Gabby Dibacco

Student Spotlight: Adrianna Empaynado

Adrianna Empaynado is a Marketing major and Communications minor graduating in May 2025. During Adrianna’s undergraduate career she quickly grasped the importance of networking, noting “Every conversation you have is possible a connection”. Adrianna was highly involved in the Business Connections Learning Community during her first two years at UConn, as well as Women in Business and now serves on the Executive Board of the student-led organization. “Both of these organizations motivated me to start my career search early, explore my passions, and grow my network.”, She shares.

Adrianna currently works as a Marketing and Communications Intern for Steel Sports. While she has been in this role since June 2023, she had worked for the company for three years prior. “I was familiar with the company, their values, and the staff. I didn’t experience a normal interview process with Steel Sports due to the networking I had done previously while working my summer job. My boss recommended me for the internship and I was quickly directed to HR and onboarding.”, Adrianna recalls.

Adrianna’s responsibilities include managing the Steel Sports Instagram and Facebook accounts though posting, making graphics on Canva, and working on branding strategy. She has weekly meetings with her boss, Nathan, to stay on task as well as the branding team to brainstorm social media campaigns and other branding techniques. However, Adrianna’s tasks highly depend on the sports season, camp schedules, and tournaments that Steel is a part of.

Adrianna’s favorite professional experience so far has been connecting with professionals at Island Records. “My dream is to work in entertainment, but more specifically the music industry. I was able to connect with SVPs this summer in New York. Meeting with them one on one was an amazing experience that offered so much insight into the industry. It was really eye opening and definitely confirmed that music is the industry I want to be involved in.”, She shares.

Adrianna’s greatest advice is to keep your options open and never stop networking: “You never know where your next opportunity will come from. I never thought about going into the sports industry, but the company I ended up interning for was right in front of me for years. I kept my options open and I gained great foundational experience that is very applicable to my other roles and future opportunities. Keep an open mind and connect whenever possible!”

Student Spotlight: Nathan Miller

Nathan Miller is a current Senior graduating May 2024 with a double major in Marketing and an Individualized Major of Humane Technology Design. In order to prepare himself for the professional world, Nathan “made sure to stand out on paper”. Nathan took advantage of his first few semesters at UConn being online and started to develop his resume with various professional experiences. He started small, doing some branding and design work at a local historical society, joining campus organizations, and building an online portfolio.

“I made sure that I wasn’t just joining organizations or doing things to look good but contributing to my interests and growth in a meaningful way,” Nathan recalls.

This past summer, Nathan completed a ten-week Experience Design Internship with Travelers Insurance. During this time, Nathan was able to work with people both internal and external to Travelers; as an intern under an operations manager, he learned all about how design and marketing fits into Travelers’ different business units. Nathan’s days would vary between working on research/design projects, setting up meetings and benchmark evaluations, and sometimes even attending intern-oriented events that Travelers hosted. He even got to spend a whole week at the PGA tour for the marketing team!

“I met so many amazing people during my time at Travelers and learned a lot about corporate operations and culture,” he says.

Nathan’s favorite experience from his internship was being given the opportunity to participate in Travelers’ internal hackathon, InJam.

“This was a spur-of-the-moment project that I developed after a sidebar conversation about AI in a team meeting,” Nathan explains, “For the hackathon, I prototyped an AI-powered web browser tool that would allow users to more easily navigate “terms and conditions” pages for digital products and services. Both the purpose of this project and the nature of its development made it one of the best parts of my internship”.

Nathan originally had applied for a generic marketing position at Travelers but was placed into a more specialized role that aligned more closely with his skills and background in design. Nathan looks back on the Traveler’s interview experience positively, stating “My interview was the shortest I had experienced all season; I felt the hiring manager and I had a strong connection that made us both feel comfortable and ready for more conversation. I received a call back within 24 hours, and accepted the position!”

