A Summer Intern in NYC: Meet Sabrina Baby

Sabrina Baby pictured at McGraw-Hillís Manhattan office, where she works as a summer intern.

UPDATE: Sabrina Baby Named to ESPN Magazine’s Academic All-America Volleyball Team

NJIT excels at helping its students find summer internships. And students who work internships are often offered full-time jobs from the companies they work for after they graduate.  But perhaps more importantly in this economic climate, just finding an internship at a major company is an achievement -- one that helps students gain invaluable work experience.

Take, for example, Sabrina Baby (2010), a senior at NJIT who majors in business management.  She is working a summer internship at McGraw-Hill Inc., the publisher of textbooks, magazines and newsletters as well as websites and broadcast stations. Sabrina works for McGraw-Hill's Information and Media division, located in a Manhattan skyscraper overlooking Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.

She loves the internship and delights in spending her days and evenings in Manhattan, a city she read so much about while growing up in Brazil, her native country.  She left Brazil to study at NJIT, where she is the captain of the Women's Volleyball team.

In this interview, Sabrina discusses her internship -- why she likes it and how she thinks it will help her career.  She also talks about the fun she's having in Manhattan -- just a short train ride away from the NJIT campus -- and her successful academic and athletic careers at NJIT.     

So what is your internship like? What do you do?
I work for the Information and Media division inside the McGraw-Hill Companies. Our division supports six businesses including Business Week, Aviation Week, McGraw-Hill Construction/Engineering New-Record, JD Power, Platts.com as well our Broadcasting stations. I work on four main projects that support those businesses in the technological environment -- enhancing their performance and their ability to create new products. These businesses deliver content to their subscribers, and the main challenge for them is to package and deliver the content effectively. My responsibilities include participating in meetings, taking minutes and documenting the progress of the projects. I develop governance models for new technologies and document workflows, and create documents that outline the support process.  Then we present the work we do to the six business units.

You are a management major but you're working in what sounds like the techie side of the company.
Yes, but the technical work my division does supports six business units. And it's part of my job to translate technical concepts into business concepts, so I get to work with business analysts.  It's a good mix.  The businesses have database and content needs and we support their technical requirements.  Then we present the work we do to the business unit involved in the project.

What are you are learning from your internship?
The most important thing I've learned so far is the importance of team work.  Most of the work here is done in teams, so you must know how to work well with people, and especially with a diverse group of people from all over the world.  The techie side of McGraw-Hill has employees from all over the world, from China, India and Singapore, and I enjoy working with such a mix of people and cultures.  NJIT has a diverse student body, so I'm accustomed to working with diverse students in my management classes, which also stress the importance of team work.   Now I see that it works the same way in the real world of business.  The company also likes to see that you have leadership potential, and since I'm captain of the volley ball team, I'm used to managing a team. That helps me immensely. My manager takes a lot of time with me, making sure I understand all the dynamics that happen in meetings, and that I get as much experience as possible.  My superiors here care about what I'm learning and want to make sure I get the most out of my time here.

How did you get the internship?
NJIT has a great Career Center that I've been using since my sophomore year.  The people who work there have helped me immensely to improve my resume and my interviewing and job searching skills.  The Center also brings recruiters to campus to interview students for internships, and I attended both a McGraw-Hill information session in the spring and on-campus interviews. 

And some of the recruiters were NJIT graduates?
A group of eight McGraw Hill employees came to interview students, and two of the eight employees were NJIT graduates: Maria Corredera-Bachenski (she has an architecture degree and a master's in business management) who specializes in recruiting IT employees for the company, and Amit Panchal (who has an executive MBA) who manages McGraw's IT global unit. I interviewed with those two and other Human Resources employees who invited me into their Manhattan office for an interview, where I was offered the job.  Four other NJIT students were also hired. I'm grateful to both the Career Center as well as to Maria and Amit for developing a relationship that helps NJIT students get internships. 

Any chance you'll be offered a full-time job at McGraw Hill after you graduate next year from NJIT?
My manager here says the company hires interns with the intention of hopefully hiring them full time if they do well and are eager to learn.  I think I'm doing well here, and I would be happy if they offered me a job.  

How do you like working in Manhattan?  Have you been able to avail yourself of the culture and the nightlife?
Through work, I get discounted prices on Broadway plays. I've seen the Lion King and Avenue Q, a great puppet play. I also get into the museums for free. I've been to the Guggenheim, the Museum of Natural History and to the Planetarium.  I've ridden my bike around Central Park and I just love to walk through Times Square and soak up all the street life and vitality -- to see people from all over the world.  I've been to great restaurants like Hudson Terrace and the Spotted Pig.  We have picnics on the waterfront and go to happy hours. We have work-related events, too, such as lunch at Rockefeller Center with the CEO of the company, who gave the interns career advice. It's so great to be able to do all this in the city while I'm young -- I'm 21--and still in college. NJIT is so close to Manhattan that I can get there from my dorm into the city in 20 minutes.  It's great to be at a college so close to the most exciting city in the world.

Are you glad you chose to come to NJIT -- all the way from Brazil?
I'm very happy at NJIT.  It provides students with so many opportunities. I play volleyball, a sport I've played since I was 9. I love the School of Management and enjoy being a management major.  I hope to graduate with a double concentration in finance and marketing and perhaps a third in international business. I've been inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society for business management students. In Brazil, only students from the top college get into that society.  And during the second semester of my senior year, I'll study at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, in Spain. Scott Kline, who directs the Study Abroad program, has been so helpful in setting that up for me.

Why do you want to go abroad?
I loved coming to America and becoming fluent in English and learning American culture. Now I want to go Spain and learn that culture and language. And once you are based in one European country, you can easily travel to other counties by train. That kind of travel will not only expand my cultural horizons, but will also help me after I graduate, especially if I work in international business.  Even McGraw-Hill is an international company with offices all over the world.  So my time abroad might help me get a job here, too. 

You are excited about the upcoming women's volleyball season. Why is that?
The upcoming season will be awesome. For the first time, we'll compete officially in a NCAA Division I conference. And we have a new coach, Jose Reynaldo Martins, who is great. We're committed to winning our conference -- that's our goal -- and we'd love to have a lot of student support for our home games. When the students come out to support us and cheer us on, it motivates the team and keeps morale high.  And watching Division 1 volleyball will not disappoint you.  It's very exciting. 

What has playing on the team, and being captain, taught you about sports and life?
You must have discipline to balance sports and athletics-- you must manage your time well.  Everything in sports has to do with goals, setting them and trying to achieve them.  In college and in life in general, it's the same: You set goals and try hard to achieve them. You might not always achieve your goals, but if don't try, you'll never move forward in life.

 (By Robert Florida, University Web Services