The Internship Journey

02-24-14 kyle radtke-112Today’s blog post comes to us from Kyle R., a senior double-majoring in accounting and economics. Kyle is from Leawood, Kan.

When I was first looking at The University of Tulsa, the two programs that caught my eye were the International Business and Language program with Dr. J. Markham Collins and the Energy Management program with Ted Jacobs.  Since I wanted to continue utilizing my Spanish from my high school studies, I decided to pursue the IBL program.  As time went on, I changed my major five times and am now working towards degrees in accounting and economics.

I’m not going to lie. Freshman year I was so scared about interviewing for internships that I just procrastinated doing it.  Sophomore year, I bucked up and decided to try it out.  I had no idea how much work I would have to put into the process. I didn’t have a resume. I didn’t know how to interview properly. And I definitely didn’t know how to iron clothes to “look sharp”.  Thankfully, the Collins College of Business and Career Services offered programs to assist with all of these important aspects during the spring semester.   And here’s a good tip…for those of you who end up attending TU and major in business, get to know Caroline Fox in the business career center. She is very helpful!)

In a short time, I grew comfortable with the whole process.  However, entering the fall semester of sophomore year, I hadn’t actually interviewed live.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I wanted to do.

So I started with the career fair and it was amazing.  I met so many people at so many different companies. Because I was intrigued by the Energy Management program when I first toured campus,  I focused specifically on interviewing with oil and gas companies like ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and BP.  Ultimately, I decided on spending a summer in Tulsa interning with WPX Energy, an upstream oil and gas company, even though I wasn’t an Energy Management major and even though Kansas City (my hometown) does not have a true energy industry presence like Houston or Denver.  Ever since I interned in the land department at WPX, I have never looked back.

The land internship was incredible because I was able to garner so much knowledge in an industry that right now is booming. I couldn’t tell you how lucky I was to even be placed in the land department.  My experience was so wonderful that I decided to come back and do a second internship, even though I again looked at other accounting opportunities.  The second internship went so well that I was asked to stay on during the fall semester to assist with Revenue Accounting projects There is always plenty of work to do!

You may be thinking…okay Kyle, but why is this important to me?  Maybe you’re not accounting.  Maybe you’re not even in a business degree.  The point is simple: the journey to obtaining a summer internship requires work and effort.  You need to be uncomfortable to get to where you want to go.  You can benefit from having some type of employment while in college, whether it be part-time or internship work. One of the best quotes I heard during my summer internship was from the WPX Senior Vice President of Information Technology and Human Resources. She said to us interns at a lunch, “I never saw limitation to what I could do.”  If you can believe you can get somewhere, you already have an advantage.

My advice to you readers is to 1) find something passionate you want to do with your life, and 2) take the necessary steps to get there.  For internships, you’re going to have to draft a résumé.  You’re going to need to update your professional wardrobe. You’re going to have to walk up to people at career fairs that you don’t know and greet them with a smile and handshake.  You’re going to have to show yourself off in an interview room.  I promise that if you do these things, you’re going to be smiling with a paid internship offer letter.  Internships are one of the biggest ways to set you a part from others when you go out after college and enter the professional realm.  Because of TU, I was able to adapt to a standard that put me in a strong position to obtain full-time employment.  Coupled with a strong education and ability to participate in many clubs and organizations, TU has been a wonderful experience.  For that, I will be forever grateful.