Performing a Hat-Trick

Hat-trick (n) definition - three successes of the same kind, especially consecutive ones within a limited period.

Meet Nicholas Pezza a Finance major with a minor in Economics who has completed two internships while being co-captain of the JWU men’s ice hockey team.

We recently sat down with Nick to ask him how his time on the ice contributed to him obtaining two internships. Here’s his story:

Implementing Hockey Team Leadership Into the Interviewing Process

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When you interviewed for your internship, did you find opportunities to bring in examples of leadership or teamwork from your hockey team involvement?

Absolutely. In my interview for Ticketmaster, I spent about 50% of the interview answering questions and speaking about my experience as an athlete over the years.

My interviewer was so curious about the life of a college athlete, the sacrifices I made to get here, and the lessons hockey has taught me over the years. One specific example was about maintaining a balance between athletic and academic commitments, and the constant struggle to give 100% to both.

Another large portion of my interview centered around my involvement with the Finance & Investment Academy which was impressive to the interviewer and I believe these two things ultimately led to me being accepted as an intern with Ticketmaster.

How has your involvement in athletics prepared you for your internship or career? Being an athlete prepared me for my career in many ways. The concept that sacrificing time and putting in the work in the short term can help achieve a long term goal is something that athletics instilled in me at a young age. That understanding drove me to search for an internship in the first place, and allowed me to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Had I not learned that lesson, I may have been more concerned with enjoying my summer off rather than my personal and professional development.

Also, taking four classes, working an internship, and showing up to games, practices, and team workouts has forced me to handle my time as responsibly as possible. Additionally, having to push through when I am tired to get things done has improved my ability to get things done in the face of adversity.


What did you do at your internship?

At Ticketmaster, I was an Analytics Intern where I gained exposure to key aspects of Ticketmaster’s business model as part of the Strategy & Analytics team. My most exciting projects surrounded analyzing the impact of company initiatives such as the Verified Fan program and initial pricing on high profile tours.

At the JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF) internship, I was the Portfolio Manager. We are tasked with managing a portion of the University Endowment Fund through a portfolio of U.S. based equities. The purchase and sale of these securities is intended to provide capital appreciation for the funds that the University has allocated to us through the Investment Committee.

The most exciting project that I was tasked with in my time on the fund would include determining the optimum allocation strategy for the portfolio relative to our established benchmark, and directing the team in that direction, as well as the revision of our Investment Policy Statement. I believe that both projects will have a very positive impact on future teams that work for the fund.

A Day In The Life Of An Intern

At Ticketmaster- A typical day would start with a short walk down Hollywood Boulevard over the Walk of Fame to the office—where I would settle in at my desk. I would either get to work on any projects I was contributing to at the time, head to an event for all interns, or sit in on meetings. I was lucky enough to be on a team that afforded me the opportunity to sit in on meetings with senior leadership within the company. This was my favorite part of the internship since I had the opportunity to learn about the company from leadership perspectives. The leadership at Ticketmaster is truly unlike anything I have seen before, and I am beyond thankful to have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with such incredible talent.

At the JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF)- A typical day would involve heading to the Finance Lab where I would start by reading the news in order to stay up to date with global events. This is important since all events have an impact on financial markets which is then reflected against our portfolio. Next, I would make sure that our portfolio allocation was accurate by updating the cash balance, and adjusting the portfolio for any trades that have occurred. Finally, if there was any concerning news regarding any of our holdings within the portfolio, I would try to do a deeper dive on the story and understand what was going on. After that, it would involve working with team members to answer questions and offer assistance.

Tips For Internship Success

At Ticketmaster- First, I would say that you need to be willing to go out of your way to introduce yourself to people. That simple act can have several benefits, but one that I think is often overlooked is the fact that it contributes to your overall comfort level at work. This is important because you need to have confidence in your abilities and in your ability to learn how to do something if you don’t understand it right away. Introducing yourself to others will give you a sense of belonging in the office, and that sense of belonging can positively influence your overall confidence and comfort level which will translate into your work.

My second tip is not to be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know how to do something. As an intern no one is expecting you to understand how to do everything, you are there to learn—remember that. I probably asked thousands of questions over the course of my internship, but I did so because I wanted to learn, and I wanted to produce top notch work—my main goal going into the role was to add value to the company. I wouldn’t have been as capable to add value had I not asked the questions that I did, but remember, introducing yourself to people will also make you more comfortable to ask questions.

At JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF)- The best tip for success I can offer in a role like this is staying up to date on what’s happening in the world. One of the hardest skills to develop, but one of the most useful tools you can have in this role, is understanding how global events are going to affect the market and specific industries within the market. This can help you to recognize trends and make better decisions along the way. Also, developing an understanding of economic indicators and what they historically have meant in the context of equity markets will allow someone as a portfolio manager to make responsible, informed decisions.

