Internship Leads to Co-op and Contest Win
Interning at PSE&G has proven both professionally and financially fruitful for NJIT senior Aidan McGourty. Not only did his experience segue into a co-op for the 2017-2018 academic year — and garner him accolades from his supervisor — it also contributed to him winning a $500 NJIT scholarship in a Career Development Services (CDS) contest.
The business and information systems major spent this past summer serving as an intern in the electric company’s Customer Technology Department. McGourty was on a 14-member team focused on testing the navigation, functionality, cosmetic appeal and overall user-friendliness of PSE&G’s new MyAccount website for its customers. The site is being designed by an outside firm and slated for deployment within the next six months.
“There are always a lot of discrepancies and a lot of different issues,” McGourty noted about a project of this magnitude. “I helped improve this site by logging defects that were [ultimately] solved in order to improve the user experience for an end customer.”
Following 11 weeks of fine-tuning, and in anticipation of the forthcoming academic year, McGourty approached his boss’s boss about continuing on a part-time basis. The team was thrilled to have him do so, and with CDS’s assistance his internship transitioned into a co-op for course credit. He balanced classes with three nine-hour workdays in the fall and is keeping the same schedule this semester. In addition to his previous responsibilities, he now writes use-cases and new site requirements.
McGourty hopes to move into a full-time role after earning his B.S. this May, but is unsure whether a spot will be available. “In a perfect world, I would be a business analyst,” he said of his future. “I’m applying to some positions in Jersey City and I’m really hopeful, whether it’s a financial business analyst or some kind of project-based one.”
Before McGourty applied for the internship, he consulted with his professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, which gave him “tremendous feedback regarding interview tips and resume content.” He also checked in with CDS for a polish of his resume.
“Career Development Services allowed me to get honest and straightforward feedback based on what I was doing correct and incorrect with my resume,” he remarked. “Without their structured guidance and their proven knowledge of resumes, there’s a very good chance I would not have this job right now.”
CDS also offered McGourty — as well as his fellow NJIT students who were graduating May 2018 or later and had completed an internship or co-op in 2017 — the opportunity to share their experiences in an internship contest. The competition ran for most of last semester and required entrants to submit a testimonial about their internship along with a photo, LinkedIn profile and letter of recommendation from their internship supervisor.
CDS received 27 submissions and ran them on its social media feeds. A committee of four CDS staff members reviewed the entries and announced Dec. 13 that McGourty had won the contest and grand prize scholarship.
“Some of the factors that led to Aidan’s selection were the quality of his written testimonial and LinkedIn writeup, his enthusiasm about the work he was doing at PSE&G, and an exceptional recommendation letter from his supervisor,” said Patrick Young, assistant director of employer relations, CDS.
For McGourty, a Long Valley, N.J., native who has always been into computers and technology — “We had the family desktop in the kitchen and I would always be on it” — winning the CDS contest certainly was a boon.
As for his takeaway from his PSE&G experience? “I learned the importance of credibility and reliability. I learned a lot about what works well and then also what needs improvement on my own part. I learned timeliness. I learned a lot of good people skills,” he said before heading to his co-op for the day. “Working for a utility company is a tremendous thing, just being able to personally see and interact with some of the services and people.”