Interview Highlight: Yael Serena, International Internship Program

Taycor Financial is a leading service provider in the equipment financing and leasing industry. In order to provide customers with the best programs, rates, and overall experience satisfaction, Taycor Financial understands the importance of having a strong and supportive team of leasing professionals that work together to fulfill these goals. Whether hiring a new Senior Account Executive or a Summer College Intern, Taycor Financial ensures that every employee is a perfect fit.

Taycor Financial recently hired a handful of interns for its new International Internship Program. Yael Serena is one of the new international interns and this was her interview.

PERSONAL

Describe yourself in a few words.

My name is Yael, I am 23 years old, and I am from Barcelona, Spain. After finishing my studies I was determined to gain international work experience in one of the most developed countries in the world so I came to Los Angeles.  Currently I am taking part in a one-year international business internship program with Taycor Financial.

Why did you decide to come to United States instead of other countries?

I came to the United States two years ago as an exchange student and I fell in love with the American lifestyle and its people. I have always admired the American mindset that anything is possible if you work hard for it. Furthermore, I wanted to get hands-on experience of American business practices.

How was the transition from college to work life?

When I graduated from college it was difficult for me to decide which field I wanted to set my focus on. I envisioned my career in management but I was not sure if I wanted to pursue a marketing or finance oriented career. During the transition period I had some time to mull over all of my options and eventually decided to focus on marketing since it is more consumer-orientated.

What do you like to do in your free time in Los Angeles?

I have always loved photography but I never really got seriously into it. I recently got my first DSLR camera and I am now taking the time to learn digital photography on my own. It is not an easy task since my camera has a multitude of different settings that I need to understand in order to shoot in manual mode. In the meantime, I also try to sharpen my skills in post-processing using Photoshop – one of the most prestigious photo editing pieces of software on the market.

In addition to photography, I also like to search for delicious recipes and try to cook them in my own way. I am getting very good at cooking Spanish recipes now that my mom does not cook for me anymore. Every time I try a new recipe I take a picture with my camera and send it to my family to make them jealous!

Where was the most beautiful place in Los Angeles that you took a picture?

It might sound a little cliché, but I honestly think that the best place to take a picture here is at the beach. I am lucky to live so close to the ocean so I frequently grab my camera and practice my photography skills there.  One of the best shots I have taken so far has been the California sunset with a silhouette of a lifeguard standing in the background. I think it makes me so proud because it was the first time I used manual camera controls instead of the automatic mode.

What are some of the typical American things that you have experienced so far?

During my first weekend in the United States I took a 28-hour nationwide road trip from Minnesota to Los Angeles. This gave me the chance to drive through many cities and see the diversity of each state. I also got to attend a Dodgers game and enjoy one of the most popular nationwide sports! Even though I was not able to completely understand the rules of baseball, I had a lot of fun experiencing a part of the American culture.

BUSINESS/EDUCATION

What is your educational background?

I graduated from ESADE Business School in Barcelona with a Masters in Business Administration and a concentration in Finance. In addition, I studied International Marketing at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011.

Why did you decide to do an internship at Taycor Financial?

The job opportunities for recent graduates in Spain were not very encouraging and it was hard to find a job that fit my interests. Doing an internship with an American company will provide me with a solid base to further develop my professional career for the future and gain international work experience. Taycor Financial was the best fit for me since I am interested in both Marketing and Finance. During my studies I took some leasing and finance courses, and this internship provided me with the opportunity to see how an equipment leasing company operates.

How did your previous internships prepare you to work at Taycor Financial?

My previous work experience at PepsiCo taught me the importance of teamwork as a way to accomplish a company’s goals. Furthermore, I learned how to manage many different projects at once and prioritize them by importance. Even though I did not work in an equipment leasing company prior to coming here, I believe the skills acquired by my previous internship plus my personal desire for growth will be a valuable contribution for Taycor.

How was the process of getting an internship in the United States?

It was not so easy to secure a job opportunity with a nationwide company in Los Angeles because there were strict regulations that I needed to abide by in order to get through. The process started with a placement agency that put me in contact with potential host companies which offered marketing positions. After accepting the internship with Taycor, I contacted a sponsor to start all the paperwork required to apply for the J-1 Visa at the Embassy. The final step was going through the U.S. Customs & Border Protection at the airport and an interview with an officer.

What is it special about the business culture at Taycor Financial?

The culture at Taycor is not what you would expect from a traditional equipment leasing company. People come to the office in informal casual clothes and the work atmosphere is more like what you would find in a start-up company. Everybody is very welcoming and supportive, and the company also organizes events to promote good working relationships such as pizza parties and rock climbing.

The big players in the equipment leasing industry usually have inflexible business models and a rigid way to operate; however, Taycor is always looking for new innovative ways to conduct business.

FUTURE

What do you expect at the end of this internship?

My goal is to create a solid platform for my future career and personal development. I believe this experience will allow me to stand out of the crowd once I return to Europe to find a permanent job. I am looking to gain a deeper understanding of the equipment leasing industry and improve my current knowledge on marketing techniques.

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

I see myself working as a marketing associate with a nationwide firm that provides me with opportunities to work on advertising campaigns and international branding. Moreover, I would like to study an MBA in International Marketing to develop the critical knowledge and competencies in the analysis and solution of problems encountered in international marketing.

Would you like to settle down in the United States after the internship?

This country has some of the largest marketing companies in the world so it would be a great opportunity for me to start my career here. However, in the long-term perspective I would prefer to return to Europe to accomplish my professional goals.

Would you be interested in creating your own photography business someday?

I am just an amateur photographer trying to learn as much as I can about digital photography. I devote my free time to it because I feel peaceful when I am behind the camera capturing beauty and in addition, it allows me to be creative. At this moment I just see photography as a hobby of mine and I do not plan on making a living from it. However, who knows what the future holds for me.