Applied Business Management

The Business of Happiness

Michaela Coakley, Applied Business Management student works at DisneyMichaela Coakley, a Thompson School Applied Business Management student, spent an entire year at a Disney College Internship during 2010-2011.  Michaela shares what her experience was like, what she learned and her plans for the future.

"I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter." - Walt Disney

I decided to enter the Disney College Internship to try something different, something outside of my home state of New Hampshire. I definitely achieved my goal because participating in the internship program allowed me to meet people from all over the world, and develop lasting friendships.

I participated in the internship during the fall of 2010 until spring of 2011.  In order to Michaela Coakley, Applied Business Management student works at Disneyeven become a part of this great experience, I had to go through three interviews, two online and one over the phone. After I made it through the interviews and was selected I had a background check and fingerprints.

When I arrived in Florida, my first program was becoming a cast member at Hollywood Studios. There I learned the importance of being able to manage my time in a high order demand position in the small food and beverage division. Hollywood Studios is the third largest of all the Disney parks. That semester I also took a class called Disney heritage. It focused on how Walt Disney envisioned the Disney Company and how he became so successful. I loved my time at Disney so much that I extended my stay there for another semester.  I spent my time that semester working at the Animal Kingdom where I learned to understand large-scale merchandise sales.

During my time at Disney my favorite activity was the “Move It!  Shake It! Celebrate It Parade!” During this activity the guests go out into the streets and have fun and interact with other guests and cast members. It is all about celebrating today and enjoying every minute of the day. Everyone is dancing silly and having a good time. It really shows the magic of Disney all in one parade. 

Michaela Coakley at Disney with friendsAnother learning experience for me was about how businesses are run and managed. Disney World is one of the biggest companies in the world and in order to run a successful company rules are made to be followed. One of the most motivating and incredibly useful things I learned through this experience was that I had to be on time for my duties. I also learned to multitask, communicate with various cultures and ethnicities, and make sure that when working in retail everything added up at the end of the night.

The Thompson School at UNH prepared me for my experience at Disney. The Public Speaking course helped me communicate to large groups of people and also to master problems such as explaining directions so that guests could start their adventures.

Another benefit of the Thompson School is the small class sizes that allow the teachers to know me by my first name and allow me to develop a better relationship with them. As a student, I am able to create a personalized educational experience through this intimate interaction with my peers and professors. Because of my year at Thompson School, I felt confident, ready and prepared for the challenges of the real world that were presented to me in Florida during my internship.

Now that my Disney adventure is over, my plans for the future are to graduate from the Thompson School at the University of New Hampshire in Durham with an Applied Business Management Associate Degree.  After graduation I will apply to transfer into the College of Liberal Arts (at UNH), hopefully to gain a degree in the Communication’s Department for my Undergraduate Degree.

Overall, I will say that I had a great learning and life experience during my time at Disney.  I took a year off school to learn and grow and now I’m back and ready to tackle my studies with renewed energy.  My last words to you: Disney sells happiness. They sold me on it…Maybe they can sell it to you too!