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Heffner Awards Fund More Than Just Work

Since 2009, over one hundred School of Business Administration (SBA) students have benefited from the Heffner Internship Endowment Award, which helps fund travel to and from internships in distant cities across the country and around the globe, as well as lodging expenses while there. Each March up to 30 business students apply for the awards - as much as $2000 for domestic internship expenses, up to a maximum of $4000 to help defray the costs of working outside the U.S. Total amounts awarded are partially dependent on how many awards are approved.

For senior finance major Greg Williams, winning a Heffner Award made it easier to spend last summer in Split, Croatia in a sales internship for PetroKamen. Williams’ role involved working with customers from multiple countries. Daily challenges included figuring out how best to communicate with customers for whom English may be a second language. “Once I started to understand that concept I was able to better adapt, which led to more sales which led to reaching even more clients.” The experience helped Williams recognize the importance of taking time to learn how different countries conduct business.

The Heffner Award supported SBA accounting graduate Tyler Grile’s internship with Grant Thornton in Chicago last summer before he entered the SBA’s Master of Professional Accounting Program. When asked what was the most valuable part of his experience he didn't hesitate. “I was able to put theory into practice. On almost a daily basis I was using things I’d learned in classes and read in textbooks.”

Tyler (pictured in gray shirt) credits the Heffner Award for helping him step outside his comfort zone to make new friends and work in a completely foreign professional setting. “In the end, the award not only led me to realize that Chicago is where I want to begin my career, but I now know which company I want to work for. I’m so excited to take that next step in my life.”

Other summer 2018 Heffner Award recipients’ internships included one in Haiti doing service work; in Washington, D.C. working for a political organization; and even working on a ranch in California.

Heffner Award winners are invited each fall to a luncheon with Mr. Heffner, where he greatly enjoys hearing about their experiences. The students appreciate the opportunity to express their gratitude in person, and to share how the award impacted their academic and professional development.

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