Questions Answered by a Career Coach

Davidson graduate Mel Giegerich ’15 recently sat down with Career Coach, Cherie King.  Check out these great videos in which Cherie helps Mel explore six essential questions.  Also, check out this Huffington Post blog article written by Mel’s sister, Caroline Giegerich.

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How to be a STAR Intern

STAR Intern

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How an Intern Spends a Typical Workday

NACE intern-typical-work-day

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Paid Internships: Do I Pay Tax on That?

Contributed by Ben Baker, Professor of Economics

If your employer treats you as an independent contractor (self-employed) instead of as an employee, you need to be aware of a potential tax issue.  Employers do not withhold any taxes from the earnings of independent contractors so you will be responsible for paying any Federal income tax, state income tax, and self-employment taxes yourself.  That could come as quite a shock next April when you find that you owe several hundred dollars when you file your income tax returns.


The majority of workers are treated as employees, meaning that their employers withhold taxes and remit them to the appropriate governmental agency.  Employees receive a Form W-2 by January 31 each year, detailing the amount of taxable income that was earned as well as how much was withheld in income taxes and FICA tax (Social Security and Medicare).  If you are an employee, you pay one-half of the FICA tax (7.65% of earned income) and your employer matches that amount (another 7.65%) for a total of 15.3%.   If you are self-employed, you will receive a Form 1099.  In this case, you are responsible for paying both the employee and employer portions of the tax – the entire 15.3%.   This is in addition to any income taxes that you may owe.

Many interns are unaware that they are responsible for paying all of the taxes themselves and are unpleasantly surprised at tax time.

Imagine that you earn $4,000 during your internship.  If that is your only income for the year, you will owe no income tax because you are below the threshold for paying those taxes.  BUT, you will owe $565.18 in FICA, computed as follows:

Earned income                                                                                       $4,000

Self-employment wage base (if this is more than $400,               x  .9235

you must pay FICA tax)                                                                        $3,694

FICA tax rate                                                                                           x .153

FICA tax due with your tax return                                                     $565.18

Chances are, if you are unaware that this tax bill is coming, the money will be spent and you will have to scramble to get it by April 15.


ASK: When you start work ask the Human Resources Department whether you will be treated as an employee or an independent contractor.  If you are treated as an independent contractor, save the money that will be needed to pay the self-employment taxes (and if applicable, income taxes) next April.

CONFIRM: When you receive your first paycheck, look carefully at the pay stub.  Was any Social Security and Medicare tax withheld?  If not, you need to put the money aside.

For more information, contact a tax advisor or check out to find information about the self-employment tax.

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March 26: #AskforMore Negotiation Workshop

Negotiation Workshop at Davidson College

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Internship & Job Challenge: Meet Megan Falvey ’14

Megan Falvey '14, Grey Group

Megan Falvey ’14, Grey Group

Megan Falvey ’14 graduated from Davidson with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. Upon graduation, she completed a four month internship with Grey Group, a worldwide Marketing and Advertising agency.  At the completion of the internship, Megan was hired full-time as an Assistant Account Executive.

While at Davidson, Megan set her sights on gaining experience that would benefit her career in the advertising world.  She served as a PR Assistant in the President’s Office and also as the Director of Public Relations for SGA.  She studied in Paris for one semester and completed an internship with Capstrat.  Keep reading to learn more about Megan’s experience with Grey and how Davidson helped her prepare.

Q: What attracted you to Grey?

A: Unlike most large agencies, Grey places a huge emphasis on creativity. In speaking with people working across departments, I realized how important the work was to the company’s success. About 10 years ago, Grey was struggling because the agency wasn’t encouraging clients to push boundaries. With a renewed focus on creativity and digital, Grey won agency of the year in 2013 and Network of the Year in 2014, and can still boast of clients like Pantene, Covergirl, Gillette, and DirectTV. It’s pretty rare to find a creativity agency with such big brands.

Q: In what ways did your time at Davidson uniquely prepare you to be successful at Grey?

