Student Spotlight: Chip Winkler interns at Sport Inspired in London

July 28, 2015
WVU B&E student, Chip Winkler

For one finance major from the College of Business and Economics, taking a summer internship away from home meant going to London, England, for two months.

Chip Winkler, a rising junior student at West Virginia University, took the opportunity to intern abroad when he heard about the London Summer Internship Program from a representative of WVU’s Office of International Programs. A successful interview with Sport Inspired, via Skype, secured Winkler’s spot in the internship program as a finance intern.

Sport Inspired is a social enterprise that partners with schools, businesses, sports clubs, local authorities and charities to deliver community sport and community-building activities to add value to the organization. The position has given Winkler the opportunity to combine his interests in both finance and athletics, which is what he hopes to do after graduation.

The organization is small, with 10 full-time employees. Aside from the CEO himself, Winkler and a fellow intern are the only employees with full access to all financial-related accounts and documents.

“Since the company is smaller, they rely on the work of finance interns to run that side of their business. They have given us the reigns all summer,” Winkler said. “It has turned into a really good practical experience for me, and even in the times where it was hard to figure out what I was doing with certain things, it was cool to actually solve the problem for myself.”

Winkler said he’s been given the tools to run the financial side of a small business, if that were the case, for his future.

“For now, the other finance intern and myself have full control of the billing, dealing with invoices, sponsorship and more,” he said. “It’s a lot of work and it initially seemed overwhelming, but now that I’ve gotten used to their billing system and what they’re asking for, I really enjoy it.”

Winkler was awarded one of five Ramsburg Family Business Scholarships, which is granted to high-achieving B&E students who are interning away from home for the summer. Kevin and Kim Ramsburg established the non-endowed fund for B&E in October 2014 to provide internship scholarships for students pursuing an internship outside of Morgantown or the student’s hometown. Kevin Ramsburg is the vice president and managing director at Oshkosh Capital, having earned a finance degree from B&E in 1985.

A Charleston, West Virginia, native, Winkler had never traveled outside of the United States before his internship experience. Having a taste of life overseas has inspired him to consider doing business internationally, he said.

“Being here, I get to see just how many opportunities there are to do different things, and to work with all kinds of people from around the world, since the European nations are so interconnected,” Winkler said. “I’m definitely open to working overseas in the future.”

Winkler has visited Oxford, England, and toured the campus of Oxford University, and has plans to make stops in Amsterdam and Rome before his program is over.

Winkler said he will return to the classroom in August with much more of a sense of how to apply his studies to the real world, as well as how to work with a variety of people within a very diverse work environment.

“The last few weeks, I’ve been compiling the entire budget of the last fiscal year and preparing the company for its next fiscal year, taking data from around 80 sports festivals,” he said. “It’s been quite a task, but I like that I’m finishing up the summer program with a big project.”

For more information on interning abroad with WVU’s Office of International Programs, visit http://internationalprograms.wvu.edu/.