Josh Richards ’12, ’14S (MS): helping Rochester students get internships is more important now than ever
Josh Richards ’12, ’14S (MS): ‘Alumni are in a position to help students, especially this year’
COVID-19 has created many challenges for our students, especially as they prepare to enter the workplace–Richards is stepping up to help them
A key aspect of the Together for Rochester yearlong fundraising and engagement campaign is to improve career opportunities for Rochester graduates and students. Alumni like Josh Richards ’12, ’14S (MS), the business planning and analysis director for North America at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, are helping to lead the way by offering internships. For Richards, it’s all about paying it forward.
In 2011, the year before he graduated, Richards learned about an internship opportunity at Sandoz, a division of Novartis. “I discovered that Sandoz’s CEO and president at the time—Don DeGolyer—was a Rochester alumnus and former college athlete,” says Richards, who was on the soccer team for four years. “Because we had something in common, I felt comfortable reaching out to him directly. We ended up connecting a number of times over email, which helped me secure the internship that eventually turned into a full-time job.” Richards has been with Sandoz for 10 years.
During the past few years, Richards has worked closely with Sandoz’s Human Resources department on its internship program—and he lobbies for Rochester undergraduate and MBA-level interns whenever possible. This year, Sandoz and Simon Business School’s Jay S. and Jeanne Benet Career Management Center formalized their internship partnership program, something Richards helped coordinate.
“Internships are very competitive, here at Sandoz and elsewhere, especially at the MBA level,” he says. “That’s why it is so important for students at all levels to be bold and brash, build and use their networks, and just go for it. This kind of approach will help set them apart and get them in the door.”
More than 100 undergraduate and graduate students applied for five internship spots within Sandoz’s finance department this summer, including 30 from Rochester. “We extended offers to two rising juniors from Rochester and they both accepted,” adds Richards. “And, one of our incoming MBA interns is from Simon.”
Nandini Joshi ’22, an international student with a double major of financial economics and business, is one of the undergraduate interns. She met Richards last summer via Zoom after posting her resume to Handshake, a job networking platform offered through the University’s Greene Center for Career Education & Connections. Richards was intrigued by Joshi’s resume, reached out to her, and then told her about the internships at his company. She was struck with how interested he was in helping her.
“Getting internships is especially difficult right now so I am very grateful to Josh for helping me,” says Joshi. “I’m excited that I’ll get to work in corporate finance soon where I can hone, build, and demonstrate my skills in forecasting, budgeting, and presenting—it’s a great opportunity.”
Sandoz’s internships are paid which makes them all the more competitive. “Internships give undergraduates great, real world experience,” Richards says. “The more we teach them, the more they get from the opportunity, and the more likely they will want to come back here next summer.”
Richards adds Sandoz expects a lot from its interns. “I’m a firm believer in throwing them into the fire and seeing what they can do,” he says, noting that Bryan Kim ’20, an undergraduate intern from two years ago was given an opportunity to present to the company’s chief financial officer in the first few weeks of his assignment. “Bryan did great and, after he graduated, he became a contractor with us. Right now, he’s interviewing for a full-time position here.”
“That internship was the starting point of my career,” says Kim. “Not only was I able to learn a lot about a complex industry like pharmaceuticals, but it also solidified my interest in finance. I was gaining real life experience in projects that had significant impact while also developing my technical and analytical skills.”
Richards says that alumni—in whatever fields they are in—are in a position to really help students, especially this year. “I feel it’s my responsibility to give back and help the next generation gain the experiences that will help them on their career paths,” he says. “We all can do something.”
“The Together for Rochester campaign is an opportunity to reinforce what we know is critical for today’s Rochester students—gaining experience to explore different career paths and apply what they learn here,” says Joe Testani, assistant dean and executive director of the Greene Center. “These valuable opportunities can lead to stronger networks, future job prospects, and an increased understanding of work and a students’ skill set. We hope we continue to have more alumni like Josh help current and future generations of students.”
“Even during the pandemic last summer, 100 percent of Simon’s MBA Class of 2021 had a corporate internship or pursued project work with tech start-ups or new ventures,” says Angela Petrucco, ’01W (MS), assistant dean of the Benet Center. “Simon alumni like Josh and many others helped make these opportunities possible. They understand the value of internships and support the long-term career goals of our graduates by offering career options for our candidates—we are grateful for their partnership.”
Together for Rochester is a yearlong campaign designed to make life better. Get involved by helping our career centers to open doors for students—recruit Rochester graduates, offer internships, full-time jobs, post-graduate fellowships, and career-building volunteer activities.
— Kristine Thompson, April 2021