Career Moves: How Maria Mendoza ’22 transformed a summer internship into a career opportunity

Maria Mendoza ’22 is continuing her work in business consulting at Ernst & Young, but this time as a full-time employee.

Maria Mendoza ’22, an economics major from Boca Raton, Florida, is the next person to be featured in a series of Today at Elon profiles on the recent experiences of students and alumni who have used the Student Professional Development Center (SPCD) to achieve their professional and career-related goals.

Maria Mendoza ’22

Mendoza shares with the SPDC about her experience searching for an internship and how that factored into her career path.

What were you trying to accomplish when you met with the SPDC, and what specific help did you receive?

During my internship search, I reached out to the SPDC for resume help, alumni connections and interview and case study assistance. After talking to Rachael Rysz, Danielle Golinski and Nancy Carpenter at the SPDC, I strengthened my application materials and started to feel comfortable with my professional progress.

In what ways did the staff in the SPDC help you to connect with alumni?

The SPDC helped me contact alumni at BlackRock and EY (Ernst & Young) to further my understanding of those positions. I was given names and their positions within those companies, and I was able to message alumni on LinkedIn. I also used the Elon Job Network to find my EY internship, which connected me with recruiters and other opportunities to ask questions.

One thing that I learned from my junior year internship journey was the importance of connections. People’s perspectives on their jobs and companies give more meaning than just reading about companies online.

How did your interest in the organization and career develop?

After speaking with representatives from EY, I realized that their culture was what I was looking for. I also was very excited about the consulting practice and the doors that consulting opens in the financial services industry.

What specific aspects of the company culture made an impression on you?

The international connection and network in EY made a significant impression on me. EY has so many opportunities for employees to meet people from around the world with different backgrounds. I am proud to be working with so many amazing people.

Tell me about your experience in landing this opportunity at EY.

After speaking with EY professionals and Elon alumni at EY, I confidently went into my behavioral interviews and case study interview. Throughout the interview process, I had a great experience and was hired for the summer 2021 internship program. Following a fantastic summer internship with EY, I was offered a full-time position in the same practice.

What did you learn about the people, culture and the work asked of you as an intern that made you want to pursue a full-time career with EY?

What attracted me to EY was the willingness of everyone there to go out of their way to welcome me and give me advice. No matter their position, I was able to speak to individuals that just joined the firm or those celebrating 30 years with the firm. Everyone wants to see you succeed.

During the internship, I also learned so much about the different social initiatives that EY professionals can join. I am very passionate about DEI and learning that there was a Latinx/Hispanic network within EY showed me that I was joining a company that valued the same interests as me.

As for the work, I am very proud of what I contributed in my role as an intern. I had many opportunities to ask questions and join my supervisors in important meetings while still learning about the responsibilities I would have as an entry-level consultant. I learned that bringing “fresh eyes” to a team can bring many rewards to the progression of an engagement. The internship program also gave me the opportunity to present my own passion for ESG (environmental, social and corporate) initiatives in financial services.

What recommendations would you share with other students about the SPDC?

I would definitely recommend other students work with the SPDC in building connections with current students and alumni at the companies they are interested in. I have learned so much from my peers, and I hope that others get the same experience.

I also recommend scheduling mock interview appointments and utilizing the interviews rooms. The KOBC interview rooms made my virtual interviews seem more official than they would have been at my apartment. They gave me the security of secure Wi-Fi as well as no accidental distractions. I think that is one of the most important assets in feeling confident in the interview process.