Susana Ortiz Valdez ’22 had aspirations for the summer. With her first year at Babson winding down, and having already learned so much about retail, marketing, and sales, she was eager to put her new knowledge to work. “I wanted to be able to implement it immediately,” says Ortiz.
A summer internship was what she sought, but then the pandemic hit. “When I left Babson in March, I thought my chances of finding an internship for the summer were over,” she admits.
Fortunately, the College’s Hoffman Family Undergraduate Center for Career Development was still hustling to find students opportunities, and the Babson community was stepping up to provide them. As the center’s associate director and international relationship manager, Hao He has interacted with alumni around the world who offered to provide students with much-needed internships and jobs.
“Alumni’s help is extremely important at the moment,” says He. “Without our alumni’s support, we would have a much harder time finding opportunities for students.”
A Draft of the Future
Ortiz became a sales and marketing intern with Spoten, a platform for connecting retailers and customers. Co-founded by Ivan Sene MBA’21 and Joao Rodrigues Alves MSEL’20, the Brazil-based company took on four Babson interns in total, and they all participated remotely.
Ortiz may have worked from her hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, but she enjoyed coming together virtually with so many members of the Babson community. “Working with other Babson students and alumni shows how amazing and useful the entrepreneurial spirit taught at Babson can be,” she says.
Down in Miami, Laura De La Espriella ’23 also was hoping to see how her Babson coursework translated into the real world. “Babson has prepared me,” she says. “I feel ready for what’s to come.” De La Espriella is interning remotely for Avista, a Colombia-based finance technology company co-founded by Martin Restrepo ’17 and Gabriel Seinjet ’17. She works in Avista’s marketing division, assisting with market research.
“It made my summer to see the spirit and enthusiasm and the willingness of a bunch of young people wanting to make a difference.”
Steve Martiros ’83, MBA’85, P’21 ’21, of the startup Kindros
De La Espriella finds much satisfaction as an intern with Avista. “I love to see the company grow as a result of our hard work,” she says. More than that, though, the internship offers her a dress rehearsal for her future career path. “I believe internships are a great way to figure out what aspects of a business you’re into or excite you the most,” she says. “I think it’s a great way for me to start drafting and planning my future.”
Made My Summer
Students aren’t the only ones who have benefited from internships this summer.
Throughout his career, Steve Martiros ’83, MBA’85, P’21 ’21, has taken on a Babson intern from time to time. When the pandemic first hit, he was concerned about students losing their internships, and so while he had never had an intern work remotely before, he thought that situation could turn out fine.
Martiros is the founder of a Massachusetts-based startup in its early stages, an online financial knowledge platform, and he initially thought he would hire just one intern. Then, he thought maybe two. With the help of Babson’s centers for career development, he posted the position on the college job site Handshake and figured he would receive a handful of applications. He ended up with 85.
“I got choked up when I saw that,” he says. “I thought, ‘How can I do a little more?’ ” He ultimately brought on five Babson interns: four undergraduates and a graduate student serving as project manager. He later added an intern from Wellesley College for good measure. “I didn’t anticipate doing this, but it’s been so phenomenally successful,” he says.
Martiros started and ended each day with a Zoom call with the group. He soon realized he didn’t need to give them much oversight. “By two or three days, I realized I was slowing things down and needed to get out of the way,” he says. “You can’t believe the work they’ve done.”
The interns conducted a survey, did product testing, developed a new fellowship the company will offer, and even helped Martiros decide on the venture’s name: Kindros. The six-week internship is now officially over, but all the students save for one remain working for him on an hourly basis. “It made my summer,” says Martiros, “to see the spirit and enthusiasm and the willingness of a bunch of young people wanting to make a difference.”