• Make It Rain: How Cloud Seeding Programs Are Saving Countries

Tips From the Intern Life

 REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SWITZERLAND BUSINESS)
Before I began work for the multi-billion dollar, 200 year old company that is DuPont, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was very eager to begin my intern experience in my hometown of Wilmington, DE, but the adjustment from college to corporate life is a transition that, although one most of us will have to complete, is not the easiest. I had a particularly unique intern experience as well, as Dow Chemical and DuPont are in the midst of a multi-billion dollar merger. A lot happened in my three-month intern experience that challenged me and allowed me to grow. There are three tips, however, that I would like to share that proved invaluable for me, which I will take with me on my future career path.

1. Meet and be social with the other interns. I had the unique opportunity to intern with fellow college students from the University of Virginia, Purdue, and the University of Kentucky, to name a few. Every intern brought a unique set of experiences and skills to work. As an intern, you’d be remiss if you did not use this platform to not only elevate your networking ability, but to just make the overall experience better, since you are surrounded with young people.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice. My supervisor and manager challenged me each and every day—both on a personal/developmental level and a technical level. My manager preached the invaluable tool of communication, especially in a business role. Thus, they had me give brief presentations to the Finance team before or after our weekly meetings. Now, being a 21-year-old college student standing in front of employees who have been at the company for 30+ years is surely intimidating, but the only way to get over that is to practice and to keep getting “live reps.” All of those short presentations prepared me for my final intern presentation, where I had to present about some of my summer work in front of around 40 people. While I am far from being an expert at public speaking, I grew in many facets this summer—especially communication.

3. Ask Questions! We have all been hearing this our entire academic lives— “Ask questions!” A lot of us think since we are in our respective majors at a stellar business school like Smeal, we know more than we actually do. Within the first week of work, I realized how intelligent and polished all of the full-time employees were—and that I still had a lot of work to do to be near their level. However, regardless of where you work, you will be surrounded by a wealth of resources and astute individuals—put them to use! Don’t simply generate the data—ask what is meant beyond the numbers, and how these numbers pertain to your business. Asking questions can never hurt, and as an intern, it’s all about growth and development.

Internship Review: Bethlehem Museums & Sites

bethlehem
Over the summer I interned at Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites for marketing and social media.

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites maintains Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s historic landmark district with 20 historic sites and buildings. Moravians founded the town in 1741, which meant I interned during an important year: the 275th anniversary.

Though I am not a marketing major, I combined my background in finance and print journalism to compensate from the little experience I had in the field.

Through my work in journalism, especially through The Daily Collegian, I often receive press releases and write articles based on the information provided. At my internship, I was on the other end of the process for the first time. Having read many press releases, I felt comfortable writing them due to familiarity with the style. I combined my fact-focused journalistic writing with my personal creative writing style to compose press releases. I wrote press releases for Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites’ summer and autumn festivals, art exhibitions and other smaller scale events. Before the major events, I sent media alerts to local news outlets.

I wrote a non-profit spotlight column for a local publication that covered Historic Bethlehem Museums & Site’s drive to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I also wrote a write-up of upcoming events for another local publication.

I also put my interest in writing to use in blog posts through WordPress. In these blog posts, I expanded upon material provided in press releases for festivals and art exhibits, which were written and posted leading up to the events to draw more interest. For another blog post, I wrote about summer happenings hosted by Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites that had a longer tail.

A key duty of my internship included reaching out to the public. For events, I posted to local and regional discussion boards and event calendars on websites. For a festival, I personally reached out to regional news outlets and local bloggers to invite them to the festival.

Reaching out to the public also included social media posts. Most weeks, I drafted and scheduled daily social media posts for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and occasionally Pinterest through HootSuite. For one festival, I spent a day photographing the event and posting pictures to the accounts throughout the day to draw more potential visitors.

I also drafted and sent weekly email blasts through Constant Contact to highlight upcoming events to subscribers.
Though I did not expect to spend the summer interning in a field I do not study, I enjoyed learning new skills. I still may not know the technicalities of marketing, but I feel comfortable in the field and realized I may potentially want to work in it.

