Student Spotlight - Abbey Rhodes

Posted: August 31, 2016 12:00:00 AM CDT

Abbey Rhodes is an Enactus Pro! She served as the president of the organization 2015-2016. During her term, Enactus achieved their team goals and qualified for nationals. She was the student representative of the UNK recycling task force and was able to bridge the gap between this group and the sustainability efforts of Enactus. Abbey also held the position of manager for the student-ran coffee shop, Brewed Awakening, located in the West Center. In her last semester at UNK, she continues to volunteer with Enactus to recruit new members as well as train the new Brewed Awakening crew. Abbey Main Photo

Abbey is studying Business Administration with an emphasis in Economics and Finance. Below, Abbey shares her experience of having an internship over the summer with Walmart in Arkansas.

How did you secure this internship?

I secured my summer internship at Walmart while attending last year's National Competition for Enactus. Every year we are able to attend the largest career fair I have personally ever seen filled with Fortune 500 companies that are looking to hire motivated college students. I was talking to a Walmart recruiter about travel and living in rural towns when he invited me for an interview. I talked to him about a few of the projects and initiatives I had started on campus while he ensured I knew how to read an income statement. I found it extremely important to connect with my recruiter and find similar hobbies and interests. 

What exactly did you do?

I worked as a staff auditor at Walmart, rotating between Accounting and Finance, Operations, and Merchandise Audit. Audit allows you to, and forces you to, learn a great deal about a business unit in a short amount of time. I learned about how Walmart manages to remain the top Fortune company and about the new initiatives and process improvements they have been working on for years. I ensured processes were being executed completely and holistically while offering suggestions to solve problems if certain initiatives were being restricted. 

What was the most positive take-away?

I was able to work on my networking skills all summer as I met with other interns, auditors, and higher-ups in the company.  It's important to say yes to new opportunities. I was able to pitch and play softball against top executives in the company, become a finalist at the all night Hackathon event, introduce two Executive Vice Presidents at a speaker series, and so much more. I'm looking forward to continuing to step out of my comfort zone and move forward in my career. I had a lot of fun! Abbey with Walmart CEO

What did you learn that you can apply to future positions?

It is vitally important to meet and connect with people both inside and outside of the organization. I've learned how to ask better questions when first meeting someone and how to follow up in order to continue the friendship. In business, your reputation means a lot to your future at a given company. The combination of working hard and having people to verify your work leads to faster promotions and more challenging, exiting, projects to manage. 

How did being a member of Enactus help you?

Enactus got me this job. First, being a member of Enactus gave me the ability to start and work on projects that have a meaningful impact in my community. I learned project management, how to negotiate, and how to communicate effectively while proving my work ethic to future employers. Second, large companies like Walmart do not come to UNK career fairs. I wouldn't have been able to get this internship if not for meeting with recruiters in person at Enactus National Competition. 

Do you feel this internship gives you an advantage?

Yes! I have grown personally and professionally this summer. This work experience helped me to understand what I want out of myself and my future, which I feel is a major advantage from where I was before the internship started. 

After graduation, I plan to work for the FDIC as a Financial Institutions Specialist in Appleton, WI.

By: Lisa Tschauner

Category: Business and Technology, Entrepreneur