Intern Life at Penn Mutual
As the summer comes to a close, I am reflecting on my experience as a human resources (HR) intern at the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. During my interview for the position, the first question asked was “Why human resources?” When I answered this question, I thought that HR was the perfect career path to combine my business and my psychology studies at college. Now, if were to be asked that question again, I would say human resources is critical for any company to operate efficiently and effectively, and being a part of an essential department is highly motivational.
The Biggest Internship Class Ever
I was one of 25 interns from across the country that spent this summer with the Penn Mutual Home Office — the biggest class of interns yet! Everyone had various majors and areas of interests. I myself am attending Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where I am starting my senior year, majoring in psychology with a business minor. This was my first internship experience.
Penn Mutual’s intern program has provided great value across the organization. The importance of running an internship program can be seen through Penn Mutual’s own Dave O’Malley, president and COO, who was once an intern himself. Having someone on the executive team with that history reinforces the value of what current interns can learn and achieve. Dave is a reminder of the potential each individual has and the opportunities that lie within Penn Mutual.
Learning about Leadership and How to Make a Difference
The summer intern program kicked-off with a welcome event featuring Penn Mutual’s Chairman and CEO, Eileen McDonnell, along with the Chief Human Resources Officer, Alida Moose. It isn’t every day that executives will take time out of their day to speak to interns while also making themselves personally available for feedback about the program and any other discussions. Eileen emphasized the values Penn Mutual stands for and explained how the intern program keeps Penn Mutual, a 170 year old company, young.
One of my responsibilities was to plan and coordinate this event. It was fun to inform interns and leaders about this event. The overall atmosphere of the event was energetic and fun, and it set the stage for the intern program from the beginning, while giving interns the opportunity to meet one another. I personally used this experience to meet leaders in other departments and learn about what other interns were working on.
Teamwork among Penn Mutual Interns
Some interns were put to work in the world of rugby through Penn Mutual’s sponsorship of the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC), which was held locally in June. Interns helped on tasks ranging from marketing activities and job recruiting, to setting up the event and keeping the event running smoothly. I had the pleasure of attending the rugby championship, and it had the Pride of Penn Mutual Life written all over it.
My tasks at the CRC involved recruitment and helping to take pictures for social media. We spoke to many players and their families about job opportunities with Penn Mutual, which allowed me to meet so many different kinds of people. I connected with rugby players specifically, because I know what it takes to be a college athlete, and I now know, through my internship experience, how the skills and time management you learn in doing a sport can be applied to the workplace.
As a member of my college’s springboard diving team, my experience at the CRC reminded me of the pride I feel being on a team. It was encouraging to see how college sports have parallel goals to an organization such as Penn Mutual and the importance of teamwork in the workplace.
Experiencing Penn Mutual Respect and Camaraderie
Throughout the summer, I worked on several projects in various departments, giving me exposure to Penn Mutual’s unique culture. One initiative was the “Penn Talks” video series, where I invited all new hires to participate as a live audience, listening to topics that are important to Penn Mutual and its associates. I worked with the subject matter experts, preparing them for their video shoots and how they were going to approach their talk. This particular project was valuable because I heard firsthand from the Penn Mutual CFO about rating agencies and from the executive vice president of distribution about how Penn Mutual distributes products through different channels.
While working with Penn Mutual’s compensation director, I also learned about job matching basics, using survey data for compensation. In working on this project, I took away more than just technical skills, because it forced me to think outside of the box and apply what I already knew without receiving direct assistance. In the beginning of the summer, I was nervous about asking questions, but I quickly gained the confidence to seek advice. This aspect of my experience is going to help me in the future when I have to learn new skills.
I also had the opportunity to conduct exit interviews for interns and their respective leaders. The company culture was so evident in these interviews, and every intern I spoke with valued their experience. Everyone felt like they had meaningful projects to work on, and the interns felt valued. Additionally, each leader learned new things from their intern which means the intern program is valued in both ways.
My end-of-summer intern presentation.
My internship with Penn Mutual showed me that there are more jobs in a business than I ever imagined. Every time I met someone new, it was exciting to hear how they contributed to the business in their own way. The intern events were incredible, the networking opportunities were fantastic, and the culture was positive. More than anything, my internship at Penn Mutual showed me the possibilities I have open to me after I graduate. I feel motivated to do something I am passionate about in the future, and Penn Mutual showed me you really can love what you do.
This was my first internship, and Penn Mutual set a very high standard for my future!