Tinder Matches with Humin


Though dating application Tinder is hardly known for helping its users find lasting relationships, it made its own commitment to Humin this past Tuesday.

Tinder will purchase the rights to technology and intellectual property of Humin, while acquiring the company’s executive board and some of its staff in San Francisco, according to this Recode article.

Humin, which owns Humin Contacts and Knock Knock, will apply its technology to Tinder to improve app practicality and expand Tinder beyond only a dating app.

Humin Contacts organizes phone contacts. Knock Knock allows users to make contact with someone nearby through social media platforms and a chat system within the app. Humin Contacts is only offered by Apple’s App Store. Knock Knock is available in the App Store and Google’s Play Store. The apps will be removed from the stores due to the acquisition.

Tinder has not made a statement about which specific aspects of Humin’s apps will be used.

Tinder founder and CEO Sean Rad and Humin founder Ankur Jain both said the combination of the apps will prompt people to look up from their phones and create relationships with people in person.

Tinder benefits from the updated technology of Humin, while Humin benefits from Tinder’s larger userbase.

According to Forbes, financial information about the acquisition has not been revealed.

Humin is Tinder’s first company acquisition in the last year.

Are markets now desensitized to terror?


Stock markets are far from the most important issue in regard to terrorist attacks, which are becoming a devastating staple of this current century. The markets do, however, offer insight into the working world and how much of an impact terrorism has on it. Terrorists likely intend to interfere in subtler ways with the everyday lives of those spared the immediate effects of their attacks. Have they succeeded?

For better or for worse, it seems the markets are becoming desensitized to terrorist attacks, as illustrated by this past Tuesday’s events in Brussels. This is better for the overall economic health of the world’s countries, yet worse because it indicates somewhat that these occurrences are beginning to become a societal norm.

On the first day of trading after the September 11 attacks, six days later on September 17, the Dow fell 684 points, a 7.1 percent decline. By the end of that week it had fallen over 14 percent, and it took a month to rebound to its pre-9/11 level.

Fast-forward 14 years to November 13, 2015, when the coordinated attacks took place in Paris. That day, France’s CAC 40 lost just 0.1 percent. Countless terrorist attacks have occurred between 9/11 and this instance, and the markets have learned to adjust. This past Tuesday, despite the Brussels bombings, the main indexes in France, Germany, and on Wall Street actually closed in positive territory.

Outside of perhaps the travel industry, the general consensus is that as the frequency of these attacks has increased, the shock value of them has lessened, decreasing “fear trade.” Additionally, consumers now tend to postpone purchases or trips in the wake of attacks rather than forgo them entirely, according to this Washington Post article. This CNN Money piece discusses how some consumers even shop in defiance of attacks, mentioning refusal of citizens to let terrorists dictate how they run their lives.

While markets have generally grown accustomed to these events, the potential for economic consequence still exists.
Recent attacks like those in Paris and Brussels have ignited a discussion for increased border controls throughout the European Union, which would impact the flow of goods in the region.

And there is further potential impact – despite British Prime Minister David Cameron saying it wasn’t “appropriate” to include the Brussels bombings in the referendum debate, campaigners for Britain’s exit from the EU (which is known as the “Brexit”) are underscoring them as a reason why Britain should secede. On July 23, Britain holds its referendum to decide whether or not it remains a EU member.

The global markets have largely adapted to terrorist attacks thus far. But if Europe’s economic status quo is destabilized by the fallout from these attacks (such as Britain departing), the markets may experience some turbulence.

Inaugural Sports Networking Night a Success

sportsbusinessnetworking
The inaugural Sports Networking Night took place on March 1 in the Business Building, and allowed students to learn more about jobs within the sports industry. More than 17 companies were in attendance, which included sports teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Flyers, sports agencies like IMG and Octagon, and companies that market through sports such as Fox Sports and Populous. Students had the opportunity to attend hour-long panel discussions, where representatives from each company would explain their roles within the sports industry and provide students with current industry trends.