A: Being able to craft a concrete argument is a huge skill in advertising. I was an English major at Davidson, so I had a lot of experience with gathering evidence to make a literary argument. In Account Management, you have to be strategic about how you present work to clients—from formal presentations, to weekly check-ins. Davidson prepared me for that type of work.

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: I love how advertising balances business with creativity. Every day my team is faced with a new marketing challenge, and we get to solve it through creative thinking. Since I work on a global account, I also get to work with regions around the world and see how campaigns change based on local insights. No two days are the same. At times it can be overwhelming, but I enjoy what I’m doing and being busy.

Q: Are there any myths about your job that you would like to debunk?

A: For all those who have watched Mad Men, Account Management gets a bad reputation. I have never taken a client out to talk business over martinis. People also tend to assume that because we’re not in the creative department, we only occupy ourselves with the business side of things. In Account Management, I contribute to all stages of creative development, which means that my job actually requires me to be creative.

Q: What advice do you would you give to students applying for this internship?

A: Use your connections. Unfortunately, advertising is a very competitive industry, and if you blindly submit your application online, chances are it will never make it to HR. For Grey specifically, the work is really important. Look through Grey’s portfolio or scan AdWeek and Ad Age to find work that speaks to you, and be prepared to explain why you think it’s effective.

Megan and Grey Worldwide are participants in the 2014-2015 Internship & Job Challenge.  To view the Summer 2015 internship description, visit WildcatLink.  The application deadline is February 20, 2015 at 11:59pm.

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Internship & Job Challenge: Meet Wilson Purcell ’15

Wilson Purcell '15

Wilson Purcell ’15

Wilson Purcell ’15 had the great opportunity to intern with Coleman Research Group in Raleigh, NC.  The internship was shared by Ali Gores ’10.  Read on for an overview of Wilson’s experience.

Q: What originally drew your interest to this particular position?

A: I was drawn to the internship by the opportunity to speak with accomplished professionals from various backgrounds / industries. I figured that I would get to hear some interesting stories and learn about career paths that I wouldn’t have thought to research.

Q: How did the experience impact your career goals and your next steps?

A: This may not be the answer you’re looking for, but the experience didn’t really change my career goals all that much. I am still interested in finance and consulting work. Working at Coleman, though, showed me just how much working in an open and friendly office environment makes the work more enjoyable. If anything, working at Coleman shifted my focus in that I am now looking to work for smaller, more intimate companies.

Q: Can you share one brief story about a specific project, moment, etc. that was particularly impactful?

A: The executive officers of the company are mostly based in the New York office with one of them in London and two in Raleigh, but I got to meet each of them over the summer. They all met in Raleigh for a few days, and the CEO and founder Kevin Coleman came another time by himself. On his solo trip, he sat at the cubicle next to me to get some work done. He seemed busy, so I didn’t bother him. Once he had some free time, though, he introduced himself and talked to me for a bit. I thought it was really cool that he spent some of his limited time in the Raleigh getting to know the summer intern.

Current students can view postings for summer internships and entry-level positions presented by Davidson alumni and families for the 2014-2015 Internship & Job Challenge on WildcatLink.

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From Davidson to Deloitte through the Business Analyst Summer Scholar (BASS) program

Colleen Maher '14Recent Davidson grad Colleen Maher ‘14 had the opportunity to participate in the Deloitte Consulting Business Analyst Summer Scholar (BASS) program during the summer of 2013, which is the summer internship opportunity that Deloitte offers to rising seniors. Colleen is now a full-time Business Analyst with Deloitte Consulting, and she is here to share her BASS internship experience with you.

Can you tell us about your Davidson experience and how it led you to choose consulting?
At Davidson I was an Economics major, and I loved the liberal arts curriculum – I used to tell my 2nd Belk hallmates that I wanted to major in 101s! The diverse exposure to different topics was exactly why I was interested in pursuing consulting. I was involved in many programs at Davidson such as Honor Council, Warner Hall, and Building Tomorrow. I loved the varied opportunities to explore my evolving interests, which is something I found in Deloitte as well. As part of the Business Analyst (BA) rotational program we have the opportunity to participate in and lead firm extracurricular activities, similar to extracurriculars at Davidson. In addition to project work, these experiences allowed me to meet new practitioners and build a network in areas that interest me.

