By: Ariel Schneider  | 

YU's Summer Internship Innovation

We watched internships, camps and summer programs get canceled left and right. We watched as 64% of internships that canceled this summer did not offer online or hybrid alternatives. We watched more than thirty million people file for unemployment. It seemed like there was little hope this summer. Despite all of the challenges, however, YU students never stopped hustling to find innovative ways of staying productive. Many students utilized the new Yeshiva University Consulting Force to shape their summer. 

This initiative, pioneered by Dr. Noam Wasserman, dean of the Sy Syms School of Business, was created in response to the inevitable loss of internships and jobs due to the pandemic. The leadership course was designed for students seeking summer consulting experience while involving professors and outside organizations. 

Samuel Lekowsky (SSSB ‘21), Sy Syms student council treasurer, decided to give this new program a go. As part of the Consulting Force program, Lekowsky and several other participants took part in a three-week training course consisting of presentations detailing various topics like client management, professionalism and non-profits from professionals in Deloitte, BCG, Accenture and the OU. Students ended the training with a simulator case competition that gave participants a feel of what it is like to work on consulting projects. 

In addition to preparatory consulting programming, Lekowsky was doing research for the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) through the YU Consulting Force. His role consisted of meeting with JCRC executives to conduct needs assessments in order to address strategic issues. He also personally contacted companies for their customer relationship management systems, which helps manage and analyze interactions with potential customers. 

Students were not without guidance throughout the program as Avi Giloni, associate dean of Sy Syms School of Business, Tamar Avnet, chair of the marketing department and Tom Kennon, professor of marketing, played an important role in advising Lekowsky and many other Consulting Force team members. Each advisor dedicated their summers to meet daily with students participating in the Consulting Force to provide stronger general business skills going into the workplace. “The advisors [professors] have been extremely helpful in shaping my summer into what it is right now. I really enjoyed the three-week training and all the speakers we had along the way,” said Lekowsky. While utilizing the summer opportunities YU offered, others trailblazed their own professional experiences.

Steven Paul (SSSB ‘23), co-vice president of YU’s Networking Club, worked for Brahman Capital, an investment management corporation that works on allocating CEOs that are uniquely shareholder driven. Paul worked remotely on one-pagers, which provides a high-level report of a candidate's qualifications in relation to a specific position. He also worked on investment theses while handling daily research projects for companies and industries that Brahman Capital partners with. Aside from his work at Brahman, Paul has been working with his fellow editor Noah Pomerance (SSSB ‘23) on his own initiative, a new business newspaper called “185th and Wall Street.” They hope to continue to work on growing their news site on various college campuses.

Abigail Rochlin (SCW ‘21) also made sure to take advantage of this unprecedented summer. She joined the OU Impact Accelerator, an Orthodox Union initiative that helps grow nonprofit startups while giving college students an opportunity to gain business and leadership skills. “We start with a team meeting on RingCentral, an alternative to Zoom, to catch up and plan out what we have to do that day,” she said. “Sometimes we stay on and work together on projects and other days we log off and work solo.” 

The OU interns were split up between different nonprofits like Ani-Tefilla, an elementary school Tefilla curriculum builder, and Daily-Giving, a nonprofit that allows you to donate daily to various organizations. Rochlin met with the other nonprofits on Mondays and Fridays for a “coffee chat” where they spoke about skills they gained over the week and bounce ideas off of one another to further each other's progress in their respective fields.

Some students, including Benjy Aryeh (SSSB ‘21), utilized the Axiom Investing Incubator, a program created by a YU alumnus, Evan Axelrod (SSSB ‘20), where participants work on technical skills in the financial arena. “Originally, I planned on interning for a company in Israel. However, due to the pandemic, my plans were canceled. Thankfully Evan reached out to me and told me about the incubator,” said Aryeh.” I have learned how to analyze a company's financial statements along with identifying underperforming companies,” he added. Impromptu programs like these have afforded students valuable experience that they wouldn’t have otherwise received.

Although uncertainty permeated the minds of internshipless students throughout the latter half of the year, the innovative spirit both within the character of students and administration allowed for an unforeseen professional success. The world might be on standby but YU will never stop pioneering new and creative opportunities in the face of uncertainty. 

Photo Caption: The world of remote work has afforded some students a second chance to gain real-world experience.
Photo Credit: Pixabay