In the six months since Jack Banask joined SAS Institute, his role has been two-fold: he’s a university recruiter, connecting with universities, representing SAS at career fairs and hiring interns; and he’s involved in internal development programs for interns hired at SAS.
This summer he’s working 30 to 40 hours a week at SAS, but there’s one thing Banask hasn’t done yet: received his undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management.
Banask was hired as an intern at SAS in February. At the same time, he’s pursing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a human resources concentration, something he selected based on his interest in a career helping people and positioning them for success.
His experience is just one example of the partnership that exists today between SAS and Poole College. The relationship extends beyond internship and career opportunities, as SAS is involved on campus in a variety of ways. It seems only natural considering SAS had its corporate beginnings on NC State’s campus decades ago.
SAS software was originally created by Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS and a former NC State faculty member, and his colleagues at NC State to analyze agricultural research data, according to information from SAS. It began more than four decades ago in a building on Hillsborough Street that today houses several Poole College offices. Today, SAS is among the world’s largest software companies.
The student experience: more than just a job
SAS hires upwards of 250 interns each year in both traditional summer internship and year-round roles, according to Lindsay Whitfield, university recruiter with SAS’s human resources division. While the majority of these are in technical roles, a number of opportunities exist in business, analytical and even roles such as landscape design and food services, she said.
Poole College students interning at SAS receive more than on-the-job experience. Students are mentored by SAS employees, and attend a variety of skill building and social events. Just a few examples include “fireside chats” with SAS leaders including the executive vice president and chief operating officer and chief technology officer and executive vice president and chief human resources officer, roundtables to discuss career options, and outings to events such as Durham Bulls baseball games, Whitfield said.
It was very helpful to be able to sit in the classroom and think back to an experience at SAS, and see how that fit with what we were learning.
Those students return to the classroom well prepared to engage in coursework, according to Paul Mulvey, alumni distinguished professor in the Department of Management, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at Poole College. Students are often asked to share their experiences with their classmates as a peer-to-peer learning opportunity.
“We leverage students here quite a bit if we can,” Mulvey said. “The students act as intermediaries.”
Alyssa Grube (’19), associate communications specialist with the Employer Branding and Communications Team at SAS, can attest to the way her internship helped her in the classroom.
Grube received her undergraduate business degree with a marketing concentration from Poole College, but also finished the coursework for the human resources concentration. She completed most of her human resources coursework while she was interning at SAS, and said the two experiences complemented each other.
“It was very helpful to be able to sit in the classroom and think back to an experience at SAS, and see how that fit with what we were learning,” she said.
SAS on campus: A rich network of former interns, alumni and industry experts
Back on NC State’s campus, SAS representatives enrich the Poole College experience, from sitting on the Human Resources Advisory Board to visiting as guest speakers to serving as industry experts advising on curriculum development. They provide career services such as mock interviews and resume reviews.
“We continually try to help each other out,” Mulvey said.
That symbiotic relationship is part of what attracts students to SAS in the first place. Blake Sheldon (B.S. ’10, MBA ’15) began his career in consulting and joined SAS’s human resources department in 2014 as a compensation analyst. Today he serves as a solutions architect and value engineer. Much of what he does involves translating information from SAS’s most technical employees into terms that the business world can understand and creating a value-add story to describe the work being done at SAS.
SAS can really benefit from having a deep relationship at State, and investing in the education and what’s being taught to help further its talent pipeline.
So it’s only natural that he understands the value-add relationship between SAS and NC State. Sheldon said SAS’s work on campus to strengthen their talent pipeline is vital to future success.
“SAS can really benefit from having a deep relationship at State, and investing in the education and what’s being taught to help further its talent pipeline,” Sheldon said.
At the same time, he sees the professional exposure SAS provides to students through internships and campus events. SAS interns often have the experience through events such as lunch-time roundtables, to not only learn about their specific career area, but to gain exposure to other career paths, Sheldon said.
“I think SAS is unique in that they don’t just interact with students at career fairs,” Grube agreed. “It wasn’t just recruiters coming to campus.”
If there’s one thing I wish I could do more of, it’s to be more engaged at State. I’m really interested in giving back, and creating more of these opportunities between students and SAS.
In addition to employees on campus, Whitfield said SAS’s goal is to have former interns serve as SAS ambassadors to current students. That’s a key demographic from which students on campus want to hear when considering internship and job options.
“Students are going to want to speak to people who have worked here at SAS to give them a true indication of what it’s like,” she said. “Our goal is for any intern to go back on campus and be brand ambassadors for us.”
That sentiment continues after graduation as the network of Poole College alumni grows and shares their experiences on campus. Sheldon, who has spoken to classes on campus, said he’s actively pursuing other opportunities to become more involved at NC State as a SAS representative.
“If there’s one thing I wish I could do more of, it’s to be more engaged at State,” he said. “I’m really interested in giving back, and creating more of these opportunities between students and SAS.”