By: Sienna Sherman (Performing Arts Administration, ‘22)
On Friday, March 26, the Performing Arts Administration graduate program invited second-year students to share with first year students their recent internship experiences. From the search process to the internship itself, students described how this opportunity complements their classroom learning and helped them establish a professional network. Internship supervisors and hiring managers from American Ballet Theatre and Dancewave joined the conversation to communicate their respective organization’s approach to internships, resume writing and interviewing tips, and forming valuable connections before, during, and after the internship.
Marisa Cartusciello ('21)
Individual Giving Intern, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Former Virtual Events Intern, The Streaming Stage Company
Deja Robinson ('21)
Executive Office Intern, American Ballet Theatre
Alexis (Zixin) Han ('21)
Special Events and Development Intern, Dancewave
Dennis J. Walters
Director, Education Operations, American Ballet Theatre
Executive Director, Dancewave
Here are brief highlights from the conversation:
[Student Intern Perspectives]
What made you stand out—in both the application and interview stages—among other applicants?
Passion and positivity. It is key to be comfortable in being yourself in order to sell yourself successfully. Make sure that the interviewer or hiring manager knows that you are ready to learn, you’re going to be present, and are excited to have this opportunity. Another huge standout for all of us is our education. Carrying the NYU name is always a plus.
How do you balance an internship with school, life, and other jobs?
Make sure to take care of yourself and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Don’t be afraid to talk to your supervisor about making accommodations for your school schedule -- just make sure you are as transparent as possible about what you can and can’t handle. Prioritization helps with time management to make sure everything gets done. Be transparent with your housemates about your schedule and, if you need to, schedule EVERYTHING—emails, dinner break, study sessions, etc. In the end, don’t forget to take breaks and do things for yourself—we are all strong supporters of a self-care break!
[Supervisor/Hiring Manager Perspectives]
How should a student approach applying for multiple positions at your organization?
Be transparent in your experience, strengths, and what you are looking for in an internship program—a good internship program will match you with the right position. List your interests, but always be truthful about who you are, companies know when you are playing up what you think they’re looking for. A good way to approach having multiple interests in one organization is explaining what you’re interested in while also stating that you are open to other opportunities.
What makes an applicant stand out?
The most important part of an internship application is to follow the instructions and complete it correctly. Organize your resume and cover letter neatly and make sure everything is grammatically correct. Though each organization handles the internship application processes differently, all organizations can tell who is representing themself well and if your cover letter is personalized or general.The cover letter and resume are used to get in the door, the interview is your personal time to shine. A professional and interesting first impression is the key to a stand out application.
What are some proactive steps students can take now, before the industry opens back up completely?
Invest in yourself and skill building opportunities. You want to put yourself in the best possible position to be ready to go as soon as the industry is up and running. It is valuable to use your time to search LinkedIn and other sites to build your network and gain experience in things like databases or content creation. In building your network, make sure to check in with those you have met and reach out to those you want to meet—always put yourself on someone's mind. Look at trends to anticipate where the field is going while paying attention to where conversations are happening. But, most importantly, take breaks and give yourself downtime!
We would like to extend a special thank you to Dennis J. Walters, Nicole Touzien, Deja Robinson, Alexis Han, and Marisa Cartusciello for participating in this conversation and sharing your valuable insights.