This experience was vastly different from his application process, which Nathan described as “arduous” and “frustrating”. To other undergraduate students going through this stressful process, Nathan offers the following advice:

1. Don’t mindlessly apply: I applied to maybe one hundred internships last season, and a lot of my applications would consist of sending in a briefly tailored resume and a template-based cover letter. Not only was this a poor reflection of my capabilities as a potential employee, but also the constant stream of rejections I faced was demoralizing. I would suggest applying to each job like it is your dream company–strive to stand out. I’m not referring to the rhetoric you use in your cover letters and resume bullets, but rather the strategies you use to gain connections within your target company. Take advantage of your alumni network, become a LinkedIn personality, and get creative with how you can differentiate yourself!
2. Start early: Get all of your documents and interview preparation ready as soon as possible. Internship applications are opening all the time, both before and after the seasonal surge. Start researching companies on LinkedIn, Reddit, etc. Practice your interviews with Google’s Interview Prep Tool. Have your resume looked over by a writing center resource, your professors or your advisor.
3. Keep learning: If you feel like you aren’t where you would like to be in terms of career competitiveness, there are many resources which can help advance your position. I love keeping up with the School of Business’s events, attending career fairs, and following career-oriented professionals on social media (particularly TikTok). By subscribing to newsletters and signing up for opportunities, you open yourself up to networking and learning potential that can help you get one step closer to a position!

Student Spotlight: Josephine Kaufman

Josephine Kaufman, a Marketing major with a concentration in Digital Marketing and Analytics, is set to graduate in December 2024. Josephine’s academic journey reflects her commitment to success. She actively engages in her courses by asking questions in class and completing assignments thoughtfully. She approaches her coursework as if they were real-life job assignments, enabling her to think more critically and understand the relevance of her studies in the business world. This dedication to her studies helped her develop a strong foundation for her professional career. Josephine also works as a Teaching Assistant for BUSN 3005 and is an Administrative Assistant at UConn Rec.

This past summer break, Josephine secured a Merchandising Internship at the Staples Headquarters in Framingham, MA. When she first began applying to internships, the role at Staples stuck out to her because it would allow her to demonstrate her knowledge from her courses at UConn. She applied via the Staples website and was invited to a phone interview with a recruiter, and then a Zoom interview with her future manager.
“The questions were based on the job qualifications, and I was very pleased that my coursework and previous job opportunities had provided me with experience to discuss in the interview,” Josephine recalls, “When I was offered the role, I was very excited since I connected with my manager and was very confident in my responses to their questions”.

A typical day in her internship involves a diverse range of tasks. At the start of the week, Josephine updates financial reports using tools like Excel and PowerBI to reflect sales volume from the previous week. She then forwards these reports, along with a summary of the data’s insights, to various team members. She also took part in daily meetings with different departments, including Pricing, Marketing (creative), Inventory, Promotions, Planogram (store layout), and more to make sure that all parts of the business are on the same page.

Her favorite professional experience during the internship was the opportunity to present her internship work to her team, fellow interns, and C-Suite members at Staples. During her presentation, Josephine was able to reflect on how she discovered her passion for working with data. “I enjoyed Merchandising because it emphasized collaboration with many different departments and teams across the company,” she states, even though she initially expected to be more drawn to creative and digital marketing work.

For undergraduate students seeking internships or full-time roles, Josephine offers: “My advice is to keep your options open, make connections with as many people as you can, and move at your own pace!”

Alumni Spotlight: Molly Cournoyer ’22

Molly Cournoyer graduated from the UConn School of Business in December 2022. During her time at UConn, Molly made sure to focus on both her physical and mental health to ensure success in starting her career. Molly explained, “I think in today’s world being able to work from home can get in the way of work life balance as you can just hop on your device to answer a few emails. By choosing to prioritize my health while in school I became a better student and now a more successful employee.”

Molly is currently working as a Sales Representative for Pure Barre. The company’s focus on health and wellness is what attracted her to the role. “The team is very focused on having a healthy mind and body for the clients, along with each other;” she continues, “The deciding factor for me was how I felt in the studio. I would say I’m a pretty intuitive person so when I felt at home as I walked into the studio I knew it was a good fit.”. For Molly, a typical day in her role is centered around strong customer service. She works to make sure members are getting what they are looking for out of their memberships, as well prospecting for new members. Her main objective is to get them into the studios and eventually into memberships that will work for their own routines and personal goals.