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Industry Skills & Experience Gained

At Ticketmaster- The most important lessons I learned came from observation, and are more general in nature rather than industry specific. Also, I found that when preparing any type of presentation or report—try to anticipate the questions that will arise from what is being shared and either answer those questions, or determine the resources you will require to answer them in advance. This allows for increased efficiency and will prevent you from wasting the time of the executives showing that you value their time.

At the JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF) - Some industry skills that I learned along the way include financial modeling, allocation strategy, and certainly time management. Between my commitments to my athletic team, all of my courses, and then the commitment to the WIVF, time is absolutely an invaluable resource that needs to be used wisely to be successful at all of them.

Nick has been an exemplary student-athlete during his four years at JWU. He excels in the classroom, is a leader and a role model for his peers
both on and off the ice.”

Mel Graf
Associate Dean of Student Life/Executive Director of Athletics

How Will This Experience Help Your Career?

At Ticketmaster- This experience helped me prepare for my career in many ways, but most importantly, it has allowed me to greatly develop a set of soft skills needed for any business setting.

At JWU Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF)- This experience has helped me through the improvement of my leadership and management skills, the development of my understanding of financial markets, and the demanding schedule that I had to learn to maintain in my time on the fund that will help prepare me for my future career.

Advice for Others? Apply to internships and dive right into them with the confidence that you are going to succeed. Even if you are not totally sure you are qualified, or you’re not sure that you are prepared for what is going to be required of you, don’t let it stop you. As an intern people are not expecting you to know remotely close to everything. The entire point of an internship is to learn.

Make It Work

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When you compare the two internships what is the one unique thing you learned at each that helps to define your experience and how that might influence selling yourself to employers?

The ability and confidence to pick skills up along the way on the job is something that I certainly learned at Ticketmaster that I believe is a strong selling point for me in the future.

During the JWU Wildcat Investment Fund internship, I needed to combine technical analysis with economic theory which taught me how to pull from several different skill sets to answer a single question.

What other things about your JWU education have prepared you for your career? You must be totally self-reliant and hold yourself accountable to get assignments and studying done. In the real world no one is going to be there to hold your hand and walk you through the process, you are going to need the accountability to do it on your own and this university has certainly prepared me for that.

As you prepare for graduation, what are some tips you would give to other students at JWU?

Do an internship. Make it work. There isn’t much risk for an employer to hire an intern so you might just find that you have the opportunity to work for a company that you never thought you could. Once you have that company and the internship experience on your resume, it automatically puts you into a higher bracket when interviewing for a full-time job down the road.

Congratulations to Nick as he nears the goal line of his degree and prepares to launch his career!


Want more? Visit Experiential Education & Career Services to prepare for the most competitive opportunities available through career advising, internship, and on-campus recruitment.

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Having a Point of View in the Advertising & Marketing Communications World

Missing an internship application deadline did not deter Jasmine Turner ‘16 from missing out on an opportunity to go on a JWU tour of an advertising agency. That decision set her on her course as she made her college to career transition and just two years later she has been promoted at that same agency.

Her perspective offers valuable advice for students thinking about their future career paths and what’s needed to get there. Here’s Jasmine’s story:

Jasmine addressing her fellow students as the May 2016 Commencement speaker

Jasmine addressing her fellow students as the May 2016 Commencement speaker

Internships Are Essential

Jasmine Turner ‘16 during the Interfaith Poverty Vigil at the RI State House - RI Coalition for the Homeless Internship

Jasmine Turner ‘16 during the Interfaith Poverty Vigil at the RI State House - RI Coalition for the Homeless Internship

When first applying to internships, I didn’t have a full grasp on their importance. I nervously applied knowing I wanted to get involved in different experiences, but felt the process was very mandatory and nearsighted. It wasn’t until after I started my full-time position at Hill Holliday, that I realized the full potential of what my internship experience had done for my career path.

Internships are for you, not for your future career. Internships are a platform to gain a diverse range of skill sets and test various job roles to protect you from spending the next few years doing something that doesn’t fit your passion; the ability to taste test different roles without having to sign a full-time contract. What better way to trial and error without being trapped into a position?

During my junior year at JWU, as an Advertising and Marketing Communications major, I didn’t know what sector of industry I wanted to pursue. Without my:

  • communications internship at the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless

  • working as a graphic designer for the University Involvement Board

  • interning as a brand planner for the Women and Infant’s Hospital of Rhode Island

  • interning in platform media at Hill Holliday

I easily could have unsuccessfully picked any one of these paths without understanding the full role. There’s a difference between a job description and daily work life; what sounds good on paper may not be what you expect.

Jasmine celebrates with her Hill Holliday internship team members after winning the Intern Pitch for client MetroPCS.

Jasmine celebrates with her Hill Holliday internship team members after winning the Intern Pitch for client MetroPCS.

