Priya Bhanderi is a people person. The majority of her experience has revolved around studying, researching, serving and interacting with people. As a senior Robins School of Business student, Bhanderi knew early on she wanted to declare a marketing concentration. “I have always had an interest in finding out what makes people buy the things they do. I am very interested in psychology and consumer behavior. I enjoy learning what factors influence decision making and the business perspectives that influence these choices,” Bhanderi said.

Knowing she wanted to pursue a career in business and marketing, Bhanderi came to Richmond because of its renowned business school. While looking for summer internships last year, a peer in the Office of Alumni and Career Services alerted her to an internship with the consulting firm Prophet on the SpiderConnect, a database of career opportunities hosted by Richmond. “The internship sounded interesting, but I got busy with school and forgot to look into it more. One night while I was doing homework, I thought about the application, and when I looked it up online, I found it was due that night. I scrambled to submit it by midnight, but I think that worked to my advantage because my answers were so honest,” Bhanderi said.

She soon received a call from Prophet’s Richmond office and, after going through an interview process, was offered a summer internship. “I had never considered consulting before, but it was an amazing experience,” she Bhanderi said. “They are so innovative. The interview was the most fun I have ever had.”

While at Prophet, she worked on a variety of projects for several nationally-recognized organizations. “I didn’t realize how many companies outsource work,” she said. Some of her projects included planning a leadership retreat for c-suite executives for a Fortune 500 company, innovating new customer touch points for an airline company, and creating a leadership narrative for one organization’s employees to become more engaged.

During her ten-week internship, Bhanderi also had the opportunity to be on a team with other Prophet interns that would eventually present to organization executives. “The project was structured but vague. It was a slap in the face, but it was a great experience,” she said. “Many of the other interns were from large schools, so I was a little intimidated. But that really pushed me to challenge myself.”   

During her final review, Bhanderi said many of her compliments were due to lessons she has learned as a student at Richmond. “A lot of positive comments during my review were on general etiquette. It was surprising how many interns did not send proper emails or know acceptable office behavior,” she said. “My biggest compliment came from the head of human resources when she noted how I was prepared, knowledgeable and confident on a conference call with her. I knew my research, how to interact with people, how to network and keep my composure in front of clients. I learned all these skills at Q-Camp.”

She also credits her business communications courses on helping prepare her for a successful internship. “While I was interviewing at Prophet, I took the lessons I learned from my courses to come fully prepared to the interview. I looked up my interviewers’ names on LinkedIn and set up meetings with their connections to find more information. Not only was I confident going into the interview, I had also improved and increased my networking abilities in the process,” she said.

For the remainder of the academic year, Bhanderi plans to continue taking advantage of courses and extracurricular opportunities available at the Robins School. She has already met with Shelley Burns, Director of Career Programs for the Robins School, to discuss job searching and post-graduation decisions. Eventually, she would like to return to school to study consumer behavior, psychology or human resources. “I built so many great relationships this summer with clients and team members. I learned this is something I really enjoy and want to continue doing,” Bhanderi said.

Whatever she might pursue after graduation, until then Bhanderi can most likely be found around the Robins School doing what she does best – interacting with people.