Marketing major Iman Nieves pictured at Verizon Wireless, Morristown, where she is working a summer internship.
Working an internship or a co-op (a co-op is an internship for which a student gets college credits) gives students invaluable work experience. The jobs also help students refine their career interests. And when it comes time after graduation for students to search for jobs, those who have had internships are usually hired first.
Consider, for instance, the case of Iman Nieves. A junior majoring in marketing at the School of Management, Iman is now doing a co-op at Verizon Wireless. She works in the company’s multi-cultural marketing division, where she focuses on three important market segments: Hispanics, Asians, and African-Americans. Her main job is to understand the buying patterns of those three segments and to make Verizon Wireless products more appealing to them.
“I’m learning so much working here!” Iman said recently during a phone interview from Verizon. “I’m enjoying every minute of the co-op. It’s great.”
In this interview, Iman discusses her co-op, what it is she’s learning there and why it’s so important for students to work summer internships.
Can you talk about the marketing work you’re doing at Verizon?
My major responsibility is to develop marketing programs to create awareness among and increase business from Asians, African Americans and Hispanics. To reach them, we study their cultures, bring in focus groups, and visit Verizon Wireless stores to hear what the customers are saying. After that analysis, we create the best programs to reach out to them. Since I’m Inter-racial, multi-cultural marketing hits home for me. I really enjoy my work.
How long is your co-op for and what Verizon office are you in?
It started in May and ends in mid August. I work out of Verizon’s Morristown office.
How’d you get the job? And do you have advice for students who want internships?
I have a relative who works for Verizon. She told me about the internship, I applied for it and got it. Networking is important when looking for a job. But I have friends who found internships at great companies like Google by simply applying on-line. So students must do both: network and search for jobs themselves.
What is it about the co-op that you find so valuable?
My marketing classes at the School of Management are great, and some of my professors have worked in advertising and marketing, so their teaching is informed by their work experience. But there’s no substitute for getting work experience. It’s like someone telling you about Disney World, versus you visiting yourself and experiencing it. This co-op, for instance, is exposing me to different divisions at Verizon Wireless and helping me to decide what part of maketing I want to work in. I’ve also given power-point presentations about my projects to my Verizon colleagues, which has helped me gain confidence and leadership skills. And I’ll always have my projects and work on my resume, which we’ll help me immensely when I apply for a full-time job.
Do you have a favorite project you worked on?
Yes, I developed a program for African Americans aimed at students who attend historically black college and universities. Verizon Wireless will use the program in the fall. I can’t discuss the details of the project but I can say it’s a great program with great community outreach.
How is the pay?
The pay is great. Especially since many internships are unpaid. I got lucky with this co-op, since I get work experience and college credit, too.
How man credits will you get?
I’ll get three credits for the co-op. But I must first do a power point presentation for Robert English, the Dean of the School of Management, as well as write a 15-page paper explaining the co-op experience.
You transferred to NJIT from Florida A&M University. What did you study there and why did you come to NJIT?
I studied graphic design. I love the arts and creativity, but wanted to combine that love with an interest in marketing. That’s why I transferred into the School of Management at NJIT.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to get my bachelor’s degree and to work for awhile and then return and get my master’s degree. I know companies often hire students who did co-ops for them, and I would strongly consider working full time for Verizon. Marketing is such a broad umbrella, in terms of what areas you can focus on. Verizon Wireless has exposed me to all of them. Working this co-op has really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that await me in my future.
(By Robert Florida, University Web Services)