Thank You


Dear PBP,

With our internship coming to a close and with this being one of the final blog posts, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for having us this summer. From the minute we walked through the door you made us feel welcome and at home.

Thank you for making these past couple of months such a learning experience. Just as you had expectations of us, we had them for you, and you kept them.

A big thank you also goes out to all of the managers who took time out of their schedules to meet with us at Traditions class every week and answer our questions.

Thank you to Nicole for setting up the Traditions class and for taking us on our mini field-trip. We learned a lot and the museum we went to was a great experience.

Finally thank you to all of the employees who participated in our Twitter contests each week and would take the time to tweet us. Without your participation, none of the contests would have been possible. Thank you.


PBP Summer Interns ’15

Managers Are Heroes

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One of the newer business units at PBP that has thrived since it’s 2012 launch is the Managers Are Heroes web training. Headed by Mike Brown and Jess Midwood, the Managers Are Heroes platform gives a strong purpose to managers of all kinds. This innovative brand includes a unique superhero theme that attracts customers aiming to improve their manager superpowers. The mission is straightforward: Learn how to be a more effective manager!

The program offers three types of training. 1. Core Hero Events, 2. Elective Courses, and 3. the Certificate Program. The Core Hero events combine 4 different manager training courses and one elective course which allows for optimal management hero training. The Elective Courses offer ways for managers to reach their potential and to find topics they are more interested in. These 60 minute webinars give great strategies to help develop managers and even include printable notes for additional learning! The final aspect of Managers Are Heroes is the Certificate Program also called “earning your C.A.P.E”. C.A.P.E.’s are earned through high-quality web training led by expert mission advisors who guide managers to become heroes!

One of my projects as a Progressive Business Publications intern was managing the Managers Are Heroes Twitter and creating a Managers Are Heroes Facebook page! Please go follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! Over the summer the Managers Are Heroes Twitter made great progress. It gained 1,500 followers and at one point reached an engagement rate of 3% through continuous content that drove customers to our Managers Are Heroes website.

Managers Are Heroes is one of the shining stars of the Executive Education division here at PBP. I am sad to have to let go of my Managers Are Heroes duties but I will always have my cape to remind me of my great internship here at PBP!

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Interviewing From 3,202 Miles Away


Ever since day one in college every single person I spoke to always said: “Go abroad, it’s a great experience!”

During your 4 years there are so many opportunities available to you. I tried my best to take advantage of every opportunity I possibly could. I even took summer and winter break classes in an effort to fulfill all my required courses so I could go abroad and obtain that “great experience” everyone was talking about.

Before I left to go abroad during the spring semester of my junior year I knew I wanted an internship when I returned for the summer. I thought that given everything is online it would be easy to find internships, apply to them and get a great opportunity when I return.

Little did I know the challenge I would soon face.

While I was abroad, I continued to check my college email from back home. I continued to receive emails from the career services office at my school. They sent alerts of internships that they found. I was interested in one of them so I emailed my resume to them and received an email saying that there would be interviews on campus the following week. Obviously, that wasn’t going to work for me since I was in another country.  I emailed them back telling them about my interest in the opportunity and that I was willing to do a Skype or phone interview because of the fact I was in another country getting the “great experience” everyone was telling me about.

That didn’t fly. They said they would only be doing in-person interviews.

I reflected on this experience and realized that this may reveal the type of company they are. Would I want to work at a company that isn’t willing to make use of current technology and make an exception for me since I was doing what everyone was telling me was a “great experience”? I never would have thought going abroad would hinder me in my internship search.

A Little Advice for Future Interns

When searching for an internship, take every hurdle as a lesson and move on.

I continued to persistently search for an internship, worked with the career services department and found Progressive Business Publications. I had a phone interview with Progressive Business Publications and couldn’t be happier with the internship, the interviewing experience, and their willingness to be flexible.

Throwback Thursday: These four PBP employees were once interns here

As our summer internships only have a few weeks left, I thought it would be interesting to get some insight from four past PBP interns that continued working at PBP full-time once their internships ended.


