Name: Charlie Hild
Major: Animal Science
Hometown: Webster City, Iowa
Company/Organization: Pfizer Animal Health
Location: Midwest (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois)
Describe your internship responsibilities:
The first week of the internship we went through training as a team of interns in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Here we learned how to adapt to different behavior styles, were taught various selling techniques, and finalized all of the paperwork. After that, we were "thrown to the dogs" as they say. A typical week consisted of me contacting a vet clinic on Monday with an area Territory Manager. We would both visit with them about the specific program I was offering, and then if everything went well, I would receive a list of producers from the clinic to contact for rest of the week. After that I was on my own, and would try to map out my week and make appointments with producers at a time that was relatively convenient for them. This was the most difficult part. Cattlemen are not the easiest people to get a hold of in the summer! I would visit with producers about the products I was selling, the summer program, and ultimately make a sale (hopefully). Every week I was responsible for sending back all sales paperwork to headquarters, along with my expense report, and an Excel sheet that included all the calls I had made. We were also given a company car and credit card for the summer, so they really put a lot of responsibility in our hands. (This is why having a clean driving record is so important!) The last week of the internship consisted of the intern team traveling to New York City to Pfizer Headquarters and presenting a SWAT analysis to the Cattle Operations Team.
What did you enjoy most about this internship?
The thing that I enjoyed by far the most this summer was visiting with producers. Most of them were smaller operations that regular Territory Managers were not able to reach, which is why the intern program was created. I firmly believe these people are the backbone of the cattle industry, and I hold an immense amount of respect for them. Growing up on a family farm, I fully appreciate how hard these people work for their money, and going out and promoting a product that I was confident would make their operation more profitable was something that I really enjoyed doing.
How has this experience impacted your future career plans?
To be completely honest, obtaining a sales internship was something I never envisioned myself doing as a freshman, or even a sophomore at ISU. I've always been a firm believer in keeping an open mind, and to never have tunnel vision. After taking different courses, and gaining more respect for the industry as a whole, I began to research internships that looked at the cattle industry at an angle that I wasn't familiar with. It's definitely made me consider some alternative career options that I never initially expected.
What resources did you utilize to obtain this internship?
After putting all my eggs in one basket at the career fair last year, and not receiving the internship I had hoped for, I went to the Career Services Office in Curtiss and hoped that Mike Gaul could provide me with some guidance. We looked over my resume, talked about some of the things that could have possibly gone wrong in my interview, and reviewed some other internships that could provide me with the same experience. Luckily, Pfizer had posted their internship opening later in the fall semester. I sent my resume and cover letter, interviewed, and received an offer.
What advice would you offer to other students seeking similar internships?
First and foremost, my advice to students seeking internships is to never give up. It can be so frustrating getting rejected, but I used it as motivation. After not receiving my first choice, I realized how bad I really wanted to work in sales, did my homework, and entered the interview with the mentality that I was going to get the position. I think being confident and not showing that you're nervous heading into an interview can really make a positive impact. It makes you, as an individual, feel more comfortable, and will ultimately increase your chances of being "the one." Additionally, don't be afraid to seek out help. Iowa State has some phenomenal resources that aren't utilized by the majority of students. The university offers these things for a reason, so use them to your advantage. Finally, don't be afraid to look into things outside of your comfort zone. You never know what you could be missing out on unless you try it. Just one summer can make a huge impact on the rest of your life. It definitely has for me.