Molly recalls her favorite professional experience so far would be making so many connections with her professors while at UConn, especially those who are adjunct professors. “Having professors who are still in the field has been such a great opportunity for connections that will help in my professional life;” Molly stresses the importance of networking, “The connections you make can bring so many opportunities your way. Something that I’ve done to advance my career is keeping an active LinkedIn account and consistently growing my network.”. Molly’s advice to current undergraduate students is to be prepared for whatever comes your way. She notes that “When you are in an interview you are also interviewing that company. Be prepared, ask questions, and follow your gut instinct. Learn to be your best self. If a company is not going to accept you for who you are, and what you have to offer then there are bigger and better things coming your way!”.

Student Spotlight: Olivia Hoffman

Olivia Hoffman is a senior Marketing major with a concentration in Digital Marketing and Analytics and a minor in Management. Early in Olivia’s college career, she made it a priority to get involved in extracurricular activities and try new things. Olivia recalls that the most important step she took as an undergraduate was exposing herself to areas outside of Marketing. Through experiences like joining the Learning Community Council’s Recruitment Committee instead of the Marketing Committee and participating in the First Year Experience Program as a Mentor, Olivia got a taste of what different career paths looked like and new opportunities. Another important step Oliva took was making sure to network. “We hear all the time from professors and faculty that networking is important, but networking is so much more than a buzzword. The only way I discovered my past internship and the role I am pursuing after graduation was by striking up a conversation with a friend of a friend who worked at the company – if I had not taken the time to network with her and ask her about her job, I would have missed out on the perfect opportunity for me.” This past summer, Olivia worked as a Human Resources Corporate Intern at CVS Health. The internship lasted 10 weeks from June through August 2022. At the conclusion of her internship, Olivia accepted a return offer to join the company’s Human Resources Leadership Development Program (HRLDP) after graduation, which is a three-year rotational program based in Hartford, CT.

When looking for internship roles, Olivia had certain criteria in mind. She knew she wanted to work for a large company with a strong company culture and a mission she believed in. She also wanted to work somewhere that invested in early career talent. “That can mean something different to everyone, but to me, that meant a company that offered Leadership Development Programs after graduation and other talent development opportunities catered to recent graduates. CVS Health checked all of those boxes, and when I joined the company this summer, I was even happier than I expected to be.” Although interns were primarily virtual this past summer, Olivia made the most out of her experience. Most days, She would attend meetings with her team to discuss and work on projects and participate in development workshops offered to interns. CVS Health placed a large emphasis on networking, so over the summer Olivia was able to set up 30 minute “coffee chats” with 50 human resources professionals across different areas of the business. Olivia states, “It is important to keep in mind that as an intern, your entire internship is also an opportunity to showcase your skills and company fit; that played a large part in the process for receiving a full-time offer” Olivia recalls her favorite part of her internship was when CVS Health hosted all 300+ corporate interns for a week in their Hartford, CT office for their Intern Summit event. “Although I had completed other internships prior to this role, this was the first time that I was truly in an office setting for full-time work due to the pandemic. That week really transformed my perspective on the workplace and allowed me to gain a better understanding of what office culture looks like, which cannot be communicated through a Zoom call. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience that influenced my choice to join the company full-time next June.”

One piece of advice Olivia has to offer other undergraduates is to look early and often for roles, but to also understand the timeline for your industry. “Sometimes you might find that perfect job listing in October, but most often the timeline may look different. It can be disheartening to consistently look for Marketing roles early in the year and to not find many, but once you realize that the Marketing recruiting timeline leans more towards the Spring semester, it can alleviate some worry.” Olivia also wants to emphasize how incredibly important it is to network as much as you can. “UConn students have such a large alumni network who want to see UConn students succeed, so take advantage of that! Attend events on campus where you can connect with employers and take the time to build genuine relationships before the internship or full-time role you want is even on the table so that you are top-of-mind when application time comes.”

