Pamela Contreras is studying Business Management and Interned with Altria in Richmond, Virginia.
Tell us a little bit about how you landed the internship: I landed my first internship with Altria by constantly attending networking events, being involved and proactive with my career aspirations. Since my sophomore year, I started to build a strong relationship with Altria’s recruiters. I showed my interest by going to info sessions and other events hosted by Altria. It made it easy for me to build a relationship with them because they are sponsors of various multicultural student events that I always attended.
I was fortunate to be offered a second internship in Altria’s Headquarters in the Digital & Marketing Services department. I am the first UA student to intern in HQ. Altria has exposed me to different real life experiences that have helped me personally and professionally. During the time I have worked for Altria, I have seen how much they care about my development and I am confident that they will continue to offer me more opportunities.
What was your favorite part of the internship? My favorite part about my internship was the people that I worked with. My managers and coworkers would genuinely take the time to help, listen and answer all my questions. I believe it is so crucial to be surrounded by people who are willing to support you, mentor you and who care about your development. As young professionals we need to be bounded by positive people who are going to be good examples and motivate us to do better.
What are a few things you learned? I learned that thirty minutes are really important especially when you are meeting with important individuals. Everybody’s time matters and you have to be able to offer as much value as they are offering you. During my internship in HQ, I met with various upper level managers who had extremely busy schedules. I had to be efficient with my time and make sure I was making the most out of every conversation.
I also learned that if people around you see that you are determined to learn, the more they are willing to help you out. In order for me to be successful during my internship, I had to be proactive, reach out to different people and ask smart questions.
What advice you have for other students looking for a similar internship? Be ambitious, curious and proactive about your future career. It is up to you and the hard work you put in that will get you places. One you start a momentum it really is hard to stop. You will begin to unleash your true potential and see what you can truly accomplish. Always challenge yourself and aim to gain more skills.
Seek opportunities because people are not just going to randomly approach you with a dream job or internship just because. People will approach you if they know you are a well-rounded individual who cares about their future, is involved in your community and school. Trust me sacrificing some of your free time to help others will pay of in the future. Having experiences you can speak of is very valuable in the work place.
But never forget that it is all right to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
How did Eller prepare you for your internship? Eller College of Management has tremendously helped me prepare for my internship. The education and opportunities that I received have surpassed my expectations. Being a student in this college has helped me build confidence and a stronger network. I am comfortable around others and with myself. I know that they are many bright people in the business world but I can confidently argue that I am also prepared as any other student from other top business schools.