Claudia Spreng is a senior on the UGA Equestrian team. She is majoring in Management and International Business & Risk Management majors. She had the opportunity to participate in an internship with Capstone Financial during the summer of 2016.
This past summer I had the opportunity to intern for Capstone Financial in their Buckhead, Atlanta location. Being right in the midst of the financial district in Atlanta, I was able to get a taste of the hustle of the corporate lifestyle and learn more about the daily routine of being a working professional. The biggest takeaway that I gained from these two months of being an intern was how much being an athlete and understanding team mentality helped me be prepared for some of the expectations that the real world will expect one day, specifically coach ability and teamwork.
As an athlete, I have learned that you only know as much as you are able to experience, and more often times than not, you cannot get there on your own. I have had coaches and mentors that have been in my shoes and could give me tips and strategies to avoid unnecessary boundaries. Being an intern, naturally my tasks were somewhat simple but there were still a lot of questions that I needed to ask before understanding what was expected of me. I made a point to not be shy about asking for help or seeking guidance of the first years who had been in my shoes recently. They were always willing to help me and I was recognized by my boss for doing the right thing by asking for guidance.
Teamwork is undoubtedly one of the most crucial factors in order to be successful on a team of any level, from junior high to pros. No matter how good someone may be individually, we as athletes have been taught that that isn’t what makes you stand out. What gives you the winning edge is being able to be the best for your team, because in the end it’s the team that gets the title and rings, not just you. In my time working, I saw that being able to differentiate this was extremely helpful in a project setting. For example, the interns got separated into groups and had to come up with options to solve a problem. Immediately I could tell who was good at adapted to group situations and who had learned the meaning of teamwork. There was another college athlete in my group and she demonstrated great leadership and team skills, and therefore our presentation was a success. Again, the idea is that she knew that it wouldn’t be her name on the slideshow, it would be all of ours, which is important because people who do not realize this become too competitive in their work, to the detriment of other people or the team as a whole.
I have been hearing time and time again about big companies that like to hire athletes, and now seeing a bit of the corporate world, I can understand why. We may not even realize how the 4 or 5 years being on a D1 collegiate team may shape us, but one day we will be able to look back and thank all the blood sweat and tears that we put into our sports. As sad as I am to leave this incredible program upon graduation, I know that I am ready to take on the real world thanks to UGA and UGA Athletics.