Global internship experience brings marketing student closer to her goals

Contact: Cindy Wagner

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Presenting to her company’s president and vice presidents during a meeting in Sweden with six other interns from around the world, Western Michigan University senior Isabel Henrickson took an important step toward launching her marketing career and solidifying her interest in search engine optimization (SEO).

Isabel Henrickson

Henrickson’s internship with Atlas Copco, a large industrial manufacturer, gave her that experience and more. Her duties included an SEO project that had Henrickson working both in person and remotely.

“I was part of their Global Industrial Internship Program, which meant that I was put on an international team of six people and we worked on a project over the course of the summer, in addition to the work I did for the U.S. locations,” she says. The group’s project was based around competitor analysis in the wireless tooling market, and a part of that was to evaluate their digital marketing.

To wrap up the internship, Henrickson traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, where she finally met her internship team in person. Members of the group presented their project to the president and vice presidents of the industrial tools and assembly systems division.

“It was intimidating at first but ended up being such a cool experience!” says Henrickson. “We weren’t sure how big of a factor digital marketing would be for our project when we started it, but by the end every manager and vice president we talked to emphasized how important that data is. It made me realize how important SEO and digital marketing is, even for companies that rely on salespeople and distributors to sell their products.”

Working in business-to-business for an industrial manufacturer, she found the technical side of industrial manufacturing also appealed to her. Before college, she had always thought she would be an engineer, but she was also drawn to psychology and sociology. After transferring to the Haworth College of Business and enrolling in marketing courses, she found the right combination of academics and career paths that combined all of her interests.

“What appeals to me most about marketing is that there are so many things you can do with it! I could go into sales, research, social media, search engine optimization and many other fields,” says Henrickson. “I always said I was unsure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and being in marketing, I will always have the option to switch it up! I enjoy that there are so many opportunities to be explored, especially here at the Haworth College of Business.”

Even after selecting her marketing major, her search for the perfect career fit continued. In a marketing research course led by one of her mentors, Dr. JoAnn Atkin, associate professor of marketing, she was able to find the connection to her interests. “When I first transferred to WMU from Grand Rapids Community College, Dr. J was one of the first people I talked to. Her marketing research and analytics courses allowed me to see that there is a technical side to marketing that I hadn’t realized was there.”

Marketing courses also sparked her interest in digital marketing, which led to an opportunity to be part of a new course in search engine optimization and to another mentor, Dr. Scott Cowley, associate professor of marketing. That course taught her the SEO skills she put to work at Atlas Copco. Read about Western's new SEO course

“What I enjoy about SEO is how it’s constantly changing," she says. "As websites and how people interact with them evolve, SEO must evolve with it. I really enjoy learning, so being a part of a field where there is always something new really excites me. SEO is also a growing industry, and I would love to help companies that are navigating this for the first time!” 

Curious where she will land? Follow Henrickson on LinkedIn

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