The business world is full of uncertainty. Successful leaders are the ones who overcome that uncertainty by taking chances, trying new things, and learning from their mistakes.
Vincent Bacho’s Bentley experience is a great example. A math whiz who grew up in South Windsor, Conn., he had trouble envisioning what career his talents were best suited for. When Bacho visited the Bentley campus and learned more about its business curriculum, he thought it was a great match.
“I knew I was really good at math, but I didn’t want to be an engineer, and I knew that I was really personable, but also enjoyed problem solving,” he recalls. “I thought business could be the perfect intersection of my math/problem-solving and personable skills. Honestly, I wasn’t super sure what I wanted to do, but thought that business was a safe bet.”
Like most Bentley first-year students, Bacho enrolled in the schools’ innovative Career Development Introduction 101 (CDI 101) seminar, designed to equip new Falcons with the comprehensive career toolkit they need to sell themselves and tell their professional story. A key component of the course — and an instrumental part of the Bentley experience — is exposure to the benefits of internship opportunities.
“Prior to CDI 101, I never knew that you could have something like an internship, or how awesome they were,” says Bacho.
Flipping the Switch
Sophomore year, Bacho worked with his career adviser to organize his search for internships, and to narrow his options. He was accepted into Cigna’s systems analyst program for the summer, where he was in charge of communication between programmers and other groups at the company.
The experience was a mixed bag: Bacho loved the company, but didn’t really enjoy what he was doing there.
“It felt like I wasn’t adding anything tangible to the business,” he says. “I was just passing along information. Going into the summer, I knew that I wanted to do programming and software development, but I had applied to less technical positions because I didn’t have confidence that my skills at the time would land me an internship anywhere.”
Bacho regrouped, took a hard look at himself and his Cigna experience and, when offered another internship at Cigna, asked for a position in programming. It was like flipping a switch.
“I had an absolutely amazing time!” he says. “My manager would give me weekly assignments and then give me free rein to work on them and implement the solutions how I wanted to. The autonomy really helped me grow my confidence.
“I was also placed on a team of 12 other interns for Cigna’s Summer Innovation Challenge, where we created a mobile application designed to help impoverished users learn about and implement cheap, quick, and nutritious diets.”
Bacho’s team won, and his second experience at Cigna was a home run. He was trained in Agile, a leading project management tool, and certified as an Agile “Scrum Master,” which gave his résumé a huge boost and helped with his class work as a Computer Information System (CIS) major.
“Software development methodologies were an entire unit for my systems analysis and modeling course,” he says, “and I was well prepared!”
Building Confidence and a Career
Both sides of his internship experience helped Bacho in the classroom and with his confidence. He’s now focusing on a career as a software developer, armed practical knowledge and experience he could never get from a book.
“Being able to work in an actual corporate office where they’re working on making real software takes a lot of the hypotheticals you learn about in classes and actually implements them,” he says. “Particularly for CIS majors, I think there’s a big difference between working on coding projects for a class, which are generally really small scale, and then being put onto a team where their code is used by millions of people. I don’t think there’s a better learning experience than that.”