How to Make an Externship Work for You

Hannah Nyberg, JMU Class of 2015, is the Executive Assistant at Chess Consulting LLC. Hannah graduated with a Business Management major and Human Resource Development minor. While at JMU, Hannah stayed active on campus by participating in Make Your Mark on Madison, Quality Council (for COB 300), the Honors Program, and InterVarsity, in which she also held a leadership position.

According to their website, “Chess Consulting LLC is a business advisory firm that helps domestic and international clients and their outside counsel develop practical and sustainable solutions to address accounting and regulatory compliance issues. Among our specialties is helping government contractors manage their critical business and compliance risks associated with selling to the U.S. Government.” They recruit JMU Accounting and Finance majors every fall!

Image result for chess consulting llc logo

What is the company culture like at Chess?

Company culture is something that, although I studied it as a management major, I did not realize the importance of until I joined the work force. Chess is a small, private firm and with that comes a great company culture. Everyone in the office knows everyone, and beyond that, we are all actually friends. Many aspects influence the culture here including events such as: chartering a boat in DC, attending sporting events, holiday parties, charity events and even Tuesday night basketball. Having that kind of community in the workplace is vital to making a smooth transition from college student to young professional.

Additionally, management is very transparent when it comes to how the business is run and we hold internal trainings monthly as well as quarterly to keep employees well-equipped in their careers.”

Follow Chess Consulting LLC on Twitter!


What is an externship, and does Chess Consulting have an externship program?

“One opportunity that sets Chess apart from other firms is our externship program. Whenever I visit career fairs, younger students always ask me about internships, knowing that internships often lead to jobs and are a necessity for any resume. Since we are a small firm, we do not have an internship program, but I always encourage students not to discount us but to apply to our externship. Externships in general are a great way to gain valuable experience and insight into an industry and company over a short period of time.

Most externships last between 1-3 days and are broken down into sections that show the different types of work the company handles, as well as the opportunities within the industry, and the company culture. Since many college students are not exactly sure what career path they want, or even know the different options available, externships can provide the perfect opportunity to gain exposure to the firm and the industry as well as networking experience.”

How are externships appealing to college students? 

“One of the biggest draws of an externship is that they typically do not interfere with classes or internships. Since externships are short they can provide another important and relevant bullet point for your resume and easily fit in with other career development.  For example, our externship is 3 days long (Wednesday-Friday) at the end of May or early June. We provide background on all of our service offerings, allow shadowing portions with different levels of employees, provide food and lodging, and arrange a social event. This past year we extended an offer to one of our externs who accepted and will begin working with us next fall.”

Read more about externships on the Career & Academic planning website.

What’s your best piece of career advice for students?

“I recommend to take advantage of all the tips, tools, and resources JMU has to offer. Whether that is practice interviews at CAP, resume workshops, mentoring programs, Recruit-A-Duke or simply your professors, you will never be exposed to this many options again. You are in control of your professional development, so get started!

Networking is exceptionally important; make connections now that you will be able to utilize in the future, especially with your professors. You never know who may be helpful to know in the future, or even who they may know (hint: make sure you make a LinkedIn profile if relevant to your profession).”

Check out Chess Consulting LLC on Recruit-A-Duke today! Be on the lookout for their externship position on RAD, which will be posted in late January. 


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