Skills Acquired at Creighton Propel Internship Opportunities
Ashley Nelson, a senior from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, began adding varied internship experiences to her CV before she even had her dorm assignment freshman year. The summer before moving to Creighton, Nelson interned with Fair Anita, a Minneapolis-based fair trade jewelry company. This initial internship would be the first in a series of formative work experiences for Nelson, who traces her interest in fair trade and sustainability to her middle school days and membership in National Charity League, a mother-daughter volunteering organization.
While most students begin interning as sophomores or rising juniors, Nelson worked her first college internship at Habitat for Humanity as a second semester freshman. She says that even early in her collegiate career her classes provided her the requisite skills to succeed.
“Creighton teaches you how to stand out, how to adapt and how to excel in spaces less explored,” Nelson explains.
A project management internship with Creighton’s Student Leadership and Involvement Center and then a marketing internship with Spreetail, an e-commerce business headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, with offices in Omaha, followed.
Now, Nelson works for the Fortune 500 food giant General Mills as a finance intern on its supply chain team. She and two other interns are charged with pouring through internal plant data to identify inefficiencies and note opportunities for growth or capital investment.
Though she works entirely remotely, she says General Mills is providing a “wonderful experience” for its interns. “We meet regularly with people all over the company to learn more about General Mills and the different positions and projects that exist within. They work hard to integrate us interns into their amazing culture. The thing that I have liked best so far is the people I have gotten to meet and the opportunities to work on meaningful projects,” she adds.
This ability to network, even remotely, is one of the most valuable lessons she has learned at Creighton, she says, and it is central to the Heider Mindset Curriculum’s Collaborative Mindset, which reinforces such skills as teamwork, communication and empathy.
“Business is all about relationships,” says Nelson, “and Heider has fostered an environment where students are always eager to learn and ask questions.”
Nelson is double majoring in international business and finance, which she calls “the backbone of any career you want to have in business,” and minoring in sustainability. Currently, she is working with her mentor Keith Olson, DBA, CFA, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Economics and Finance, on ESG research. ESG, the environmental, social and corporate governance practices of an investment or company, “is the future of how businesses will need to operate if they want to continue to be successful,” she says, adding, “I have a passion for ESG and sustainable investing.”
A student of the Mandarin language since the 7th grade, Nelson planned to study in Beijing, China, at the University of International Business and Economics. Unfortunately, COVID shuttered those plans.
Not one to lament loss, Nelson instead chose to focus on what she could accomplish, seeking opportunity closer to home. She ran for vice president of Creighton’s student body in January 2021 and won. In addition to this leadership role, she has served as vice president of administration for the Heider Business Senate, participates in the Anna Tyler Waite Leadership Program and is a Heider Dean’s Fellow.
Nelson is also a member of several campus organizations, including Gamma Phi Beta social sorority, the Fair Trade Club and Creighton’s club soccer team, and she volunteers with Lutheran Family Services and the Salvation Army in Omaha. She believes all Creighton students should carve out time to go on at least one Schlegel Center for Service and Justice trip during their undergrad years, saying her experiences were “life-changing.”
“Creighton has truly molded me into the person I am today,” says Nelson, “and I will be forever grateful for the experiences and people that made it all possible.”