Undergraduate Selected for National Marketing Internship

By Robert Bastone, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

Valerie Estafanous

Fourth year business major Valerie Estafanous has recently been selected for a new National Marketing Internship with Contiki Holidays. The internship was open to University students from a wide range of selected college campuses all over the United States. Estafanous will serve as a field-marketing representative for the company which specializes in providing affordable vacations for 18-35 year olds. The opportunity will provide her with hands-on marketing experience in a business setting.

Estafanous noted that she learned about the internship through her Business Administration 115: Marketing Research class here at UCR, when a Contiki representative, who had been sitting in on group marketing presentations, offered the opportunity to her class. After talking to the Contiki representative, Estafanous was asked for a phone interview with the company’s management, and subsequently asked to submit a digital photo presentation about herself. Applicants were also interviewed about their knowledge of student life and other aspects of their home campuses. After a review of other applicants, she was presented with the opportunity to be a field-marketing representative. Estafanous recalled that she was “very excited” because this was “the first internship she had ever applied for.”

The Marketing Internship encompasses a 15-week program, which gives the interns the opportunity to experience, firsthand, the product that they are trying to market. Estafanous and other interns were sent on a 13-day, all-expense paid trip, through Italy over winter break Upon their return, the intern team was educated on marketing strategies and Contiki policies. They were then sent back to their home campuses with the responsibility of marketing and increasing brand awareness.

After training, the company requires interns to find and utilize marketing opportunities in their area and on campus. Each week, the interns are given marketing task assignments. Progress on these assignments is discussed during weekly conference calls with Contiki management and other field-marketing interns. Assigned tasks for the intern teams include creating and researching their own focus groups, and presenting their findings to the group.

As a business major with a marketing emphasis, Estafanous found the internship to be a “perfect fit.” Furthermore, she plans on seeking employment in this field upon her graduation in June of this year. She also remarked that the business world is “full of people with an education,” and experience in her field is what she hopes will make her “stand out” from the competition.

Estafanous stated that the internship has not only been helpful in allowing her to “gain experience” in the industry, but has also taught her about “different groups we have here on campus and how to utilize the tools we are offered.”

Contiki Holidays has been marketing their vacation and resort packages to young people for over 40 years. They offer tours and vacations to destinations throughout the world. The company’s main offices are located in Anaheim, CA. 2004-05 is the first year that Contiki has offered field-marketing internships to students, and the same internship is expected to be offered yearly to an eager student with an interest in marketing.

Estafanous noted that “the opportunity to meet people around the world” and the stipend that is awarded upon completion of the program, as well as the “real-world work experience” are also aspects that have made the program a positive one for her.

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