By Brian Bozzo,
Stillman News Writer
Nicole DeRuggiero is a senior majoring in business administration with a concentration in management. She also has a communication studies minor. She is from Tuckahoe, New York. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and President of Colleges Against Cancer, an organization on campus. Colleges Against Cancer is responsible for planning Relay for Life which takes place at Seton Hall University annually. The Stillman Exchange interviewed Nicole to learn about her internship experience at Eventage.
Q: What were your responsibilities as an intern?
A: My responsibilities change every day at my internship which is one of the things I love about it. Each day is something new and I get to have a part in almost every event that the company is planning so I feel super involved. The main event I work on is the New York City (NYC) Bike Expo but I have also worked events like the NYC Half Marathon and the Scotland Day Parade in NYC.
Q: Why did you choose to apply for an internship at Eventage?
A: I always knew that I wanted to go into event planning and I heard about Eventage when I was freshman. I always dreamed all through college that I would get the chance to intern there eventually.
When I finally saw a position available for the second semester of my senior year, I knew I had to try and I felt like I was finally prepared to be there.
Q: How did you go about getting the internship?
A: I saw the posting through Navigator. Eventage is based in South Orange so I knew that they had a pretty good relationship with Seton Hall. I went for an interview and was inexplicably excited when I found out that I got it two weeks later. It probably sounds so cliché, but it really has a been a dream come true.
Q: What was the most valuable skill that you learned while interning?
A: There are so many skills that I have learned that it is hard to pick one. I would say I have gained a lot of confidence working at Eventage. I am constantly encouraged to ask questions and I have become a lot more comfortable doing that. My opinion truly feels valued there so it has enabled me to voice what I am thinking and contribute in a variety of ways.
Q: How was learning in a work environment different than learning in a classroom?
A: It is entirely different. As I am answering this I am literally on the train to the city to work at a parade on 6th avenue that my company is planning. During this time, I have had to send three emails because plans have changed due to weather. We need to be on our toes and ready for anything at all times. You cannot get this kind of education in the classroom.
Q: What was the company culture like?
A: The culture the partners have built at Eventage is without a doubt the most valuable part of my experience. They are diverse, welcoming, and incredibly kind. They are professional, but personable with clients and loving with each other. It is so amazing to be a part of. For me, from day one it has been emphasized that not only does school come first, but it is equally important that I learn and feel like I am learning from this internship. The Eventage staff goes above and beyond to commend me on a job well done or constructively teach me when I may not know what I am doing.
Q: What were some skills that you learned at Seton Hall that you used in your internship?
A: Honestly, a lot of the skills I use are the interpersonal communication skills that you learn inadvertently through engaging with peers in group projects or consulting with professors. Additionally, in every internship I have had, we use excel for nearly everything.
Q: What advice would you give to students who are actively searching for internships?
A: If I would tell students anything, it is that people always freak out about needing internships for their resumes, but you truly do need the experience. It should be in something you want to do. You cannot beat hands-on learning and while Seton Hall does give us good exposure to that, it is so different when you are out in the real world on your own. The amount of skills that you can absorb in three months at an internship is vastly more than what you can get from fifteen weeks in a classroom. I would encourage people to use their internships to pursue options that they might want for a career most importantly. I have interned in human resources at a global investment bank, a national nonprofit, and a small event planning company. These experiences have really helped me understand the world around me, my options for employment, and what is important to me in a career.
Q: What is next for you in your career?
A: I really do not know what is next in the sense that I do not have a job lined up. I would love a career at an event planning company or at a non-profit. I also have some entrepreneurial ventures I would love to pursue. Currently, I am trying to absorb all I can from Eventage and Seton Hall so I will be ready for whatever ends up coming my way next!
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 26th print edition.
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