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My First Week as a KIG Intern & "The Marketing Mastermind"

As I sat down to write this blog, I really thought I would have no trouble at all but as soon as my fingers touched the keyboard, I felt as if I did not even know how to type my name. Can you say, writer’s block?! So, I started to consider what people might ask me about my experience so far, and I decided to answer those questions.

Before we start, a bit about me…

My name is Nathaniel Manko, and I am currently a rising senior studying business and marketing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). I am Kuzneski Insurance Group's (KIG’s) marketing intern.

1. Why do you think it’s important to intern?

Not only is it important to me that I have a summer job, but it is also important that I am at a place and with people that will help me grow and realize my potential. Having the opportunity to gain knowledge that can better prepare me for life after college is essential. I have had summer jobs in the past, but none that I can say were truly beneficial to my intended career path (nor did any of these previous jobs help me narrow down the path I even wanted to take). After seeing my older brother intern for a large financial institution last summer, then later receive a full-time job offer from that same institution, I fully realized the potential benefits that can come from having an internship. I knew that I would want to work somewhere that would offer me the opportunity to learn about all aspects of the business world – as well as all sides of the business itself – through real hands-on experience. I also know that interning provides me with the opportunity to differentiate myself from other job candidates down the road.

2. Why Kuzneski Insurance Group?

So, you might be thinking, why KIG? And I was too as I was preparing for my interviews. My first conversation with a KIG team member was with Melissa Craig, not only a former KIG intern but also an IUP alumna! Although I did not feel my best during the phone call (due to the poorly time taking of allergy medication), I still felt positive about the possibility of interning with KIG, especially after hearing how well Melissa’s internship went – she ended up receiving a full-time position with KIG after graduating.

The next interview was with Laurie and Andy Kuzneski via Zoom video call, and I was extremely nervous! (I have found that regardless of how prepared I am for interviews, I will still always have nerves!) After five minutes of talking with them, I knew that I wanted to work at KIG, not only because of how knowledgeable they are, but also because of their down-to- earth nature. They were (and are) extremely kind, and did not just ask me the stereotypical, boring interview questions. They engaged with me in a genuine fashion and were able to analyze me and determine if I would be a good fit for the company. They are some of the most authentic people I have ever met. (And I wasn’t even forced to write that!)

After the interview, I immediately called my mom and told her that KIG was where I wanted to be – and fortunately, the KIG team agreed!

3. How was week #1? (Not only in terms of work but how you felt throughout the week)

My first week went better than expected here at KIG (well not here, as I am currently working remotely from my home office which also functions as my bedroom and a movie theater). The first day was for training and making sure all my tech equipment was functioning correctly. Laurie taught me about the history and culture of KIG, which was not only informative but also fun! The day ended with me and the rest of the KIG team members meeting via Microsoft Teams. I still cannot get over how welcoming everyone has been to me, and I am truly grateful for that. The second day Laurie picked me up and we spent the day at her home going over the projects I will be working on this summer. The rest of the week I got comfortable with my tech equipment and started on some of my assigned projects.

The amount I learned within the first week was way more than I expected. Everything from facts about the company, to marketing principles, to what a cucumber is (yes, I’m serious).

Overall, I had a great first week working for KIG and I couldn’t be happier with the opportunity!

The immediate reception I have experienced has been amazing, whether it’s during a Teams meeting to discuss a project or during a 20-minute phone call with Andy; everyone has been super helpful, and they’ve welcomed me with open arms. I am so excited to continue to learn as much as I possibly can from everyone at KIG and take full advantage of this opportunity to learn and contribute. I'm also determined to live up to my KIG nickname: "The Marketing Mastermind."

Nathaniel Manko

Nate has since earned a Bachelor's degree in Marketing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). He was dubbed the "Marketing Mastermind" at KIG ... but you'll have to ask him why yourself!

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