Debbie Dawson – Debbie’s son Alex has worked with Southwestern Advantage 3 summers
Debbie currently works at Ferris State University where she is the Director of the School of Computer, Electrical, Energy, and Survey Systems.
“Mom, Mom… I have a possible summer internship!”
“Way Cool! What is it?”
“Sales! And they need you to be part of the interview.”
With some trepidation, but not wanting to spoil the excitement… “What kind of sales? And why do I need to be interviewed?”
“Well, it is a tough job and they want to make sure we have support from home when we have rough days! They want to make sure you will not encourage me to throw in the towel and come home – I know that is your response anyway! I did my homework – talked to other engineering students in the program. They had on average three times the job offers as their counterparts who had technical internships. At Southwestern, they teach us how to be confident and how to sell ourselves. I’m really excited about this – when can they call?”
So the journey began…
I met with the leaders from Southwestern Advantage and was very impressed with the company, their philosophy, and their business ethics. They really care about the students they work with and encourage them to be the best! They were very upfront and honest about the challenges my son would have – working long hours, learning how to run his own business, staying positive in the face of rejection… the list went on. At the same time, they described the support network they had in place for these students. Again quite impressive – from the training sessions, to sales school, to the alumni network, to Sunday meetings, to Career Services… that list went on as well!
The first summer was interesting. My son was a long way from home and very focused on the process. He was up early every day and worked late into the night (this from a college student who previously rolled out of bed around 11 am, grabbed his swim suit, and headed to the pool for a very grueling four hour work day watching kids swim!). He told me before he left that he would probably only call me on Sundays. It was tough during the week, wondering how he was doing, but rewarding when he caught up on Sundays. His work weeks were not always good, but he didn’t dwell on it – his attitude was directed towards his plans to do better next week. Wow! Goal setting! All in all, it was a very successful summer!
My son had always been confident, out-going, and friendly. When he came back at the end of the summer – he had matured far beyond his years. His strengths became much more apparent and his ability to work with people exploded. I am a firm believer in Southwestern Advantage. I have seen the results, the growth, the maturity, and the work ethic they instill in young people. It is a fabulous company with leaders who “walk the walk”. They set examples for the students and help guide them towards success. I definitely recommend this program to students who are willing to accept the challenge. They will reap benefits for years to come.