Intern Queen Lauren Berger pays MU a second visit

Lauren Berger spoke to students about her internship experiences and how she became the CEO of her own company.
On Thursday at Bush Auditorium, Lauren Berger speaks to a large audience about how she became the Intern Queen. Berger had 15 internships during her four years of college and then started the website for college students looking for internships.

Lauren Berger crowned herself the Intern Queen in 2006 when she came up with the idea for a website that would connect college students with internships. In 2011, she visited the Trulaske College of Business at MU twice.

Berger spoke as part of the business school's Professional Development Program on Tuesday in Bush Auditorium. Berger had also come to MU as part of the program in March.

Berger held 15 internships through her college career, including simultaneously holding internships at FOX, NBC and MTV, before launching her site in 2008. Her main advice for MU students — business and non-business majors alike — was to inform others of their intentions.

"You have got to tell people what you want to do," Berger said after a story about how she landed a job with Us Weekly, her then-dream job. "I took a chance, and I put myself out there and I told someone what I wanted to do. We’re going into 2012. You have to be vocal."

Berger said she had to beat the odds to get some of the 15 internships starting her freshman year of college, including one at a company that had never had interns before and getting positions her adviser told her only seniors could get. She said she learned a lot from those experiences in particular.

"They told me not to take no for an answer, and I learned that really young — my parents would probably say too young," Berger said. "When people tell you no, there is always, always, always, a way to get it done and I have been kicking butt in getting stuff done ever since."

Berger told multiple stories about how she landed her internships, and a lot of them began with reenactments of phone calls with her parents.

Freshman Stephanie Musser said the parental theme in Berger's presentation particularly resonated with her.

“My favorite part was hearing about how her parents were, not nagging her, but encouraging her to get internships because that is really crucial to have someone to give you that push,” she said.

Berger also offered a lot of practical advice for internships, like sending information to employers within 24 hours of their requests, staying in touch with potential resources three times a year and putting a thank-you card in the mail directly after an interview.

Professional Development Program Administrative Assistant Alli Stamschror said she thinks Berger can communicate to students, particularly ones who hope to become CEOs, more effectively than most other CEOs could.

"Lauren is a peer to all these students, so it's really helpful to have her here because they can kind of understand her more than somebody that's a little bit older," she said. "Students can see themselves doing the same things she does, and she just makes it a really realistic goal."

A cluster of students that stretched across the width of the auditorium gathered to talk to Berger after her presentation.

“I’m so glad I decided to come,” Musser said. “She seemed very friendly, very helpful, very knowledgeable. I’m going to get in line and introduce myself to her right now.”

Berger’s company, Intern Queen Inc., helps students get internships and get the most out of them. She also had a book come out earlier this year, titled “All Work, No Play.”

Stamschror said she hopes to make Berger's visits an annual occurrence.

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