A Great Internship Locks in a Job Offer
Not everyone gets excited about padlocks. They’re small and inconspicuous. Their efficiency isn’t noticed until they break. And yet they’re everywhere, holding the world together.
For the first time in her life, global commerce and economics double major Natalie Zaravella ’20 is starting to notice them, and she’s thrilled.
“I actually just saw one the other night on an electric box in my hometown,” recounts Zaravella, who interned in the summer of 2018 with The Wilson Bohannon Company, a lock manufacturer in Marion, Ohio.
“It seems so simple. You can hold a lock in the palm of your hand. But they’re impacting people everywhere — we sell them to the Columbus Zoo and they’re the preferred padlock of the U.S. Navy. That’s what I love about business. It creates economic growth but it also impacts people.”
This passion and enthusiasm have led Zaravella to create a name for herself at Wilson Bohannan. As a 20-year-old, she was asked to present a summary of her 12-week internship at a board meeting with the owners, president, vice presidents, and department heads.
There, she spoke about the research and connections she made in an effort to expand Wilson Bohannan into Canada. She explained how the socio-economic and political standards differed from the U.S. She outlined the guidelines Wilson Bohannan has to meet to export the products, how to ship them, how to promote them, and the best international pricing model to use.
After she was done, they offered her a job.
“I was 100 percent convinced that this was the thing that I should do,” says Zaravella, who will work remotely as a consultant for Wilson Bohannan and continue her research into new markets and e-commerce opportunities.
“As a sophomore, I was just starting to figure my majors out. But this experience taught me so much.”
“I am completely honored. When I began my internship I was excited and wide-eyed. I had no idea what would become of it. And to have the president acknowledge my efforts? It gave me a sense of purpose. This work is something I enjoy.”
Zaravella was connected to this internship through the Ohio Export Internship Program, a curriculum run through The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Global commerce majors are encouraged to take advantage of the 12-week program, which includes a summer internship. Oliver Reinecke ’19 also participated in the program.
“The OEI Program is an invaluable opportunity for our global commerce majors to put their knowledge of complex global dynamics into practice right here in Ohio,” says Karen Spierling, director of the Global Commerce program.
“It was the closest match I’ve ever found between classroom curriculum and real-world experience. I loved it but it was a challenge. I was driving 80 miles round-trip to the weekly OSU class, balancing Denison coursework, and it was also during championship swim season. There was a lot to juggle there,” says Zaravella, who is a 6-time All-American on the Denison Swimming and Diving team.
However, for the varsity athlete, peer mentor, and global commerce TA, the payoff was worth the work. Not only did she get experience in sales, financing, marketing, compliance, and e-commerce — an education unique to working at a small business — but she also had the opportunity to help a group of people accomplish a goal.
“The Wilson Bohannan Company had been trying to expand into Canada for a few years but, being small, it was challenging for them expand while they maintained domestic sales and production. We were able to accomplish in 12 weeks the goal that they had been working toward for years,” Zaravella explains. “That was extremely rewarding.”
Now, with a serious goal accomplished and job affirmation in hand, Zaravella is feeling confident.
“As a sophomore, I was just starting to figure my majors out. But this experience taught me so much. It confirmed my love for research, my interest in global business, and the type of company I want to work for. I’m not sure what I will ultimately do, but I know I am heading in the right direction,” she says.