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Nuggets of wisdom from our UC Berkeley interns

Jenny Flores
Posted by Jenny Flores
Corporate Social Responsibility

As a UC Berkeley alumna, I am particularly proud that Bank of the West is the “Official Bank of UC Berkeley.” Part of this relationship includes an annual internship program for several Cal students, and I was thrilled that this cohort would experience the commitment to excellence that is shared by both Cal and Bank of the West.

Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus on a sunny day.A total of 11 UC Berkeley students worked this summer at the bank in roles ranging from technology to finance to human resources. As their internships ended last month, they shared their experiences in insightful “exit interviews” that give me hope for their future careers and may help future interns.

Several of the interns mentioned that the summer experience was helpful in building their networks and learning how projects get completed in a corporate setting.

“I think I gained a lot of valuable lessons in professionalism,” one student wrote, “and gained insight into what I do and don’t want to do going forward.” That’s a terrific outcome for any college student to take away from this internship program!

Here’s another intern’s takeaway: “I learned that, relative to happiness at work, the people you work with are just as important as the work you do. For me, at least, environment is really important.”

And this, from another student: “Learn to get out of your comfort zone and take advantage of all the opportunities out there at Bank of the West. People are more willing to help; you just have to ask for it.”

These are all good bits of wisdom that may also benefit professionals in other companies and at other stages of their careers!

Many of the interns offered tips that may help prospective interns next year, such as:

  • Do the research on what the bank does and what departments do.”
  • Go to the career fairs and information sessions hosted by Bank of the West, and talk to representatives.”
  • Be curious and willing to take on more projects and assignments. These side projects were really what expanded my knowledge the most.”

My colleagues and I have enjoyed working with the UC Berkeley interns, and it’s gratifying to see how mutually beneficial these working arrangements can be. Cal’s deep commitment to community—both on a local and global scale—inspires many alumni to make the world a better place. I look forward to the positive contributions these talented young people will make as they navigate their way into the world. #GoBears!

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