my internship experience

Gregory Desgrosseilliers '13, a Business Administration major from Middletown, Del., is active in the cross-country team and the Fencing Club, studied for a semester in France, and spent most of this summer as a management and business development intern at The Healy Companies. His main role was to conduct research on the development of a business incubator as a resource for small startup companies. This was a departure from Desgrosseilliers' usual summer activities of volunteering at the local horse track, home landscaping, playing golf and traveling.

How did you find this internship opportunity?

Last winter, I was in contact with Mr. McConnell, the owner of the company that I did my internship with last year. He felt that it would be beneficial for me to work in a field I hadn't worked in before. Mr. McConnell put me in contact with Mr. Healy, the owner at The Healy Companies, and that is how I found this internship. I had been in contact with Mr. McConnell because he was the president of the board of trustees of my high school.

What were your most important duties and responsibilities as an intern?

At my internship, we were creating something for small start-up businesses called a “business incubator.” Basically we take small companies and put them together in one space so that they may use each other's resources and give business to each other. I was responsible for researching how business incubators work, what would be the best way to develop a business incubator, and how we would charge people for the services provided.

My most important duty was to research the development of the business incubator that I had to do. I was responsible for conducting market research and compiling it in a clear way to present to the board that is working to develop the business incubator space.

We are the first people in Wilmington to do this so I had to research existing markets such as Boston, New York and San Francisco, and compare them to our market to determine the proper fees to charge for our services and rent.

What skills were required to fulfill this internship?

Computer skills in conducting and compiling research, and interpersonal skills in meetings to communicate with colleagues were essential for this internship.

How did this internship intersect with your studies at Colby-Sawyer? What specific courses did you find most helpful in fulfilling your internship duties?

This internship definitely intersects with my business studies at Colby-Sawyer. The specific courses that were most helpful were my Business Management, Business Applications and Business Marketing classes.

What challenges did you face, and what triumphs did you enjoy, during your internship?

The main challenge I faced was locating the information that I needed for my research. It was challenging when I started because I didn't have much experience in the real estate industry or in researching real estate markets. Searching for the information was difficult at first because I didn't know where to look nor did I know which facts were most important.

Over time, I was able to learn the best ways to find data and gather it into formats that were easier to read. Through this challenge, I have learned a lot about the real estate market and been able to expand my knowledge and skills related to the pricing of real estate.

What did you learn during your internship that might be useful in your professional life?

Through my internship I have improved my time management skills. Working 9 or 10 hours a day has required me to try hard to stay in contact with friends. Additionally, at work I must be extremely organized, and these skills have carried over into my personal life, which will help me be more productive.

When you talk with your friends and family about your internship, what do you tell them?

When I talk to my friends and family about my internship, I tell them that as the internship progressed, I started to learn more and saw the value of the tasks that I had completed. I tell them that I am glad I chose to do this internship. I have learned a lot about various industries through this internship since the company that I work for does so many things. Overall, I tell them that I'm glad I've done an internship and I recommend doing one to my friends who are still in college.

Is Colby-Sawyer's requirement of completing an internship beneficial?

I certainly feel that Colby-Sawyer's requirement of completing an internship is beneficial. I feel that it provides students with opportunities to apply the skills that they have learned in the classroom in a practical manner.

English major Cynthia Driver '13 conducted this interview as part of her internship with College Communications at Colby-Sawyer College in summer 2012.