Seniors Gain Professional Workplace Experience with MFS Summer Co-op Program

During an immersive four-weeks with the MFS Summer Co-op Program, three students, Surya Reddy ’18, Anna Goula ’18, and Sagar Patel ’18, gained professional career training at their respective company assignments: the Comcast headquarters in Center City Philadelphia, the Pinelands Preservation Alliance non-profit, and the financial planning firm Friedenthal Financial. This year, the advisors of the MFS Summer Co-op Program, Director of Auxiliary Programs Martha Cameron and Co-op Coordinator Charles Isdell, customized the summer experiences for each Upper School student by matching their interests with a participating organization, rather than requiring the seniors choose from a prearranged list of options. All participating organizations also were connected to MFS, as each student’s mentor or supervisor was a current MFS parent, former MFS parent, and an alumnus.

Inspired by MFS parent and Vice President for Call Center Sales Marge Jackson’s presentation at Career Day in the spring, Surya knew he wanted to work in the corporate offices at Comcast. Placed in the Sales & Marketing HR department, one project that Surya completed was competitor research to help build an HR plan of job titles and responsibilities for the launch of Xfinity Mobile. Mrs. Jackson was impressed with Surya’s ability to connect with and learn from so many members of the sales staff, as the office affectionately adopted his MFS nickname “Suds.” She also credited Surya with an idea he had about marketing to students as they return to school in September. Reflecting on his experience at Comcast, Surya stated he was humbled by the realization of how much dedication it takes to be in the corporate world and the passion of his coworkers.

Although Anna originally thought she wanted to be placed for her Co-op in a corporate law office in the city, Ms. Cameron and Mr. Isdell suggested she join the legal team of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance due to her other interest in environmental science. Anna was exposed to both the policy and legal aspects of the PPA’s work through editing legal memos, researching stormwater ordinances and pipeline issues, and participating in the Pinelands Board of Trustees meetings. Former MFS parent and Executive Director of the PPA Carleton Montgomery considered Anna to be extraordinary and complimented how she handled herself with confidence and maturity at a board meeting. Anna found her experience to be gratifying as she was able to learn how the law affects different constituents. She enjoyed being surrounded by the PPA team who are passionate about their jobs.

Sagar is most drawn to a career in finance, so he was placed at Friedenthal Financial, the Voorhees firm founded by Mark Friedenthal ’91. Becoming accustomed to the office environment was intimidating at first for Sagar, but he found his Co-op to be helpful in getting him acclimated quickly with working with professionals and boosting his confidence. Sagar learned about the daily trading process, but focused much of his time in evaluating the traditional 4% rule for retirees. Mark also tutored Sagar on the development of mathematical formulas in Excel, which are most useful in the finance field. At the conclusion of his time at Friedenthal Financial, Sagar felt his experience allowed him the opportunity to mature and understand his goals.

“Judging by the enthusiasm and expertise displayed at the students’ final presentations in August, this MFS Summer Co-op Program experience exceeded the expectations of parents, hosts and participants alike,” said Mr. Isdell.