My interview process was quite the story. In April of 2016, I was on a Hill Holliday hosted agency tour with the JWU Advertising Club. I had missed the deadline for the Summer Internship Program, but was planning to apply for the Fall.

While in the department overview meeting, a manager from the Platform (Programmatic) Media team was finishing her presentation and from that moment on I wanted nothing more than to work on her team. At the end of her discussion, I asked a few questions about her day-to-day based on what I’d learned in my Digital Media Planning class.

Following the meeting, she pulled my HR as well as my Experiential Education & Career Services representative outside of the room. A few minutes later, I was interviewing with the Senior Vice President of the Platform Media team along with the manager who had recognized me during the earlier presentation. I was grateful to be added to the applicant pool and to be accepted into the Summer internship program. During internship, I worked hard and was later given an offer letter to start full-time in January of 2017.

How Can This Help Other Students?

Always ask questions. Karen Kaplan, CEO of Hill Holliday, once said to my internship class (on the topic of active listening), “If you’re not adding value to the room you’re in, then why are you even there?”

The JWU Advertising & Marketing Communications program allowed me to participate in a wide range of classes extending across my industry. This provided me with a well-rounded degree that, in my opinion, students don’t get the opportunity to have at other universities.

Never give up. It’s a cliche’, but it couldn’t be more accurate in the business world. Missing the Summer internship program deadline with Hill Holliday did not deter me from touring the agency two months later and actively researching the program for my Fall internship interview.The decision to attend that agency tour led to my internship and first job out of college. You never know what one meeting will lead to, so take advantage of these opportunities while at JWU.

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Advice About the Interview Process

Be passionate, have a point of view, stress your work ethic, and be authentic. Businesses are looking for entry level students who know where they want to be, and have a perspective to back it up. I’ve come to learn that most businesses do not expect entry level students to have professional experience. What they do expect are for students to be malleable enough to learn and grow. You may not have all of the qualifications for the job requirements, but the majority of students who show a propensity for hard work and passion will get the offer over the other candidates.

Ask questions, take good notes, shadow people you admire, and raise your hand for new projects. Asking questions shows that you’re not afraid of letting colleagues know that you’d like more information on a topic. It proves you’re willing to learn and take action to get accurate answers. There’s a confidence in admitting a lack of knowledge, which everyone expects of someone at an entry level position. What makes a new hire stand out is actively taking his/her professional growth in his her/own hands.

Note taking does not stop in History class. I didn’t understand the importance of professional note taking until I started at Hill Holliday. There is a plethora of information being discussed in every meeting. Taking notes shows intent to learn and lets the room know you’re present. This will also help you build your relationships with people you admire since you’ll have relevant questions to ask them and information to refer to during your shadowing process. Just as we learn from professors, let industry leads teach you their tricks of the trade.

Shadow colleagues you admire. This will also lead to mentorship opportunities which is invaluable in any industry. One of the key actions that led to my promotion was raising my hand for any and every task. Although at times I was terrified of volunteering myself for something I didn’t know how to do, I quickly realized that was the best way to excel in my career. Disrupt your day-to-day by working on an incremental project. Challenging your comfort zone is the only way to grow.

Internships Provide Context


Having an internship provided context to my onboarding process. Across industries, the onboarding process is a balancing act: setting the new hires up for success with all of the information needed, while not overwhelming them due to a lack of context on the material being presented.

Interning at the same company, in the role I eventually accepted after internship, offered me insight into my position. Hill Holliday’s Human Resource recruiting team regards the intern pool as the first audience for vetting open positions. We strategically do this knowing it leads to a better onboarding process and career development, rather than the first few weeks being spent on learning items as trivial as the office layout, intern hires can jump right into the work.

Cultural shock is another reason interning is so important. There’s truth in finding a job that fits the student, not the student fitting the job. Along with adjusting to a new work environment, students are also adjusting to being on their own for the first time. The best way to cushion those impacts are building a foundation before entering that transition, which is done by interning beforehand, Knowing what to expect is a valuable tool.

Future Forward Thinking


Take advantage of the position you’re currently in. It’s been two years at Hill Holliday and I’ve grown from Assistant Platform Media Strategist to Platform Media Strategist.

The number one action I took was presenting my curiosity to my team; having the curiosity to continue learning, asking questions, and volunteering for incremental tasks.

Albert Einstein said: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

Be the one to ask the tough questions that challenge the norm. Curiosity leads to innovation and the only way to be a part of the process is to express your unique perspective.

Future forward thinking is what separates those who get promoted. Constantly reflecting on your personal career path, and what it looks like five years down the road, will only help students in the long run. Having this future insight informs what steps are needed to reach those heights. The most available vision into your potential future is through a robust internship program.

