Each summer, students from the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics gain valuable professional-level exposure through internships. This year, young scholars were able to traverse the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic by pursuing an array of internships, externships and other professional development opportunities. Each profile of this series will detail a Lerner student’s experiences working on business-oriented projects.
Alexander Pugliese, a Class of 2022 entrepreneurship major, spent his summer with JSSI, a jet support service company, as a client service intern.
Lerner: How did you find out about this internship? Why did you choose it?
Pugliese: I found out about this internship from an email I received from the Horn Entrepreneurship Signature Internship Program. Horn faculty member Ted Folytn encouraged me to apply to JSSI and I did. I was very fortunate to find out I earned the internship, but I didn’t know until after the fact that the internship was on-site in Chicago, Illinois. I live in New York so that was far away from home but I was very intrigued by the idea of living in Chicago for the entire summer. I didn’t have the chance to study abroad so I saw this opportunity as a chance to see what living in another city was like!
Lerner: Did the coronavirus impact your internship search and working experience? If so, how?
Pugliese: The coronavirus absolutely made my search for an internship pretty tough since it’s a whole lot more competitive now. But if I can give any advice on getting one it would be to apply, apply, apply. I never thought I could have gotten an internship at JSSI, but I still applied just in case, and it worked out. I was on-site at the JSSI Chicago office for my internship and it was a very professional experience rather than working remote, but most of my coworkers would only come in the office a few days a week, and most of the time the office setting felt like a ghost town compared to what my coworkers said it was like pre-covid where they didn’t have enough desks for the employees.
Lerner: What did you learn from this internship that you think you would not have learned elsewhere?
Pugliese: Something I can proudly say I learned a lot about from this internship is the aviation industry. Just a couple months ago I would’ve never thought I would be working for an aviation finance company, and on my first day at the office I didn’t know a thing about the aviation industry. But now I can name dozens of different types of aircrafts, engines, and APU’s (Aircraft Power Unit) off the top of my head. Something I can tell you is that it is expensive to buy a private jet (anywhere from $2 – $100 million), but it is very expensive to operate a private jet, since for every hour you fly it can cost you around $2,000 – $12,000. So to buy and operate a private jet you’re probably going to need to make $10 million dollars a year.
Lerner: What is the most exciting task or project that you have done or are currently doing in your role?
Pugliese: The most exciting project I have done so far had to be a report I composed of the JSSI active fleet, where I had to identify aircrafts of 15 years or older. The purpose of this report was to see if any of those aircrafts were eligible for acquisition by the company. I found this project so exciting because it felt like really important work that could result in potential deals being made. What made this project even more exciting was as part of my internship I went to the 2021 Oshkosh Airventure and after doing this project and learning about all the different jets, I found it super interesting to see all these private jets and planes in person.
Lerner: What is an example of a time where you were able to apply what you’ve learned at Lerner to your role?
Pugliese: During this internship, I used a lot of Microsoft Excel, and I mean a lot. I took MISY 160 last semester which actually helped a ton with my projects from being able to work more efficiently through the various formulas and techniques I learned in the class. I even sent a thank you email to my professor halfway through my internship to let him know all I learned in his class truly helped with my career endeavors, and I was grateful for that. Shoutout to Dr. Hartono!
Lerner: How do you think this internship will aid you with your professional goals?
Pugliese: During my time at JSSI I learned so much, and this experience truly will aid me in my future with my professional goals. I learned important things such as team skills, professionalism, critical thinking and most importantly, Salesforce.
Lerner: What are your plans or next steps in your career once your internship is over?
Pugliese: My next step for my career once my internship is over is to finish my senior year as an undergraduate. My dream is to have my own business sometime in the future, but as of now, I plan to work for other successful entrepreneurs and learn as much as I can from them.