Student Spotlight: Morgan Darby

Morgan Darby started her UConn career by commuting to the Waterbury campus and eventually arrived at the Storrs campus. Morgan is pursuing a Dual Degree of a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. Balancing this 145-credit course load in 4.5 years required the ability to be malleable and pivot as necessary. The choice to pursue a Dual Degree erupted from a desire to gain a holistic perspective. Morgan understands the value of emotional intelligence in the workplace, explaining that “emotional intelligence or EQ is not only a required skill for life but necessary for effective teamwork and leadership. Now more than ever it’s clear that business doesn’t operate in a vacuum.”

Over the years, Morgan has totaled 7 part time jobs in different industries: retail (clothing, food & beverage), government/nonprofit, education, residential construction, environmental remediation, and research/academia. She explains that learning how to work under various management styles has been beneficial in her understanding of the governance of corporations. She states, “Recognizing where the decision-making power and funding trickles down from has allowed me to more effectively implement feedback as necessary.” One of Morgan’s most standout opportunities was serving as a Project Intern for Shelton Economic Development Corporation. “In a very fast paced environment, I had the privilege of learning how to perform the act of effective grant writing from the President himself.” Morgan recalls, “During my first two weeks, we had a 9-day deadline to successfully earn the city a $410,000 Small Cities Grant for their Sensibaugh Heights project. Seemingly learning on the spot how to acquire and produce 50 supporting exhibits/permissions was a learning curve. This effectively laid the groundwork for future projects which require tight-deadline management. This experience ultimately offered me know-how into navigating cross-departmental communication between the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), the Mayor’s office, and the local municipality’s Housing Authority. This experience ultimately offered me know-how into navigating cross-departmental communication.” These projects gave Morgan insights into the function and allocation of not only city planning, but an introduction to the expansive world of environmental remediation. As graduation approaches, she is seeking a Marketing position in branding or a role that sits in the realm of ESG/Corporate Responsibility. For students interested in these topics, she recommends the following courses: MKTG 3208 on Consumer Behavior; MKTG 3253 on Sustainability, Markets, Society; MGMT 4900 on Strategy, Policy and Planning.

As a first-generation college student, one challenge Morgan found breaking into the professional world was attaining networking skills. She advises students to discuss their career with everyone, even if it’s just to gain knowledge of a specific industries’ systems. She describes how this exposure can give you a competitive edge on landing your next role. “Being able to bring value to a brand through personal experiences can only benefit consumers and society on a macro level.” She states, “At first, I felt this pressure to fit a certain ‘mold’ of the standard corporate intern, but I found more success by bringing my personality to the forefront of every discussion. Critical problem solving requires thinking outside of the box. Ask questions and try everything!”

Student Spotlight: Jorge Perdomo

Jorge Perdomo is a senior Marketing Management major with a concentration in Digital Marketing & Analytics planning to graduate from UConn in May 2023. Jorge works as an eCommerce Data Analyst for ShelterLogic and has been in the position since August 2022. Jorge started his journey with ShelterLogic on Handshake. “I had a recruiter reach out to me and suggested that I apply.”, he recalls. After applying, the recruiter scheduled an interview with the hiring manager, supervisor, and the head of HR to further discuss Jorge’s experiences and future responsibilities. The most prominent factor that attracted Jorge to this position was how it integrated both of his interests, Data Analytics and Marketing, into one role. He had found in his search that companies usually prioritize one or the other with their internship offerings. Jorge also enjoyed the hands-on aspects of the role, “I was told that I’d be able to join in and participate in weekly meetings across different departments to discuss growth opportunities and areas that can be improved on, which stood out for some of my other offers”, he states.

At ShelterLogic, Jorge is primarily responsible for reviewing data on listings with well-known retail customers such as Home Depot and Walmart. Jorge searches for any inconsistencies in the data, and then utilizes the customers’ portal to correct any of the noticeable errors. He also must gather data on any new and existing products with Salsify, a customer relationship management software which houses all of ShelterLogic’s information regarding our products, and export it onto the retail portal for customers. With that being said, “One of the greatest things about this position is that no task or day is the same.”, he adds. Jorge’s favorite professional experience so far has been learning all the different portals that customers are using; “As a consumer, it’s so easy to just see a listing on Amazon or Walmart and click add to cart but going behind the scenes and seeing the steps required to create an item from the very beginning and working in all the data until the listing goes live has easily been one of my most favorite and educational tasks.”, he notes.

