Meet Valerie Fetzer!
Valerie is a senior from Walnut Creek, California. Valerie has dedicated her last four years at GU to studying Public Relations, International Relations and Spanish, and she is excited to take her academic career into her job at Pepsi Co., which she was offered at the end of the summer before she began her senior year.
Valerie’s success story may seem incredibly impressive, and it is! But believe her when she says, “Finding beneficial work and experience is easier than you think. Just remember to consider all your resources to make the most of it!”
Val began internship searching in the Spring 2019, and after a summer of hard work, the opportunity for a full-time job with Pepsi Co. presented itself to the dedicated zag.
Her Post-Grad Career Began at the FUSE Career Fair
Nearing the end of her junior year at GU, Valerie hopped aboard the school bus that was shuttling GU students to the Convention Center, where an array of employers were stationed to meet capable students and young professionals.
“I was encouraged to go to the Career Fair by a CPD Officer, Alyssa Rustik,” said Valerie.
CPD Officers, also known as ProReps, give guidance to GU undergrad and grad students in resume and cover letter building and professional development skills.
Soon after Valerie decided she had seen enough at the fair, she stumbled across Pepsi’s table on her way out. She was feeling tired and was not expecting to speak with anymore companies, but she persevered for one more interaction. To her surprise, that final push of dedication led her to a great conversation with a zag alumnus and a potential internship with Pepsi.
Valerie shared that “The Career Fair was very helpful with getting connected because there were a lot of a zag alumni, and it was Spring time so employers were anxious to hire. Maybe that is why Pepsi Co. was very enthusiastic about me applying, which in turn helped me lift my spirits. I felt really confident applying to that internship.”
About Valerie’s Internship
Far from home, Valerie spent the summer working as the Sales Management Intern in Portland. Valerie had little experience in sales, but entered the summer with confidence knowing she had a lot of support from the company.
“I learned a lot but never felt lost because people were so willing and excited to pass on their wisdom to me, and this is from every role from unit general manager all the way down to the people who stalk the shelves,” she said. “It was a very top-bottom experience, which was cool because it helped me make sense of the company, and I can take that perspective into whatever I go into next.”
Especially because Valerie, a non-business student, went to work for a business-heavy company, there was a lot of business jargon she didn’t know. However, Valerie got the chance to develop hard skills such as interpreting financial data, localizing a national business initiative, supply chain and sales, and strategic planning all through the every-day tasks of her internship. In terms of professional practice, Valerie learned how to communicate with higher ups, public speaking and speech delivery, how to network, and most of all how to have confidence.
Advice to Students Seeking Internships
On opening doors to possible internships and careers, Valerie said, “Be incredibly open to any possibility. I feel like more often I get stuck in wanting a glamorous dream job, and I’ll end up overlooking very sensible opportunities that will help me grow as a professional.”
While giving networking advice, Valerie shared that “Talking to as many people as you can, because you need to let people know you are more than a resume and cover letter. Networking is one of the most powerful ways to gain opportunities and insight from other people.”
“If you’re hesitant about taking the internship, take the internship,” said Valerie. “Either way, you will learn something about that kind of work, and whether it was a good or bad experience, that experience will always be beneficial.”
“Finally, my last piece of advice is to be confidence when you are talking to people. Have confidence in your writing, in yourself, everything, even when you’re lost. Because no one is going to believe you until you believe in yourself,” concluded Valerie.