When Lena Sharesky was searching for internships in her field as a freshman, she reached out to Jeff Mass, assistant director of Career Services.
“Jeff aided in researching prospects, [connecting with] potential contacts via LinkedIn, and evaluating my resume,” Lena explains. “But most importantly, he took a genuine interest in my education and career goals.”
To help match Lena with an experiential education opportunity that would be a good fit for her skillset, Jeff sought hands-on positions that focused on digital marketing and business strategy. His search yielded two significant results that would have a key impact on Lena’s future: an information technology internship with Board of Trustee member John Brockriede, and the Monmouth MBA Scholar Program.
“Both of these experiences allowed me to gain instrumental real-world intelligence, which benefited me in future internships and ultimately in my current full-time position at Packaging Corporation of America, one of the nation’s leading corrugated packaging manufacturers,” Lena says.
As Monmouth’s first MBA scholar, Lena took part in an internship with Monmouth Medical Center where she worked in the hospital’s marketing and public relations department while pursuing her MBA. She developed press releases, revised patient testimonials, and produced social media content for the hospital’s Facebook page.
“The newness of the program, paired with the constant demands of healthcare marketing, generated a continual learning experience,” Lena elaborates. “Each day at [Monmouth Medical provided] opportunities for me to contribute my strengths and further expand my skillset. Plus, the hands-on environment allowed me to develop lasting relationships with both of my managers, as well as with the hospital’s President/CEO.”
The internship turned out to be an essential step in Lena’s career, paving the way for her current position by teaching her to adapt on a daily basis to changing customer needs. “[Working at] Monmouth Medical Center forced me to step outside my comfort zone,” Lena explains, “which gave me the confidence and skillset to pursue a career in the corrugated industry.”
Now a GIFT (Generational Investment for Tomorrow) candidate at Packaging Corporation of America, Lena is part of a nine to 14-month rotational program that allows her to gain a well-rounded understanding of the organization through spending an extended period in each department. In this role, Lena’s responsibilities can change each day.
“One day I could be cutting samples in design and the next I could be placing orders in customer service, which definitely keeps me on my toes. However, a majority of my time is spent in customer service, where I work with production, design, and sales in order to successfully manage orders for multiple accounts.”
Since her first conversation with Jeff Mass in her freshman year, Lena has earned her undergraduate degree and MBA from Monmouth, completed an Honors thesis on digital marketing strategy, and studied abroad in London. She credits Monmouth with setting the foundation for her future career goals, which include holding a sales management position and ultimately moving to a corporate-level managerial role focused on marketing and customer relations.
“Monmouth creates an environment that challenges students to become better scholars, community members, and overall individuals,” Lena says. “I cannot help but to be extremely fortunate and proud to be a Monmouth alum. Through the smaller class sizes I was able to develop influential relationships with faculty members who take a genuine interest in helping students achieve their goals. [Being] surrounded by individuals who are willing to go the extra mile without hesitation prepares students for their future through the creation of an environment that is both nurturing and empowering.”
Bel Air, Maryland
How Monmouth helped me achieve my goals
"On top of my degree, Monmouth University provided me with numerous experiential learning opportunities, most notably the Monmouth MBA Scholar Program.
In addition to the experiential aspect, a major benefit of the Monmouth Scholar Program was tuition reimbursement. The financial assistance provided through this program was highly appreciated since it allowed me to continue my education without financial burden, while gaining instrumental real-world intelligence."
Organizations that helped me as a student
"Enactus, a business entrepreneurial organization on campus, provided me with the opportunity to sharpen my business skills and grow my professional network. During my sophomore year, I was able to attend the Enactus National Conference in St. Louis and give a presentation regarding the impacts of our service projects in front of a panel of well-respected businesspeople. This opportunity forced me out of my comfort zone and equipped me with the necessary skills and connections for a career in business."
Collaborations that I've been involved with
"As a student in the Leon Hess Business School, I spent a great deal of time collaborating with other students to produce group presentation, papers and projects. Each project presents an opportunity to expand your network and skill base by constantly working with different individuals. But collaborating with Jan Rohn, professor within the Department of Computer Science and Software, and Joseph McManus, director of the Monmouth University Center for Entrepreneurship, to complete my Honors Thesis stands out the most. I was able to develop a digital portfolio through the creation of a website and several social media accounts for Soulstice, an only retailer, in addition to a written analysis describing the theory behind the company’s proposed digital strategy. This project, which encompassed my four years of formal education, provided me with a portfolio to be used as stepping stone from Monmouth University and pursuing a career in digital marketing."
Why I'm proud of Monmouth
"Going into my freshman year at Monmouth, I was a bit nervous as to if I had made the right decision. Fast forward five years later and I cannot help but to be extremely fortunate and proud to be a Monmouth alum. Through the smaller class sizes I was able to develop influential relationships with faculty members who take a genuine interest in helping students achieve their goals. Spending time surrounded by individuals who are willing to go the extra mile without hesitation prepares students for their future through the creation of an environment that is both nurturing and empowering. This sentiment is showcased through the network of alumni who invest their time back into the university through career panels, networking events and mentoring programs."
My favorite Monmouth memory
"During the fall semester of my junior year, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in London, England. This was by far my favorite Monmouth memory, as I was able to delve into multiple European cultures and creating lasting relationships with individuals from across the globe."