2013 Interns featuring Mike and Pat

Summer 2013 Interns featuring Mike and Pat

(From l-r): Chris, Kal, Emily, Ashley, Julia, Meredith, Ed, and Alex.

Summer 2014 Interns featuring Ashley and Julia


ashley head shotAshley Zawistowski was an Editorial intern last summer and continued working in the Editorial department full-time in August. Prior to her professional life, she was a competitive gymnast where she accidentally found out she has four extra bones in her body! After getting X-rays for her various gymnast injuries, she was told that she has one extra vertebra, two extra ribs and an extra bone in her foot.

julia head shotJulia Scavicchio was also an Editorial intern last summer and began her career at PBP soon after her internship was over. Unlike Ashley, Julia switched departments and now works in the Media division using her writing skills as a Digital Content Specialist. During her time in college, she developed her leadership skills as a Varsity Coxswain.


4Mike Elisio is a Product Marketer who interned with PBP during the 2013 summer in the Executive Education department. He began his full-time position in June of last year after his graduation from Gettysburg College. Mike once used the Heimlich on his friend’s brother when he was choking. (If I ever start choking while eating my lunch, I now know who to run to!)

patPat Schober is another past Editorial intern who now works in Editorial full-time. He was an intern during the 2013 summer with Mike and started his Editorial job in January of 2014. He continues writing in his free time and has written a couple of novels. However, he ran out of steam on both of them, so neither of the novels has made it to a second draft.


Post-intern & Post-hired Reflections

I was able to get answers from Ashley, Julia, Mike and Pat on four questions that may help us current interns and any future PBP interns. Read below to find out what they enjoyed about their internships and how it prepared them for their job now, as well as why they decided to work at PBP full-time. They also gave advice for the current and future PBP interns!


1) What was your favorite part about your internship?

Ashley: “I enjoyed learning about the different newsletters and having the opportunity to work on several before my internship ended. I also loved the intern group I got to know and work with throughout the summer!”

Julia: My favorite part of the internship was learning about all the different publications. The experience greatly influenced my writing style.”

Mike: Working hands-on preparing presentation materials for the sales team.”

Pat: My favorite part of the internship was all the stuff I learned. Getting moved from publication to publication every few weeks exposed me to areas of business I would otherwise know nothing about.”


2) Why did you decide to work at PBP full time?

Ashley: “Having a job fresh out of college isn’t something every recent grad can say, so I wasn’t about to let this job offer go! I really enjoyed my experience as an intern, so that played a big role in my decision to stick around full-time.”

Julia: The position offered to me by Media opened the door to a career path. My research and writing is unique to any other publication on the web, and I’ve developed an expertise thanks to this opportunity. The work is challenging, but I derive a lot value from being a Digital Content Specialist.”

Mike: I liked the atmosphere and it was close enough to commute.”

Pat: I like the people here and the challenges that come with writing business newsletters.”


3) How did your internship prepare you for your job now?

Ashley: Editorial interns really do exactly what new-hires in the department do, so the transition was seamless. The only real difference was that once I was hired I was assigned to one specific pub, rather than rotating. Other than that, learning about PBP’s style and the different features in each newsletter helped ensure I was prepared.”

Julia: Editorial provides awesome training, and Media is quickly expanding. The two combined has helped me maximize my potential.”

Mike: It gave me a better sense of what the environment is like in the professional world.”

Pat: Well, it taught me the PBP style, so it was a relatively easy transition going from intern to employee. Plus, a couple publications I worked on as an intern I ended up working on as a full-time. And when I got here, I already knew all my co-workers, so that was nice!”


4) Do you have any advice for this year’s interns or future PBP interns?

Ashley: “My biggest piece of advice is to ask for more work! When you have downtime, don’t be afraid to say so. At the end of the day, this internship is what you make it. Challenge yourself by asking if there are other tasks you can learn or other aspects of employees’ daily routines you can take part in.”

Julia: Enjoy the summer and keep up with your LinkedIn profile.”

Mike: Actively look for things to do and help with. It’s more engaging and you won’t get bored. Plus it helps set you apart from other candidates for full-time positions.”

Pat: Get involved as much as you can, and ask a lot of questions. PBP has a lot of great talent, and you can learn a lot from the people around you.”

