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Welcome to MCEEA’s Faces on Campus campaign!

Over the next year – we will be highlighting the career educators and employers who make up our great organization. Each week we will pay tribute to the individuals who devote their lives to helping students take that key first step into their professional career and the employers who welcome and develop them into the professionals they will become.

We hope you enjoy the insights, stories, and laughs of the people of MCEEA.

This week brings us close to home as we interview our 2020 student intern Hannah Wagner. Hannah is a student at Saginaw Valley State University. While working with MCEEA, Hannah served as our social media intern with a focus on marketing and event support.

Joe Bamberger: Tell us a little bit about your college experience. What's your major? How far along are you in your education? What's the ideal job upon graduation?

Hannah Wagner: I actually got into marketing in high school, we had a dual enrollment course, so I took a marketing college course in high school. That's when I decided what I wanted to start doing. Then I attended SVSU, and ever since then, I've been taking a lot of courses in marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing, strategic marketing, different things like that. I've worked on several projects with different clients and local businesses around the area and developed websites, ran their social media, different things like that. So that's kind of what I want to start getting into. Right now, my best friend and I, we run an Instagram blog. We have actually been noticed by Target and different brands who have actually reached out to us and asked if they could use our user generated content for their promotions. Ideally, I see myself working for a marketing agency in the near future and helping out local businesses and running their social media and websites.

JB: When's graduation for you?

HW: I'm going to graduate this May, so spring of 2021.

JB: How is senior year in a virtual, hybrid format for you?

HW: It's been different. First semester, I had two in person classes and two online classes, and then same with second semester. So, I've had two in person classes, and then two online classes. Socially, it's been different just because we're not able to go to the football games, or tailgate, different stuff like that, which I really looked forward to the past three years. As far as classes go, and content wise, the adjustment to online hasn't really been difficult for me just because I do stay in touch with my professors, and a lot of my friends are in the business department with me. We have maintained a good balance with online and in person schooling.

JB: Over your three and a half years on campus so far, have you utilized career services while you were there?

HW: Yes, 100%. When I applied for the MCEEA internship, I actually went into career services two weeks before, and we just finalized my resume. We did interview techniques. I did a mock interview, which was really, really helpful, especially because most interviews nowadays are with multiple panelists, it's not just one person right across from you, you actually have up to five different people all asking you questions at once. So, it's important to be practicing interviews, and getting tips and tricks, as well as professionals reviewing your resume. I also have a lot of experience now with using Zoom and Microsoft Teams in my everyday classes, which helps me going forward in the interview process with businesses that are now just using those platforms to conduct their interviews and not meeting face to face at all.

JB: As you started your job search and interviewing, is there something that you feel you struggled with the most?

HW: For me right now, it's definitely a struggle trying to find a job that's the best fit for me. Obviously, in a lot of the cases your dream job isn't going to be your first job. However, you still want to be happy with what you're going into. So, as I start to interview more and more and get offers, it can be difficult trying to select a job I can see myself doing for the next couple of years. Location plays a big part in that as well. There's not a lot in this area as far as marketing agencies and big marketing firms. So moving down state or out of state is probably what's going to end up happening for a lot of students that are looking to graduate with this degree. I think just accepting the fact that I might not get my dream job, and it might not be in the location, I thought that I would see myself living in for the next couple of years. But there's nothing wrong with being open to change. And I think a lot of students need to remember that everyone's path looks different.

JB: As you go through interviews, do you have a favorite interview question you've been asked?

HW: I don't know if it's because of what I'm going into, but I've been asked the pretty basic questions so far. I did have one, and it was "sell me this pen". I really liked that one. Although, I still feel like that's kind of a basic interview question. I've seen that one before on other websites when researching interview tips. But still, that was my favorite one to this date. And, if you want to know how I answered it...

I basically just said, if you buy this pen for $2.99, or whatever price, I'll put you into a drawing, and you can win something you could use the pen with. For example, it falls into the office supply category, but like a laptop. So, if you buy this $2.99 pen, then you're automatically entered in a drawing where you could win a laptop. $2.99 is nothing, and then all of a sudden, you can win a laptop. So, it's worth it.

JB: Has there been any interview questions that you haven't liked? That really stumped you?

HW: Of course, I never liked the question, what are your weaknesses? Because I just feel like it's a way for them to catch you either in a lie or to admit your faults, which no one likes doing.

People have asked me where I see myself in five years, which is a basic interview question. I don't hate it, but no one knows. I mean, you could have your five-year plan set out, and there's no way that everything's going to exactly fall in line. It's just a little bit annoying because you're like, well, I don't know. I really don't know what it's going to look like in five years from me. I have a plan, but that doesn't mean it's going to exactly happen.

JB: Walk us through your internship with MCEEA. What were your responsibilities? What were some of the projects, you got to work on?

