Summer in the Office: An Intern's Perspective

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As I finished my sophomore year at Case, I had my eye on the goal that many young college students share: landing an internship that would help me gain experience in my field of study. As an accounting major, I was looking for a job in which I would be doing hands-on financial work in a professional setting. Opportunities are hard to come by in today’s job market, and luckily I was able to find a great one with Briteskies.

When I first heard about the opportunity, I wasn’t sure about the company; honestly, I didn’t even know how to properly pronounce the name (Brite-skees?). However, after doing some research, I discovered that they are an eCommerce and IT consulting firm, an expanding field in business technology. They also offered an opportunity that would provide experience directly related to my field of study as well as a glimpse into an extremely exciting technological industry.

My first day in the office was a stereotypical one: training, paperwork, introductions, more paperwork. As I made my rounds meeting all of the employees, the same question was asked throughout the office: “Are you old enough for happy hour?” I was disappointed to tell them that I was stuck in the grey area of young adulthood, an age that is all bark without any real bite, 20 years old. Perhaps my favorite part of the Briteskies experience is the idea that the company is a family, one team working towards a common goal. Everyone in the office plays off each others’ diverse personalities to create a unique and productive chemistry. One of Briteskies most admirable strengths is the relationships that it is founded upon. This can be seen every second Monday of the month, when we have the monthly office meeting, followed by dinner and drinks. Everyone attends, from owners Mike Berlin and Bill Onion to the young intern that was just hired a few days earlier. It is always a fun social experience, and after the first monthly meeting, I knew that I was going to have a great summer at Briteskies. It is not all fun and games around the office, however, and when there is work to be done Briteskies turns into a well oiled, productive machine.

If I’m not doing the jobs that Briteskies really hired me for, like restocking the break-room fridge, holding open doors, or doing push-ups for Tim (I’m kidding about two of those; I’ll let you decide which one is true), I am working on various projects that span a vast scope of day-to-day business operations. If Briteskies were a baseball organization, I would no doubt be their utility player, albeit at the Single A level. My largest contributions have been to the Business Continuity Team and the eCommerce consulting field. The BC team has given me the opportunity to gain experience in my field of study, accounting. I have worked with and observed company financials, performance measures and bookkeeping. Resident CPA and Director of Sustainability Dave Balser has been a great help, taking me through his financial responsibilities and some of the specific details of Briteskies' accounting. He has shown me a glimpse into the world of accountancy and has given me insight into his career as an accountant, helping me to better understand what to expect from the field and the directions my career could take following graduation. And when I’m very lucky, Dave and Mike “Julio” Iaconis will be in the office at the same time, resulting in some politely heated—and for me, educating—political banter. Some in the office have called the matchup the Ali/Frazier of political arguments.

On the eCommerce end, I was able obtain a glimpse into a growing industry that I barely knew existed. Magento and WebSphere Commerce? Sprint planning? Agile project management? These terms were as alien to me as Lady GaGa’s latest wardrobe. After working with Senior eCommerce Consultant Gian Genovesi, my mentor, idol, inspiration in life and man I can only dream of becoming, I was able to observe the procedures necessary to complete a full scale eCommerce implementation, spanning actions that involved working directly with the client to those dealing with internal management. I also worked with Director of eCommerce Mike Moores to design a new and improved project estimation model in order to more accurately record and track the cost of a project for both Briteskies and the client.

Ultimately, my experience at Briteskies can be described in one word: scrumtrulescent. And that is really what the company is. From the interactions of daily stand-up meetings to my daily conversations with Ted (which always leave me with some sort of cryptic enlightenment, no matter what we discuss), my experience has been an enjoyable one. I have accomplished my goal; I gained experience in a professional business setting while at the same time working with unique projects and assignments that many internships don’t offer. When it comes down to it, Briteskies is a hard-working, productive enterprise delivering top of the line services to its customers. However, Briteskies is also a family, one that supports its members and brings out the highest success in everyone—all in a fun, tight-knit and comfortable work environment.

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