When I was in college, I spent my summers doing one of the most challenging yet rewarding internships available to college students. The Southwestern Company trains approximately 3,000 college students from around the world every summer to go out and spend 12 weeks selling educational products door-to-door in an unfamiliar part of the U.S. This sounds crazy, but the model is truly ingenious. Students receive top-notch sales training from both managers and experienced student interns (called student managers). They stay with host families with a couple of other students from their sales team, and are empowered to essentially run their own businesses for a summer.

I learned more in my experience with the Southwestern Company (now known as Southwestern Advantage) than I probably did in the college classroom, with endless life lessons and experience that apply to my professional, academic, relational, and spiritual life. Lessons from the Bookfield* is a blogging mini-series in which I retell some of these lessons and experiences that apply to both sales and life.
*Bookfield (n.) – Since the main product of the Southwestern Company was educational books (study guides, word books, test prep guides, etc) and software, this became the endearing yet terrifying term used to describe the Southwestern Advantage internship experience.


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