Dorian Simpkins, Daniel Gordon, Ethan McCoy and Kosha Patel
From left: Heavener School of Business students Dorian Simpkins, Daniel Gordon, Ethan McCoy and Kosha Patel.

Despite COVID-19, Heavener students gain experience interning remotely with international companies

While the COVID-19 pandemic halted international travel, students in the Heavener School of Business who were already slated to complete summer internships with international companies didn’t let it stop them from gaining valuable experience in their chosen fields. We asked four students who completed their internships from their hometowns across Florida with companies based in England and Spain to share their experiences, what they learned, what challenges they faced and how they overcame those challenges. Read on to see how Kosha Patel, Daniel Gordon, Dorian Simpkins and Ethan McCoy navigated their remote internships in their own words.


Kosha Patel

Kosha Patel – BSBA Finance ’23

I completed a six-week internship with Love Social Media this summer. While Love Social Media is based on London, due to the impacts of COVID-19, I ended up completing the internship in my hometown, Coral Springs, Florida.

Love Social Media helps other businesses with advertising and marketing, especially with the content they push out on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. As a finance major, I really wanted to do a finance related internship. I was responsible for backlogging a year’s worth of transactions into a new accounting software called Xero. I also had to keep tabs on what types of costs were being run the most in order to create accurate reports for my supervisor to use. I also did some research on video testimonials towards the end of the internship that will be used to prepare their future campaigns.

I’m proud that I was able to learn how to use a whole new software program – Xero – during my internship. I really strengthened my accounting skills and was able to visualize through the transactions and what finance costs the business was expensing the most. All in all, I was able to sharpen finance, accounting and business administration skills while also gaining experience in the workplace. The key takeaway I had from the experience was the difference between the culture of the workplace. With this London based institution, I could pick out differences in work styles which will be beneficial if I work with international clients or partners in the future.

Completing a remote internship doesn’t come without its challenges, of course. Working with different time zones is no doubt challenging, so that’s why I chose to intern in a country that had the least difference (London is 5 hours ahead of Florida). I handled it by trying to start work earlier in the day so I had a few hours of time where I could slack message my supervisor and he could answer shortly. I also simply learned to make some decisions on my own and then check up every so often a week to make sure I was doing everything according to his standards! Personally, I had a lot of flexibility to complete tasks according to how I saw fit.

Overall, completing this internship was a fantastic experience, even if I wasn’t able to be in London for my time with Love Social Media. I was able to expand my financial and accounting skills while also practicing initiative in the process. Although working in person is different, the remote experience allows you to have more flexibility while also getting some face time with co-workers through video communications like Zoom. The experience is what you make of it! And I was able to talk to my supervisor beforehand about some key skills I would like to develop, and he created tasks based on my goals.


Daniel Gordon

Daniel Gordon – BSBA Finance ’21

 This summer, I spent six weeks as a quantitative analyst intern at Alva Group, a reputation intelligence company based in London. Instead of traveling to London for the internship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I completed my internship from my Gainesville apartment. I created a work environment that minimized distractions and allowed me to focus and be productive.

As a quantitative analyst, my two main tasks were about analyzing excel spreadsheets containing reputational data about companies and outlining relevant information for client reports. Analyzing spreadsheets involved sourcing and filtering information, running Excel Macros and summarizing the relevant data in pivot tables. Drafting client reports involved understanding the information that was relevant to the client, identifying this information on the spreadsheets and writing key insights on the corresponding section of the report.

The biggest challenge I experienced in my internship led me to an important lesson. The first week I was assigned a long task that consisted of filtering information about specific issues and companies. I did not know how to phrase the questions that I had and so I did the work as best I could. After completing the tasks, I received feedback and I realized that the results that I got contained values that were extremely low and inaccurate. As I implemented the feedback and asked more questions, I deciphered the correct approach to take in this type of task. This approach consisted of asking questions about the purpose behind a specific task rather than details about it. I implemented this approach for the rest of my internship experience, and it proved incredibly helpful.

