Student Story

Students in Business: The Power of Collaboration and Exploration

School of Business student Anastasia Maher shares her internship experience.

Can you tell us about your internship at the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy?

I am the Program Intern for the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy (GBJCL), which is one of the service programs of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Our goal is to increase literacy and the love of reading for children in the Greater Boston area through the support of the Jewish community. My two main projects this semester are student data collection and creating literacy kits. GBJCL serves between 750 and 1,000 students through our one-on-one tutoring model, but having an accurate count of our students will open the door to collecting more data that reflects the program’s impact. The literacy kits I’m developing include a book and relevant comprehension and vocabulary activities for every student in the program to take home at the end of the school year. In addition, I assist the Program Director in sustaining and expanding the program.

How did your coursework at the School of Business prepare you for this internship?

I am very grateful for the emphasis that the School of Business puts on presentation and oral communication skills. Drawing on classroom experience gave me the ability to articulately market myself to get the job. The world of nonprofits relies so much on relationships, so I continue to use those same communication skills almost every day to meet with new stakeholders. I appreciate that Simmons’ women’s-centered environment has allowed class discussions to focus on gender issues in the workplace. I’m aware of the good and bad that I may experience in the workplace and how to handle these situations with the confidence of a Simmons student.

What are the most valuable lessons you learned from this experience?

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned so far from GBJCL is the value of group discussions and collaboration. As a volunteer program, our human capital is one of our most valuable resources. I’ve always been a person who gets satisfaction from crossing tasks off a to-do list, so it was a struggle to leave group meetings without a deliverable in hand. I’ve learned that the process is part of the product, and collaboration still contributes to the end goal, even if it’s not in the form of a completed task.

Another lesson I’m learning is that internships are great resources for professional connections and information. The people at your internship (hopefully) want you to succeed, and in my case, this means willing to share career information. I’ve learned to take advantage of the time I have left with my coworkers and ask questions to further my career development.

Will you do another internship before graduating?

This summer I will be the Marketing Intern at the Littleton Food Co-op in Littleton, New Hampshire, near my hometown. When I return to Boston for senior year, I hope to take my experience to the marketing department of a socially responsible corporation or nonprofit in the area. Right now my goal is to work for Boston Ballet in the fall.

What is your advice to current/prospective School of Business students?

In one word—explore! It’s great to have a major you’re passionate about, but the School of Business has a whole catalog of interesting and insightful classes that are worth checking out even if they don’t fulfill your major’s requirements. I also think it’s important to supplement a business school degree with liberal arts principles; to me, it’s one way to exercise the idea of principled leadership that is emphasized in the School of Business. Classes I’ve taken such as Islamophobia, Education in a Post-Racial Society, and Computer Science help me round out my view of the world, and therefore learn how business can better function within it. The School of Business is also filled with invaluable professors, students, and alumni who want you to succeed and know how to get you there.

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