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‘Rock Star’ Katie turns 3M internship into career

Sally Cook ’11 (left) with healthcare sales classmate Kelsey Kromminga ’12, also a 3M intern.
Sally Cook ’11 (left) with healthcare sales classmate Kelsey Kromminga ’12, also a 3M intern.
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10.

3M Sales-Innovation Manager Candace Mailand calls Sally Cook ’11 a “rock star” among the top-caliber interns she coordinates in her company’s Frontline program. That 3M program offers sought-after internships and training to select students nationwide.

Cook, who majored in healthcare sales at St. Catherine University, leveraged her summer internship into a full-time post-college job at 3M. She now sells commercial graphics for the global company and looks forward to growing with it.

Q. How did you successfully stand out as an intern at 3M?
I would like to take all credit but I can’t. St. Kate’s and Candace Mailand at 3M helped with my self-development and provided me with tools to be successful.

Q. How did St. Kate’s Business Practicum course support you?
Professor Mary Henderson teaches this course, which blends an internship with helpful seminars on a variety of topics, like how to improve your communication skills. As part of the class, I had to create a learning contract that spells out what I wanted to get out to the internship. I then had to meet with her and my boss to discuss it and sign it before I started the internship.

Professor Henderson also requires all students in her course to complete three to five informational interviews. She teaches us how to get the most out of them and why they’re important. I had 43 informational interviews.

Q. How did you line up 43 informational interviews?
Candace Mailand gave me a list of people and said it was up to me to decide how I wanted to interact with them. I sent out a general email, and I heard back from everyone on the list that same day. Only two said no, but they gave me two other people to talk to.

Q. Did you really talk to them all?
Yes. There is no guarantee in this economic climate that you are going to get a job just because you do well at your internship. I did everything in my power to secure a job.

Q. Were all the interviews at 3M?
No. A quarter were cellphone interviews with national sales managers on the east coast and west coast.

Q. What was the outcome from those interviews?
I got five job offers, including one in Los Angeles.

Q. Why did you choose 3M?
If I could, I would have taken all five. I wanted to pick a job where I could get help to succeed and grow professionally. And I wanted to be near my dad in Iowa.

Q. What advice do you have for students to excel at their internships?
Network, be present and be prepared. If you have a bad morning, leave it in the car or leave it at home. When you come to work, focus on your future. No one else is going to do it for you. Nothing is going to be handed to you. You have to do it.

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April 11, 2012 by Elizabeth Child

See also: Alumnae/i, Business, Leadership, Students