Working Struggles: The Price of Coffee

I admit it, I’m a coffee fanatic.

I was introduced to coffee at an early age by my equally coffee-crazy dad, and managed to stay away from dependency until college when it unfortunately became a daily habit to purchase a tall caramel macchiato from the oh-so-conveniently placed Starbucks on my university campus.

A few weeks ago during my internship here at PBP, I was too late to pick up my morning coffee due to traffic, and was foiled at every turn throughout the morning in my attempts to get my caffeine fix (the relating of which would be too long for this blog post). Needless to say, this resulted in a pretty grumpy intern. This incident, coupled with an article I read recently about ways for millennials to easily save money, got me to thinking about how much I (probably unhealthily) depend on coffee, and how much I spend on coffee.

What else could I do with the money? I turned this thought exercise into an infographic, which I hope you find interesting and informative.

The Price of Coffee

This thought exercise definitely made me rethink my coffee purchasing choices; but obviously I can’t just give up coffee. Thus, a few alternatives I thought of would be to buy coffee from Wawa ($1.29 for a 12 oz. = $470.85), which would save $861.40 per year, or invest in a Keurig machine ($119 for the machine + $227.97 for a year’s supply = $346.97), which would save $985.28 per year.

But, if I find that I really just can’t give up my Starbucks, I guess I can comfort myself with the fact that I’m not spending $50 a cup on the world’s most expensive coffee (Kopi Luwak, harvested from coffee beans that have passed through wild civets’ digestive systems… aka cat poop).

What about you? How much money do you spend on coffee in a year, and what else could you do with that money?

Giving Back


It’s been a while since our last Traditions class update, but we can assure you it was worth the wait.

I bet you’d be surprised to know that PBP partners with 26 non-profits to sponsor 30 projects. One of them being a safe home for orphans and immigrant children in Israel, and another being a Nitrogen-Hydrogen Alternative Energy Reaction Research Laboratory. Yeah, we were surprised too… but even more so, we were very inspired.

This week we learned all about PBP’s philanthropy efforts. They do a ton of work for many different groups of people.

The company supports victims of substance abuse, Junior Achievers and local organizations such as the Walnut Street Theater, the Wharton Esherick Museum and much more. They also sponsor stem cell, cancer and energy research.

One of their big initiatives is helping students. PBP founded The Franklin Institute’s STEM scholar program, which is a cohort program of 15 talented high-schoolers in under-served communities. These students get to do research projects with The Franklin Institute staff.

At the collegiate level, PBP sponsors the Life After College Success Program at Franklin and Marshall. Also, PBP created an international internship program in social entrepreneurship. Selected students from UCONN, Duke, Columbia and Notre Dame travel to Guatemala for the summer and teach local entrepreneurs business tools.

One of the biggest ways employees can get involved in PBP’s philanthropic mission is by volunteering at PBP’s adopted inner-city school, Cook-Wissahickon Elementary. Employees act as student-mentors and spend time with their students twice a month – either at the office or at the school. PBP also created before and after-school programs with games, crafts, homework help and snacks for the students. They’ve taken children on trips and sponsored speakers, career days and other events.

Giving back means something different to everyone, and there are many reasons why people choose to give. Some people are passionate about a cause, some feel inspired when they give and others want to make a difference. Also, there are many things people can give: time, money, talent.

We were asked to think about all of these things and what giving back really means to us. We challenged ourselves and discussed how we’re going to give back in our futures.

And now we’re challenging you: how will you give back?

Settling in at PBP

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This week concludes our sixth week of our internship at Progressive Business Publications, officially half way through!  Although it has been 6 weeks, it feels like it was yesterday that we had our first day. Boy does time fly when you are having fun! The first few days came with a combination of nervousness and feelings of excitement but now all the anxiety has worn off. Between finally finding our way around the building without a map and learning to prioritize our daily tasks, we have all adapted quickly and are now very comfortable at PBP.

Unlike others, for us the purpose of adapting as interns is not just to survive but to learn, grow, and contribute. Here are a few quotes from us interns on some things we have learned, accomplished or enjoyed from our first 6 weeks here at PBP!

