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Interning with the Pros
LSBE marketing student Jenny Burns interned with the Minnesota Vikings.
Jenny Burns looks up and scans the crowd, impressed by the number of fans in the stadium for the Saturday night practice. She turns around and walks onto the field with the other interns, holding three mini-footballs in hand. Walking up to Kyle Rudolph, she is a little intimidated by his 6’6’’ frame. She looks up at Rudolph, asks him to sign the footballs, and gives him further instructions about when to throw the footballs into the crowd. "I never imagined I would be the person telling a Minnesota Vikings player what to do!" she says.
At training camp, fans were able to get autographs, and Jenny was assigned to help. She had the chance to work alongside Case Keenum, quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, when she managed his autograph line. He asked about her studies at UMD and life in Duluth. She was impressed that he was so kind.
“Interaction with the players is the thing that I will remember most. They’re the nicest guys” says Jenny.
From the Field to the Classroom
Jenny Burns, a senior marketing student from Apple Valley, Minn., is applying what she learned with the Vikings to her academic classes in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics. Her biggest take-away was developing customer service skills. Since most of her internship was spent interacting with customers — Minnesota Vikings fans — she was able to learn a lot. Those new customer skills are applicable to the business world. During her internship, Jenny sold Kids Club memberships to parents. Having no prior sales experience, she learned how to throw a pitch (the communicating kind of pitch) and excite customers about benefits. She found these skills especially helpful in her Fundamentals of Selling class. "I was more confident about material because of my experience with the Vikings," she says.
Jenny, who is president of the UMD Advertising/Marketing Club, says she also gained event management skills during the four-week training camp. She learned about day to day operations, managing activities, problem solving, and adaptability during her internship. Jenny now has the chance to use these skills in her spring 2018 Event Management course where she is creating an Earth Day event with her classmates.
Something New Everyday
Jenny was never bored at training camp. Every day started with set up at 7:30 am. Once the fans arrived, Jenny’s task was to interact with the customers by operating the kids zone, being an attendant for VIP Parties, bringing players to the autograph zone, and managing autograph lines. The days were long, she often worked 10-hours in a row, but she doesn’t regret any of it. She looked forward to work every day and "never got burnt out" during the four-plus weeks of the internship.
“It was the best experience of my life,” Jenny says.
Jenny hopes to work in sports marketing after graduating in spring 2018. She is open to all kinds of possibilities, and says, "I would love to work for the Vikings again!"