What is the Deloitte Business Analyst Summer Scholar (BASS) Program?
The BASS program is a 10-week summer internship that offers candidates the opportunity to be engaged on a real project experience, network with senior leadership, and learn about Deloitte’s culture and opportunities. BASS provides the opportunity to sharpen your analytical and business skills while working directly with clients. Summer Scholars have responsibilities that range from helping review client issues and interviewing key personnel to helping develop recommendations and preparing presentations. Moreover, participants attend a series of team-building events and office-wide meetings to hone teamwork and networking skills.

Can you tell us about your experience as a Summer Scholar?
Over the summer, I was engaged on an internal strategy project for Deloitte’s Office of Consulting. We were tasked to analyze global trends and anticipate their effect on Deloitte’s service areas to better inform senior leadership and drive firm investments. Throughout my project, I was given ownership of researching Nature and Resources trends, which included climate change and potential diversification of the energy mix. I participated in all components of the work – from the research stage to the data analysis and deliverable development. I had the opportunity to work with an amazing team who taught me everything from endless Excel shortcuts, to Edward Snowden’s geographic whereabouts, to how inadequate I am at trivia. We had great team lunches with “internet snacks” and dynamic conversations. I also had the opportunity to develop a strong intern network, and I still am very close with my intern class as we transition into full-time Business Analysts.

Deloitte University Interactive Wall

An Interactive Wall at Deloitte University

In addition to my project experience, I also had the opportunity to attend various training sessions and networking opportunities. For example, in the office on Fridays, we attended several lunches specifically designed for the intern class, where we would have a small lunch with senior practitioners and learn about their work at the firm. Other great experiences included our trips to Deloitte University (DU), which is a beautiful training facility outside of Dallas, TX devoted to developing and training Deloitte employees. We engaged in a project simulation and participated in training modules, all while enjoying some Texas sun and BBQ! During the summer, the firm also planned events for us including a Yankees Game and a comedy show in NYC.

What in particular led you to choose Deloitte?
I chose to pursue a career at Deloitte because of the opportunities for personal career development, excellent training experience, mentorship program, and the exposure to a diverse range of industries. At the end of the day, the people were really what sold me! All of the Deloitte practitioners whom I met through the recruiting process were incredibly helpful, engaging, and enjoyable. Moreover, the Davidson network at Deloitte is unparalleled, and I continue to be grateful for their support.

What advice would you give to applicants to the BASS Program?
Get to know Davidson alumni who are currently at Deloitte – we are on campus often and always excited to get to know new students. When prepping for interviews, practice cases with fellow applicants – you can gain a lot of perspective from giving a case interview to a friend. Learn to be comfortable sharing anecdotes about your previous leadership/internship experiences that can bring your resume to life, and familiarize yourself with past experiences that could be beneficial in behavioral interviews. Please feel free to reach out to me at with any follow up questions.

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Internship & Job Challenge: Meet Hadley White ’98

Hadley White '98, The Aspen Institute

Hadley White ’98, The Aspen Institute

Hadley became the Seminars Manager at the Aspen Institute in June 2013. Prior to her current position, she spent nine years as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. Her favorite assignment was working in Stuttgart, Germany for U.S. Africa Command for nearly three years, where she worked in the Strategic Communication Division and served as the Interagency Coordinator. In Washington, DC, she supported numerous institutes within the NIH in a project management role, and assisted with international health initiatives, such as the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS), a component of PEPFAR.

Originally from Atlanta, she attended Davidson College where she majored in history and spent a semester abroad in Kenya, where her interest in Africa began. After college, she worked as a producer and writer at CNN in her hometown for three years. Her graduate work at the Fletcher School at Tufts University focused on international development and health security, culminating in her master’s thesis on AIDS in Africa as a security threat. She’s excited to be living in Colorado and is looking forward to her second ski season in Aspen.

