Beyond the Cubical

9
August 10, 2015 // Community, Culture

Article Written By: Cordell Zachery | Commercial Loan Operations Intern | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

As an incoming Senior at Grand Valley State University I’ve completed a variety of internships and worked a handful of jobs. As my undergraduate career is coming to an end, planning for post graduate life is now my top priority. Acing classes, making connections, and finding my niche within an organization are my main goals for my final year. This mindset is what steered me to Mercantile Bank.

Towards the end of my Junior year I came in contact with Don Williams a former member of Mercantile’s Board of Directors. With his guidance I interviewed with Mercantile Bank for a summer internship with the Commercial Loan Operations Department and shortly after I was offered the position.

From day one of the internship I knew that it was going to be different from my previous work experiences. The day was dedicated to training all of the interns where we learned about the bank’s values and structure, professional development skills, and went on a tour of the bank’s main branch. We even got to chat with the bank’s president!

The day after training I met the employees from the departments that I’d be working with. Each employee in the department was vibrant and welcoming. My supervisors really made me feel as though my task within the organization helped with the bank’s success. This feeling of actually making an impact as an intern is something that Mercantile Bank strongly values. Not once have I felt like a “cog in the machine”.

A unique part of Mercantile’s internship program is the experience outside of the office. Misti Stanton, Diversity & Inclusion Officer, makes it her duty to make sure that we not only develop connections within the bank but outside as well. In June Misti brought the interns to an event with the ADA called the “Father of The Year Awards” held at JW Marriot. During this event we were able to network with various professionals from Grand Rapids, learned a few pointers on dinner etiquette, and enjoyed a delicious 3 course meal. This is only one of the many professional events we’ve attended. Being around these professionals motivated me to attend numerous networking and skill building events around Grand Rapids and at every event I can say that I’ve made a connection with a new person.

Another facet of Mercantile that I didn’t expect to get from my internship was the openness of employees to be a mentor and a friend.  Whenever being around Don Williams he greets you with a warm smile and then gives you some tips or past experiences that contain a take away for you to use within your life. Also, I’ve been able to learn from departments other than mine as well. As an Advertising & PR major I was very interested in what the Marketing Department’s functions were. Monica Kreiger and Zach Roth both took time out of their day to meet with me. I learned about their strategies, use of social media, commercial making, and more.

As an intern here at Mercantile Bank I can truly say that I’ve had one of the best experiences as an up and coming professional in Grand Rapids. Within Mercantile’s mission statement it states that the organization maintains an “environment of growth and development” and I’ve seen that first hand.  Not only do I learn new things every day about the inner workings of Mercantile but I also improve daily on my professionalism and transferable skills that I can use in any field that I choose to go into. Here at Mercantile you have your best experiences outside of your cubical.

9 Comments

  1. Great blog, Goodluck my brother!

  2. Great read. It’s important to know that networking and building connections helps you be successful in the future.

  3. Great Post! Mercantile Bank sounds like a a great place to work/intern at.

  4. I really liked how this internship is exposing their interns to the community. This was a good read; thanks for posting.

  5. Congratulations on a successful experience! You’ve done a wonderful job learning from this experience. Kudos to Mercantile for such a successful internship program!

  6. Cordell,

    I am glad that you were able to gain valuable experience & information during your internship with Mercantile Bank. As you move into the final days of college life, you will see how important establishing these connections are. Make sure that you do not lose these connections, as you never know who will be able to help guide you in the future.

    Phil

  7. Wow what an awesome experience this sounds like great post!

  8. I’m very proud of you grandson. Your presentation was out-standing. You sounded more like a seasoned professional than an intern just starting.

  9. Great article Cordell! I agree completely. Hands down one of the best internship experiences in West Michigan.

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