The first weeks of a new job can be stressful for anyone, and interns often learn this as part of their first work experience. For Central College accounting major Chris Poesch ’15, these first weeks on the job were combined with his first time in a new country—the Netherlands. “It was kind of scary at first,” Poesch
says. “It was my first internship; I was in a new country, and the project was really tough to complete.”
Poesch, a Central senior from Waverly, Iowa, worked in the finance department for insurance company Aegon in spring 2014. His assignment, after two weeks of intensive Dutch language study, was to simplify Aegon’s corporate cost sharing program. After learning the existing files thoroughly, Poesch spent two months designing a new version that was easier to understand.
Stormi Peterson ’15, also an accounting major at Central, helped Poesch land the internship. Peterson worked for Aegon the previous spring and referred Poesch to her internship supervisors in the Netherlands.
According to Poesch, the opportunity to study and work abroad presented a tough decision, but the benefits were overwhelming. “I was concerned about falling behind,” Poesch says, “but I think the skills I gained from studying in a completely different county can’t be matched.”
The highlight for Poesch was experiencing the everyday realities of a business environment. He worked at Aegon’s corporate center and said it was eye-opening to work with many experienced and intelligent people. “It was my first time in a professional environment,” Poesch says. “I think I grew a lot.”
Poesch also enjoyed getting to know Dutch coworkers and experiencing their unique work environment. Poesch said he was surprised how relaxed the workplace could be, recalling a day when corporate leaders gathered everyone to celebrate the fourth quarter report and ended the workday at noon to eat and drink together.
Poesch said the internship also enlightened his thinking about a future career. “Before this, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get a job in accounting,” Poesch said. “This showed me that I really do enjoy my major.”