Hill Holliday is a full-service marketing agency headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Their clients include Bank of America, Novartis, Planet Fitness, Party City, and other Fortune 500 companies.

Want more? Visit Experiential Education & Career Services to prepare for the most competitive opportunities available through career advising, internship, and on-campus recruitment.

Are you an alum? Share your story by contacting us. follow us @jwuprovcareers

A Staff Members Tips for Internship Preparation

For the past 12 years, Leslie Buxton, experiential education coordinator has had the pleasure of advising students who want to participate in the internship program at JWU.

Leslie has a B.S. in International Business, an MBA, and a CAGS certification from JWU. Here are her tips:

Helping Students Through a Shared Experience

Leslie Buxton ‘99, ‘05 Experiential Education Coordinator with her future JWU Wildcat Tommy

Leslie Buxton ‘99, ‘05
Experiential Education Coordinator with her future JWU Wildcat Tommy

For the past twelve years, I have had the pleasure of advising students who want to participate in the internship program at Johnson & Wales University. I help each of my students prior to the internship, whether it be with their resume, interviewing tips, finding internships, reviewing Handshake and other job boards or giving them guidance when it comes to choosing an internship that best suits their career aspirations.

I myself participated in this program as a JWU junior a number of years ago and truly enjoyed my experience. Things have certainly changed since my days as an intern. I remember going through binders of available internships with my advisor, faxing my resume to numerous organizations and then calling each company to make sure my fax actually went through! Today, technology makes it much easier and there are so many ways to find amazing internships that will add so much value to a students’ resume.

At JWU, we offer advising and services from day one, so you can start early and research the internship that best fits your career goals”

Each year, nearly 3,000 JWU students participate in internship. Participating in internship not only allows you to gain experience to add to your resume, it also allows you to ‘try on’ a career before you graduate and to network within your industry. If you’re not sure of what you want to do long term, an internship truly gives students insight into a particular industry and allows you to gain valuable skills to be successful today, tomorrow and for years after graduation.

At JWU, we offer advising and services from day one, so you can start early and research the internship that best fits your career goals. Depending on the major, some internships are required, while others are optional. It goes without saying that students with an internship on their resume stand out with employers. In fact, last year 60% of JWU students on internship were offered a job from their internship site. We encourage all students to visit Experiential Education & Career Services to review their GPS and to discuss the best time to participate in an internship.

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Internship Success

As a past intern, a graduate of the university, and returning to JWU as a staff member after having worked in industry, I can tell you that my internship experience really shaped what I wanted to do with my career and degree. Walking in to career fairs my senior year, my resume opened doors for me that one year before, wouldn’t have opened. I was able to effectively communicate my skills to potential employers and I felt a sense of confidence that I could take skills, knowledge and theories from courses and apply them to the workplace. Internship for me, confirmed what I did and did not want to do with my career.

Now, as an experiential education coordinator I am able to witness this transformation in my students and cheer my students on as they prepare to succeed in the workplace.

Joe Esposito ‘17,  B.S.B.A., Human Resources Management

Joe Esposito ‘17,
B.S.B.A., Human Resources Management

Just ask Joe Esposito who did his internship at Kohl’s in the management development program. He was hired upon graduation by Kohl’s as an Assistant Store Manager immediately moving into an Operations/HR function with them.

I learned about Kohl’s through a round table hosted by Experiential Education & Career Services. After learning more about the company and their culture I knew I wanted to intern there. I worked with EE&CS to prepare for the rigorous interview process, was accepted into the program and began my career with Kohl’s. They welcomed me with open arms and set me up for success!”

Planning for Internship

I encourage students to meet with our office as soon as they know what term they would like to participate in internship. Normally, I am meeting students who are registered for internship for the next two terms to ensure that they are on the right track.

3-6 Months Before Your Internship:

Meet with your Experiential Education Coordinator. We will review resources to use for your search, guidelines for the internship, paperwork and answer any questions you may have.

Visit our office to have your resume reviewed. By having your resume reviewed just before you start applying to internships you can be reassured that there are no typos or glaring formatting issues on the resume.

Schedule a mock interview with our office. Remember, interviewing is a skill! Practicing before an interview will settle any nerves you may have.

Attend career fairs. Throughout the year we host several career fairs. Employers that attend can offer part-time and full-time positions as well as internships. Networking along the way makes the application process that much easier.

Start applying and interviewing with companies. Apply to at least 10 internships. This will allow you the ability to choose your internship, rather than your internship choosing you. By applying to multiple internships, you are casting a wide net, in the hopes of having several internship offers.

Mark your calendars to prepare. If you are interested in an internship for this spring or summer term, visit our office soon. We are currently registering students for both terms and spots fill quickly.

For students interested in internship during the 2019-20 year, internship registration is open February 1-28, 2019.

Want more? Visit Experiential Education & Career Services to prepare for internship opportunities.

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