A piece of advice Jorge offers to students is to not be so hard on yourself throughout your application process. He would like to emphasize the importance of understanding what your soft skills are and how you could apply them into specific positions. “It’s very easy for students to focus on how their technical skills will play into the position, but companies also want to see how you will fit into their culture as well!”, he shares; “There will be companies that do not see you as a fit, and that’s ok! It’s important to always ask for feedback and pointers on what you could improve on. Take the whole interview process as a learning experience and make sure to remind yourself that rejection is just redirection!”.

Alumni Spotlight: Alison Zweig

Allison Zweig graduated from UConn in Spring 2022 as a Marketing major with a double minor in Communication and Spanish. Allison now serves as a Research Analyst at NielsenIQ (BASES), a global information services company. Allison was introduced to NielsenIQ when Tyler Delano, a UConn alum, came into her Marketing Research class (MKTG 3260). Tyler spoke to the class about the exciting life within BASES and the company culture. “It really inspired me to hear about how fun and rewarding a career in marketing research could be.” Allison recalls; she then applied for an internship at NielsonIQ. “My interview process consisted of two different video calls where they asked me a lot of situational interview questions like ‘Tell me about a time when…’, as well as an online exam.”. Allison was able to secure an internship with NeilsonIQ for Summer 2021, and went on to receive a full-time offer for July 2022.

A typical day for Allison is surrounded by analytical work and meetings. Most of Allison’s work consists of configuring the survey information and consulting with her team on how they want to present it to the client. As an analyst, she takes full control over projects where she interprets survey results and helps formulate them into insights that NielsonIQ delivers to one of their Fortune 500 clients. Allison has worked on a lot of fun projects during her time at NielsenIQ so far, but she claims her favorite thing about this role is the people. “It sounded cheesy to always hear how everyone’s favorite thing about this company was the people, but I have met some of the best people in this role. I’ve had the most supportive managers and mentors, who not only provided career advice to me but have made me feel valued as a person.’ she states.

At UConn, Allison took advantage of all the resources available to her. She was involved in different organizations and took various positions that helped to explore my career goals. Allison also took advantage of the UConn current student and alumni network. As mentioned earlier, she was introduced to her current role from a UConn alum who came to present in one of her courses. “There are so many hidden gems at UConn that you should take advantage of before you enter the working world.”, she advises. One piece of advice Allison would offer is to conduct informational interviews where you can talk to people in roles or career paths you’re interested in. Allison says this was “one of the most beneficial things I did while looking for a role”. Not only does it show interest, but you are able to gain additional perspective and insight into various roles and companies.

Student Spotlight: Melanie Montalvo ‘22

As a Marketing major with a Management minor, Melanie Montalvo plans to graduate from UConn in December of 2022. Aside from her studies, Melanie is currently a Product Marketing Intern at WebMD. Melanie has been in this position since June of 2022. What attracted Melanie to her current position is the great reputation of the company. At the time, Melanie was not familiar with what Product Marketing was. After doing some of her own research, the role piqued her interests. The interview process for this role at WebMD was “fairly simple and straightforward”, in Melanie’s opinion. She had an initial phone conversation with a recruiter and then was asked to do a video interview. The interview was with the Product Marketing Manager and two other team members. The deciding factor in accepting this role was that it was a remote position. Over this past summer, Melanie also took online classes and had a side job. If she had to commute into New York City it would have been a lot more stressful for her, so she was relieved to have the remote option.

