Compeer Financial Internship Opens Doors for College Students
For college students on the precipice of graduating, internships offer the ideal opportunity to get a hands-on look at what a career could look like in the field they’ve chosen to study.
Compeer Financial offers college internships in areas ranging from agricultural lending and crop insurance to marketing, corporate finance and more. No matter what major they’ve chosen, students who intern at Compeer gain new insights into the agriculture and financial services industries and the multitude of ways the member-owned cooperative supports rural America.
“Internships provide the perfect opportunity for college students to broaden their scope a little bit and get a better view into the working world,” said Erin Porter, SPHR, Senior HR Business Partner at Compeer. “They teach these young adults some of the skills you need in any job, like asking questions, networking, advocating for yourself and asking for development opportunities.”
Ikha Ugbodaga, a senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., learned those skills – and more – during his summer 2023 experiential internship working with different departments at Compeer.'
Ugbodaga grew up in Nigeria and received his international baccalaureate degree in Armenia before attending St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. He was a freshman in college when a family friend suggested he apply for INROADS, a non-profit organization that creates pathways to careers for ethnically diverse high school and college students across the country.
“INROADS and this internship opened my eyes to other companies that I may not have seen before,” said Ugbodaga, who is pursuing a quantitative economics major with an emphasis in finance. “Since I’m interested in financial services, I might have only looked at big banks or similar-sized financial institutions. Even having the opportunity to work in a Farm Credit System organization has been an invaluable experience so far.”
This is Compeer’s inaugural year with INROADS after having become aware of the program during a networking event at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Through INROADS, Compeer received the names of a number of potential interns that were interested in learning more about the not-for-profit financial organization.
“We were so impressed with all of the candidates,” Porter said. “Ikha did really well and was very prepared for his interview. I think he came in wide open and willing to learn. He had a natural curiosity and wasn’t afraid to ask questions.
“Ikha didn’t have a large ag background and didn’t know about Farm Credit, but he took a chance on us,” Porter added. “Now, he may be interested in the Farm Credit System in the future. These are opportunities for students to grow their career and this is a way Compeer can help them accomplish their goals.”
Compeer Financial modeled the internship experience for INROADS participants to provide opportunities similar to Farm Credit’s Launching Leaders program. This program offers a stipend to students from HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) or who are active members of a MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences) chapter. Recruiting students to the Midwest from HBCUs proved challenging, and INROADS was an excellent partner to help identify students who might be interested in this opportunity.
During his six weeks at Compeer, Ugbodaga was able to shadow team members in various departments, including analytics and credit risk. During his time there, he had the chance to contribute to the team’s rates portfolio and was able to see first-hand how the data he pulled from Compeer’s financial statements directly impacted the analytics team. After his internship at Compeer ended, Ugbodaga spent an additional four weeks at AgriBank in St. Paul to continue his exposure to different opportunities within Farm Credit.
“I really enjoyed my time at Compeer,” he said. “One of the major things I can take away from my internship and INROADS, is the knowledge I received on how to interact with people on a professional aspect.”
Ugbodaga’s advice for other students preparing to intern is to be curious, ask questions and be involved as much as possible.
“My best advice is to be very involved on the team and continue to be curious,” he said. “When you complete a project, ask if there’s anything more you can do. You’ll have a great time.”
For Compeer internship availability, visit our College Relations page.