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Kelley School of Business student's internship experiences land her a full-time job after graduation

Apr. 22, 2014

Internships played a powerful role in Daisy Pham’s life and in her academic career en route to graduation from the accounting, finance and international studies programs in the Kelley School of Business.

Daisy Pham

Daisy Pham at Ernst & Young

After all, thanks to a series of internships with Indianapolis-based Ernst & Young while a student at Kelley, Pham attracted such positive notices from the human capital services organization that she became a full-time employee once she picked up her degree at commencement.

Pham, whose quest for knowledge continues as a student in the nonprofit management program at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, found a way to blend the power of Indianapolis and internships into an exciting career track.

She is quick to credit Kelley with helping her to prepare for internships.

“They helped me with everything, from mock interviews to critiquing my resume," Pham said. "Everything was put on a silver platter for me."

Her series of three Ernst & Young internships paid career dividends after she received her Kelley degree. “I learned various aspects of EY’s business,” she said.

Pham said internships offer students many lessons, most through day-to-day work with company employees.

“My work in classrooms built a basic foundation for me,” she said. “But most of what I learned was from the work the company had me doing, which is what I expected.”

She said her three Ernst & Young internships were all different from one another. But it was helpful to know that the firm treats internships as essentially a fastrack to hiring people for full-time work.

“That was really nice, because it enabled me to feel I was contributing,” she said.

Pham has fielded quite a few questions about her internship experiences, some while she was an undergrad and most recently from current students as part of a group of Kelley alumni who meet with current business students to offer better advice about entering the working world.

“One of the biggest concerns of incoming interns seems to be what a company’s expectations are going to be,” Pham said. “It’s the great unknown.”

The most effective approach, she said, is to be flexible.

“The best thing you can do as an intern is to keep an open mind and have a positive attitude,” she said. “Put forth your best effort, and try not to repeat mistakes along the way. If employers know you’re trying, they are pretty cool about things.”

Students should know that it can be hard to transition from college life to the working world; Pham said it took her two months or so to feel a comfort level.

For Pham, outside activities were useful in her adjustment to outside expectations, including her role as a former senior vice president of Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity and her founding of the Kelley Indianapolis Cares service learning organization her freshman year. The group completed over 400 hours of community service in its inaugural year.

“Those opportunities opened my eyes to the lessons you can learn outside the classroom or the workplace,” she said.

Schools are a valuable source of help and direction.

“A lot of schools just push you toward opportunities. If you’re at Kelley Indianapolis nothing is forced on you. Kelley gives you doors of opportunity and it’s up to you to take advantage of them,” she said.

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