Christina- “I’ve learned a lot of different skills in the publication product marketing department, from writing headlines to understanding HTML for email marketing . I have also really enjoyed the intern “Traditions” class where I have learned more about myself, specifically my strengths, as well as hearing from other PBP employees and their advice to us interns.”

Kevin– “I have met so many great people who immediately made me feel part of the PBP family. Through my 6 weeks in the AC division I have learned so much about direct marketing that I don’t think I could have learned in a classroom setting. Jess allowed me to take over the Managers Are Heroes twitter and I have really enjoyed driving new customers to view our amazing content.”

Caroline– “I have enjoyed forming friendships with everyone in AC and creating content for the women’s leadership group.”

Jake– “I’ve been assigned to interview managers from the different Business Units to understand how reports are being used throughout the company. It’s been very interesting to meet people from all parts of the company and try to piece together the way PBP operates.”

Paige– “This internship has been a great opportunity to absorb information from attending meetings and executing projects. I am enjoying this internship. The structure of the program is great. Traditions has been interesting to learn about the company and learn more from employees here at PBP.”

Eugena– “At the PBP Media Division, I’ve been learning about SEO and putting the theory into practice. This is a crucial aspect of digital marketing and is fascinating to be educated in. It’s given me a new perspective on how much goes on in the background of Google, a function that all of us mindlessly utilize every day.”

Anthony– “I have enjoyed learning all of the different writing styles for my publications. I have worked on and successfully written articles that were published online for Administrative Professional Update and Facility Managers Alert. I enjoy how friendly and helpful everyone is and how there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions.”

Amanda– “I’ve loved the editors I’ve had the chance to work with, and I’ve learned a ton about the different topics I’m writing about. I’ve refined my writing style and even got the chance to write stories that are now published!”

Thank you so much to everyone for making all of us feel so welcome and at home. If you have not met us yet we would love to meet you so if you see us around, give us a wave!

Twitter Contest Update

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With this week marking roughly the halfway point of our internships, we first want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have participated in the contests on Twitter and would encourage even more people to participate in the coming weeks. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s not like your twitter will be on private and we won’t see your tweet and you’ll get ripped off with points (once again, sorry Stephanie!)

We know these contests are the first thing you guys think of when you wake up in the morning so we thought it would be a good idea to give you an insight into the contest and give you that extra boost of confidence before you set up the grill for some serious BBQ’n this weekend.

Stephanie Reid – 7 pts.

Beth Novick – 5 pts.

Tyrone Pernsley – 4 pts.

Joshua Cole – 3.5 pts.

Julia Scavicchio – 3.5 pts.

Nicole Reigl – 3.5 pts.

Jim Murphy – 2 pts.

Kate McNally – 2 pts.

Patrick Schober – 2 pts.

John Benbrook – 1.5 pts.

Wannetta Turner – 1.5 pts.

Samantha Schwartz – 1 pt.

Glenn Junker – 0.5 pt.

Jim Murphy – 0.5 pt.

Kim Gentile – 0.5 pt.

Yvette Miller – 0.5 pt.


Please note that these points are correct as of Wednesday July 1. They do not include the contest winner for the week of 6/29.

Once again thank you for participating and have a safe and happy holiday! We look forward to continuing the contests after the holiday (:

Is College Still Worth It?



Just yesterday I received an email from my student loan borrowing service informing me that it will soon be time to begin making payments.  After I took a few minutes to think about how much I was going to be paying, I became curious as to how much my education was worth.

As an intern in the analytics department, I have been working in a program used for visualizing data. I decided to research some data regarding student loans, tuition, and anything else that could be relevant to me as a recent college grad. After some digging, I found a few data visualizations which tell some interesting stories.


The 20-Year College ROI by State

The first graphic I found was a map of the United States comparing the 20-Year Net Return on Investment for the average college student by state. By clicking on a state, you can drill down deeper into statistics for individual colleges in that state. Hovering the mouse pointer over a dot next to the college name in the list (sorted in descending order by higher ROI) or the sub map of the state, you can get a tool-tip with more statistics. Using a dropdown menu, you can also look at some other statistics including the 20-year ROI for those with financial aid, the percentage of people who stay in the same state after graduation, the graduation rate, as well as some other relevant statistics.


