An Internship of EPIC Proportions
October 19, 2023

InComm Payments’ EPIC program gives college students a head start in their FinTech careers.

After over two decades in existence, FinTech’s colossal surge shows no signs of letting up. FinTech, an expansive term fusing “finance” and “technology,” is forecast to explode sixfold from $245 billion to $1.5 trillion in revenue by 2030, according to Boston Consulting Group. With a trajectory like that, FinTech companies like InComm Payments will need to educate and groom the next generation of FinTech-savvy workers to keep our operations humming. Being the forward-thinking company that it is, InComm Payments created EPIC (Education Partners at InComm) nearly a decade ago. Our year-round internship program offers enterprising college students valuable training, experience and mentoring in a FinTech-centric setting. To help explain the program and its successes, we spoke to the people who manage it, work in it, and have successfully completed it.

The Leaders

EPIC was founded by Dean Matthews, an InComm Payments employee who was once an Olympic-level marathoner. Dean instilled in the program core values like preparedness, dedication and vision; values that served him well as a long-distance runner. EPIC’s current leaders ─ Michael Phillips, Director of Talent Acquisition, Kayla Heffron, Manager of Talent Acquisition and Dzejlana Dzebo, Talent Acquisition Partner ─ passionately carry on these foundational principles. “Our aim is to help college students become professionals and have professional-level skills,” Michael Phillips explained, “but also learn how to accomplish tasks at a high level.”

The leaders work with several universities to identify intern candidates. “We typically look at students who are either sophomores or juniors,” Kayla Heffron said. “EPIC is open to students wherever they go to school; not just Atlanta and the state of Georgia,” she added. Students get a great choice of paid internships as just about every department in the company has one or several openings ─ from account management and IT to marketing and human resources. “We work with students to align their degree and career aspirations to the internships available,” Kayla noted.

The more a company grows, the more it needs to hire qualified employees to fill its ranks and fuel its rise. Without a doubt, EPIC has been a valuable in-house recruitment resource. “We’ve averaged 20 or 25 interns a year over the last five years and a had retention rate of between 70 and 80 percent,” Michael Phillips remarked. “EPIC is definitely a talent pipeline for the business; we intentionally trained them, so we absolutely want to look at EPIC interns for our full-time positions.” In most cases when hiring an EPIC intern, Michael added that “we’re hiring somebody who has demonstrated a loyalty to the company and is a more engaged and higher-level candidate than we could find outside of InComm Payments.”

EPIC has been a win-win, with both interns and InComm Payments benefiting. “We have the same goal.” Kayla remarked. “Our interns want a career path so they can they find a job, and we want a career path for them so we might hire them.”

The Interns

Even in their largely cocooned experience on a university campus, most students know that they’ll face a highly competitive world when they ultimately leave the dorms and study halls. Which means an opportunity to improve their resume and enhance their work knowledge while still in school is very attractive.

That golden opportunity to boost their career prospects is what brought Amelia Neuhoff from the University of Georgia and Kyle Levine from the University of Florida to InComm Payments’ EPIC program. Both are second-year interns and rising seniors at their respective schools ─ and both came to EPIC with a particular career interest. Amelia is majoring in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing and business analytics. “I applied for and am now working in a digital marketing position in Financial Services, which is right up my career pathway,” she remarked. Kyle is majoring in finance with a minor in economics and earned a certificate in artificial intelligence fundamentals. He’s recently been accepted into a program at UF in which he can earn a combination degree, including a master’s in international business. “I worked in e-commerce the first year in EPIC, which was great,” Kyle noted, “and am now working with the Financial Services team in project management.”

While both entered EPIC with a clear career path, their real-life, on-the-job experiences have opened their eyes to the day-to-day activities and duties involved. “I did come in as a marketing major, and this internship definitely solidified that plan,” Amelia said. It also helped me realize that I like certain parts of digital marketing more than others. It’s nice to see different sides of things and be able to say OK, this is what I like.” Kyle was in a similar situation with a pre-EPIC interest in product management, especially product ideation. “The experiences I’ve had in both departments solidified those interests,” he said, “and I definitely understand that this is where I’m happiest and want to be, going forward.”

Amelia and Kyle emphasized they don’t feel like interns in EPIC and that they are working on real projects that impact the company. “I feel like I am immersed into everything, and my supervisor has let me own a few projects and run them,” Amelia noted. “The FS team is really adamant that they don’t want me doing busy work; they want me getting the exposure.” Kyle says that he feels like a “full-time employee” in his EPIC internship. “I’m a project manager on a fraud prevention project right now,” he noted, “attending meetings, working on reports, and getting to interact with important stakeholders. I feel like my work is making a contribution and  that I am as much a part of the company as my managers and everyone around me.”

As Amelia and Kyle complete their senior semesters and second years in EPIC, both give the internship an enthusiastic thumbs up. “I would 100% recommend EPIC to other college students if you are really serious about your career field,” Amelia stated. “I love that it’s year-round and doesn’t just end after eight weeks.” She added that she has “learned and been a part of so much” and has “added a ton of skills” to her resume. Kyle noted that students who are interested in FinTech and the cross-section of business and technology would definitely benefit from the EPIC internship. “Anyone who is going into a rigorous, competitive career would get a lot out of it,” he remarked. “This experience has been so influential not just in my school curriculum but in my career pursuits as well.”

The Graduate (and the Employee)

Upon entering Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta for her freshman year, Dzejlana Dzebo would never have imagined that she would one day be working at a major FinTech company just a few blocks away. But after graduating from GSU, as well as EPIC, she landed a full-time position at InComm Payments, making her a prime example of how the program develops and produces talented future employees. They can even come from our own backyard.

Dzejlana spent one year in EPIC, and received a job offer before graduation to join the InComm Payments Human Resources department, working in Talent Acquisition. “It was extremely rewarding to get that offer,” she said. “My dedication felt like it finally paid off — even though I was just beginning my career.” She pointed out that EPIC had a great influence on her personal growth and career path. “The internship was not just a job,” she said, “it was an opportunity to learn, grow, and make a positive impact to a team and the bigger organization.” Dzejlana also noted that she “got a hands-on learning experience in Talent Acquisition, and gained industry experience and skills that I would not have been exposed to without EPIC.”

Not only was Dzejlana a stand-out intern and now a stellar employee, but she is also a leader of EPIC, working in tandem with Michael Phillips and Kayla Heffron in the program’s management. “I really enjoy this role. I see myself in the interns — they have a lot of passion and willingness to learn,” she said. “I approach them in the manner of knowing I was once in their shoes, and I advise them on how to put themselves out there to create opportunities.”

Dzejlana gives EPIC major kudos and says it is ideal for eager, passionate and detail-oriented students. “College students have the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience that will shape them into career professionals in the industry they are studying in school,” she noted. “EPIC sets up students on a defined career path prior to graduating.”

College students interested in EPIC must be in their sophomore or junior year of classes and have at least one year until graduation. Students need to be comfortable working 20 hours a week, and able to commit to a year-round internship program.

Listings for current open internships can be found on the Careers Page.

For more information, prospective candidates can contact MPhillips@InComm.com, KHeffron@InComm.com or dcufurovic@incomm.com.

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