College interns thrive in summer jobs at Fifth Third

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    Michael Parker would be the first to tell his fellow students at the University of Michigan, Dearborn about the wide range of roles in the banking industry. This is Michael’s second year as an intern at Fifth Third Bank. He returned as an assistant in the Retail Administration division. He has friends who work in the Mortgage department and the Investment Advisors department. This year Fifth Third hired Michael and 15 other college interns to work this summer, from May 21 through August 10 in various departments at the bank. Another intern, Tiffany Moore, a marketing student at Bowling Green University, Bowling Green, Ohio, splits her time working in the Human Resources, Community Development and Marketing departments.

    Of 16 summer interns, almost a dozen work at the corporate office in Southfield. The remaining few work in the Mortgage department at branches in cities throughout southeastern Michigan. One of the advantages of the internship program is that the students have an opportunity to perform jobs that align with their major fields of study, allowing them to utilize their strengths. “I’m glad that we are not stuck just making copies and filing,” said Gabrielle Sherrer, a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. “I work in the Community Development department and I do a lot of things to support the staff. I’ve had a chance to go to off-site meetings with Ms. (Dolores) Sturdivant to learn how they interact with companies and nonprofit organizations. It’s really interesting.”

    Gabrielle is also the lead on a Junior Achievement volunteer day, one of the three group volunteer activities that the interns are required to perform during the course of their internship. The interns will also participate in the Summer Splash event at the Childrens’ Center, and will volunteer at Gleaners Food Bank while at the bank this summer. All of the students show a consistently high level of motivation on the job.

    Angela Cook, an accounting major at Northwood University in Midland, has returned to work at the bank for her third year. Angela has demonstrated her ability to take on increased responsibility over the past few summers. She has worked in the Mortgage and Community Development departments.

    The students work 40 hours a week and in addition to a regular salary for the summer, the interns may also receive college credits if the work they perform at the bank is aligned with their major field of study.

    For summer employment, the students must, at a minimum, attend an accredited college. Each student that was hired for a paid internship position had two interviews and was selected in part based on how they presented themselves professionally. Nancy Ramirez, executive recruiter, manages the Fifth Third Internship program and keeps the summer staff busy with more than trivial tasks to keep them busy. In addition to completing job duties in their assigned departments, the interns also participate in group volunteer activities and attend monthly Lunch and Learn sessions with bank senior management. The interns must also actively participate in a team project that is designed to help them to develop interpersonal skills, research, sharpen critical thinking and prioritization skills. The project is led by interns Christopher Elliott, Michigan State University, Paul Irwin, Jr., University of Michigan, and Eric Winkler, Western Michigan University. The group is tasked with developing a plan that goes beyond the theoretical to find ways to integrate cutting edge ideas in technology into current banking processes at Fifth Third.

    At the end of the project, the group will compile and formally present their findings at the end of the program to bank senior management. The presentation will help the students sharpen their communication and presentation skills, develop a comfort level in interacting with senior management personnel and developing concepts and presenting ideas in a team environment.

     

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