Earlier this week we had the opportunity to interview a current employee of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Nick Luchtefeld is Manager of Membership and Customer Services for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Nick has been with the chamber since 2012. We asked him about his previous internship experiences and how it helped him prepare for his career. He provided us with career advice as well as what to look for in an internship to gain the most experience and exposure.
Indiana INTERNnet: How many internships did you have?
Nick Luchtefeld: One of the requirements for Butler business majors is that you must complete two internships. I was able to land two internships before starting my career search. My first internship was with Wolverine Worldwide who is a shoe manufacturer, and I worked in work boot department. At Wolverine I worked with a mix of marketing and sales and learned about what customers value in a work boot. It was an interesting experience because it was the first time I was exposed to a professional environment. I had projects I was assigned to do and had to meet stricter deadlines versus school.
Then, my second internship was with Nuvo News weekly in Indy. The manager at the time was open to any project ideas I had, and they were flexible. I went on some sales calls and sat in on a couple of meetings. The most valuable thing was my last semester of college where I was helping on student film project. I didn’t know much about acting and filming, so I helped them with the marketing of the event. I had a talk with my manager at Nuvo to help me sell some sponsorships for the film. I had combined the aspect of selling and marketing into a mix to raise money for the film. Having my mentor at Nuvo oversee the whole thing was a great experience and opportunity.
INN: How did you find your internships?
NL: One of the advantages of being a Butler business student was that you had to take a one credit hour class that was career related and prepared you for the real world. The class encouraged me to find an internship through a person. I would first go to the company’s website, visit the staff section, look at roles I wanted and reach out to the person filling those roles.
INN: How did your internship prepare you for your career?
NL: It got me started on the right foot because I was able to get an understanding of corporate environment and a small environment. The skills I gained and the setting I was in made the transition smooth from college. Nuvo was a non-profit company and was mission-based, similar to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
INN: What made you stand out when applying for internships?
NL: With Wolverine, the networking aspect helped me land the internship. With Nuvo, it was the Butler background and relationship they had established with Butler career services. This helped because Nuvo hired a lot of Butler students for internships. Also, for future reference having an internship that is similar to a role you apply to in the future is beneficial.
INN: What would you have done differently when applying for an internship?
NL: I would have casted a broader net and explored different types of internship opportunities not related to major. I would have been able to gain a different skillset and a different passion. You want to explore different career paths even if it’s not what you are studying because sometimes you don’t end up doing what you studied in school.
INN: What is the difference with a non-profit and for-profit employer?
NL: I felt that at a nonprofit I got to do more versus at a corporate environment. I wanted a wide range of tasks and to do something different here and there. I believe this happens more in a nonprofit because they are more flexible and mission driven.
INN: What skills do you currently have right now that you believe you wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for your internships?
NL: The internships really helped me build my work ethic and be able to put in the extra work. Also, I was able to transition into the real world and was able to manage having a set schedule versus when I was in college. But overall, I was able to see if I could actually do the work and if it was something I enjoyed doing. I wouldn’t have gained any of this if I had not actually completed an internship!
INN: What professional development advice would you give to current students?
NL: Take on new projects if you currently intern right now and suggest new ideas or projects to do. Doing this will help you developed but also gives you more responsibility to demonstrate that you can do more, and you are taking initiative. Continue to network and connect with people for future opportunities. After college, do an informational interview because you get insights of the role, company, growth, and benefits that might not be able to find via search engines.