LMU undergraduate Hilary Rucker (center, above) has worked at the William H. Hannon Library as a student assistant since summer 2017. Earlier this fall, Hilary attended a 10-week internship at JPMorgan Chase in New York. We sat down with her to talk about her experience and explore the connections between working at the library and interning at one of the largest, global financial services firms.
In summer 2018, while working at the library, Hilary received an email from LMU’s Office of National & International Fellowships notifying her of a finance internship opportunity at JPMorgan Chase in New York. Hilary is a psychology and women & gender studies double major with a business administration minor. She has a special interest in human resources, industrial/organizational psychology, and the ways that people work, grow, and communicate together in professional environments. The internship was just the type of work she wanted to pursue, and having recently visited New York, Hilary decided to throw her hat in the ring. “I felt like I was applying to Harvard!” Hilary submitted a video interview and within a few weeks was invited to fly out for an interview in Jersey City. She spent two full days in the JPMorgan offices interviewing alongside approximately 25 other students from mostly east coast colleges. Shortly after returning to Los Angeles, JPMorgan offered her an internship that would begin the following summer.
Hilary was among 5 other students selected for the HR internship in June-August 2019. In particular, Hilary was selected to take part in an HR Business Partner role, which she describes as a “generalist” position that helps connect internal clients with company resources: “We like to call ourselves knowers of everything, masters of none;” something which, she says, relates to her job at the William H. Hannon Library.
Hilary was quick to take full advantage of her time at JPMorgan. “I made a personal goal to network with as many people as I could.” She set up informational meetings with as many other employees as she could during her internship, something her supervisors encouraged her to do. She attended seminars, industry talks, and met with CEOs. “It was great being an intern and being able to hop around within the company.” Hilary also initiated a generational study to help her team become more informed about how motivators for success vary among Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Zs in an effort to help employees from different generations find common ground, be more productive, and see their workplace as geared toward their specific needs.
Hilary recognizes there is some cognitive dissonance between the critical theory she’s explored in the classroom and the day-to-day of the corporate world, and sees her coursework as an essential lens through which to view her experience. “My women & gender studies work is a guiding force on social justice issues and has taught me how to communicate with people who are different than me. It gives me an edge and expands my knowledge.” She hopes her LMU education will give her greater insight into how corporations talk about implicit and unconscious bias, corporate sustainability, globalization, and philanthropy. “Corporate American has so much power. With the right ideas, that power can make a lot of good change.”
In her role as a student assistant at the circulation desk, Hilary not only helps students check out books, media, and tech, but she also serves as the face of the library: students who work at the circ desk are the first person our patrons see when they enter the building. Just like in her internship, she is expected to be “a knower of everything and master of none,” whether it’s reserving a group study room, locating the library classrooms, or finding a book in the stacks. Above all, she enjoys connecting patrons to library resources and seeing familiar faces in the library. “The library is such a great resource. Everyone comes here. Everyone is utilizing our resources which is great because we have so many. So many.”
Hilary sees much of the work she does at the William H. Hannon Library as transferable to her future job. In particular, she highlights the importance of being able to manage a wide variety of processes, maintain high levels of customer service, problem-solving, and teamwork. “Working in the library requires organization skills. You need to remember a lot of different things. You also need to learn deal with different people and different personalities. You need to know teamwork. And you need to know when and how to get the answers you need, and what to do next.”
Hilary’s hard work paid off. She was among the few interns selected for a full-time position at JPMorgan post-graduation. In July 2020, Hilary will return to New York to begin a two-year program during which she’ll rotate through various roles within the company. She is also exploring the possibility of pursuing a masters degree in industrial organizational psychology.