Career Center News
GV Student Featured in Wall Street Journal on Internship Search Process
April 11, 2022
By: Jacob DeWeerd
Grand Valley State University student Tyler Eshleman was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article about the internship search process. Eshleman, who turned down two internship offers in a rare move for an undergraduate student, recently accepted a position with PNC Financial Services as a Corporate and Commercial Banking intern.
Eshleman’s internship search started last semester during an ordinary visit to the Career Center. He was looking for help with his resume and had questions about where to search for internship openings.
“I was looking for interview help and platforms to use outside of Handshake and LinkedIn because with those, I was getting my name out there, but getting my foot in the door somewhere was a bigger step that was kind of a struggle,” said Eshleman.
While he was originally only looking for resume and application help, Eshleman unknowingly picked the perfect day to visit the Career Center. Earlier that week, Career Advisor Lori Staggs had received an email alerting her of internship opportunities at one of the Career Center’s valued employer partners.
“She happened to get an email from Arthur Gray,” Eshleman said. “He had been forwarding some information about internship postings, so she said ‘I’ll just forward this to you, it sounds like it’s up your alley.’”
Eshleman and Gray, who is a senior vice president at PNC and a valuable resource for GVSU students, talked about the various openings at PNC and how Eshleman could fit within the company’s internship program. Gray urged Eshleman to apply for everything that was still available, and after going through a few rounds of interviews, he ended up accepting a position last month.
What makes Eshleman’s story unique is that after sending out 37 applications and completing eight interviews over the course of several months, the offer from PNC wasn’t the first internship offer he’d received; it was the third.
“The first two offers just weren’t going to work out logistically, but I applied for two different roles within PNC in December,” said Eshleman. “I did another round of interviews in February and was actually offered the position while I was interviewing for a different company.”
Many students searching for internships accept the first offer they receive due to the extremely competitive nature of the internship search process. Recently, however, the internship landscape has seen some big changes. As remote work opportunities, attractive salaries and stipends have become integral parts of internship offers, students are starting to make their offer acceptance decisions more carefully.
That trend is the reason Eshleman was interviewed by Lindsay Ellis from the Wall Street Journal. Her article, titled “Summer Interns Jilt Companies as Better Offers Come Along” features interviews from students who have rejected internship offers in the hopes of finding more enticing opportunities. Eshleman said Ellis contacted him about doing an interview after he announced that he accepted PNC’s offer on LinkedIn.
“I was like, ‘Heck yeah, that’d be super fun,’” said Eshleman. “It was very much not something that I was seeking out by any means, it really just plopped in my lap.”
In the future, Eshleman is looking forward to hopefully staying at PNC after the completion of his internship. He said Ellis’ article has already given him a good reputation at the company, with one executive reaching out with the message that President Philomena Mantella sent the article over to him.
“I’m very much stepping into some boots, which is nice to have something there waiting for me, my reputation preceding me a little bit,” Eshleman said. “The goal from there is to hopefully turn that into a return offer and so on.”
Like many students who have a successful post-graduate career, Eshleman is thinking ahead to what he’ll have to do to be successful at his first internship. Interns who show initiative by doing things like turning in polished work and asking for more projects can see the fruits of their labor pay off with return offers or promotions.
At PNC, Gray said the most successful interns are the ones who desire improvement, but there are more ways for interns to set themselves apart.
“The highest performing associates in the Development Program are the ones who always feel there is an opportunity to improve,” Gray said. “Adaptability is important as well. I’ve been asked this question many times and have always clarified that the answer will vary from person to person. “
While looking for internships can be a stressful and competitive process, there are ways to mitigate those feelings and still find a great internship. Gray shared a few tips that might help students, specifically those studying finance-related majors, find an internship that works for them.
“I feel the best guidance I could give any person is to develop a
sense of curiosity about the different career paths and organizations
where internships are available,” Gray said.
I always advise students to talk with a variety of professionals in the finance industry, alumni, peers who have done internships, and their professors to help them develop insights on opportunities.”
Students seeking help with the internship search process can make appointments with Career Advisors through Handshake. More internship-related resources are available from the Career Center online or in person.