By Nathaniel Valyo
Stillman News Editor
Leigh Ann Rofrano is a senior at Seton Hall University, pursuing a B.S. in Marketing and Management in the Stillman School of Business. The Stillman Exchange reached out to Leigh Ann recently to learn more about her experience interning for Mathematica.
Q: What is the internship you are completing? What are some of your responsibilities?
Currently, I intern with Mathematica in Princeton, NJ as a Health Strategic Business Development Fellow. Mathematica is a research and consulting firm specializing in using rigorous analytic methods to create objective evidence for decision making. Mathematica’s main clients are federal agencies, but the company has recently undergone a business diversification initiative focused in State and Commercial markets. Over the past two years, some of my responsibilities have been to implement a CRM (Salesforce) pilot for executives, assist proposal managers with creating, editing, and finalizing of proposals for the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), to partner with marketing and communication teams to develop marketing materials, and use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to prospect leads and potential clients.
Q: Why did you decide on the company that you chose to work?
I chose Mathematica due to their mission to improve public well-being by bringing the highest standards of quality, objectivity, and excellence to everything they do. I wanted to work for a company that allows me to help people and to make a difference – and at Mathematica, that happens every day. I am able to work on meaningful projects that directly impact the quality of life for people all over the world. Mathematica also had an incredible corporate culture that values collaboration, diversity, and collegiality.
Q: How did you go about finding and obtaining this internship? Why did you apply to this one specifically?
I had a personal connection at Mathematica, who made me aware of their internship program. Once I discovered what Mathematica did and how mission-driven they were, I knew I needed to work there.
Q: What is the most valuable skill that you’ve learned from your experience so far?
When I first started interning at Mathematica, I was a sophomore working to complete my undergraduate degree. All of the other interns were a minimum of 5-10 years older than I was and all were working towards their master’s degree or Ph.D. I remember feeling intimidated in the beginning, but soon learned that age, experience, or where you went to college had no impact on your ability to do the job and to do it well. I quickly learned to speak up and seek challenges and found myself being asked to guide other interns along the way. The most valuable skill I learned from this experience has been to be confident in my abilities and to always find a way to add value.
Q: How is learning in a work environment different from working in a classroom?
Learning in a work environment is different than working in a classroom in multiple ways. In the work world, you are not always given instructions on how to do a task, you have to figure it out on your own. Work in business development, especially strategic business development often lacks clarity. I have learned to become comfortable with the lack of clarity that comes with the role. You are accountable for yourself; you need to be on time, be attentive, and get your work done. You may be expected to work closely with colleagues and may be expected to work on multiple tasks and projects at the same time. You have to learn how to work independently and figure things out.
Q: What is the company culture like?
The company culture is everything I could have asked for. Everyone is welcoming, friendly, and there to help you in any way they can. The company values diversity, equity, and inclusion, and always takes input from its employees. I often reach out to people in the company I have never worked with, at many different levels, and everyone is always willing to help in any way they can.
Q: What are some skills that you learned at Seton Hall that you are using in your internship?
One of the most important skills I learned from Seton Hall that has been widely used in all of my internships is Microsoft Excel. I often help out other interns and other employees who struggle with the program. I have to give credit to Professor David Rosenthal for teaching me Management Information Systems and Advanced Business Software Tools, as I have always been more competent with the program than any other interns and most other employees for the companies I have worked for.
Q: What advice would you give to students who are actively searching for internships?
The best advice I can offer to students who are actively searching for internships is do not give up. Applying for and interviewing for internships can be tedious and require a lot of effort, and you will get turned down sometimes. You cannot let the rejections stop you – you have to be persistent and prepare for each interview and always follow up. Good luck will come your way once you realize good luck is simply opportunity meeting preparation.
Q: What is next for you in your career? Did your internship experience help guide your future career goals?
I will graduate at the end of this semester; however I will be returning to Seton Hall next year to complete my 5-year MBA program in IT Management. I plan to continue my internship with Mathematica throughout the next year and plan to be hired by the company full-time once I graduate in May 2022 with my MBA.
Contact Leigh Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org