Student Story

Erin Graney '21: I am so Grateful for My Time at Simmons

Why did you pursue a business administration and management degree?

When I started my college career, I was originally a social work major. That had been an interest in high school, so I decided to pursue it in college. After my first semester studying social work, I realized the passion I once had wasn’t there anymore. Once transferred to Simmons, I switched to being a neuroscience and behavior major. And yet again, the passion I had for that fizzled out quickly.

In March of 2018, I decided to take a leave of absence from Simmons. This leave was for me to take a step back and focus on what I really wanted to study and where I saw myself. During this leave, I worked three jobs and began taking classes online the following fall. While taking a step back, I realized my love for business and talent for management were things I could actually practice.

The three jobs I worked at the time were my passion and what kept me going. I would start a job and felt confident to take a leadership role almost immediately. I always described myself as a “good worker,” but I always thought, “what am I supposed to do with that?”

Flash forward to returning to Simmons in the fall of 2019, I was finally confident in pursuing the business administration and management degree. I was finally able to envision myself in this career field, as previously I never did. Professors and advisors constantly supported me in the School of Business. I began taking classes that truly kept my attention and ignited a fire within me.

With my degree, I hope to become an entrepreneur and own restaurants one day. I hope to have locations in major cities and places that have meaning to me.

Why did you decide to come to Simmons University?

My college journey was a bit scattered, but I think everyone truly has their own path and I am so happy where mine took me. I actually didn't get into Simmons when I first applied — I was incredibly bummed, but I knew whatever was meant to happen would happen. I went to another university for a year, and it just wasn’t for me. So I applied again and transferred to Simmons in the fall of 2018.

Some things that kept me stuck on attending Simmons were the women-centered environment, the location, the incredible reputation, and the close-knit community. I went to an all-girls high school, and I watched my confidence grow immensely in those four years. I knew four more years in a similar environment would allow me to grow into the woman I am today. Although my college experience had its challenges, I am very proud of myself for accomplishing what I have and am so grateful for my time at Simmons.

Although my college experience had its challenges, I am very proud of myself for accomplishing what I have and am so grateful for my time at Simmons.

What internships have you done that are related to business administration?

Although my main interest has been within the restaurant industry, and the operations aspect of businesses, I wanted to keep my options open and pursue an internship in something a bit different.

I found Ellan Media on Indeed, and it was titled “Public Relations Internship.” When I clicked on the job description, I immediately felt connected to the position. The description of who would be a fit for this job described me. I immediately applied and had a Zoom interview with the CEO, Bonnie Fahy, a week later.

Bonnie and her team work remotely, even before the pandemic. The interview was more of a “get to know you session.” The conversation was laid back, just getting to know one another. By the end of the interview, Bonnie wanted to onboard me to her team and made me the PR Team Lead Intern. I was a bit shocked that she saw so much potential in me in such a short amount of time, but that’s just Bonnie. She has incredible people-reading skills, and the leadership role ended up being a perfect fit for me.

What did you learn from your internship experience?

Erin Graney, student in the business administration and management degree.

I learned so much — this was the only internship I did during my college career. I initially felt insecure about this being my only internship, but after learning so much from this one experience, that insecurity faded quickly.

Specifically, I learned how to strengthen my time management. While completing this internship during my final semester, I took four classes, did an independent study, and worked part-time. I was strict with my scheduling to make sure I was not slacking in any areas. I also learned how to lead a team of interns and lead that team remotely. This wasn’t a skill I had originally planned on practicing, but I am glad I did.

I learned how to network with micro-influencers on different social media platforms. And lastly, as cheesy as it sounds, I learned to believe in myself and my capabilities. Bonnie was the most encouraging boss I have ever had. She believed in me so much, and she truly helped me believe in myself. She allowed me to see strengths of mine that I would not have otherwise seen.

What advice would you give other students about finding an internship?

Don’t panic and think you’ll never find an internship.

I had a short moment of panic as a previous internship had fallen through before finding this one with Ellan Media. But once interviewing with Ellan Media, even just after reading the job description, I felt so much more at ease. I constantly try to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. As silly as that mantra may sound, it helps put my anxious mind at ease and allows me to “go with the flow.”

Give yourself an ample amount of time to search.

Broaden your search to multiple job search platforms, and even reach out to family and friends to see if anyone in their network is looking for an intern.

Step out of your comfort zone a bit.

I never saw myself doing a public relations internship initially, but I am so glad I did. The worst that can happen when stepping out of your comfort zone is that you don’t like the internship, but you will still learn a lesson from that experience.

Do you have a favorite Simmons memory?

One of my favorite Simmons memories was presenting my Shark Tank presentation in my learning community course. Shark Tank is one of my favorite shows to watch, and my learning community brought the show to life.

My group ended up choosing my pitch idea to work on all semester, and the final week of classes, we presented to the “sharks.” The sharks included Professor Shapiro and Professor Spiceland, and my classmates. We were able to display the hard work of the project, which included our business plan and financial plan, and show off some interesting acting skills. This course was during my first semester officially in the School of Business. I felt welcomed by all my classmates and had so much fun working with them to complete such a fun project.

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