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The Abernathy MacGregor Group Summer Intern Program
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Matthew Crager

Paterno Fellow
Major: Communication Arts and Sciences
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this opportunity by networking with an alumnus of the Schreyer Honors College. Through my job with the honors college, I was planning an event with an alumnus and he took an interest in helping me find a summer internship. He emailed one of his contacts in the field of communications and forwarded them my resume. After that, I continued with the application process, interviewed and submitted required materials, and was eventually chosen to take part in the program.

I would not have even heard about this opportunity had it not been for the alumnus with whom I worked on that project. This helped to show me the importance of networking.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This summer, I worked at the Abernathy MacGregor Group in New York City, a corporate, strategic and financial communications consultancy. At AMG, I was able to work with a group of skilled professionals that service clients in the asset management industry. My group consulted clients on communications strategy and conducted day-to-day media relations. As part of this team, I completed tasks that included compiling media coverage and coverage reports, creating media lists, and drafting and editing documents like by-lined articles and Op-Editorials. In addition, I worked with eight other interns to complete a project in which we renewed the firm's new business materials such as case studies, capabilities decks, conference lists, and other items. My experience at Abernathy MacGregor provided me with a great introduction to the field of financial public relations and helped me narrow down my career interests so that I can return to Penn State with a better vision of what comes after graduation.

"I now trust more fully that my education in Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts is preparing me for a career in any field I want to enter because I'm learning the communication and critical thinking skills needed to make that happen."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Before embarking on this journey in New York City, I thought that if I wanted to work in Public Relations I would have to take all PR classes, or that if I wanted to work in business I would need to take a heavy load of classes in Smeal. However, this experience has shown me that pursuing a liberal arts education - even in its most "liberal" forms - provides one with the skills necessary to be successful in any line of work.

I now trust more fully that my education in Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts is preparing me for a career in any field I want to enter because I'm learning the communication and critical thinking skills needed to make that happen. So, this experience impacted me academically by encouraging me not to feel like I have to take classes that teach me specific skills relating to very specific occupations. Trusting in my liberal arts education here at Penn State proved to be enough this past summer, and I know it will be going forward, too.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am still not sure what I want to do after graduation. However, this experience was my first big test in trying to narrow down the list of choices. No matter what I do, I know that I want to be in a field that requires me to use my communication and critical thinking skills. Before this experience, however, there was one field that I was positive I would never enter: finance. However, this experience has completely shifted my perspective by showing me that I can be involved in a niche area of a field in which I was so completely disinterested before, like the public relations side of asset management. In fact, I would really love to return to the field of financial PR after graduation.

But the biggest impact this experience has had on my career goals is in the way it encouraged me to see that liberal arts students can truly be successful in any field we choose. This experience has proven that to be true, and it has encouraged me to cast a wide net in choosing opportunities in the future.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to liberal arts students who are looking for a way to test their critical thinking and communication skills in a new and exciting way. Additionally, if there are any liberal arts students from any major looking to work in business and finance, this is a great way to start. Though I entered the job knowing little about business or finance, I left feeling so much more knowledgeable on those topics. Even if you don't plan to work in this field after graduation, there is so much value in putting yourself in a situation that stretches and challenges you to learn about a field you've never explored while using and developing the skills you've begun to hone at Penn State.

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