Before studying abroad, Maria Vennikov, ’19, decided to extend her international experience to an internship at Excel Recruitment, a retail recruiting company in Dublin, Ireland.

“I got a lot of experience in a lot of different fields,” Vennikov said, “fashion, head office, hospitality, and others. I was interested in an international internship because I knew it would be completely different and help me stand out. 

Shortly after Vennikov began her internship with Barry Whelan, CEO of Excel Recruitment, Whelan tasked her with a special project: identify areas where the company could save money.

“Maria used her considerable Microsoft Excel skills to build templates that would allow the management in the business to model and forecast complex wage scales based on a number of variables relating to sales, margin, and turnover levels,” Whelan said. “By the time her internship was up, Maria had completed her assignment, delivering multiple templates that forecast wage cost and identified when the company wage cost became prohibitive.”

Vennikov spent the summer creating the templates so the company could continue to use them after her internship ended.

“It’s really convenient for the CEO now to identify inefficiencies,” Vennikov said. “I had the Excel skills and the math skills to do it, but I wasn’t given much direction to make it happen, so I had to create a system from scratch. It was nothing like I’d ever done before.”

In addition to creating the algorithm, Vennikov said she was extremely grateful to Whelan for giving her the creative freedom to experiment with her Excel skills and accomplish the task on her own.

“The transferable skills to be able to start and finish a project from scratch without anyone holding my hand, to find creative and unique solutions to a problem, that’s something I can apply no matter where I work,” Vennikov said.

Working with a company overseas also gave her a different experience than most interns who work in the U.S.

“Working in a foreign country, I had a lot of unforeseen difficulties,” Vennikov said. “It was odd being the only American, I had to print out a map of Ireland and keep it by me so I could know all the counties. But I did a lot of research to make sure I was keeping up.”

Whelan said Vennikov made the transition to working in a different country seamlessly, which is why he knew he could trust her with the project.

“Maria is very bright, driven, and has a strong work ethic,” Whelan said. “She picked up the intricacies of our business quickly and added value. I suspect that she will have a very successful career ahead of her.”

After her internship, Maria went on to study abroad in Prague for the fall of 2017. She has returned to campus and plans to graduate in 2019. You can learn more about Excel Recruitment here.