Senior Andrew Zogg learns professionalism, gains experience working for National Life Group
By the time Andrew Zogg ’20, came to the Norwich University Career and Internship Center during the spring semester of his junior year, he knew the value of internships. He had already completed a marketing internship for a manufacturing company near his home in Maine. But since Zogg is an accounting and business management major, he decided an internship in that field would be important.
Zogg had heard it was possible to get an internship where he could earn academic credit toward his degree, get paid by the employer, and gain professional skills and connections. He came to the Career and Internship Center for the details.
“An internship is the perfect way to apply what you are learning in school and to see how it actually happens.”Kristen Cooper, audit enterprise services manager, National Life Group
Once there, Zogg worked with me to spruce up his résumé, practice interview skills, and learn about professionalism in the workplace. Since he wanted to complete his internship during the fall semester of senior year, while also taking other classes on campus, I helped him identify local opportunities. It soon became clear that National Life Group, an insurance and investment firm in Montpelier, Vermont, about 10 miles north on Route 12, was a great fit.
Also, lucky for Zogg, National Life Group was scheduled to attend the spring career fair. At the fair, I introduced Andrew to Meg Gras, a recruiter representing National Life. Once the back and forth of interviews were complete, Zogg was offered the internship.
Zogg was part of National Life Group’s internal auditing team. When asked why National Life is so gung ho about hiring interns, Zogg’s supervisor, Kristen Cooper, audit enterprise services manager, said she enjoys having interns on her team as it is a way to give back for all the mentorship she received in her career.
“An internship is the perfect way to apply what you are learning in school and to see how it actually happens,” she said. “Often, in school settings, you get case studies where the answer balances and can be wrapped up in a nice little bow. However, unfortunately, that doesn’t always work in the ‘real world.’ An internship helps students see that, but in a safe environment where you can help guide them through the challenges that they may face.
“I very much enjoy helping interns navigate those challenges and watching them grow from those challenges,” she added.
One of Andrew’s professors, Thomas Yandow, agreed.
“It’s all about gaining context for what is being taught in the classroom,” said Yandow, an associate professor of accounting.
Most of Zogg’s work revolved around Model Audit Rule and compliance testing. When asked about what he learned, Zogg said, “I gained a tremendous amount knowledge from this internship. I got to put my academics to use in a real work environment where I participated in project-related team meetings, individual assignments, and deadlines. I also gained excellent professionalism skills, like public speaking, giving presentations, networking, and writing professional emails.”
“Probably one of the best things I learned had to do with my career direction. I learned that I liked accounting and that I was good at it,” Zogg added. “Through the training, I received at National Life, I was able to pick up on why things were happening in certain ways, the reasoning needed to better understand and solve problems.”
Zogg said his internship has him thinking he will pursue an accounting role after graduation instead of a role in management and finance that he had originally considered.
Professor David Blythe, director of the School of Business Management, said Zogg’s internship success is the kind Norwich wants for all of its students.
“The School of Business is committed to encouraging outstanding internship experiences like the National Life program. We were very pleased to be able to place Andrew Zogg in that program,” Blythe said. “The work Andrew did at National Life was substantive and meaningful, and I know that he learned a great deal — both about the subject areas to which he was assigned and about the culture of a professional corporate environment.
“There is a real need to be able to show prospective employers that you can be effective in applying to their business what you learned in the classroom. The only way to do that is to get some real experience.”Andrew Zogg, Norwich senior and National Life Group intern
“Opportunities like this are important enhancements and add a great deal to the quality and breadth of an undergraduate business education,” Blythe added. “I know that Andrew represented Norwich extremely well in his internship, and that National Life continues to be uniformly impressed with our students.”
Zogg too, said he would highly recommend his National Life internship to other Norwich students.
“There is a real need to be able to show prospective employers that you can be effective in applying to their business what you learned in the classroom,” he said. “The only way to do that is to get some real experience and then get some rave reviews from the company that you can use during interviews with other potential employers.”
A year after his initial visit to the Career and Internship Center, Zogg is looking for accounting positions at firms with offices along the New England coastline, so he can find a job he enjoys while also being near his Marine Corps Reserve unit. With his Norwich degree, solid internship experience, and outstanding professional skills, we’re sure he will succeed.
Kathryn Provost is director of Norwich University's Career and Internship Center