Hanging around professional soccer players, preparing commemorative shirts for the LA Galaxy’s season opener, helping coordinate children on the field before a game, and getting paid to boot–it’s all in a day’s work for Jason Loyola, a marketing major at California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH).
Well, at least during the spring 2016 semester. Loyola and fellow CSUDH marking student Victor McGinnis have been working at the StubHub Center located on campus as this year’s LA Galaxy/StubHub Center sales and marketing interns.
“I love meeting and walking alongside world-class soccer players like [the LA Galaxy’s] Steven Gerrard and Giovanni Dos Santos,” said Loyola, a 25-year-old resident of the City of Orange. “Watching them train week-in and week-out, and then seeing their product on the field on the weekend is pretty cool.”
Helping at games was just an “incredible bonus” to the internship, but Loyola’s and McGinnis’ main task was helping grow the presence of the LA Galaxy and the StubHub Center on and off campus by promoting the annual CSUDH Toro Night, which took place on April 23. Their job was to increase sales and attract more students to the event, including those from other universities.
“I was a bit worried when we had sold only 45 tickets. Then I came back after spring break to check sales and we had jumped up to 200. We ended up with a total of 1,060 students in attendance this year, of which 647 were CSUDH students,” said Loyola, who reached out with email blasts to fraternities, sororities, and student organizations, and by hosting “tabling events” at CSUDH and other universities to share information about Toro Night. “It was just a great success.”
Internships: a Must Do
With its location on campus, the StubHub Center is a significant CSUDH partner and supporter of the university’s students. The center and the LA Galaxy currently offer the two marketing internships through the CSUDH’s College of Business Administration and Public Policy.
However, they are among “thousands of internships” in a variety of industries available to CSUDH students, whether offered through partnerships with the university, or available to all college students.
Loyola and McGinnis have gained more than just experience from the internship, which will likely be a major contributor in launching their careers.
“In the past, let’s say around the year 2000, when an employer would look at a resume they were generally looking at your part-time experience–any type of job you performed while you were going to college,” said Nicole Rodriguez, director of the Career Center at CSUDH. “Back then, even if you didn’t do anything in college to get leadership or community service experience, a student could still find work right out of college. But now it’s harder, and when employers read resumes they always scan for internship experience.”
According to Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 Undergraduate Business School Rankings, 61 percent of students who had internship experience received job offers during the “winter of their senior year,” compared to only 28 percent of students who did not.
Visit the Career Center to lean more about internships available to CSUDH students.
Rodriguez and Kathy Kim, the new internship specialist in the Career Center who arrived in September 2015, are making a concerted effort to let more CSUDH students know about the ample internship opportunities by engaging in a variety of high-impact practices, such as the expanded annual Internship Week, which took place in February.
“During Internship Week they [the employers] were all looking to hire. We had PepsiCo, Hulu, and Southern Wine and Spirits, to name a few. They had heard a lot about the great things Cal State Dominguez Hills is doing and wanted to jump on as partners,” said Rodriguez, who added that 72 employers participated in the event, the highest number to date, and that more than half were looking for students to fill internships alone.
New and True Strategies
The Career Center also hosts three job fairs each year with employers from a broad range of industries: business and government entities; in health and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields; and one focused on arts and entertainment. During the job fairs hosted in the fall, employers hire interns for the most part, while in the spring they tend to search more for the right full-time employees to join their ranks.
Along with the “more robust” Internship Week and the job fairs, the Career Center is tapping Kim’s experience to develop and carry out internship education programs for students, such as presentations and workshops. Kim also meets one-on-one with students during counseling sessions to better expose them to internships that might offer alternative types of experience.
“Some students will try two to three different internships while in college, which we recommend. It’s always a good idea to explore several options,” she said. “It also enables them to network, which is critical today when every graduating class is larger than the one that preceded it. There’s just way more competition out there, and multiple internships really bolsters their experience and gets them ahead of the curve.”
In spring 2017, the Career Center is going to launch an internship documentation system to help track CSUDH interns and their progress, said Rodriguez. The center is also developing career exploration site visits that will last several days.
“We will host one-day meetings with students to discuss and advise them on how to look and act during interviews, how to have a professional attitude, and other things to be aware of such as how to pick the best time to arrive,” said Rodriguez. “Then, the next few days they will be participating in exploratory visits to companies and other potential employers.”
Another simple yet impactful way the Career Center is attracting more students to internships is by lining signs one after another along the path in front of the Loker Student Union.
“Each sign has a different national statistic related to college success. The statistics are compelling, and they encourage students to think about their futures and how they may go about getting the right experience,” said Kim. “They have proven to be pretty effective.”
Although Toro Night is over, Loyola and McGinnis are still working for the LA Galaxy and the StubHub Center through the end of the spring semester. Loyola’s experience has taught him that an internship is “one of the most important things an undergraduate can do,” particularly in regards to applying classroom lecture to professional work.
“For a long time I had no clue how I was going to do that,” he said. “But the LA Galaxy and the StubHub Center have given me a plethora of knowledge and experience that I know will pay dividends when I graduate next fall.”