Q&A: What It’s Really Like To Be An Intern

A few days ago, our wonderful Barnes & Noble College interns took some time to chat with the interns at one of our partners, College Ave Student Loans. Both groups answered a few questions about their internships and what it’s like working for the companies they are at. They chatted about everything from how their jobs tie back to their majors to what day-to-day life is like during their time as interns. Take a look at what they had to stay and think about what you’re looking for in an internship of your own!

college ave

Plus, check out some great student loan tips from the interns at College Ave after the Q&A!

1. What made you choose this internship and why?

College Ave Interns: All of us wanted the opportunity to work in a startup because we enjoy working in this type of atmosphere. Working with senior employees who share their expertise with us greatly enhances our ability to learn in the workplace. Not everyone gets the opportunity to interact with such dedicated and helpful mentors during their summer internship. Whenever we had a question about finance, we could just walk into the CFO’s office and ask him.

BNC Interns: We chose this internship to strengthen our writing skills, explore social media marketing, and work with an amazing team of talented people on promoting the BNC brand. Since both of our colleges have BNC bookstores, we felt proud to represent our schools and return in the fall with an appreciation for all the work they do to make our bookstores unique and awesome.

2. What is it like to work at your company day-to-day? What was the most exciting/unexpected thing that happened during your internship?

College Ave Interns: Each morning, everyone in the office meets to share updates from their teams. From an intern’s perspective, these meetings are intriguing because we get exposed to different angles of the company. We also work on generating content for College Ave’s social media platforms. Right now we’re engaging with online users in a series of contests with various prizes on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This is rewarding for us because we not only get to see our brand develop, but we also get to connect with our consumers. One of the most exciting moments of our internship was when the Governor of Delaware came in to the office for a day. Getting to meet and interact with such an influential person was a unique experience for everyone—interns included.

BNC Interns: Each day varies, but most days we work on blogs for The College Juice. We also create blog pitches, present ideas to improve the blog, test e-mails, and contact store managers to collect information regarding in-store events. Dan’s most exciting experiences here were interviewing Axel Alonso, the Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, and interviewing Dr. Travis Stork,  host of The Doctors, for articles in The College Juice. The most exciting thing for Ilana was putting together candy bags for the BNC employees for National Candy Month. We were in a small room with boxes upon boxes of candy—it was incredible. Let’s just say there was a lot of recycling that day.

3. How does your internship connect to your major? What skills learned this summer can you take back to school?

College Ave Interns: For Sean, as an Accounting Major, he had the hands-on opportunity to be involved with the financial team. Kevin, an Economics Major, got an inside look at how the business runs and its place in the market. Cindy, a Marketing Major, got plenty of practice with analytical skills using tools such as Google Analytics. From our experiences working at College Ave, we each found a niche in the company that further expanded our knowledge of the specialized skills we study in school.

BNC Interns: Both Dan and Ilana’s majors are in the field of writing. As a Writing, Literature and Publishing Major, Dan feels that his courses on online publishing and modern writing apply to how we approached writing content for our blog—keeping articles concise and directed. Ilana, a Journalism and Media Studies Major, says that The College Juice ties into the writing aspect and the social media aspect of her major, as writing for this blog allows her to both improve her writing skills as well as her ability to connect to a wide audience via social media.

4. What did your internship make you discover/want to do next?

College Ave Interns: We were inspired by the user-experience aspect of the company. Because College Ave focuses on the user-experience so much, we came to understand its value to a company or any business. For example, our loan application is faster than any of our competitors’ making it both easier to complete and more convenient for our customers. We have found that this is a valuable lesson that can be applied anywhere. Also, for those of us that did not have much experience in the marketing field before, we took a greater interest in it and gained a better understanding of how marketing works and how important it is to the functionality of a company.

BNC Interns: Working at this internship has inspired both Ilana and Dan to focus on their passions as they work toward their future careers. As a future entrepreneur, Dan is very impressed by the business aspects of Barnes & Noble College in how they run an efficient company and brand across such a diverse spectrum of colleges and universities across the country. After experiencing writing for The College Juice the last two summers, Ilana has gained a lot of confidence in her writing and is looking forward to incorporating it into a future career—whatever that may be.

5. What’s better, going to school and having exams or working at summer internships and making money?

College Ave Interns: Going to school and working at our summer internships are both so unique and have so many advantages that we cannot decide. We all enjoy being at school with friends and learning useful material, but we also love putting that knowledge we learned at school to practical use at our internships. Overall, we believe that going to school and interning are both excellent at preparing us for the work world.

BNC Interns: Both Ilana and Dan could not pick just one, since both have their benefits. Dan says that this internship has been an incredible learning experience this summer but he also misses his college and knows he can always feel connected to BNC when he goes to his school bookstore. Ilana says that the two really complement each other perfectly and that both are great for preparing her for a career in writing, social media, and marketing.

Written by the interns at College Ave and Barnes & Noble College


College Ave is a private student loan startup company that helps students find loans quickly and easily. Have student loan questions of your own? Check out these Quick Tips from College Ave!

Quick Tips:

  • Use our unique calculator at collegeavestudentloans.com to help you understand the cost of borrowing and ways to save, as well as to make sure that you don’t pay more than you should for your student loan.
  • Don’t know if you will qualify? You and your cosigner can find out instantly and for free using our credit pre-qualification tool . This tool will also give you the rates you can expect without affecting your credit score.
  • Never spend too much time filling out a loan application! Our application takes less than 3 minutes, and can be done on any device.

Have any more questions? Tweet @CollegeAveLoans or @BNcollege!


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