When Farm Credit East’s 2021 interns signed our offer letters earlier this year, there was still a chance the internship would be virtual. But as summer neared, we began to see a return to some normalcy in our lives. Although we are not completely out of the woods, there has been a breath of fresh air, and luckily, Farm Credit East decided to bring the interns back to the office this summer.
Coming into this internship, I had no agricultural experience, which was a major concern of mine. These worries were promptly addressed by my skills coach, Senior Loan Officer Henry Grinbaum, stating, “don’t worry, you can learn a thing or two from me.” Not to give him too much credit, but he was right! I have learned so much not just about the agriculture industry, but also loan underwriting, customer creditworthiness and essentials of the tax return, as well as many other aspects of credit. Most importantly I have learned that behind every deal, loan, phone call or farm visit is a valued relationship with a customer.
Relationships are what make the Farm Credit East experience unique; some of the other interns and I have had internship experience before this summer, but we were just stuck behind a desk for eight hours and given busy work. Farm Credit East makes it a priority to get the interns on the road, not only to see customer operations, but to talk to the owners and operators as well. Farm Credit East helps us feel like an integral part of the team during our summer experience.
Murtaza Ismail, a financial services intern in the Enfield, Conn., office spoke about one interaction with a forest products producer and said, “the sheer passion and enthusiasm he had for his craft just roped me in.”
Andrew Hu and I, both interns in the Flemington, N.J., office, had a similar experience with a vineyard owner. We were both in awe of the passionate manner he spoke about his business, and that single experience gave me the realization that farmers are more than meets the eye. They are professional businessmen and businesswomen who love what they do and want to share with anyone willing to listen.
Farm Credit East team
Although farm visits are exciting bonuses in the Farm Credit internship, they aren’t the only elements that make it robust. The office experience has completely surpassed expectations.
When asked about his overall internship experience, Devin Kuhn, a credit intern in the Cooperstown, N.Y., office, made a point to say, “[Cooperstown’s] office community is really inviting and welcoming. They’re always looking for ways to help.” This was a common consensus among the interns I interviewed.
Lauren Schwab, a credit intern located in Batavia, N.Y., was highly complementary to her skills coach, Portfolio Manager, Paul Webster, stating, “He has been great, I absolutely love my skills coach. He has done everything he can to help me learn.”
Of the interns I spoke with, there is not one who did not have an enjoyable experience with their skills coach. The Farm Credit East offices have provided a space where interns can feel like part of a bigger network without getting lost in a crowd.
Another important facet of this company is the actual work experience the interns are receiving. Obviously, there is no way around tedious and time consuming — but necessary — “intern work,” but that is only a small percentage of what we get here. Farm Credit East and our skills coaches make sure we have every opportunity to work with all different departments. It’s nice not feeling bound to a single concentration and it allows us to get a real-life idea of different career opportunities.
Ryan Evans, Cortland, N.Y., office credit intern, said it best. “Being able to spend time with credit, appraisal and financial services is like putting all the pieces of a puzzle together. It allows me to get a better idea of the entire operation.”
I agree with Ryan. Being able to work with other departments over the course of the internship gave me the opportunity to watch a loan travel from property purchase to close
So, what makes the Farm Credit East internship experience special? It is the people that work next to you, the relationships we have with clients, the preparation for future career endeavors, the specialization in the agricultural industry, and of course, farm visits! From the outside, it just looks like any other banking internship, but from the inside we have learned it is much more than that. Farm Credit East has given us unbelievable and pivotal experiences that will not be forgotten.
To learn more about Farm Credit East internship opportunities and other student experiences, visit FarmCreditEast.com/Careers.