Tell us about
what you studied at Duke and which program you were in?
Talk about your prior
One summer before college I worked for a local day camp
operating a biodiesel laboratory. I learned a lot about hardware, tools, and
problem solving. The biggest takeaway was that one extra hour of planning
can save ten extra hours of work. It was a fun summer doing dirty
After freshman year college, I interned at a pharmaceutical
manufacturing facility as an assistant for the operations manager. I did
all sorts of jobs for the twelve people he supervised, and I got to follow them
around as they fixed the factory machinery.
What did your recruiting
process look like? How many people did you reach out to?
In total I reached out to ten companies. First, Howie Rhee
connected me with four of his colleagues in my field of interest. I had
conversations with all of them and inquired about internships at their
companies. Although none had formal recruiting processes, they all offered to
keep an eye out.
Second, I applied to two companies I knew from other sources,
one through a high school teacher and one through a family friend. Both had
online applications for internships.
Finally, I cold called and emailed four companies in Durham. Two
of them responded, and neither had a formal recruiting process. I almost got an
interview with one company but we didn't connect.
How did you come up with
a list of companies to target?
I was looking for biotech or medical device startups. Howie got
me started with ones he knew, and I already knew about two others. To find more
I searched online for job listings in these fields and then researched the
companies listed. I also found companies through the North Carolina Chamber of
Commerce website and other municipal sites that listed local companies.
Talk about how you
thought about location (city) as it related to recruiting. Did you know
where you wanted to end up or were you exploring?
I preferred Durham because a few friends are there for the
summer, but I would have taken anywhere. It was not a big factor for me.
What was a favorite
article or tip that someone gave you on the job search process?
My dad kept reminding me to be persistent. Most of my target
companies were small startups, meaning the employees are very busy. If you just
send one email it's likely to be forgotten, but if you send many emails they're
likely to get back to you.
This strategy paid off for me. At the place I'll be working this
summer, I first called the CEO over the phone (Howie connected us), then sent a
follow up email. After six weeks I emailed again with no answer, so I called
and left a voice mail every week for three weeks until they called me in for an
interview. I did the interview, sent a follow up thank you email, then didn't
hear back for two weeks. So I sent another email, they responded saying they
closed the position, then a week later came back to me to offer another
position. It was a seesaw on both ends so it was important to remind them that
I was available and wanted it.