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SLU-Madrid Business Intern Transfers Classroom Lessons to the Workplace

by Katie Gortz on 12/03/2020

As a business development intern for Wedge Global, a technology and services provider for the marine energy market, SLU-Madrid senior Katelin Huber has stepped outside of her comfort zone, applying her business knowledge in an industry with which she was previously unfamiliar. Huber says that each day in the office or interning remotely provides new and exciting challenges. Whether helping to update legal agreements for new R&D projects or preparing an initial draft of a company whitepaper, she is feeling empowered.

Katelin Huber

Katelin Huber (submitted photo)

"I am mainly supporting them through my business knowledge," explained Huber, who is majoring in international business. Her tasks are largely oriented toward internal strategy. She assists the company in improving and reorganizing their business model, conducts research into the renewable energy market, assists with tracking expenditures, and analyzes eligibility for crowdfunding, accelerator programs and other investment opportunities.

In her internship, she has found ample opportunity to employ the business skills and concepts she has studied.  "I refer back to many diagrams and procedures I have learned in my classes to help support the reorganization of the company," she explained. "I use knowledge from international business courses to help devise better plans on how to enter their technology into the artificial intelligence market in reference to geopolitical, cultural and trade factors." She added that her marketing courses aid her in devising ways to improve Wedge Global's products and services to better serve clients and create lifetime value for the company.

"I have found my Strategic Management and Policy course to be incredibly relevant to my work at Wedge Global because I have been implementing each chapter we discuss in class at my internship in the exact same order," she said. The class recently covered business models and the structuring of organizations. "I was very lucky that it worked out this way, because I am able to transfer my experiences from the classroom into the real world and in real time."

Early in her internship, Huber was asked to research and draft a beachhead market entry strategy for the company. She had not covered this topic yet in her management class but saw that it would be covered later in the semester. She approached her professor, Gonzalo Moreno, Ph.D., who reviewed the main points in the textbook with her and offered some advice on where he would start if he had been delegated the task. "It was a moment that really showed me the value of my degree and how well I was being prepared to enter the working world after graduation," she said.

In terms of her goals for the internship, Huber hopes to offer a new perspective and fresh ideas to improve the company's business model and perhaps identify unexplored ways to reduce operating costs.

On a personal level, she would like to increase her confidence in working independently as well as in a team in a remote or online setting. "I would also like to generally understand the basics of wave energy from a scientific perspective," she added. "I think renewable energy, specifically wave energy, is fascinating and will become a major part of the renewable energy sector when it is fully commercialized in the coming years."

SLU-Madrid's internship program offers robust opportunities for students to gain practical workplace experience. Students, like Huber, are gaining transnational experience at businesses and non-governmental organizations such as the U.S. and U.K. embassies, KPMG, Deloitte, Museo Sorolla, IMDEA and Ecologistas en Acción.