The chance to play a role in a global project or implement an idea to improve a company weren't opportunities Central Michigan University students thought they would have until after graduation. These opportunities and more, however, were part of their experiences as summer interns at Quicken Loans in Detroit.
Hundreds of interns join staff in the bustling, colorful offices of Quicken Loans each year. This summer, 60 CMU students completed internships in business analysis, desktop support, human resources, platform engineering and more. At Quicken Loans, it's not about who is an intern or a full-time employee — everyone is referred to as a team member.
"We value ideas, creativity and innovation. Whatever position you have in this company, you can make an impact," said Chris Smith, a CMU alumnus and public relations manager at Quicken Loans.
CMU interns worked alongside full-time employees to assist with special projects, day-to-day operations and contribute fresh ideas as they gained a taste of life after graduation. Team duties and ongoing networking opportunities helped students learn about career paths and set goals for life after graduation.
"We're encouraged to shadow many different departments. Between classes and my experiences here, I feel like I can leave CMU and know what I really want to do when I graduate," said Clare Howard, a junior from Farmington Hills studying human resources.
In addition to the training they received on the job, students said their classroom lessons prepared them to take on the duties they encountered over the course of their internship. Experiences at CMU also equipped them with the skills to find creative solutions for company and client needs.
"I felt prepared for my internship because of Central," said Keely Johnson, a junior from Detroit studying business information systems. "In addition to learning specific software, part of what my classes have taught me is how to problem-solve. I may not know the answer at first, but I know how to find it."
Interns also had a chance to interact with CMU alumni, like Smith, who work in various departments. They offered everything from informal mentorship and career tips to advice on local restaurants and community happenings. Students said working with alumni added to the experience.
The students also had their own words of wisdom for incoming and current CMU Chippewas.
"Be an opportunist," said Michael DeGregory, a junior from Macomb studying product design engineering. "Don't be afraid to jump and take that leap or step in advancing your career."