Class of ‘22
Over the last ten months, I had the opportunity to intern with UW Consulting and Business Development Center (UW CBDC) in partnership with Harborstone Credit Union (HCU). During this period, I connected with over 200 small businesses in the Greater Seattle Area to facilitate funding. In the process, not only did I make lasting relationships, but I was fortunate enough to grow both professionally and personally.
Here’s the thing: I wouldn’t say I like initiating conversation. Some people might even call me an introvert. So, this internship proved to be a big challenge. At first, I hoped working for a credit union would be an excellent start to my Finance major’s dream-job fantasies. However, I soon learned that before I got to the financial analysis part of my internship, I needed to know to build client relationships. When I was first asked to cold call businesses, I had a severe fear of the phone. And for the most part, that was acceptable as I could easily bypass a phone call with a well-placed email. But realization soon sunk in as I found out phone calls were the most efficient and effective way of contacting hard-to-reach businesses. And as Seth Godin once said, “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” And I did. After some initial hiccups, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and got over my initial hesitation of cold calling. Looking back, I’ve realized just how valuable the skills I learned by outreaching to businesses have been. After all, challenges lead to growth.
The internship also entailed several training workshops hosted by Harborstone and the UW CBDC. Everything from the 5 C’s of credit to the life cycle of a business was taught to us for a comprehensive understanding of funding small businesses. I also had the opportunity to work and operate a newly implemented CRM system HubSpot, which helped manage client information and email marketing. Lastly, I helped compile and share a list of resources to aid small businesses in need of funding through means other than loans.
In the end, this internship would not have been the same without my manager and co-worker, Khatsini Simani and Alicia Chok. They were always there to help guide me through all my difficulties while constantly providing me with their support. This past year has proven to be an excellent opportunity for me to face my fears and rise to the challenge. I hope future interns have a chance to discover their own path with this internship.