Editor's Note: Each month "Commodore Nation" will ask a varsity athlete to sound off on a point of personal interest. A senior on the lacrosse team, Gioia is majoring in human and organizational development with plans of attending law school upon graduation.
Upon entering Vanderbilt University, I was unsure about what I wanted to be in the future, what major to focus on, and what areas I was really interested in studying. During my sophomore year, I was enrolled in a political science class, as well as a public policy course, and became extremely interested in the aspects of law and the systems under which our government functions. I was relieved that I had finally found a course of such great interest and also excited to see if this was a possible career path for me in the future.
In the following summer I landed an internship at a competitive corporate law firm in New York. Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw is a leading global law firm that operates in major cities across the world. I worked in the paralegal department with one other intern in my office. We worked directly for the paralegal supervisor of the firm, and we also assisted any attorneys that needed extra help. We often were responsible for document review, PDF transfers to clients, updating Excel spreadsheets for billed hours and delivering legal documents to clients. I tried to meet as many people as I could and introduce myself to try to build relationships for the future. Networking is one of the most important aspects of job hunting, and you never know who from your past can be an impact on your future.
After my internship was completed, I felt that the legal field was an appropriate path for me to pursue. I knew I was going to be doing my HOD internship the following summer so during my junior year I met with my advisor to discuss possible internships. My advisor recommended that if I wanted to apply to law school in the future, it is good to show on your resume that you experienced different fields and explored other industries. I definitely pursued a completely different industry this past summer when I interned at Dylan's Candy Bar in the corporate office in New York. Dylan's is owned by the daughter of Ralph Lauren and is comparable to an F.A.O. Schwartz, but has grown from the candy industry into apparel, accessories and body care.
Dylan's currently has seven retail stores (the flagship store is on 59th and Third avenues (New York) across from Bloomingdales, but has also expanded into new markets. This past summer was an ideal time to be interning at this company because of its rapid expansion. Dylan's has recently co-branded with Juicy Couture, as well as Sephora, and also sells products in other high-end department stores such as Bloomingdales and Saks. Many of my responsibilities included contacting vendors and making purchase orders for the stores, as well as helping to decide which products would be launched for the upcoming quarters. My favorite task was compiling a guest list for Dylan for a party she is hosting at the flagship store in October. Mattel is celebrating Barbie's 50th birthday and asked Dylan to host the event. Having access to celebrity contact information was probably a one-time opportunity for me.
Law is still the area I am intent on pursuing, although I did learn a great deal about the business world, especially from the marketing department, during my internship at Dylan's. I plan on taking the LSAT exam this February before taking a year off for law school. I am thankful for the opportunities I was given my past two summers, and I have taken what I learned from both experiences to help decide my future plans.