Finding a Summer Internship the Wharthog Way

The past week has been quite a ride.

It began much like any other winter break week did, with me hopelessly scouring the internet for editorial internships. A wee baby freshman, I had as much hope of breaking into the journalism game as I do to win tonight's Powerball jackpot. Nobody wants to hire inexperienced, under-qualified first years, let alone to fill a post in the coveted newsroom. Fast forward seven days, and I have my very own blog at The Huffington Post, one of the most popular news site on the internet. Wait, What?

Let's begin with Monday night. I had just sent in my latest batch of long shot applications when my friend Dan picked me up to go see The Big Short. As we drove to the theater, I berated him with my internship woes. What could I do with a B- in Psych and delusional ambitions? Nothing, that's what. Dan, however, saw it differently. He's a Wharthog (a student of The Wharton School at UPenn) after all, and hidden beneath his cold, leathery businessman hide was a wealth of wisdom. The internship game, he told me, is all about who you know, not what you know. My experience (or lack thereof) mattered little, so long as I had an inside man clearing the way.

It was then that Dan the Wharthog altered the course of my life. He told me about an associate of his who faced a position very similar to my own; He needed an in where there were only outs. His solution was grounded in a savage simplicity. Having no openings to jump through, he made one for himself. He reached out to the bigwigs, asked if they would be interested in an interview, and snagged himself an internship.

The Wharthog tried this method out for himself, and found that it worked astonishingly well. Within days, he had scheduled an interview with the founder of a Philly FinTech firm. Instead of waiting for a callback for his chance to speak, the Warthog had turned the tables. Now he was the one asking the questions--now he was one in control. The trick hadn't yet garnered him a bonafide internship, but that would come in due time. Dan the Wharthog had wedged his foot in the door, and that was all that mattered.

Excited, I tried the Wharthog's method out for myself. Over the next three days I emailed countless publication heavyweights, each time making the same plea that he did. Would they care to share their remarkable journey with a helpless undergrad? I got my first results within hours. Yes, they would love to speak with me. The Wharthog had been right.

But I faced a dilemma: what should I do with all these interviews? I couldn't follow up every conversation with an internship request, but I also didn't want to see any of these opportunities go undeveloped. In my rush to send out as many emails as I could, I had forgotten to plan my next step. I needed an answer, and fast.

At 7:45 pm on a Tuesday, the answer touched down in my inbox from no other than Arianna Huffington herself. She had been my moonshot executive, the one email I sent just because I could. Never in a million years did I expect to get a response. But here it was, begging to be read. I obliged.

Arianna Huffington gave me something better than an interview: she gave me a voice. She gave me a platform, a soapbox from which I could project my project to thousands of readers. She gave me a blog at HuffPost.

Over the coming months I will be interviewing countless executives leading the news media industry. As I gather their success stories, I will share them with you through this blog. What began last week as a desperate search for summer employment has quickly evolved into something much, much more. In the words of life coach DJ Khaled, I'm up to something. Stay tuned.