I learned a lot in my internship, but the main lesson I learned was the importance of asking better questions. Early on I realized how important it was for me to be able to ask good questions in order to know how to approach a new task effectively and efficiently. My supervisor and colleagues were willing to help me by answering any questions I had but I needed to have the skill to ask the right questions. As I developed this skill, I was able to understand much better how to approach each task. I also learned a lot about the industry as a whole and this helped me become more engaged with the work I was doing.

Even in the remote setting, I found a lot of value in working with different kinds of people on different types of projects. I learned how to adapt to a fast-paced work environment and how to communicate effectively with my supervisor as well as colleagues. The remote setting did not hinder the development of these skills.


Dorian Simpkins

Dorian Simpkins – BSBA Management ’22

Over the summer, I completed a remote, six-week internship with the small talent acquisition company Turing Talent, based in London, England. Turing Talent connects post-graduate computer science candidates with company hosts looking to fill internships, full-time jobs and mentee positions. However, given the current circumstances regarding COVID-19, I completed my internship in my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida.  

I served as a business operations intern with Turing Talent. As a business operations intern, I developed strategies for new talent acquisition programs and assisted my supervisor, the CEO, with communicating with our dozens of company partners. I developed a twelve-step process for hiring and pairing internship candidates with host companies in the technology field. This role entailed daily communication with dozens of applicants and company representatives to ensure that we pair qualified candidates with a good host company. 

Over the course of my internship, I gained valuable experience in my preferred field of business operations. Amongst the many skills I gained, I also learned the value of establishing meaningful relationships with company clients, fellow employees and supervisors. The ability to have open conversations not only helped me to improve my projects, but also to clarify expectations and outcomes.  

The biggest challenge I faced was the five-hour time difference and the remote working format. About two weeks into my internship I realized that my supervisor and I had different expectations for work hours which resulted in my completing tasks throughout the entire day. I proposed a work schedule that provided a convenient overlap in our schedules, thus resulting in more productivity and clarity between myself and my teammates.

In addition to gaining experience in my field of interest and learning to overcome challenges in working with a company based in a different country, I found value in the large amount of responsibility that I was given. I had to oversee multiple facets of each project that I worked on spanning from marketing to business strategy. This internship also introduced me to the typical routine I can expect in a future internship or full-time position. I have greatly improved upon my time management capabilities.  


Ethan McCoy

Ethan McCoy – BSBA Finance ’22

 For six weeks this summer, I interned remotely with a company called Gellify Iberia, which is based in Barcelona, Spain. During my time at Gellify I worked alongside an open innovation manager who was working on solving complex challenges for Sacyr, a Spanish construction company. I assisted in researching startups that have created a novel technology or have experience solving problems similar to the ones we are working on. I used programs like Crunchbase to research prospective companies and then compile a list of details about these startups in a spreadsheet. Additionally, we used Google Scholar to identify any researchers or universities who are solving similar problems and then sent them correspondences to ask for their help.

Over the course of my internship, I learned how to better collaborate with people in a work environment which was especially more challenging than normal circumstances considering it was all remote as well as a bit of a language and time zone barrier. I learned how to ask better questions in order to understand complex business problems and other areas I am unfamiliar with. I also became more familiar with tools like Crunchbase and Excel as well as communicating with collaborators outside the company.

One of the initial challenges was for me to communicate what I was hoping to learn from the internship and for my supervisors to understand what I knew and didn’t know. As we talked more and became more familiar with each other, they were able to understand my capabilities which created more trust and the ability to work independently.

My internship with Gellify was a valuable experience because I got to see a side of business I was unfamiliar with and helped further develop my interpersonal skills. Throughout the internship, I was able to ask my supervisors probing questions about the differences between business and Europe and America which was eye-opening and allowed us to form a better relationship. I feel like I was able to gain a better understanding of international business and enhance interpersonal and technical skills.