A resident of Middletown, Anthony Colonnello is one of eight Delaware State University students interning at Sallie Mae's headquarters in Newark this summer as part of a new partnership between the Dover school and the New Castle County-based student loan lender.
Q What type of work are you doing as part of your internship?
A I was hired as the corporate compliance intern. I've been working to help ensure the company adheres to the highest standards of banking. Compliance maintains a level of security that ensures the company is within all applicable laws, rules and regulations. In the weeks ahead, I will be helping with reviews of business operations, financial programs, fraud, customer services, privacy and security requirements and corporate governance.
Q What's your experience been like so far? Is there anything you didn't expect?
A Some anxiety comes with any new experience, but the team at Sallie Mae has eased that feeling for me. I have enjoyed working with such knowledgeable and professional colleagues. They have been wonderful explaining the policies and procedures behind compliance to me. This internship has provided a behind-the-scenes study of banking and loan processes. It definitely helps seeing firsthand the application of economics and accounting. A highly-regulated industry with many applicable and complex laws, the compliance function is crucial to any financial services company. I did not realize the extent to which any Sallie Mae product must be reviewed and approved prior to delivery to the public. It is a deliberate and articulate process.
Q Do you have student loans? Have you learned anything about Sallie Mae since starting this internship?
A I sure do! It was interesting to learn Sallie Mae's history and products. Sallie Mae was established as a government-sponsored enterprise, but it began privatization in 1997 and completed the process in 2004. Since 2009, the company has also serviced federal loans on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. I also learned that Sallie Mae helps families save for college with 529 college savings plans and Upromise rewards. I was astonished to learn Sallie Mae serves 25 million customers.
Q What kind of career would you like to pursue and how do you think this internship will help you?
A I want to pursue a career in audit. This internship in corporate compliance is definitely a huge step towards that goal and will be indispensable in my collegiate and professional career. This area works closely with internal audit as well as all the business areas at Sallie Mae. Coming from a biology background, banking is definitely in another ballpark. I only recently began my career in this field, and my internship at Sallie Mae is helping me in my pursuit.