This is a guest post by Skandalaris Venture Host and owner of the Arnold Group, Linda Graves Arnold.
While I may not fit the mold of the typical Skandalaris Venture, I applied and was chosen to participate in the Summer Internship Program. Never having had an intern before, I was very interested to attend the orientation meeting for ventures and took lots of notes! I really enjoyed the matching process. Just reviewing all of the resumes of over 200 potential Wash U interns was quite intimidating. They were all SO impressive. It made it very difficult to even begin to cull a short list of candidates. They all seemed so capable and infinitely interesting.
I really enjoyed the “Intern Fair” where I was able to interact with many different intern candidates as well as other ventures. I was lucky enough to meet my eventual intern Qiqi Chen there. While we might have looked like an unlikely pair on paper, we have really worked well together this summer. I think both of us went out of our way to learn about each other so as to maximize the experience for each of us. Qiqi is very bright and interested in what we do at the Arnold Group of Coldwell Banker Gundaker. She asks many insightful questions and seeks opportunities to contribute to our team.
This summer, she took on a data analysis project to assist homeowners contest the tax assessment on their homes. She collected data and analyzed it as well as actually accompanied one homeowner through the process. Her data analysis helped one homeowner lower the assessed value of her home by a whopping 10%. Another project she took on was to become a videographer. We worked collaboratively on several videos that focused on particular areas of St. Louis where I sell homes. She also collected video clips of me during my day, helping to document just what it takes to be a real estate professional too. She created and edited several videos that I can’t wait to use in my professional real estate marketing.
When we first started working together, I couldn’t ask her enough questions about her home and life in China as well as about her extraordinary journey of being a high school and college student in America. My friends and colleagues who met her felt the same way. She is a charming young woman who is very bright and mature beyond her years. It was absolutely fascinating to hear about life in China through the eyes of a Chinese citizen. It was fun to introduce her to some areas of St. Louis she was unfamiliar with and to some foods she had never tasted before. She is now a fan of toasted ravioli or T-ravs. She introduced me to some unfamiliar Asian cuisine and Bubble Tea. I can’t say I was quite as adventurous as Qiqi was toward American food.
As a venture, I enjoyed the luncheon with other interns and the venture panel discussion experience. I participated with other women ventures in a fascinating panel experience. Our moderator Jessica did a great job, the students and other audience members asked thoughtful questions and I enjoyed getting to know the other panelists.
On June 3rd, the summer stretched out before us and 10 weeks seemed like a long time. It was amazing how quickly it passed. This summer, while I gained an employee, I also gained a friend. At times, I couldn’t decide if I felt more like a boss, an American hosting a foreign exchange student, or a mom since she is living so far from her home in China. (It was hard to not “mother” at times!) I learned more than I ever dreamed I would by hiring a Wash U intern for the summer. I highly recommend the experience and hope that I get the opportunity to do so again.