CU Denver students represent a large and diverse talent pool, which appeals to Colorado employers, says Sarah Trzeciak, MS, senior director of student development and Career Center director.

“Our location is key – we are literally across the street from thousands of companies that make up our diverse economy – hospitals, retail, startups, engineering, public health and health care,” she says. “Our students also tend to have a little more experience under their belts and they have a grit and work ethic that appeals to employers.”


FirstBank, founded in Colorado more than 50 years ago, is a longtime recruiter of CU Denver students for its internship and management training programs.

Naiely Miranda

“CU Denver is one of the most diverse campuses in Colorado, so we wanted to create a brand there,” says Naiely Miranda, FirstBank’s human resources recruiter.

CU Denver students are especially valued because they “have a strong work ethic and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty,” Miranda says. “They come into our office excited and eager to learn.”

The company offers an internship program for business students, who can participate for up to three summers. A second program targets business school graduates, who can apply for a six-month management program. FirstBank places students at banks throughout Colorado, and those who have been interns are closely considered for the Management Training Program after they graduate.

Students work as bank tellers, handle new accounts and learn about bookkeeping and lending. “Each summer that they continue, we make the internship more challenging. They take everything they learned in the first summer and then apply it to the next level,” Miranda says.

The training and feedback students get from their FirstBank mentors provide valuable experience for students, especially for those who want to pursue a career in banking and finance.

“We like our students to feel uncomfortable, but uncomfortable in a good way,” Miranda says. “Our purpose is to have our interns go full-time when they graduate.”

Derrick Gallegos

Although FirstBank can’t guarantee a position, the company encourages recent graduates to apply for the management track, an entry-level position and six-month training program. Those who complete the program are promoted to a full-time bank officer.

Derrick Gallegos, 22, who graduated from CU Denver this year, currently is in the FirstBank Management Training Program. “I fell in love with the company and the people who work here,” says Gallegos, who spent two summers as a FirstBank intern. “Everyone was so open and welcoming and I learned so much each year.”

Gallegos feels fortunate to have a full-time position as many of his friends continue to look for their first job.

He adds, “My hope would be to stay at FirstBank my whole career.” 

7S Management

Rob Fischer, an alumnus of the Business School, turned his internship at 7S Management into a full-time job in the company’s tour marketing area in 2014. 7S Management is a Denver-based boutique artist management company that represents such bands as Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

“When I was hired, they didn’t have a full-time marketing team, so I was able to help fine-tune the system,” says Fischer, who majored in business with a marketing emphasis. “I was more than ecstatic about the opportunity. It all feels great, even to this day.”

Cooper Turley

Today, Fischer oversees intern Cooper Turley, a CU Denver junior majoring in music business in the College of Arts and Media. Part of the appeal of CU Denver’s students is the music business major, which offers classes that give students real-world experience, including artist, tour and venue management as well as concert promotion, says Fischer.

“CU Denver’s music business program is appealing to us because it’s the only one in the state and the curriculum is spot-on for what we’re looking for,” he says.

For Turley, working in the music business fulfills a dream that was born on the day he walked into Red Rocks to see the band O.A.R. (Of a Revolution).

“Red Rocks was captivating and aesthetically appealing and I couldn’t help but think it would be amazing to be able to put on a show at that venue, whether you were playing there or working behind the scenes to make the show happen,” he says.

Fischer calls Turley “amazing,” adding that his music business background and  “professional attitude and entrepreneurial spirit” make him a great fit for 7S Management.

“That entrepreneurial drive and passion for music is what we’re looking for,” he says. “As an alumnus, it’s great to give back to the school and give students there the opportunities I had.”

Published: November 17, 2016
Guest Contributor: Kathleen Bohland

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