Henderson, Tennessee – (Oct. 31, 2023) – The Second Annual Beyond BK Intern Recognition Dinner celebrated 27 Freed-Hardeman College of Business students who completed professional internships during the last year. About 100 people attended the evening, which was sponsored by HCA Healthcare and Vector Wealth Strategies.
Beyond BK stands for Beyond Brown-Kopel, the name of the building that houses FHU’s College of Business. It is an initiative that focuses students on career exploration and gaining real-world professional experience in their fields during their college careers.
Many interns are often offered full-time employment and have a competitive edge when seeking employment. Dean of the College of Business Matt Vega offered his support of the dinner and praised the students’ efforts. “Last year, we had some interns at prestigious firms, like PWC and JPMorgan Chase. If you can get an internship on Park Avenue from little Henderson, that’s great.”
The six students who were the evening’s keynote speakers encouraged their peers to pursue internships and be prepared to step outside of their comfort zones. Student speakers were Kylee McKee, a junior accounting major, who interned at StoneGate Senior Living; Caleb Bond, a senior accounting and fraud examination major, who interned at Watkins Uiberall, PLLC; Brittany Adair, a senior business management major, who interned with the Mudcats (AAA baseball team in Chillicothe, Missouri); Elijah Ellis, a senior marketing major, who worked at Carnival Cruise Lines; Ana Grace Stephens, a junior marketing, financial planning, and business administration major, who interned at State Farm Insurance; and J.P. Key, a senior management and healthcare management major, who interned at Innovative Family Care.
“Innovative Family Care was my third internship,” Key said. “They gave me experiences in budgeting, salaries and generating spreadsheets, and I still work remotely on a spreadsheet. I learned that I really enjoy helping people solve problems.” Pleased with his work ethic, Innovative Family Care offered Key a full-time position to join their team after he graduates.
Ellis’s internship sailing on the Pacific Ocean with Carnival Cruise Line has proved fruitful for him. He has accepted a full-time position as a teen leader, where he will coordinate activities for 15 to 17 year olds. “It was a great experience and also my first time on a cruise ship,” he said. During his speech Ellis shared how he tailored his application using keywords and was selected during a process that started with 1,800 applicants; he was among the only 28 individuals selected. He encouraged the audience of his peers: “Take chances and step out of your comfort zone.”
McKee learned the importance of building relationships and making connections. “As an intern, you have to try things out and not be afraid to use the connections you have or to make more,” she said.
Adair’s internship experience highlighted her strengths and confirmed a career path she wants to pursue. “I worked in business, finance and sales while I worked with the Mudcats,” she said. “When they let me plan the Home Run Derby and coordinate the whole event, I even built the bracket; that’s when I found what I really like to do – coordinate events.”
As a tax intern at Watkins Uiberall, PLLC, Bond sharpened his networking skills and called his time at the firm “the best experience of my life.” He recommended fellow business majors to be persistent and to always communicate with people.
Representatives from sponsoring businesses, Nick Jackson, a lead advisor at Vector Wealth Strategies, and Hudson Huber, a senior manager at HCA Healthcare, encouraged students to apply for internships with their companies. Both men are FHU alumni.
“You should work hard, and try hard,” Huber said. “Be proactive and show your skills, but also make sure the work culture fits.” Jackson said the company builds relationships with the next generation of financial professionals and provides them opportunities to learn. “Half of our interns are from Freed-Hardeman. Out of 13 staff members, six of them are FHU alumni,” Jackson said. Vector Wealth Strategies sponsored the gift for the dinner, a customized 25-oz. YETI water bottle.
FHU business instructor Amy Sewell said the annual dinner is just one of many opportunities for students to engage in activities that help them develop a competitive advantage in the workplace. “Internships are career interviews, and the experience teaches students their strengths and reveals their challenges,” she said. “Doing a variety of internships helps them decide the types of roles they want to pursue when they graduate.”
Freed-Hardeman University’s mission is to help students develop their God-given talents and deepen their faith by providing them an education founded in faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.