Emma Barrington interned with Carolina Thomas and gained experience with school bus sales and market research.
How did you get your internship and what was the focus of the experience?
My internship selection process was unique compared to others because the field that I found my internship in is the field that my dad has worked in for my whole life. Not very many people hear about “school bus sales” but it is something that is actually very interesting and there are a lot of skills I gained from the experience.
After securing my internship by networking and negotiating a newly created position, I made various contributions to the company I worked for. One of the most interesting contributions that I was involved in was doing market research on electric school buses, which are becoming more and more popular. Since the electric buses are so new, there is a lot of information about them that people who are in the business don’t know. For example, there are a lot of different aspects that are considered when buying this type of bus, including thinking about how to charge them. While it wasn’t the only work I did during my internship, it was a long-term project that will really benefit the company.
What new knowledge and skills did you develop in this internship?
I used various Microsoft programs throughout my internship. One of the main programs I used was Excel. Through problem-solving, I learned how to use many different features that I didn’t know how to use before my internship. I am anticipating doing more market research for the company I am going to work for after graduation so these skills will continue to come in handy.
In addition, one of my tasks was calling churches in North Carolina (where the company is) and seeing if they had any need for a school bus. As a result of my calls, I was able to put our name out there and some people were very interested in making purchases from my company. Cold calling can definitely be pretty scary but through experience I learned to be more confident when making those types of calls.
How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?
I have accepted a job for after graduation in the same industry and the companies work very closely together so I will still be in touch with my supervisor from my internship. I got my job actually through the same family friend who helped me secure my internship. He knew that I wanted to go back home to Indiana so he gave me the contact info for a school bus dealership there. I reached out to the contact and we set up a couple of calls and they decided they wanted me on their team! This situation helped me realize how truly important networking can be.