UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Name: John Klemp
Company: Equipment Consultant, Riesterer & Schnell
Hometown: Clintonville, Wis.
Major: Business Administration - Marketing
"It started off with CBE 300. It was taught by McKenna Pfeiffer [assistant director of Career Services] and we were required to go to the Career Fair, the networking social, all of the events related to careers and job searching," he explained. "I took this class my sophomore year and all I could think was why was I even bothering with this as a sophomore. I thought no one would hire a sophomore. I kind of felt it was silly to be starting so early."
Thankfully, John, a business administration-marketing major from Clintonville, Wis., put his assumptions aside and headed to the Career Fair. There, he met Sue Kalinski, the recruiting coordinator for Riesterer & Schnell, and struck up a conversation.
"Riesterer & Schnell is a half hour from my hometown and that's where the initial connection was. Sue told me about internship opportunities and I started the process that way. I got my internship with Riesterer & Schnell for the summer after my sophomore year," John recalled. "I really enjoyed it. That first internship led to a future internship with John Deere corporate the following summer."
John built on his experience at the dealer level with his internship at the corporate level and the combination has prepared him well for his new position as an equipment consultant back at his original internship site. John will begin his role May 22 and feels equipped for his new path.
"The two internships really set me up very well for this position. Being able to see the dealership and then take that a step further and take that up to corporate and see how the two interacted with each other on both sides was very beneficial," he said. "I always saw myself as a people person. After interning there [Riesterer & Schnell] and being able to see the customers through all aspects of the company – whether it was parts, service, or sales – it was very cool and very educational. Seeing how we were able to interact with customers, seeing how customers valued what we did and how we valued what our customers did, having that insight has helped, but I'm really excited to be a part of that process."
The head start on the internship and hiring process has not been the only benefit for John. Accepting his work offer in November also affected his class schedule.
"I was definitely able to gear some of my course load to the position. I have taken some additional classes, like Ag Engineering Tech 150. It's been a practical, hands-on course. Dr. [Dean] Olson made it fun and relatable for a business student like me," he explained. "This class has no bearing on my degree but this could absolutely benefit me in my career field. Having been hired so early, I have been able to take some self-enrichment classes."
"When I came into UW-River Falls my freshman year, I told my adviser Stacy Vollmers that I wanted to be out of here in four years. We did our jobs. She did hers [as my adviser] and I did mine. That credit goes to this place. Encouraging me to seek out those internships and make connections early in my college career was crucial," John said. "I can't stress internships enough. The value is unmatched and I think all students should have that experience."