Intern to Full-Timer: How One Employee Made the Transition

Intern to Full-Timer: How One Employee Made the Transition

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees know that going to work every day is about more than just joining conference calls and replying to emails. It’s about continuing a Michigan legacy that began decades ago to work hard every day and honor traditions. It’s also about dedicating yourself to a company that’s equally as dedicated to its employees. That dedication is why Senior Financial Analyst Sonia Lopez has found long-term career growth with Blue Cross.

Before she ever stepped through the doors at Blue Cross, Lopez has been deeply rooted in Michigan. Growing up in Southwest Detroit as a daughter of two Mexican immigrants, she went on to be the first college graduate in her family by earning a degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Wayne State University.

“My decision to go into accounting was based on the idea of being able to help my father with the family business and to help it grow,” Lopez says. “I like to play with numbers, and accounting is like completing a puzzle and having the satisfaction of being able to look at the big picture in the end.”

During her time at Wayne State, Lopez attended a career fair specifically recruiting Hispanic talent. She heard about Blue Cross internship opportunities through connections the company had with the Association of Latino Professionals for America student group at the university. “I felt welcomed by the company as soon as I approached their table and sensed that they wanted me to be a part of the family,” she says. The feeling was mutual.

Lopez started an internship in 2011 in the Human Resources Retirement Administration Department and continued for two years while finishing her courses at Wayne. After graduation, she transitioned from intern to full-time employee, and she saw her responsibilities shift from processing claims and preparing retirement packages to assisting with customer savings refunds and member reconciliation processes.

“Moving into the general accounting department, I gained experience and took on more responsibilities,” Lopez says. “People relied on me more than ever and their expectations of me increased.”

Today, Lopez’s views remain the same. She loves seeing the impact her department makes on Blue Cross as well as its subsidiaries.

“In the beginning, what stood out to me the most about Blue Cross was the culture,” Lopez says. “I love the location of my job. I love being downtown and being able to witness Detroit’s comeback. I love Blue Cross’ investment in training and networking events.”

As for advice for interns looking to enter the full-time workforce, Lopez has several suggestions: “Never take no for an answer and never doubt yourself. It will be tough, but every time one door closes, another one opens. Keep in mind that companies appreciate fresh perspectives.”

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