SPEARFISH | Following his graduation from Black Hills State University in May, Collin Powers of Big Horn, Wyo., wanted an opportunity where he could “bet all the cards on himself” and prove his ability. After a record-breaking internship experience, he is now a full-time employee expecting to make six figures this summer and will be visiting the BHSU campus to recruit student interns for his company.
Powers started his internship with Caliber, an industry leader in direct to consumer sales, selling Dish Network memberships door-to-door from May through August. Typically, new interns with Caliber can expect to earn $10,000 over the summer. But Collin earned four-times that amount, $43,000 in three months, and was named Intern of the Year.
“When Caliber spoke to us on campus, it hit home for me as a student preparing for graduation. Growth opportunities, personal growth, and compensation. I was attracted to that,” says Powers.
Collin says Dr. Bobbi Looney, assistant professor of management, and Hans Nelson, director of career and corporate development at BHSU, initially told him about the company’s visit to campus.
Born in Kodiak, Alaska, Powers' family moved to Big Horn when he was 16. He enrolled in dual credit courses in high school, which helped him finish college at BHSU in three years.
He pursued a business administration–economics and finance degree at BHSU. Sports fans may recognize his name as the Yellow Jacket quarterback from 2016-2018. Powers says he chose to attend BHSU to play football, but the academic quality convinced him to stay.
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“Faculty at Black Hills State are really good at putting you in a position where you’re hands on, learning how to communicate and present yourself in front of class,” says Powers. He noted that those classroom experiences translated into success with his sales internship.
After spending five days with his family post-graduation from BHSU, Powers packed up his car and drove 14 hours to Omaha, Neb. He shadowed his manager for one hour before trying door-to-door sales on his own. The first few days were hard.
“I thought, ‘hey, this is what I asked for,’ to put myself in a position to learn and grow, and sharpen my tools every day, to be all-accountable to myself. I came out of college not knowing what to do next, and came out of the summer with the world as my oyster,” he says.
Powers set a goal for himself to sell 75 Dish Network installs over those three months during his internship. He ended up selling 238 installs, shattering the company record of 148. He won several sales competitions resulting in prizes like watches, a flat screen TV, snowboard and skis. He earned three incentive trips to San Diego, Cabo, and Thailand.
“This is huge for a kid coming out of college. It sounds like make-believe,” says Powers. “Now as a manager I get to come back to BHSU and give opportunities to other students to be part of our internship program — sharpening their tools and expanding their horizons.”