Student-athletes face a learning curve when their playing days are done.
Gone are the regimented days of classes and homework scheduled around a practice or competition, of seeking treatment from the athletic training staff and a coach providing instruction from the sideline.
And, of course, it's time to launch a career.
Alec Palmer, '20, and Chase Palmer, '20, from the Albion College men's lacrosse team and Briton diver Lauren Young, '19, prepared to make that transition this summer when they completed internships with Detroit-based Quicken Loans geared toward helping student-athletes make a smooth transition to the professional arena.
"When looking at where I wanted to be in terms of professional development as a student, I felt it was really important for me to graduate with more than one internship under my belt," said Alec Palmer, a finance major in Albion's Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management from Spring Lake, Mich., an all-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association second-team pick in the spring. "As a student-athlete this can be a daunting task as we often struggle with having such busy schedules, which is why this opportunity was a perfect fit for what I was looking for. The program is set up to accommodate an athlete's summer schedule and fits when we are not in season.
"One thing that I learned while at Quicken was the value that all companies are really starting to see when it comes recruiting student-athletes," he added. "Often times they see student-athletes as the pinnacle of potential employees due to their work ethic, coachability, and drive to succeed."
Chase Palmer, also a finance major and member of the Gerstacker Institute, is used to long shifts. After all, he scored a goal and dished out an assist when Albion resumed its MIAA Tournament semifinal against Trine University, a contest that was suspended by lightning the night before. He was still impressed by the hours mortgage bankers work, an average of 9-10 hours per day and sometimes six days a week.
"I loved the environment and culture at Quicken," he said. "It is very competitive and excellence is rewarded and acknowledged. It is definitely fast paced in Mortgage banking, but your effort reflects your earnings. If you grind and are a closer you can do very, very well.
"Quicken has certain sayings that are considered some of the key values for the company, and one in particular has changed my everyday life: Innovation is rewarded, but execution is worshipped," he added. "It has taught me that having new ideas are important, but what really separates moderately successful people and those who are highly successful, are the actions that one takes to implement and execute an idea that's truly noticed and valued. It motivated me to continue working hard and strive for success."
While his daily responsibilities included pulling reports evaluating banker performance and efficiency, Chase Palmer received valuable information about how a mortgage can impact personal finances.
"I learned a lot about the actions to take when looking at getting a mortgage and refinancing it a few years down the line," he said. "Specifically, how to use a mortgage as a debt device and take bad debt, like credit cards, and to roll that into a mortgage to save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan."
A product of the village of Lake Orion, Mich., on the outskirts of metro Detroit, Young appreciated the opportunity to live in the revitalized downtown area in addition to the workshops on resume building, interview skills, public speaking and leadership. The psychological studies major and member of Albion's Prentiss M. Brown Honors Institute also remarked about how the interns were accepted and how leaders asked for their opinions.
"It was challenging to learn to give and receive feedback because it was an open culture where you are always expected to advocate for yourself and your ideas," Young said. "I learned how important it is to tailor how to say something in different settings (for example, a meeting as opposed to a team huddle or communicating with fellow interns). This is something that can be taken back to the classroom setting as well. Speak up because what you have to say is important and valued. This is especially necessary for student athletes because we are now the group of students that are being heavily recruited by companies.
Alec Palmer amplified Young's thoughts about communication, noting interactions with others are just as important as the technical skills in the fast-paced environment.
"A lot of what business really is relates to your ability to connect with the people around you," he said. "Whether those people are your clients, your colleagues, or upper management, it's imperative to learn the value that each plays into helping build and shape who you are. They play a major role in creating the type of person you see when you look in the mirror. I learned the value of surrounding yourself with individuals who will push you to be better, share your drives and motivation, and challenge your ideas in order to help you grow."
NOTE: Antonio Corsi, '20, a two-year letter winner for the Britons in men's lacrosse and third from left in the photograph also participated in the summer internship program at Quicken Loans