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Olga Khakova, a 2011 WSU graduate, credits her internships with the career success she's had straight out of college.

Marketing grad says WSU helped her stand out among the rest

Monday, September 24, 2012

Like many Wichita State students who got internships through the university’s Cooperative Education and Work-Based Learning program, Olga Khakova had a job offer as soon as she graduated in 2011.

Actually, she had two.

Khakova, a native of Ukraine who moved to the United States at age 12, was a marketing intern at WSU’s Rhatigan Student Center (RSC) and a Safety Standdown intern for flight operations at Bombardier Aerospace. All this while earning her marketing degree.

After fourteen months at Bombardier, she was able to make the connections that led to full-time job offers with Bombardier Transportation in New York and Bombardier Aerospace in Wichita. The job in Wichita allowed her to choose a career path in event planning and marketing, her true passion.

“The real-world experience was crucial in securing a full-time job,” Khakova said. “Today, employers are more selective and have more choices when it comes to the finding candidates for open positions. The real-life leadership experience can be the difference between whether you receive the job or not. I am grateful WSU equipped me with dynamic, professional experience which made me stand out during interviews.”

Internships equal advantage

Khakova, who lived in California, Alaska, Montana and Arkansas before moving to Wichita to attend WSU, has the opportunity to work with senior-level Bombardier management, aviation celebrities and Bombardier employees from around the world in her position as event coordinator.

She helps coordinate all logistics, planning and execution of Safety Standdown seminars throughout the world.

Before Khakova started interning at Bombardier, she helped organize events within the Greek system and for campus business groups at the RSC. She said that job allowed her to test out the roles and tasks she enjoyed best.

Involvement in numerous leadership opportunities within student groups further developed her desire to have a career in marketing and event planning.

One of the biggest benefits Khakova received from her affiliation with the co-op office and her resulting internships was confidence in the education she had received at WSU.

The overall experience both in and out of the classroom gave her a competitive edge.

“WSU gave me the foundation to bring value and fresh perspective to the professional work environment,” she said. “A combination of teachings from brilliant and supportive professors, leadership positions in student groups and internships gave me an advantage over students who graduated from schools which did not provide such opportunities.”

Khakova said her experience isn’t unique.

“We recently interviewed and hired another intern from WSU for the intern position which I held before my full-time offer,” she said.

This story has been tagged Cooperative Education, Alumni, Elliott School of Communication, Experience-based learning. See all RSS feeds here
Created on Monday, September 24, 2012; Last modified on Thursday, October 18, 2012