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Student achieves top-tier status in Northwestern Mutual's internship program

RELEASED: April 23, 2010

Chris Wesely
Chris Wesely

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire junior Christopher Wesely had an extraordinary internship experience with Northwestern Mutual, a 152-year-old insurance and investment company. According to the company website, it is the nation's largest direct provider of individual life insurance.

Wesely, of Pittsville, rose to the top of the company's internship program on a nationwide basis. He achieved the "Power of Ten," a Northwestern Mutual contest to achieve targeted production goals, during summer 2009. Weseley is considered to be in the top tier of more than 2,000 interns across the country, according to Matthew Coopman, director of development in the company's Appleton office.

During his time in the Marshfield office, Wesely enjoyed the flexibility the internship allowed as well as the hands-on experience. By learning how to network he was able to find new clients and get to know their financial needs. Meeting with community members to help them achieve financial security honed his people skills, said Wesely, who considers this among the most valuable aspects of his internship.

"We gave him the tools and he ran with it," Coopman said of Wesely. "He was really coachable, followed through, took ownership and was responsible. He is a very likeable, mature young professional."

Wesely learned about the company at a UW-Eau Claire career fair and called the Marshfield office to find out how he could become involved. Before beginning his internship there, he took a weeklong class last spring to become licensed to sell life and health insurance, followed by a week of training at Northwestern Mutual's Appleton office.

The internship program at Northwestern Mutual has been ranked among the top 10 in the nation for the last 12 years, according to the 2009 edition of the Vault Guide to Internships. In addition, CNNMoney.com has reported that Northwestern Mutual offers one of the five best internships for real work.

"You couldn't ask for a better company to work for than Northwestern Mutual," Wesely said. "They take care of you. It's hard getting started in this type of business and they give you all the help you need."

Wesely continues to work for Northwestern Mutual as he attends classes. He plans to graduate in December 2011 with a double major in accounting and business finance and is currently keeping his post-graduation options open.

Wesely has advice for fellow students regarding internships.

"Get one," he said. "And one that's more than just getting the coffee. Find something that will give you hands-on experience."

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AH/RD/DW

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