University of Tennessee

Students Use Summer Months to Build New Skills

August 19, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted school and work routines for people around the world. With many internships cancelled and few businesses hiring seasonal workers over the summer, some students from the Haslam College of Business took advantage of the unexpected free time to learn new skills and expand their knowledge.

Before the pandemic, Luke Townsend, a Brentwood, Tenn., senior majoring in supply chain management with a collateral in finance, had planned to spend his summer interning in the procurement and logistics department of SmileDirectClub in Nashville. Instead, he focused on developing his Microsoft Excel skills, pursuing an Expert certification by learning from instructional videos posted by the college and LinkedIn Learning. 

“COVID-19 has definitely affected my summer schedule,” Townsend said. “However, these unexpected circumstances have allowed me to expand upon different sides of my business education that, I believe, will make me a more versatile candidate come job-recruitment season.”

Townsend said an email from Haslam’s Student Engagement department inspired him to seek the certification. Having gained additional experience with online learning, he felt motivated to expand his technological knowledge further and increase his value in the job market.

“I didn’t get the opportunity to be certified after my BUAD 242 class, but I still wanted to get an additional accreditation for my resume and my future business endeavors,” he said.

Like Townsend, Gabrielle Guillou, a senior from Harrington Park, N.J., majoring in supply chain management with a collateral in international business, had hoped to do an internship this summer. When those plans fell through due to the pandemic, she decided to work at a grocery delivery job, take online classes for credit toward her degree and pursue some certifications on LinkedIn Learning.

“To keep my summer from being wasted, I took Finance 301 and BLAW 301 as well as a workshop where we meet once a week to talk to executives of massive companies,” Guillou said. “I have completed [LinkedIn courses] SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration Overview, Tableau Essential Training and SAP ERP Essential Training.”

Guillou chose to work toward these particular certifications to help her become more marketable to employers after graduation. 


Stacy Estep, business writer/publicist,