to learn from two of the Vice Presidents who I still maintain contact with and receive advice from. Dwellworks helped me to not only grow professionally in helping me understand the operations of a business, but also personally as my being able to establish friendships in the work place.
Dwellworks was not a company I had targeted as a place I would want to work to further my career. First of all I am studying finance and would like to work in a finance role after graduation, but my internship was not a finance-based position. I applied to Dwellwork’s internship because I read that they focus on helping sophmores and juniors gain real-world working experience and sharpen their resume to further their career. Many companies who I wanted to work for were only hiring juniors in to their internship programs, so Dwellworks seemed like the next best thing as far as internships. I was grateful they gave me the opportunity to intern with them, but I was skeptical to value of the internship as far as helping me progress my career. I can say I was proven utterly wrong. Dwellworks taught me to not be close-minded to experiences that you think you may not enjoy. To accurately judge an opportunity, you must first experience that opportunity regardless of what it may be. At first I was disappointed I was unable to secure an internship elsewhere, but I gained a sense of gratitude when I learned other classmates were not interning during the summer. The first day at Dwellworks, I was excited to begin my career and start my journey towards getting the job of my desire after graduation.
Throughout the summer, I was challenged to not lose that initial excitement. I experienced slow days and busy days and it was during the slow days that I tried to live out the saying “you get out of something what you put into it”. Dwellworks helped reinforce this idea in my life. I was able to keep the drive to work hard and enjoy myself throughout the summer, and I now look at new experiences with a similar mindset. My internship although helped me to grow professionally, impacted me more on a personal level. I learned that my initial judgments of people and experiences can be, and are mostly wrong. I need to take the time to get to know others and take new opportunities. During my internship I became friends with people whom at first I didn’t think I would be able to develop a friendship with. This includes interns who were my age, and people who are almost double my age. Now, I am more open-minded and try to be less quick to judge others and potential opportunities.
My internship at Dwellworks introduced me to the working world and a taste of my life after college. I learned that I am more prepared for working everyday from 9-5 than I previously thought. Having this experience relatively early in my college career also helps me to stand out from other job seekers, which will help me to start my career at my dream company. Much of the work I did over the summer was not directly related to my desired career choice, and I felt the work became mundane as the summer moved along. I learned to look at each new experience with enthusiasm and the will to learn at every opportunity. I ended up having a much more productive and worthwhile summer than I previously thought. Dwellworks taught me to have pride in the work I do regardless of how much motivation I have to do the work. I now look at obstacles as opportunities to improve and challenge myself personally and professionally. A major takeaway I gained is that if I value myself and the work I do then others will see my hardwork and have a higher level of trust in my ability. I also have a greater sense of other people’s perspectives due to the various types of personalities of my coworkers. This is a valuable tool I will use with my friends, classmates, and hopefully someday my employees when I become a manager.
Another valuable skill is time management In an academic setting you can get away with procrastination once in awhile, but in an office, procrastination could possibly mean your loss of a job due to the potential for poor work. I learned that because there usually isn’t a hard deadline, you have to be in control of your time and finish the project when you think is most appropriate. Time management has not always been a strong skill of mine, and my internship helped me to improve my time management and organizational skills. With these improved skills I will be able to finish my college career strong and become successful once I start working full time. Dwellwork s has helped me move closer to achieving my goal of working in the finance industry because of the professional development I was exposed to. Through interactions with coworkers, hosting meetings, completing projects, and working on a large team I am confident in my ability to achieve my goals on a personal and professional level.
Below is a picture of the Dwellworks office building (left) and the desk I worked at (right)
I also entered posts into a blog for all of the summer interns at Dwellworks and kept a journal based on questions asked by my managers. The blog can be accessed here: http://dwellworksinternship2014.blogspot.com/
My journal can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YvdmqukKRVj7C7JpMmLUC3sw7HbyT_Pw9l02wo10UC8/edit
By: Kevin Mullinger