By Trevor Larner
This summer I have a Whitehead Internship working for the Educational Outcome Consortium (EOC), formerly known as GiftedHire, which is a higher education startup. I have had a great experience thus far! For the first two weeks of the internship, I worked in Portland, Maine, where one of the two main employees of the company is located. For the first day or so, I was orienting myself as to what the company does, including how they are progressing in an important contract they recently obtained. EOC does most of their work with Honor Societies by consulting Honor Societies in order to help them cut costs and have more money for scholarships and their members. Thus, I had to do a lot of research into Honor Societies in order to learn about the field and which are the big players, as well as researching about Higher Education Consulting firms to see the business model that EOC is aiming for. I learned a lot about the financials of the Honor Societies, which is interesting since they are non-profits; hence, they flow all their excess funds into scholarships and opportunities for their members.
Later in the first week and into the next week I started doing work on researching which technological solutions are best for the Honor Society that the contract is with. A lot of what EOC is doing is finding cheaper and more efficient technological solutions, as a large portion of the budget of any company is tied into their software contracts. Thus, a cheaper solution here can go a long way in being able to provide better opportunities for the members of the Honor Society.
I also had a lot of fun exploring Portland! Mark (who I was working with) grew up in Portland, so he was able to show me around a bunch. The weather was beautiful as well, so being able to work outside and discuss business on long walks around the city was a great opportunity. Portland is also a super interesting (albeit small) city, so it was interesting being able to go around and see everything. I also went up to Acadia National Park, which was gorgeous- I would highly recommend if you are in the area!
I just started work today with Nick (he’s the Haverford alum), who is in New York City. It is certainly a bit different here than in Portland – I have an apartment in Brooklyn, and my work is only a 5-minute walk away from the apartment, which is great. I only have gotten to know Nick a little, but he is really accomplished – he has 3 startup companies he is a part of, including one that researches quantum computing.
So far, the most valuable learning I have gotten is in the ways a business runs, and all the connections that go into running a business. Nick and Mark know so many people, and their connections have come in helpful multiple times when there is a problem that cannot be solved. These “soft” business skills can’t be taught in a classroom at Haverford, so I am grateful for the opportunity to learn them here at EOC.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer, as I will be able to meet a lot of accomplished people and build my network. Furthermore, I will be able to work on some interesting projects at EOC, including some data analysis, which I am particularly excited about. I have eight weeks left and I cannot wait!