Q: What attracted you to the Aspen Institute?

A: I had spent 9 years in the federal consulting business and was ready for a change in career. The Aspen Institute appealed to me because of its focus on leadership, intellectual rigor, policy programs, and big thinkers in various fields. The fact that my job would be in Aspen, Colorado was just a bonus!

Q: In what ways did your time at Davidson uniquely prepare you to be successful at the Aspen Institute?

A: One of the things that my interviewer (now boss) focused on was that I went to a liberal arts college. At Davidson I learned to ask probing questions, the importance of community, and had a broad based background which I could apply to the Institute’s many different programs.

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: I love that I get to know leaders from around the world and from different backgrounds who are dedicated to improving their communities. It’s incredibly inspiring and makes me feel good about humanity.

Q: What advice would you give to students thinking of applying for the summer internship with the Aspen Institute?

A: Emphasize flexibility, motivation, strength in details/administration, and desire to have a meaningful learning experience. It’s an unforgettable internship, and I’d love to get at least one Davidson student in Aspen here every summer.

Hadley and the Aspen Institute are participants in the 2014-2015 Internship & Job Challenge.  To view the Summer 2015 internship description, visit WildcatLink.  The application deadline is February 1, 2015 at 11:59pm.

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Internship & Job Challenge: Meet Zara Riaz ’15

Zama Coursen-Neff '93 hosted Colin Vaida '16 and Zara Riaz '15 for a summer with the Human Rights Watch

Zama Coursen-Neff ’93 hosted Colin Vaida ’16 and Zara Riaz ’15 for a summer with the Human Rights Watch

The summer of 2014 was a career-defining experience for Zara Riaz ’15.  Zara had the opportunity to participate in an internship with the Human Rights Watch in New York City.  The position was offered by alumna Zama Coursen-Neff ’93 in connection with the Vann Center for Ethics.

Continue reading for a glimpse into Zara’s experience.

Q: What originally drew your interest to this particular position?

A: I was drawn to this internship because of my experiences learning about human rights violations in Colombia and the Horn of Africa. I attended the Colombia Staff Ride with Dr. Crandall in January 2014, and this trip highlighted the effects of human rights violations committed by both the Colombian government as well as guerilla members. I was interested in the indirect effects of these violations, such as the shift of expenditures from health and education to larger military expenditures. I also attended the Rift Valley Institute field course on the Horn of Africa with Dr. Menkhaus in 2013. Many of the readings for this trip included reports by Human Rights Watch on violations occurring in the Horn. I wanted to use this internship as a means of not only gaining a better understanding of learning more about the particular areas I had previously studied but also about the mechanisms for defending international law and the challenges that human rights advocacy faces.

Q: How did the experience impact your career goals and your next steps?

A: This internship played an invaluable role in shaping both my short-term and long-term goals. I learned that I want to pursue human rights as a field of study, and that I want to approach this field from a legal perspective. After interacting with many lawyers at Human Rights Watch, I was inspired by how law can be a powerful tool for defending the rights of vulnerable populations and individuals. Furthermore, this internship highlighted the importance of gaining contextual knowledge of the environment you are studying or operating in. For this reason, I would like to spend time working in East Africa before pursuing law school.

Q: Can you share one brief story about a specific project, moment, etc. that was particularly impactful?

A: One of my projects was to prepare a report for the Committee on the Rights of the Child for the periodic review of Ethiopia, essentially a “progress report” on behalf of Human Rights Watch that details the organization’s findings on children’s rights in Ethiopia. After learning about the “villagization” program that resettled pastoral populations into villages and the human rights violations associated with the program, I began to think about the intersection of human rights and development. While I had studied political and economic development in previous courses, this report highlighted the need for human rights to be central to the development agenda, focusing on protecting the rights of the most vulnerable or marginalized populations and not simply increased growth.

Current students can view postings for summer internships and entry-level positions presented by Davidson alumni and families for the 2014-2015 Internship & Job Challenge on WildcatLink.

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