Program Career Advisor Di Saldivar Interviewed Bobbi about her Internship:
What is your role at NCHS?
“I’m in the business development department, and what I’m specifically doing right now is trying to find all the social determinates of health for different areas. It’s a lot of data gathering right now, but one of the things that got me excited was when they handed me a project overview. It was like it was coming straight from Professor Dan’s class…I nerd-ed out a bit. They get it though, its project management. It’s exactly the line of work that I wanted to do.”
How did you find the internship?
“Professor Dan Wallis invited Deizel Sarte, an alumnus of the program, to be a guest speaker for one of the classes. She talked about her career at NCHS, and I was interested in knowing more since it’s located near where I live, and I wouldn’t have to drive all the way down to San Diego.
She invited us to follow up with her with any questions we may have, so of course I reached out and asked her a question in regards to project management. I reached out to Deizel, and she put me in touch with their volunteer coordinator. That part was quick and I talked to the coordinator and she explained to me that she didn’t have anything right now but would keep me in mind. I kept on it and checked every month to see if there was any opportunity. Something else that I did was that I went onto LinkedIn and connected with Deizel. I also started researching other people with similar interests, and reached out to a couple of them independently. It was as if the stars were aligned, because the volunteer coordinator reached out to me, and someone I reached out to on LinkedIn offered me an opportunity. I happened to be the bridge between them, because the volunteer coordinator was telling me about an internship that the person on LinkedIn was offering me. It was like the two just kind of converged.
I went in for the interview on a Thursday, and they offered me the internship on Friday. I started the following Wednesday. I interviewed with two people. When I was in the interview I was upfront about my goals to complete the program and my thesis, and hopefully have a full time paying job by the end of the summer. I also shared the fact that there was a brief period where I would not be able to intern due to a previous engagement, but that I was able to start immediately. I think the fact that I was looking ahead at all the things that were going on in my life that would impact my career impressed them. I also believe they liked that honesty.”
What kind of questions did they ask you during the interview?
“It was very similar to a standard interview, but I don’t know why for some reason, I was relaxed. They had me talking about my kids and I never talk about my kids. There was a question that was asked, and somehow my kids ended up being in my answer. But they had a list of questions that were very much behavior based. Something about the dynamic in the room, it was based on the research done on the internship; there is some flexibility when it comes to the relationship between you and your supervisor. Laying out my goals and what attracted me to the future of working there helped them see where my alignment matched theirs.
What I like about being there is that I’m meeting all these people. On my first day, I met the CEO (and I didn’t know she was the CEO until later), and we were just chatting in the kitchen. We were just having a conversation, and she took me to her office and introduced me to her secretary, and invited me to find some time to sit down to ask questions about the company. I am looking forward to really getting to understand what goes on there.”
For those who are looking for internships, what kind of advice do you have for them?
“We have an unbelievable connection with people who are either in the program or have gone through the program. Start there and reach out to them, and see if they know of any opportunities. Just like Deizel connected me to the person who would know about the opportunities where she works.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile looks good because people are looking at it. I could see that people were looking especially when you’re reaching out to them, and they don’t know who you are. They will research you. Another thing with your LinkedIn profile is to talk to a couple of people you have worked with, and ask them to write a recommendation for you or endorse your skills. This helps to add power to your profile.
Definitely start with the resources that are closest to you, your fellow students, and the professors too. They are helpful in pointing you to the resources you need for going forward. You’re going to do a lot of legwork, that is unavoidable, but it’s on you to go see what’s out there. If nothing is out there, present yourself in a positive light where opportunities can be created for you. You never know what it can turn into. No one’s is going to do for you what you won’t do for yourself.”