St. Olaf College | News

Lessons in teamwork lead trio to career success

St. Olaf seniors (from left) Meredith Couture, Eileen O'Donoghue, and Mackenzie Wolter parlayed the lessons they learned about teamwork during their time with the women's basketball team into careers at Target.
St. Olaf seniors (from left) Meredith Couture, Eileen O’Donoghue, and Mackenzie Wolter, who have spent countless hours together as members of the women’s basketball team, will take their teamwork to Target after graduation.

For the past four years Mackenzie Wolter ’13, Eileen O’Donoghue ’13, and Meredith Couture ’13 have spent countless hours working together as part of the St. Olaf College women’s basketball team.

And they’ll continue working together after they graduate this spring. All three received full-time job offers from Target Corporation, where they interned last summer.

Each has accepted a position as a business analyst, and Wolter and Couture will even work in the same division.

“St. Olaf really does prepare its students to think critically about a problem, to approach obstacles head-on, and to react quickly to changes,” says Wolter, a starter on the St. Olaf women’s basketball and softball teams who has earned all-conference honors three times.

Add to that the lessons learned through the hard work and dedication needed to excel at college athletics, Wolter says, and you have a strong set of skills to take to the workplace.

“Being on the women’s basketball team and my work experience at St. Olaf demonstrated a well-roundedness that I believe Target was looking for in a candidate,” O’Donoghue says.

Career resources
Those experiences — along with the resources available in the St. Olaf Piper Center for Vocation and Career — helped each of the women land an internship at Target Corporation last summer. Wolter and O’Donoghue attended an information session on campus about working at Target, applied for their internships through a posting on the Piper Center’s website, and even conducted their interviews with the company in the Piper Center’s offices.

Wolter also took advantage of the Piper Center’s resources for building a resume, and she and O’Donoghue set up practice interviews with center staff members.

The internships that resulted from that preparation helped the three St. Olaf students learn the ins and outs of working at a major corporation. They also honed more universal skills, including the communication involved in coordinating with numerous people on a single project and the confidence that comes with owning a professional project.

“Target does a really good job of empowering their interns by giving them worthwhile projects that will make a difference in the organization,” Wolter says.

The internship also enabled the three St. Olaf students to apply the skills they’ve learned on the Hill to a real-world setting.

“The majority of the classes I’ve taken at St. Olaf have emphasized collaboration,” says Couture. “You learn how to work with different people toward one goal, even if it’s occasionally frustrating to work with people who may approach things differently.”

Many of the skills that helped the three women succeed during the internship were what ultimately led Target to extend full-time job offers to them nearly six months before graduation.

Now this “Target Trio” is ready to hit the ground running.