Coming to SMU, one of the things I was most excited for was the opportunity to intern. A mentor in high school told me to think of internships as a trial for a career, and unlike many other trials, you’re the one getting paid to upgrade. My first year here in Dallas and at SMU, I began to fully realize how many companies have their headquarters or base office here in the area. One company immediately stood out to me and was only 10 minutes down Mockingbird Lane: Southwest Airlines. However, with over 20,000 applications submitted and only 150 spots, I knew it was going to be a tough opportunity to acquire.

My sophomore year at SMU, I applied for my first internship at Southwest Airlines. I used nearly all the resources on campus to best prepare myself. I went into the career center and had them look over my resume and perfect every word on the page. At one of the career fairs on campus I actually got to meet my recruiter from Southwest in person, and put a face to my resume. Through other SMU students I got to meet young SMU alumni that currently work and received their input and recommendations. I was able to have two of my favorite professors write extremely individualized recommendation letters for me, because they were able to get to know me so well both inside and outside the classroom. Fast forward a few months, and when I got the interview, I went back to the career center to run some practice interviews. I walked into my interview feeling the most prepared I have ever been and perfectly confident. I ended up receiving the internship on the Customer Experience team and loved it so much that I applied again for the following summer and interned as their first Corporate Strategy & Innovation intern.

My SMU connection was also beneficial while I was there interning. On a daily basis, my academic and extracurricular experiences made me an asset for my team and the projects we were working on. But the SMU benefit didn’t end there. Frequently I would walk down the halls of Southwest’s Corporate headquarters in an SMU shirt and someone would stop me and say they were a Mustang alumni and would love to help me in any way they could. These alumni connections have now become friends who continue to mentor me as I finish my undergraduate time here at SMU.

No matter where you chose to intern, I am confident that your SMU connections will help you professionally. All you need to do is get ready to explore, so buckle up.

Richmond Dewan