HW: I knew I wanted to apply to MCEEA, because it was a social media internship, and that's like I said, it is what I see myself going into. So, a typical day to day for the MCEEA intern included posting regularly on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. And I would post promotional content. For example, counting down the days until the conference. But also, just keeping the line of communication open with people by commenting underneath the posts and being able to respond to them right away. I also like to utilize the Instagram stories, because the conference last year was to be held in Midland. So people were going to travel to Midland and if they've never been there before, I wanted to make sure they knew what was in the area, different places they could go to eat, travel and sites to see. Another part of my job, which was a really big aspect, was meeting with local downtown businesses in Midland, and basically offering them a spot in our MCEEA Magazine, because we are bringing in attendees from all over the state, and even out of state, so that's a huge way for them to gain customers for a week, or however long the conference was going to be, or however long they were going to stay. So restaurants, bars and some shops downtown really took advantage of that, because they wanted all of these attendees to come into their restaurants and shops and buy drinks and get dinner. My job was to meet with them and convince them that if you do put an advertisement in our magazine, you are going to get all of these attendees that are coming to Midland. I also got to attend board meetings. So, I would just give updates on how well the social media aspect of things was going. I would deliver that to the board and give them ideas, and what I think could help reach more people and grow their followers on all the social media platforms. I also updated the website. That was just dependent on when proposals were closing and different things along those lines.

JB: Was there a part of the internship that was the most challenging for you?

HW: Definitely clients and customers saying no to me. When I met with those downtown businesses, sometimes they would look at me and they would see a young person, and say, oh, well, she's just trying to get our money, or she doesn't know what she's doing because she's so young. I think they didn't realize how big of a deal it actually was, and how many attendees they would actually receive, like how much business they were about to get if they did sign up for this. I think once I felt more confident in meeting with them and explaining to them how important it was, then that challenge kind of slowly slipped away. You do always have those people that look at you, and they say, well, we don't want to do this because we don't trust her, or we don't see her as a professional, we just see her as someone coming in here trying to get our money. It was hard for me when people said no, especially if they did it bluntly, and they just turned me down straight up without even hearing what I had to say. That was hard to take, especially because you're meeting with them in person. It's not over the phone or email. So, when they say no to you, it's pretty blunt, they're not just trying to beat around the bush. I was expecting it, but you always think you're expecting it, and then to have it happen in real life. It's just a little disappointing. A little deterring.

JB: It's never fun to hear negative news.

HW: Especially when you know how much it is going to help them, and you can't convince them of that.

JB: Let's talk about a hypothetical here, let's say MCEEA had unlimited funding and unlimited time. What sort of things do you think MCEEA could do to help market itself better, and increase membership and awareness?

HW: Recently, I've learned that, at least from like a social media aspect, doing giveaways is a huge way to gain promotion and gain followers. If MCEEA had an unlimited budget, and unlimited resources, I think it would be really cool if we could do more giveaways, especially gearing up towards the conference. It would get a lot of people talking and more people involved. I also think when it comes to the location, the different businesses really matter. MCEEA does a pretty good job already of doing fun events for the attendees, different things that they can do after the conference, or when they're not in the meetings, just to utilize the city you're in and see what it has to offer. But obviously, if they had an unlimited budget, we could go pretty crazy with that and think of like some really cool ideas. I know that we were going to do a pub crawl, scavenger hunt, which I helped to plan. And I was really, really looking forward to that. It was going to be super fun. I also know for a lot of people, this is something they do on the side, it's not their main profession. So, if we had more time and resources, I'm sure we could come up with cool, fun ideas for the attendees to do, and get more professionals in there.

JB: For someone that might be going into a MCEEA internship next summer, what piece of advice would you give?

HW: Be open to anything, even if it isn’t in your job description.  Youu have to be versatile. For me, I was there to run the social media and to help with web development, but then, like I said, I got to meet with the small businesses, and I got to plan certain events. I didn't have to highlight different areas of Midland you could travel to, and visit. I didn't have to do things like that, but I did because I wanted to do them for the attendees. My advice would just be to stay open to the possibilities of what you can do. Just because your job description says one thing doesn't mean you can't go out there and really make that position your own.

JB: Final thoughts?

HW: I just want to say I think MCEEA is a great organization, and obviously, it's helping a lot of people, especially students that come into the college environment. They're like me, they're the oldest sibling in their family so they don't have any brothers or sisters that can kind of pave the way for them and they don't have any mentors. You really must have help when you're applying to jobs, or internships, or when you want to pick a career or a major. You can't do it alone. You need people to help you figure out what you want to do in life and then go from there. That's why I volunteered for MCEEA because, I mean, being a student myself, I know what it's like to be in those shoes. So, I think career advancement, and education is really important, which is why I volunteered.

Faces on Campus is a weekly interview series highlighting members of MCEEA conducted by Joe Bamberger of Emerge Consulting. Be sure to follow MCEEA on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and MCEEA.org

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