Three graduating seniors from the James M. Hull College of Business capped off their undergraduate careers by completing a semester-long internship with ADP—global provider of cloud-based HR, payroll and benefits solutions.
After completing their internship, Quintin Jones (management), Brandon Harms (marketing) and Jessica Yates (marketing) presented the results of their internship to academic leadership and several ADP executives, including Dave Brendza, vice president and general manager of the ADP Augusta Solution Center, on Friday, April 21.
In addition to learning modern business staples—such as using email and scheduling in a professional environment, developing a personal brand and plying emotional intelligence—the students also took away a unique experience: Over the course of a single semester, they got the opportunity to study a company from the inside out, learning and growing in a real-world corporate atmosphere.
They also had the chance to be listened to.
Amy Swenson, career and employer relations manager, works extensively with local interns and local businesses alike. She said the opportunity to not only work for, but be heard by a Fortune 500 company, makes a world of difference in the lives of business students.
“At ADP, our students take on a project, and they look at it both in detail and from a larger perspective,” Swenson said. “They talk to directors, leaders, managers and employees, gather information and use the research skills they learn to run reports, pull data and, ultimately, pitch suggestions to ADP about how to fix problems.”
“It’s honestly my favorite part of my job,” she added. “Being able to see a student as they progress… and see how they are changed through that experience is really huge.”
Jones, a non-traditional student, said the experience had a huge impact on his education.
“Anyone can benefit from the exposure to a corporate environment and the opportunity to put to practical use some of the theories they’ve read about,” Jones said. “For me, I can honestly say that, through this internship, I’ve found a mentor and a sponsor.”
ADP’s commitment to the Augusta community extends beyond just opportunities for interns, however. Dr. Rick Franza, dean of Hull College, said the company takes an active role in shaping opportunities for future and current students as well.
“ADP is one of our biggest employers in the Augusta area, and they’re very participatory with our college,” Franza said. “Part of my goal with the college is to be the ‘business school for business’—to be engaged with the business community in Augusta—and ADP has been extremely proactive with that.”
Part of that proactivity means going above and beyond the usual college-business relationship. Last week, Franza traveled with ADP representatives to the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). There, ADP and UTEP have developed an ADP HCM (Human Capital Management) Academy.
“I actually traveled with ADP to El Paso to see how we could do something similar here,” Franza said.
Reflecting on his internship, Jones said he would absolutely recommend interested students seek an internship with ADP.
“My recommendation for future internships with ADP is a firm yes,” Jones said. “Experience is the best teacher, and in the local area, ADP is the ‘Dean of Admissions,’ so to speak.”
Swenson said the internship represents a huge commitment, not only to university students, but to the community as a whole.
“It takes a lot of investment on [ADP’s] part,” Swenson said. “They are consistently engaged with students, faculty and administration, and we think that’s a valuable asset to our ability to build the workforce pipeline.”
For the benefit of current and future students, Franza said, the weight of Hull College’s partnership with ADP can hardly be overstated.
“It’s a win-win; they get some of our best students who come and work for most of the semester with them and our students get a great experience,” Franza said. “We see this is as one of our greatest partnerships at Hull.”