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“In almost every class that I took I could see (how) this could help me be a better advisor to my clients, this will help me be a more empathetic listener, this will be something that will help me be intentional about how I follow up; my grades went up not because I all of the sudden became a better student—my grades went up because I started to relate that this is how this will help me in this career that I think I’m going to do for the rest of my life.”
Kevin Burckhard, Northwestern Mutual

University Communications

Internship sparks Burckhard's career

MINOT, N.D. – When Minot State University alumni Kevin Burckhard began working for Northwestern Mutual, he had bangs and wasn’t of legal drinking age. Thirty-three years later, now a financial advisor, he shares these details with clients to emphasize his longevity with the company — a career that started with an internship opportunity early in his academic career.

“I had decided I wanted to do well enough at this internship that as graduation came, I could just transition from a part-time contract to a full-time contract. I was self-employed as an intern and I’ve been self-employed ever since,” Burckhard said.  

Minot State’s 21st Century Workforce Development campaign is a new initiative driven with the purpose of providing more students with opportunities like Burckhard’s. The campaign involves faculty and staff coordinating with business leaders like Burckhard and companies like Northwestern Mutual to create speaker networks, mentoring, internships, job shadowing, and employment opportunities for students throughout their academic career.

For Burckhard, the internship became the essential link between college and career.

“In almost every class that I took I could see (how) this could help me be a better advisor to my clients, this will help me be a more empathetic listener, this will be something that will help me be intentional about how I follow up; my grades went up not because I all of the sudden became a better student—my grades went up because I started to relate that this is how this will help me in this career that I think I’m going to do for the rest of my life,” Burckhard said. 

These meaningful experiences like mentoring and internship, according to a recent Gallup-Purdue survey, increase a student’s likeliness to engage at work and thrive in areas of social, financial, physical, and community well-being as well as finding individual purpose.

“The importance of an internship cannot be overstated,” Burckhard said as he compared waiting until the last semester of college to pursue an internship to meeting future in-laws the day of the wedding and questioning what one’s getting into. “It’s too late to change plans.”

But, Burckhard said, if students gain some meaningful real-life experiences early in their college careers, they have the opportunity to assess whether they’re making the right choice, and if not, there’s still time to change career goals and academic plans.

Burckhard estimates 250 Minot State students have gone through Northwestern Mutual’s internship during his time with the company.

“I keep giving back to this internship because truly I feel like everything I have, even the wife I was able to court and marry, is because of Northwestern Mutual — because of this internship.”

ABOUT MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 09/14/18



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