NYC? Interns Seeking Best Opportunities Find There’s No Place Like Holmdel
They’re the smiling young faces you see in the atrium. They bring fresh ideas and new energy to offices while giving a boost to companies’ capacity. This season, Bell Works was buzzing with its 2018 class of summer interns.
The metroburb has the luxury of an enormous pool of local talent to recruit from. Draw a circle with a 20-mile radius around Bell Works on a map and you get Rutgers University to the north, Monmouth University to the east, and Brookdale Community College a short bike ride away, just for starters.
Employers here are also taking advantage of the incomparable high school system in their midst. All five of the Monmouth County Vocational School District facilities are consistently ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s best high schools in the country.
With that supply, there’s also plenty of demand. Guardian Life Insurance received over 9,000 applications companywide and ultimately selected 11 to work at its Bell Works location, according to Julienne Cort, the company’s internship program manager. iCIMS received about 3,000 applicants and hired 30, said University Recruiter Sara Palughi. The relationships being formed are building careers and expanding businesses.
“If we have an open entry level role in the area, and we had an intern there over the summer, there is a good chance that person will be at least strongly considered for the role if not hired,” Palughi said.
Off the Rails
For students growing up in the Jersey Shore area, the dreaded NJ TRANSIT commute to Manhattan has long been a rite of passage. It’s where all the best opportunities are – or at least were.
“As a college student I interned at various record labels in the city,” recalled Trendsetter Media & Marketing Vice President Allie Gruensfelder, who frequently takes interns from nearby Communications High School and Monmouth University. “We’re fortunate to work with major bands and brands like Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 and Disney, but we are working right here in Holmdel. Most of the people at Trendsetter are from Central Jersey too. It’s everything you’d want in a major record label in the city, just without the long and treacherous commute.”
Now the word is out among students.
“When applying for internships, the majority of my applications were for companies based in New York City,” said Marketing Rival intern Nicole Giannattasio, a business marketing major at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. “But after seeing the metroburb and realizing something so amazing was only a 10-minute commute away, it was an easy decision to choose this building as the place I would intern.”
The combination of Bell Works’ iconic architecture and hip campus atmosphere has caught many an intern off guard. One of them was iCIMS intern Mary McKean, who got a kick out of the crowds working while watching the World Cup together in the atrium. Or The Garibaldi Group intern Lindsey Florio, a Monmouth University real estate and finance major who was drawn by the lessons the Bell Works redevelopment success story could offer.
“Bell Works is so unique as a building. There is always something going on,” McKean said. “All of my friends are shocked when I tell them about this. No other building compares.”
Teaching the Teachers
Not every business has the size to command thousands of applications, so for the metroburb’s smaller offices, the right summer intern can make a major impact. Their employers depend on them to handle important work, providing them with hands-on experience that will serve them well when they enter the job market.
But the interns not the only ones learning through the process.
“Teaching helps reinforce our own knowledge and challenges us to continue improving and learning, and we learn as much as we teach with every new group of interns,” said Julia Zapcic, account manager and content developer at Marketing Rival. “Also, it’s nice to know we are helping to build a professional network of future marketing superstars to help succeed and who will help us celebrate our own success.”
“If you walk away with one item or one way of thinking you didn’t have before the intern came, that is a really good outcome, and it’s really good on that intern’s resume that they were able to bring something or change the way you think and do business,” said Jeffrey Garibaldi Jr., director of support services at The Garibaldi Group. “I think that opportunity exists now more than ever when technology is changing and improving so quickly.”
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