BMCC Initiates Internships with NBC Universal

December 21, 2009 | Borough of Manhattan Community College

At a recent Leadership Breakfast held at BMCC’s Media Center, the college welcomed guest speaker, Ethan “Tony” Loney, Vice President, Diversity, Compliance and Campus Relations and Human Resources at NBC Universal, who shared some exciting internship news with the BMCC community.

Sponsored by the Urban Male Leadership Academy, Loney’s visit to the college kicks off the first in a series of Leadership Breakfasts where executives visit the college, sharing internship and career advice with BMCC students.

Michael Gillespie, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, introduced Loney, referring to him as, “part of a tradition of inviting distinguished corporate executives to tell their life journeys and how they got to the place they are today.”

Internships are ‘a great opportunity’
At NBC Universal, Loney helps develop strategies that address diversity initiatives. He also helps facilitate NBC’s competitive internship program.Loney announced at the Breakfast that NBC will soon be accepting internship applications from community college students.

Previously, interns were selected only from 4-year colleges, and now, changes will be implemented because BMCC greatly impressed Loney and his team at NBC.“I fell in love with BMCC,” said Loney, who toured the campus with Brian Haller, the college’s Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, who facilitated the Breakfast. “We never took community college students as interns before at NBC, but because we loved BMCC so much, we’re going to change the rules. There are very talented students here.”

Although Loney said internships were a great opportunity for college students, he reminded the audience not every intern will be hired full-time by NBC. “An internship guarantees an experience, not a job. It gives you a sense of what you like and don’t like.”

Let interviewers know what ‘makes you special’
The first piece of advice Loney shared with BMCC students was to be professional at job interviews. This advice seems so simple, but was something Loney learned the hard way.

After graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, Loney returned to New York for a series of job interviews. His worst interview ended up changing his life.

According to Loney, as a recent college grad with a “know-it-all” attitude, he interviewed with an executive who cringed at his casual clothing and his snide attitude. “He said I wasn’t getting the job, to dress more conservatively, stop being so cocky, cut my hair…” recalled Loney. “He was absolutely right. Maybe after you get the job, you can grow your hair out. But always be friendly, be professional, and let the interviewer know what makes you special.”

Of course, he sharpened his attitude, dress and interview skills after that. “Sometimes your harshest critics are the ones you really need to listen to,” said Loney. “Lesson learned.”

Students should be specific when interviewing
Loney advised students to be specific when interviewing for an internship or job. “Don’t oversell yourself—know what your weaknesses are, and what you are going to do about them,” he said. “Employees don’t want to hear problems, they want to hear solutions. Talk to anyone who can give you feedback on the way you come across. This will better prepare you for interviews.”

Loney also said working will only get you so far on the job. Personality counts—a lot. He once hired an employee who worked diligently, but refused to answer any phones in the office. “She lasted two days with us,” said Loney. “I need someone who can interact with people.”

Don’t be ‘the worst applicant’
According to Loney, students should know what type of job they’re looking for. “The worst applicant you can have is someone who says, ‘I love TV. I want a job at NBC.’ Well, no NBC job is just watching TV,” he said. “Put some substance around what you’re working for.”

When cold-calling someone, Loney told students to first ask that person if they have a minute to talk. “Don’t assume just because they answered the phone, they can talk,” he said.

Loney also reminded students to keep their voicemail and Facebook pages, “clean.” “Be careful what you put on Facebook,” he warned. After all, employers sometimes look at the personal Web pages of potential employees. And, according to Loney, use a basic email address for resumes and work.

“An email address of hotmama dot com isn’t going to get you a job,” he said.

Students can apply for internships at NBC online here.