Ferris State University students gain valuable work experience through internships. Internships also can confirm or redirect career decision-making, provide marketability, develop people skills and enhance classroom learning. Many academic programs require one, but the experience is encouraged regardless to provide students with a better understanding of what will be expected of them in the workplace.
Many students are participating in myriad internships this summer. Meet: Scott Barger Jr.
He is: A senior from Big Rapids, Mich., majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing/Sales
Internship: Cran-Hill Ranch, a Christian-based family campground and youth camp, retreat and conference center located 10 minutes east of Big Rapids in Rodney.
Scott completed a 16-week paid internship during the spring semester and was offered the opportunity to be the Adventure/Beach supervisor for the summer season.
What he learned: Scott worked as a sales and promotions assistant, helping to bring groups to Cran-Hill. He developed his sales skills by making calls and working at trade shows in Lansing and Grand Rapids. He also hosted retreat groups and helped strengthen positive feedback from guests.
“The great part about hosting retreat groups was not just fortifying relationships with prospects as a rep, but also having the opportunity to use some of my other skills, such as climbing and outdoor interests,” Barger said. “My duties were always enjoyable. I had the best supervisors and got to stay active. My job revolved around people and staying active via camp life, which both are completely enjoyable for me.
“It helped me get my feet wet through real-life experience sales. I learned the tips and tricks that make sales work through hands on experience.”
Favorite experience: “My internship allowed me to meet thousands of new people,” he said. “I really enjoyed hearing stories about the organization I represented that took place in the late ‘60s and ‘70s when it was just taking off. It was great to learn the (history) of a place I have so grown fond of and appreciate.”
Core value: Scott’s internship mirrored Ferris’ core values of character and the pursuit of excellence.
“I messed up and made mistakes countless times, but every time was a learning experience, and every time my supervisors helped me grow from the situation,” Barger said. “I became completely comfortable in any sales situation and grew tremendously skilled and confident in the sales arena. I learned how to be responsible with integrity in different environments, and how to build great relationships that will last.”
On Ferris: Scott’s education has helped him “review and refocus every week,” and his involvement on campus as president of Ferris State Shred and participation in other registered student organizations has helped him establish relationships that furthered his communication and leadership skills, he said.
His plan: After graduation in the spring, Scott plans to travel and pursue his passion for sports and the outdoors.
“I plan to mix my degree of business and marketing with my passions to find a job I will enjoy.”