Bright Future Ahead for Senior Finance Major Christina Baker
By Beverly Makarios,
Stillman News Editor
Christina Baker’s accomplishments and opportunities as an undergraduate have proven to be exceptional. Christina displays leadership throughout her academic career as a member of the Leadership Honors program and, presently, as VP of Alumni Relations for Alpha Kappa Psi. Christina has a number of internships under her belt including New York Life Insurance Company, EcoChem Analytics Inc. and a Research Assistant position with the Stillman School’s Market Research Center. As she anticipates graduating this December, Christina is also looking forward to beginning a new chapter in her career with a recent job offer she received with the insurance agency, Matrix. The following interview provides an insight into Christina’s experiences as a Seton Hall undergrad that have surely secured a bright future ahead.
Beverly Makarios: How were you able to obtain the position with Matrix?
Christina Baker: As I was applying for jobs through online sites and through my discussions with Bob Franco at the Career Center, I stumbled upon a position with Matrix. I was interested in jobs in which I could start in January (or before the summer) and that were in the insurance industry or related to insurance. I found an integrated claims examiner position that was close to home and had the opportunity of starting in January.
BM: What led you to intern with New York Life Insurance Company and what were you looking to gain from the experience?
CB: As a finance major, I was not looking to find a job on Wall Street or trade stocks. I enjoy both business and math and wanted to pursue a job that would allow me to do both. When I learned more about insurance, I decided to apply for internships in the insurance industry. NYL is a well-respected company and close to my house, so I applied, and luckily got the internship. Just like in any internship, I was trying to get a feel for if I liked the company and industry and see if this could turn into a career. I learned the insurance industry fit my personality and skill set. I was able to talk to many people throughout my internship and learn about different positions. Once position that stood out to me was becoming an actuary. After graduation, I would like to sit for the actuarial exams and become an actuary as my future career path.
BM: What skills have you learned from your involvement with the Market Research Center that you have applied to your Seton Hall career?
CB: The MRC helped me broaden my knowledge in Marketing. As a Finance major, I did not know much about the types of marketing and how it worked. I learned how to deal with solving a business issue as well as how to monitor and conduct focus groups. One project the MRC team and I worked on was a buyer/rejecter study for Planet Honda. I handed out surveys and collected data to explain the factors that determined why customers were buying their cars from their shop and the reasons why customers went elsewhere to buy a car. Through working with the MRC, I had a lot of hands on experience that I can bring with me in the business world. Working at the MRC helped me with time management skills as having a job on campus as well as being a fulltime student can often be difficult to juggle. I also strengthened my communication skills as I conducted tours as well as met with potential business clients to help determine whether their business issue would be appropriate for students to do a project on.
BM: There is a wide range of positions that you chose for internships. Which internship experience id you enjoy or felt you gained the most from? Why?
I gained the most from the NYL internship. If I had to pick a summer position, I’d chose when I worked as a consultant in the Insurance Technology Department. In the previous internship, I learned a lot about sales and the ‘outside’ business. In the Insurance Technology internship position, I did a lot of internal work such as making timelines of the process of how long a letter takes in order for it to be sent out to the clients (so making sure the letter has all the legal requirements and making sure that clients will be able to understand the letter (aka the wording isn’t too complex). Also, about a month into the internship, my direct manager was diagnosed with Leukemia so after one weekend, he never came back. I helped the team with daily tasks that they would have to perform such as attending meetings, using adobe to fix letters and creating release summaries.
BM: How has your membership with the Leadership Development Program helped shape you as a leader?
CB: As a member in the Leadership program, I learned how to think on the spot. Many projects that were assigned such as creating a plan of the first 5 years after graduation helped me develop critical thinking as a freshman that I have used in the classroom and in my internships. I also had the opportunity to strengthen my presentation skills. Leadership is also all about giving constructive feedback to both my peers and myself. Leadership also helped me get a step above the rest of my classmates in terms of networking with council members and seeking job help. We were required to meet with the career center as well as take a personality test to help us figure out what careers would best suit our personalities. Leadership has been a great experience both personally and professionally.