Five students solidify postgraduate plans

Five Butler University students have been selected to participate in the Orr Fellowship program.

The program offers college seniors across Indiana full-time, two-year salaried positions with local companies, giving them a head-start in their careers while encouraging business and entrepreneurship within the state.

The Orr Fellowship has been giving these post-graduate opportunities since 2002.

This year’s recipients and their respective companies are: Ann Govert, at BidPal; Ashton Chaffee at Slane Capital; Claire Petersen at ExactTarget; Conner Burt at iGoDigital, and John Joseph at Compendium.

The application requirements include graduating from an Indiana college or university, an interest in entrepreneurship, leadership involvement and a GPA of at least 3.5.

Many students hear about the program through the College of Business.

“I had gotten e-mails about the information night and one of my professors encouraged me to go,” Govert, a double major in electronic journalism and marketing, said. “After hearing all it was about, I decided it was a great opportunity and to apply.”

Govert was interested in working for BidPal, a company that does event planning through silent auctions, because this was a career option she had been considering.

“I thought it was a neat opportunity,” she said. “I plan on doing event consulting, and then work my way into managing the events.”

Burt, an economics major, described the Orr Fellowship group as a collective of sharp individuals. He will work at iGoDigital, which specializes in providing personalization software for online retailers.

Burt said he expects to find a comfortable role within the company over time.

“For the first few weeks, I’ll be rotating through marketing, sales and client services,” he said.

Chaffee, a chemistry major and business minor, said the application process can be quite intense.

It consists of multiple rounds: submitting a résumé, interviewing with an Orr Fellowship director, participating in a networking interview, re-submitting a résumé, writing a short essay and participating in Finalists Day, where each company makes their final picks from among candidates.

Each of these steps involves narrowing the pool of applicants until each company picks usually one fellow to join them.

The students go on interviews with top officials from recruiting companies, and both the students and companies rank their preferences.

Govert said the interview process gave the students an idea of what the companies were looking for, and the companies an idea of what the students could offer. “It was mutually great for both the companies and students,” she said.

Chaffee said the applicants often don’t have much choice when it comes to which companies select them, so she took the initiative to set up an interview with Slane Capital.

“They were the company I really wanted to interview with and potentially work for,” she said.

Slane Capital, a venture capital company that looks to work in underserved industries, is located in Noblesville, Ind.

Other than being close to home, Chaffee was attracted to Slane by the opportunities that their fellow was going to have.

“Not only is it throwing you into an environment to become a better business person, but it also provides you with a network of people and different opportunities to work with leaders in the Indianapolis area,” Chaffee said.

Burt said he thinks other than being a great post-graduate opportunity, the experience encourages fellows to network and form valuable skills.

“It’s very entrepreneurial and you jump right into it,” he said. ”It is challenging and helps you develop personally as well.”

Govert, Burt and Chaffe each expressed  excitement about the opportunities ahead, and a general satisfaction with the entire process.

“I thought it was very professionally run,” Govert said. “And it really shows that the fellowship cares a lot about the applicants that they choose.

“They’re very passionate about what they do.”