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 COVID-19 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 remotely on business-oriented projects.
Grace Delmastro, a Class of 2021 marketing major with minors in management information systems and advertising, spent her summer working remotely with CVS Health/Aetna in Hartford, Connecticut as a strategic government marketing intern.
Q: How did you find out about and choose this internship?
Delmastro: I knew about the company previously (I live about 25 minutes from the Aetna Headquarters in CT), so when I began my internship search and wasn’t sure where to start, I researched what kind of opportunities they had as well as several other large companies I had heard of before.
Q: How did the coronavirus response impact your internship search and working experience?
Delmastro: Luckily, I had started my internship search in the fall, so I already received an offer before COVID-19 hit. In terms of the actual internship, my experience was 100% virtual due to COVID-19. I wish I could’ve met my team and the other interns in person, as well as experienced what it’s like to work in an actual corporate office, but I was impressed by the way CVS Health/Aetna kept interns engaged and connected even though we were completely virtual and spread out all over the country! I did feel like working virtually made it more difficult to build relationships with other interns that I wasn’t necessarily working with day-to-day. However, I am glad that I became comfortable working from home this summer because I’m guessing that more and more companies will keep this working model even after COVID-19 passes.
Q: What did you learn through this internship that you don’t think you would have learned anywhere else?
Delmastro: One thing I learned was how important collaboration is—not just among your own team, but with other teams as well. This summer, I saw that my team needed the skills of several other teams and subject matter experts (SME’s) in order to complete many of their projects. I didn’t realize how truly interconnected teams can be in a corporate environment and how often they rely on each other to complete tasks. I’ve found that, as college students, we sometimes complain about group projects when really we should get comfortable with the concept of working with people of different ages, backgrounds, etc. because it’s such an essential part of working in the “real world.”
Q: What is the most exciting project or task that you have undertaken in your role?
Delmastro: I presented suggestions for additional editorial content my team could have created for the Aetna Better Health (Aetna’s Medicaid brand) website. The website already has a variety of articles, such as member and community stories, covering a wide variety of topics and health/socioeconomic concerns. Using what I understood about what the website already had and comparing that with my competitor research, I came up with new ideas to be added to the site. This was exciting to me because my ideas can potentially guide my team’s next steps, and someday in the near future I may see that new content up on the site!
Q: What is an example of a time you were able to apply something you learned at Lerner to your role?
Delmastro: In Spring 2020, I took Advertising and Media Management (BUAD471) for my advertising minor. We learned about different types of advertising creative, reach and frequency and advertising strategy/objectives. I’m glad I had this knowledge going into my internship because the different Medicaid ads and creative topics were a big topic of conversation during my internship. This was an important piece of the marketing strategy that my team worked on. Without this class, I may not have even understood what was meant by the term “creative” at first! BUAD471 was one of my favorite classes this past semester and I was excited to apply what I learned during my internship this summer.
Q: How do you think this internship will help you with your professional goals?
Delmastro: This internship has helped me gain experience in both marketing strategy and management. Besides the technical skills I was able to develop this summer, I also gained confidence in myself and my ideas. I became even better at working in a team setting, which, I realize now, will be important for whatever role I end up in in the future. I had several important presentations that I had to give this summer, one of which the CMO of Aetna was present for. After completing these nerve-wracking presentations, I now feel prepared for any others that are thrown my way in the future, whether it’s for class or a future job! I am also so thankful that I was able to grow my network with teammates and mentors who want to help me succeed in anything I do.
Q: What are your plans or next steps in your career once this internship is over?
Delmastro: There is a possibility that my internship could lead to a job offer for after graduation, so I’m still waiting to hear back about that. If I receive an offer, I will likely take it, otherwise, I will be starting my job search. For now, I am going to work on starting my senior year off strong!