After the completion of his junior year, industrial engineering major Michael Spencer moved into a salaried position at Black Knight Financial Services, an opportunity made possible by the co-op program launched by Hofstra’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) in spring 2015. Michael was part of the inaugural group of students to take advantage of this new opportunity. The co-op allows students to be hired by a participating company after the fall or spring semester of their junior year. They work on salary for a 6-8 month period in a field related to their degree. After the co-op experience ends, students return to Hofstra to finish their studies.
“I completed a 10-week internship in the past. Although it helps to gain experience, I felt like by the time I really understood what I was doing, it was over,” Spencer said. “When I found out about this opportunity, I knew it would give me a much more in-depth experience with both my position and with the company, and that was something I did not want to pass up.”
Spencer moved down to Black Knight’s headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida, for the first few months of the co-op, which started in June. He will spend the remainder of the program in Glendale, California, before coming back to Hofstra in January 2016 for his senior year. “I knew I would end up having to graduate a semester late, but I decided it was worth it in order to build this strong professional relationship,” he said.
Spencer is working in Black Knight’s Data & Analytics department and has tapped into the math, problem-solving and analytical skills he’s garnered as an engineering student at Hofstra. His time is split between multiple projects. He’s creating a template where raw financial, employee and customer data are compressed into a “neat and tidy format that upper management can easily take in at a glance,” he said. Simultaneously, he’s researching information used for title insurance companies, financial lending companies and investment banks. He’s also creating a monthly organizational report for Black Knight based on employee function.
“I continue to learn something new and expand my knowledge of data analysis, reporting and the mortgage industry as a whole every week,” Spencer said. He added that when it comes to planning for the future, “I try to have as many options open and take advantage of as many opportunities that I can.”
Current SEAS juniors and seniors interested in a co-op should attend an orientation meeting on Wednesday, September 9, at 11:30 a.m. 208 Adams Hall, South Campus. Or contact Philip Coniglio, director of the SEAS Co-Op Program, at 516-463-5548 or by email.