There is no typical day as a Product Marketing Intern at WebMD and Melanie is always working on different projects. She is currently overseeing all updates to any product decks which are client facing. WebMD has been modernizing their product offerings and creating new mockups. Melanie is managing this project and something similar has not been done at the company in years. A lot of this work looks like collaborating with other teams, such as project management and creative, and working with an external agency to create new templates. Melanie’s favorite professional experiences so far have been with her team. “I am constantly being supported and my work is always appreciated and acknowledged. I definitely think having such a close team creates an environment where I am comfortable asking questions and for help. It’s great that there has been trust established and my manager gives me meaningful projects to work on. I also enjoy having weekly team meetings where we discuss work but can also be lighthearted.” Melanie recalls.

Some advice Melanie would give to undergraduate students who are currently looking for internships or full-time roles would be to not be discouraged by rejections or not hearing back from positions you have applied for. “There are tens if not hundreds of applicants for each position and the reality is that you won’t hear back from most of them.” Melanie states, “I went through probably around 15-20 interviews and the more comfortable I got with interviewing, the more confident I was which led to offers. It was definitely discouraging at first, but everyone goes through it, and you eventually will land something that is meant for you. It’s okay if the only thing you get from an interview is experience and practice.”.

Alumni Spotlight: Anna Mecca ’22

Anna Mecca graduated from UCONN in May of 2022 as a Marketing major with a concentration in Professional Sales Leadership. Shortly after graduation, Anna took a position to work for Smith+Nephew, a global medical technology company, as part of their Commercial Leadership Rotational Program in Advanced Wound Care Management. Anna knew she wanted to be in the med-tech space and was especially interested in a role that offered a leadership development program. Smith+Nephew provides a 2-2.5 year program that consists of completing rotations within both marketing and sales divisions of the company, ultimately setting candidates up for a Sales Associate position. Anna states, “These programs really teach you the in’s and outs of a company, before accelerating to a more complex job role. This program in my eyes really teaches you how to first crawl, then walk, and eventually run!”.

As an undergraduate, Anna was a member of the UCONN Women in Business organization and was also on the UCONN Women’s Swim Team. Anna was among 15 female athletes nationwide to be selected to join the Women in Sports Foundation Mentorship Program. She was nominated by the UCONN Athletic Department, applied for the program, and was ultimately accepted. This enabled her to meet people within the sports world and get invaluable career guidance from professionals within the industry. Anna was very persistent in using the resources UCONN provides to their students. With that being said, UCONN partners with Parker Dewey, a micro internship platform that connects students and recent college graduates to employers. Here, company’s upload small projects onto Parker Dewey and students are able to apply and get compensated for meaningful work. One day while on the platform, Anna happened upon Smith+Nephew; who had posted a project titled, ‘Sales Pitch Presentation’. She noticed the company was in the med-tech space and that if done well, the sales pitch would be used as a job audition for their first Commercial Leadership Development Program. She applied for the project, was selected, and created a sales pitch presentation which she gave to 4 members of the sales/marketing team at Smith+Nephew. After a successful pitch, Anna received a call asking to officially interview. The process was broken into 3, 30 minute interviews each led by a different person in the Sales Department. Once completed, Anna got a call back the following week with a job offer! Her favorite experiences with Smith+Nephew so far have been through ‘OJT’ (On the Job) Field Trainings. Anna fondly recalls attending an OJT in Omaha, NE where she was able to shadow a Field Sales Trainer for a week out in the field. She was able to see surgeries, meet patients with wounds that use our product, talk to podiatrists and surgeons, discuss any questions she had along the way, and gained a better understanding of how Smith+Nephew operates.

Anna’s advice to current students is to use your resources! She declares, “It is CRUCIAL that you take advantage of the resources UCONN provides during your undergraduate career and expand your knowledge. Whether that be taking a resume class, meeting with an advisor in the Career Development Office, or taking a class that might pique your interest. You never know what opportunities can present themselves when you use the resources that you have at your disposal. So while at UCONN, make sure you take the time out of your busy schedule to focus on career development. Set aside a couple hours a week to devote your time to finding what you want to do and seeing if there are any opportunities out there. Don’t be afraid to ask for help too! If you’re in class and an employer comes in to speak about their company, if you’re interested, even in the slightest, go up to them and introduce yourself! Make that first impression and get yourself out of your comfort zone. As long as you are actively trying to ‘build your brand’ at UCONN, you will have much success!”.