UNI business college leads the way at No. 1 Northwestern Mutual office
Thanks to some UNI business college influence, the Waterloo office of Northwestern Mutual had the No. 1 internship program out of all 214 offices across the country from summer 2019 to summer 2020. Two UNI interns led the way. Caleb Meinders (’21) and Kayla Hoeger (’20) were the No. 21 and No. 32 interns (out of 100s) in the 2019-20 Northwestern Mutual internship class, respectively. Zach Fischels (’19), Clay Meinders (’19) and Owen Ward (’19) also played key roles before graduating.
This is measured based on intern recruitment and productivity as well as interns who become full-timers at the company and their corresponding productivity.
Steve Yerkes, an instructor at UNI’s business college and a Certified Financial Planner™ at Northwestern Mutual, said the internship experience can prove valuable for young business students. That’s certainly the case for this group.
“When students are successful in internships, they are able to better implement their educational classroom experiences in practical ways,” Yerkes said. “It reflects in the classroom as they are able to apply advanced decision making much more effectively. They also are better prepared for future industry tests, including state investments exams and certifications such as the CFA or CFP® designations.”
Hoeger joined the program in May 2019 after bumping into someone from the Quad Cities, where she grew up, at a career fair. She interviewed and was hired on in the next month. What most interested Hoeger was helping others prepare for their financial futures. Another key motivator was the value Northwestern Mutual brought professionally. She was able to grow people-to-people skills while assisting friends and community members.
When students are successful in internships, they are able to better implement their educational classroom experiences in practical ways
Hoeger plans to stay at Northwestern Mutual through her graduation in December and beyond.
“I don't see myself just sitting behind a desk all the time,” Hoeger said. “And just the ability to impact people and the amount of freedom that I have within this career, I think is amazing. And I really don't think I could find it anywhere else.”
Meinders’ brother, Clay, connected him to the internship. At first, Meinders told him he wasn’t good at math — he was studying technology. His brother laughed and asked, “Are you good at talking to people? Do you want to help people?” That’s all it took to hook Meinders, who started in May 2019.
Meinders enjoys the flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit the internship brings. He works his own hours, and it’s almost like he’s building his own business — finding his own clients and building relationships. He also plans to stay with the company beyond his graduation in May 2021. He’s in the process of obtaining his CFP designation.
“We all come together and celebrate successes,” Meinders said. “You really couldn't ask for that at a different job. People here are genuine about helping you out and making sure that you're the best person you can be.”