  Here’s the full link:

After looking at the visualization, I was able to find a few interesting details. The good news for me was that, as a Penn State graduate, I was set to make a return. Knowing this, I was curious to see what schools would actually cause you to lose money in the long run. According to this visualization, the worst school you can go to for your money is Shaw University in North Carolina with a 20-year ROI of negative $156,000. Interestingly, Alaska as a state has the highest overall ROI while Alabama has the lowest. Alaska really only has one school (University of Alaska), which is a small sample size. Alaska also has the lowest graduation rate at 29%, lower than any other state by 10%.  So considering the low graduation rate, the very cold weather, and how far it is away from everything relevant, you may not want to send your kids there thinking they have the best chance to make a lot of money. If you want your kids to come back home after they leave for college, you should probably make them go to a school in Vermont where only 27% of students stay in the state and have a below average ROI. If you’ve been counting down the days until you have the house to yourself again, you may want to consider getting your children to head to Texas. 84% of students stay in the state while it has an average ROI and a below average cost of graduation. This visualization would have been something great to look at when I was trying to decide where to go to school. It’s highly likely there are a lot of other factors affecting these numbers for each state and there’s no way this visualization tells the whole story, but it is a simple way to compare the costs and benefits of individual colleges.  


Tuition Shifts Since 2008

I was also able to find another interesting data visualization from CNBC regarding the changes in tuition in the United States since 2008. This dashboard illustrates spending by each state on higher education and the amount of tuition paid per student in those states. States are shaded in blue according to the percentage of state budget sent on higher education (darker = higher %). By hovering over a state, you can get a line chart and a bar chart comparing higher education budget to tuition over since 2008, and a snapshot of taxpayer money for this year in the form of a pie chart.  


Here’s the full link:

The biggest thing that stands out is the growth in the gap between tuition and spending per student. This is telling because not only has the amount that students have to pay for school gone up, but the amount of money given to help for college has gone down, increasing the burden on whoever is paying for college. I can speak directly to this as Pennsylvania cut the higher education for public universities by 30% in 2012, as I was entering my sophomore year of school. Penn State was forced to raise tuition, and I had to pay. Pennsylvania’s average tuition has increased 8% and spending per student has gone down 15% since 2012 when I started school. Over this same time period inflation has been slightly less than 6%. This trend exists in the majority of states in the US where the gap between spending on students and tuition is increasing, but Pennsylvania spends the second least of state tax money on secondary education at only 2% of overall budget.


There are many dashboards out there examining college education in different ways, such as these visualizations with career and compensation data from PayScale. Which majors and degrees pay the best? What jobs are the most meaningful as compared to how much they pay? How does the ROI of investing in college compare to some historical stock returns?

These were only a few of the more interesting data visualizations that resonated me as I will soon be paying off my student loans. Before I know it, I should probably start saving for my own kid’s education if the cost of college keeps increasing the way it has been.

Tom Schubert Sheds Light on Habits for Success

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This week all eight of the interns gathered to meet with Tom Schubert, PBP’s COO and CFO, to discuss The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. We all agreed that these habits are very crucial for success. One aspect of the book that I found to be particularly important is the point that excellence is not an act but it is a habit. It is the habits of excellence that we perform each and every day.  These are the 7 habits of highly effective people:

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think “win/win”
  5. Seek to understand-Then be understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

Tom Schubert also introduced a method called “The 4 Quads – Putting First Things First”. This exercise allows employees to have an understanding of where they are spending their time throughout the work day. The 4 quadrants are broken up by “urgent but important”, “not urgent but important”, “not important but urgent” and “both, not urgent and not important”. It is important to have most of your daily tasks in quadrant 2, which is “not urgent but important”. Quadrant 2 is important because it is where we develop ourselves, our future and relationships with other people. Tom Schubert also said, “Be the CEO in you.” I believe it is crucial to be in control of each and every thing you do and determine the best way possible to maximize your time.