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Meet Matt Schaeffer '09, Craft Brew Alliance
Meet Matt Schaeffer '09, Craft Brew Alliance


Be open-minded to new experiences, be humble in knowing you don’t know everything and be willing to learn. Real-world experience is key in making you stand out to employers. Those are some of the key lessons Matt Schaeffer learned from his internship experience at Craft Brew Alliance, the 9th largest beer brewing company in the US that includes well-known brands like Widmer Brothers Brewing, Red Hook Brewing, Kona Brewing, Omission Beer and Square Mile Cider. Matt graduated in 2009 with a double major in Marketing and Advertising, and after his internship and graduation he remains thriving “in the biz.”

What did you do or enjoyed doing at your internship? 
Learning about marketing in the real world. Working for a great company like CBA shows what marketing a consumer packaged good really looks like – it’s not just sitting in an office thinking of cool stuff to do. It’s boots on the ground, early mornings, late nights and working hard. It’s what makes life fun!

How did you find the internship (a huge question other students have)?
I found the internship via a partnership with CBA that stemmed from an American Marketing Association event. They were a sponsor, so I had developed a relationship with them. When the sponsorship ended, they were in need of an intern – and having worked with me, I was an easier choice for them.

How far in advance did you begin your search for internships?
Approximately 3 months.

What in particular were you looking for in an internship?
Something that would provide me the opportunity to learn, network and gain practical skills. In future interviews, I knew I’d have real world experience to draw from to help illustrate examples of things that make me the best choice. Plus, I wanted to have a little fun!

How did your work in your major help prepare you for your internship?
Besides understanding how marketing worked from an academic standpoint, my professors were helpful in teaching us about real-world examples. Having this background made sliding into the internship even easier. Case studies, articles, groups and professors who cared about real preparation made me prepared.

What, if anything, surprised you about this experience?
I think what surprised me is the amount of work outside the office much of marketing was. High quality marketing isn’t created by somebody sitting in a chair 40 hrs/week dreaming up cool stuff. It happens when that person is exposed to new things, hears the consumer’s real voice, interacts with competitors, has new experiences (related or not) and puts it all together into a nice little package that perfectly melds all of these things. I would argue this is the case for any profession, and it’s why EXPERIENCES (not stuff) are so important.

What did you learn while at this internship?
I learned that I love to meet new people. I mean, it was always something that I was good at, but I hadn’t thought of it as something I liked to do necessarily. This set the stage for how I conduct business and how I get things done – I create relationships with people that help us all point in the same direction.

In what ways do you feel this experience benefits you in the future?
Oh man. How does it NOT benefit?! You have something on your resume that says, “I care about learning and improving.” You have real life examples to answer resume questions. You have real life experience to make you a more valuable employee to future employers. You get to test out an industry. You get to test your skills. You get to see what life after college is going to be like. You get an experience of a life-time.

What advice would you give other students considering an internship?
Do it! Enter the internship with a humble heart – one that’s ready to learn. Going in thinking we know everything, and trying to prove it to your employer, is NOT a good tactic. Going in thinking we have a good base of knowledge, we’re smart, but that we’re there to learn makes the experience better for us and the employer. Again, this is a life skill. I had a boss once who had a quote in her office that always struck me as 100% right, “Be curious. Not right.”

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Matt. We wish you all the best as you put your experience to work moving forward!

Interested in getting credit for an internship or practicum? Click here.

This series is made possible via reThink PSU grant support.