Internship Story: Jane Blanchard at Unum
Jane Blanchard, a junior studying Marketing and Management at the Maine Business School, tapped her network to learn about Unum’s internship program. “Everyone I spoke with throughout the interview process was kind, accommodating, and helpful,” she says. “That helped me determine that Unum would be a good fit for me.”
How did you hear about this internship?
I know someone who works for Unum. When I spoke with her about her experience working with the company, she had nothing but good things to say about it. She told me they have an excellent internship program, so I applied.
Why did you choose to intern at Unum?
I chose to intern with Unum for several reasons. First and foremost, I was drawn to Unum’s strong emphasis on professional development and mentorship opportunities. Their internship program promised hands-on experience and guidance, which I knew would be invaluable in shaping my understanding of the insurance sector and honing my skills.
What were your internship tasks?
I did a variety of different tasks during my internship. The first project I worked on involved analyzing employee turnover trends in the Benefit Operations sector base. Throughout the internship, I also participated in a business case project with other interns in which we developed and presented solutions to ensure smooth integration during company mergers and acquisitions. My last project involved researching and creating content for the manager development/success program.
What did you like most about your internship?
My favorite part of the internship was getting to experience what it was like working in a corporate environment and shadowing employees from many different sectors of the company. All I had to do was reach out to someone in a role I thought was interesting, and they would make time for me to shadow them within the same week. Everyone I reached out to was beyond willing to show me what a day in their life looked like. Because of this, I have a much better understanding of the kind of role I want to work in someday.
What were the biggest challenges you faced as an intern?
My biggest challenge as an intern involved the business case challenge we worked on with other interns. For this project, we were asked, “How can Unum ensure smooth integration and success during company mergers and acquisitions?” In order to answer this question, I had to reach out to many higher-ups within the company for interviews. This definitely took me out of my comfort zone. This project also involved a lot of teamwork, coordination, and collaboration, which wasn’t always easy to execute due to conflicting schedules and responsibilities. At the end of the project, our groups were required to present our findings to an entire panel of executive management, including the CEO, CFO, and COO of Unum. It was really intimidating at first to present in front of such an esteemed group of people. Still, in retrospect, it was essential to developing my confidence and public speaking skills!
What are some things you learned during your internship that you couldn’t have learned in the classroom?
I learned how to navigate a corporate environment, which I feel is something you cannot learn until you experience it first-hand. Corporate dynamics are pretty different from any other work environment I have been in, and I would say it was quite the culture shock at first. Throughout my internship, however, I learned the ins and outs of corporate communication, values, and structure.
How will this experience help you as you move forward in your career?
I learned so much about teamwork, the importance of effective communication, and prioritization. At Unum, I often had competing priorities, which taught me how to prioritize tasks and communicate with management about my responsibilities.
Any advice to share with other students considering an internship?
Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and take on a challenging role. You never know the people you might meet, the skills you will develop, and the important connections you could make!
Why did you decide to study business at the Maine Business School?
I decided to study here because I was planning on going to UMaine and had an interest in marketing, so it made sense. Since then, I have decided to double major in marketing and management and have become an MBS Ambassador! The Maine Business School has completely exceeded my expectations in every sense of the word. I absolutely love all of my professors, classes, and opportunities for involvement.