After the panel discussions, students had the opportunity to network with all of the company representatives for two hours in the Business Building Atrium. This networking session allowed students to expand on the panel discussion topics, ask further questions, and inquire about future job and internship opportunities in a professional environment. Over 175 students attended the event, and many students were able to seek out various opportunities within the organizations in attendance. The event was organized and run by the Penn State Sports Business Club, the Penn State Marketing Association, and the Center for Sports Business and Research within the Smeal College of Business. All parties are looking forward to build off of this event’s success to provide a larger and better event next year.

Petrobras Scandal Knocks the Wind Out of Brazil

petrobras
Already amidst a two-year recession, Brazil keeps taking punch after punch as jail sentences are being handed down to some of the most powerful executives and politicians as more details have been released in regard to the Petrobras scandal. Petrobras, the largest oil company in South America, is under heavy scrutiny as company executives are being held responsible for allegedly taking bribes in exchange for handing out contracts to large construction firms and other contractors. However, these construction companies began to backhandedly overbill the company for work that they provided. Politicians from several parties within the Brazilian government also played important roles in the scandal as bribe money taken in by Petrobras was being fed into the campaigns of Workers’ Party candidates during election periods. Just last Tuesday, Marcelo Odebrecht, former CEO of Odebrecht SA, was handed down the harshest sentence of all thus far as he is slated to serve 19 years in prison for corruption, organized crime, and money laundering. He was just one of many high-ranking South American construction company executives accused of these crimes, and he is suspected of providing renovations to multiple properties owned by former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Mr. da Silva has recently been questioned by Brazilian authorities for his role in this scandal. From 2011 to 2014, Mr. da Silva had received millions of dollars in “donations” for his nonprofit foundation, the São Paulo-based Instituto Lula, from Odebrecht and other large South American construction firms. However, he is being accused of taking these monetary donations and funneling them into his own pockets to cover his property renovations. The investigation probe, dubbed Operation Car Wash, was opened up in 2009, but has begun to make some dramatic headwinds in early 2016. The former president isn’t the only high-ranking political figure treading in muddy waters. Current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is also on the hot seat. Currently in the midst of an unrelated predicament with Congress, Rousseff may face questioning from investigators because she served as a chairwoman of Petrobras during the time bribes were supposedly being taken by company executives. If da Silva goes down, it may be her death sentence, too.

Now that the Petrobras scandal has engulfed Ms. Rousseff, her attention has been turned away from passing legislation to combat the lagging economy and instead towards fighting for her job. Brazil’s economy is currently in stagflation mode as it hasn’t been growing of late, but prices have risen across the board at an 11% clip per year. Brazil’s economy has also taken a hit from China lowering its demand in the country’s commodities and from low oil prices, which have diminished the high revenue stream it usually gets from the energy sector. Economists are currently expecting to the 2016 GDP to shrink by 3.54%. The 2016 Summer Olympics are set to take place in Rio de Janeiro. But as the Zika Virus, mass corruption, and political uncertainty loom over the country, the spirits of the Brazilian people don’t appear to be too high as the summer approaches.

Sources: Yahoo, WSJ, Bloomberg, NPR

This article originally appeared on the Penn State Finance Society’s Market Analysis Group website. For more updates on current market trends, visit http://www.magpsfs.com/.

Make It Rain: How Cloud Seeding Programs Are Saving Countries

Cloud Seeding In Action

 

Monsoon season in India lasts from mid-July to late September, however India is currently in its third consecutive year of droughts. The monsoon season, which is supposed to produce heavy rainfall, has only provided drizzling rain. The monsoon rains are vital to agricultural success because the rain provides for crop development and sufficient water supply before the dry winter months. Continue reading

SmealConnect – An Invaluable Job Searching Tool

One of the most overwhelming and stressful aspects of being a college student is the internship application process. Here at Penn State, we are constantly bombarded with information about networking events, professional tips, and career fairs. To simplify this process, the Smeal College of Business has created “SmealConnect” for Career Opportunities and Networking Possibilities. Continue reading