Few people can say they’ve been at the same job through high school, undergrad, and even graduate school. Senior Learning & Development Intern Bhaveraj Patel is proud to say he’s been an intern for five years, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Like most high schoolers, Bhav had little knowledge of the banking industry beyond how to deposit a check. He was especially unaware of just how many departments there are at a bank and the functions each serves. Fast forward several years, he’s worked in numerous departments, from Human Resources and Facilities to Residential Lending and Loan Services.
“Here, I’m not just stuck in my department. I’m someone that’s always open to learning and gaining experience in any field, so it’s great to receive that opportunity in such a professional environment. Working in various areas has been so valuable in discovering what a true leader looks like” he says.
As an HR intern, where most of his time at Penn Community Bank has been spent, he assisted in the ongoing task of ensuring each team member’s files are up to date and even got to learn about payroll and benefits. Now, Bhav is taking on his next department: learning & development. He’s taken on the task of updating the bank’s training portal, as well as assisting in training sessions, like new hire onboarding.
Being an intern in a professional environment with high expectations, as well as a student, is not an easy undertaking. A Business Management major with an Organizational Leadership concentration, Bhav has found himself being familiar with class concepts and material from his work at the bank, which makes learning easier.
“It’s allowed me to become a more disciplined student, learning to find the balance between school, work, and life. Having hands-on work experience this early on in my career has made me a better student and will make me a more driven professional,” he says.
When asked of what he’s most proud of accomplishing in his time at Penn Community Bank, Bhav says it’s a project he was assigned right at the start of his internship. He was tasked with leading and representing the Bank in support of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in 2018.
“It was a great amount of trust to be put in a high schooler. It ended up being very successful with bank-wide participation and about was $5,000 raised. There was trust and responsibility put on me from the get-go, which laid the groundwork for the rest of my internship,” he shared.
Winning HR Department of the Year in 2021 was a special moment, too, Bhav says. The COVID pandemic raised a lot of challenges for the department, with having to navigate new health protocols and staffing issues with moment’s notice.
A mentor is one the most valuable things you can gain from an intern. Without his mentor, HR Operations Manager Melissa Perrine, Bhav says he would not have grown into the determined, well-rounded individual he is today. It’s because of her knowledge and passion for the department and the Bank that he’s learned the characteristics of a great leader, says Bhav.
“I’ve excelled in work and school because of her. She’s allowed me to prioritize education, and even wrote the referral that helped gain entry into my MBA program,” he says.
In the fall, Bhav looks forward to beginning his MBA at Moravian University while continuing his work in our Learning & Development department. He hopes to one day be a business owner, and while he has yet to discover what that will look like, he knows he’ll turn to Penn Community Bank for the tools and care that business owners need.
If you think it’s too early in your schooling to have an internship, Bhav insists it’s not. Look for an organization that places great focus on its interns and be sure to consider the role of company culture when deciding what’s best for you. Your internship should be focused on making meaningful connections, gaining experience, and finding a mentor.
For information on current internship and career opportunities, please visit www.PennCommunityBank.com.