Spider web nets internships

November 4, 2020
A strong Spider web connects Jepson School interns to Robins School alumnus

The coronavirus pandemic nixed summer internship plans for many college students across the country; yet many Jepson School of Leadership Studies students successfully completed internships, thanks to a strong, interconnected Spider web. Such was the case for leadership studies seniors Annie Buenaventura, Jack Gillies, Tatum Polite, and Andrew Talcott.

After learning of the cancellation of the summer internship program to which she had been accepted, Buenaventura turned to Leva, an online internship board created by University of Richmond business administration majors Rider Tuff, ’21, and Eric Gonzalez, ’21. Leva connects college students to remote internships at growing startups.

Through Leva, Buenaventura, Gillies, Polite, and Talcott found their internships with Cavi Consulting, a New York-based business process consultancy firm co-founded by Spider alumnus Sam Chin, GB’15. The Jepson School awarded all four students Burrus fellowships to support their remote Jepson internships with Cavi Consulting.

As a project management intern, Buenaventura used her majors in leadership studies and computer science to create a software development process course for entrepreneurs. “Taking a roughly stated problem seen in the real consulting world and, in a few short months, delivering a polished, usable, and broadly applicable solution was incredibly rewarding,” she said of her experience developing the course. 

Polite, who is double majoring in leadership studies and philosophy, politics, economics, and law (PPEL), was a marketing intern. “I worked on marketing the Cavi Consulting brand and online business courses, managed all the social media accounts, and edited the promotional videos and other materials,” she said.  

Gillies and Talcott used their double majors in leadership studies and business administration to conduct research, design online training courses, and develop marketing strategies.

“The internship was a great balance of learning opportunities and challenges of my current skill sets," Talcott said. "It helped me grow as a student who is looking to work in consulting moving forward.” 

Gillies agreed: “I have always been interested in consulting, and this internship gave me a good look at what it takes to be a consultant and how difficult starting and running a startup is.”

His master’s in business administration from the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business prepared him for just such a challenge, Cavi Consulting co-founder Chin said. “I don’t think I could have even contemplated starting a business if I hadn’t learned about basic finance and accounting and all the other foundations offered by the Richmond MBA program. It also gave me my first exposure to consulting.”

As for his experience with undergraduate Spider interns this summer, Chin said: “The students impressed me with their business acumen, soft skills, intellectual curiosity, and ability to take on complex tasks and projects. They brought tremendous benefit throughout their summer program by rising to meet increasingly challenging asks from the company as we tested their skills.”   

“Cavi co-founders Sam Chin and Hassan Khan created a collaborative culture that made it seem like we were integral and valued members of the organization, rather than just interns,” Gillies said. “It was really nice knowing that as long as you give everything your best effort, you are going to learn a lot and get a lot of great experience. That’s a product of good leadership.”

Photo: Left to right, Andrew Talcott, Tatum Polite, Jack Gillies, and Annie Buenaventura