This week’s spotlight goes back to someone who is still in school. Has your summer been as awesome as Maisa’s?
Name, major, and hometown
My name is Maisa Vendrasco, and I am a marketing major at UCF. I am originally from São Paulo, Brazil. I moved to Florida 3 years ago with my family. I first went to a community college for my AA degree, and then transferred to UCF one year ago.
What is your job/internship and why do you think it’s cool
I am a Sales and Marketing intern for Wyndham Vacation Ownership. I never thought I would work in sales, since I saw my dad doing this his whole life. My idea of people working in sales was that (1) you could make good money if you are older and if you work really hard, (2) you work long hours, and (3) deal with a lot of stress. However, working at Wyndham and with timeshare gave me a new perspective of sales. You do not work long hours; your only stress is to make the sale; and if you are good at it, you make very good money at any age. I think it’s amazing how everyone is happy and excited to work here, and that our main objective is not to sell, but help families have a commitment to vacation and make memories with the loved ones. This, for me, is the reason why Wyndham is number one in vacation ownership in the world.
Describe your duties, where (location, building…) do you work, who do you work with, etc. Give us a “picture” of what you are doing.
I work at Bonnet Creek Resort, inside Walt Disney World. This place is considered the Gold Crown of timeshare; and if you have been there before, you can understand why.
I work with people who are already owners, and want to upgrade their status and/or understand better what they own. One of the best features of this internship program is that each intern is assigned to a top sales mentor, to assist and help us through the entire internship. My mentor is Tina Sciarrino, a top sales representative who has worked for Wyndham for almost 20 years. Let’s just say I could not have been paired with a better person.
How did you find your job/internship
I actually found out about this internship through UCF Spring Internship Fair. Wyndham had a table there, and the recruiters were trying to find Marketing and Finance major students. It was a long process, since February, but definitely worth it.
Did you make any mistakes in your search (or things you thought were a mistake) and how did you recover
My first mistake in this internship was to come here with a pre mindset of sales. Once that wrong idea was out of my mind, my learning process for this job was way easier. My advice is to have a clear mind once you get a new job, because every company is different. Don’t let previous knowledge from your personal or professional life interfere in how you conduct your current job.
How does this opportunity fit into your long term career goals?
My main goal with internships is to try different areas of marketing as much as I can, so when I graduate I have a better idea of what I want to do. In my last internship, I worked in the supply chain area of a multinational company, and I loved it. So I know that this is a segment of Marketing I would like to work on. Now, I am doing sales, and so far I like it too. I believe that now is the time to try different things in your professional live, and learn with them, while still in college.
What have you learned about yourself in this role?
I am usually not a very patient person. I am someone who is always trying to do something fast and quick. However, when you are trying to make people trust you, believe in what you are telling them, and therefore trying to close a deal, the last thing you need is to rush. Trying to close a deal “fast and quick” will be your worst enemy. So, I have definitely learned to take my time when doing a sale.
What skills, tools, etc. have you had to learn in this role?
Sales is basic psychology = psychology of sales. It’s important to learn that every question you ask has a meaning, a reason behind. If you ask the right questions, people will tell you how to sell them. It was hard for me to understand it at first, but after a while it became clear.
The hardest part, for me, is that we need to know a lot of tools, but also when to use them. Each family and account is different, so each one requires a different tool.
What keeps you going back everyday? What challenges do you face?
The main challenge is to wake up at 5:30am everyday, and then drive 45min to get to work and more 45min back home. But other than that, I really enjoy coming to work. The property is beautiful, and since everyone is on vacation, people are usually happy and smiling at you all the time. Also, the resort is located inside Walt Disney World complex, which makes you go through the arcs of Disney, the one that says “Where Dreams Come True,” which gives a special touch to start the day.
Did you get any advice while you were in school that helped? From whom?
I am part of a Professional Business Fraternity on campus, called Delta Sigma Pi, and I could not have asked for a better support group than my brothers. The ones that had done sales before, or are now doing sales, gave me a lot of tips and suggestions. I had one brother who agreed to role-play with me, and she is not even a marketing major. I also had Dr. Massiah, someone I consider a mentor, who was always encouraging me to not be afraid and just do my best.
What advice would you give a student just coming into the college regarding making the next two years productive and resulting in success.
I would advise to first figure it out what areas of your major interest you, and then second, find internships in those areas. What you learn in class is very different from the real world, and that is why is so important to experience as much as you can before is too late.
Also, make connections with other students and professors in your major; they can definitely help you get those internships and then advice you with them.
What job search tips would you pass along to other students?
UCF offers a lot of opportunities for students to find jobs and internships, first being the Internship Fair and the Career Fair. Those events have big companies who are there looking for students, and still, a small percentage of us show up. However, is necessary to make a good impression on the recruiters, so I suggest going to Career Services before attending these occasions, and they will help you on your interview skills, critique your resume, and many other things.
What did you learn from the other Spotlights that you can use in your internship and job search?
The story that I remember the most is Stephanie Kovacs’s, and is because I truly believe in what she said: you never know who you will meet; and that is why I always am prepared with my business card and resume in the purse. It is amazing how many opportunities can happen out of moments you would never guess. I definitely take from her story three things: network with as many people as you can, get involved on campus and internships, and always be prepared.