Preparing for the HOD Capstone Internship Fair

The HOD Internship Fair is Wednesday, January 30th, and will include representatives from a variety of organizations. Read below for tips on how to prepare for the fair, what to do during the fair, and how to best follow-up after the experience.


Tips to Prepare for the HOD Internship Fair

An internship fair is a unique and interesting place to look for internship opportunities or information about the internship market. Students will improve their chances of making good contacts at this event by following these suggestions:

Before the Fair

  1. Edit your resume and visit the Career Center ( walk in hours for additional feedback.
  2. Print at least 10 copies of your resume on resume/bond paper. Vanderbilt printing services offers this service. Be sure to give them 24 hours’ notice (
  3. Prepare your response to “Tell me about yourself” in a 30 second elevator speech (refer to your HOD 2400 coursework and/or your HOD Internship Search Process Worksheet to refresh your memory).
  4. Develop responses to common interview questions including: What industry are you interested in and why? Why are you interested in working for our company? What are your personal strengths/weaknesses? Develop a response for a time when you have failed and what you learned from the situation.
  5. Practice your interview responses with friends and/or visit
  6. Review the list of attending employers and research the ones you are particularly interested in. Research the contact name on LinkedIN so you can customize questions at the internship fair. These steps demonstrate initiative and market research.
  7. Develop a plan of action for the top 5 sites you want to connect with at the fair. It will be crowded and this will ease your anxiety.

During the Fair

  1. First impressions are critical. Conservative, well-pressed, tailored business attire is your best choice.
  2. Arrive early or right on time to the internship fair, as not all employers will stay until the end.
  3. Visit the employers you are most interested in first.
  4. Be open. Be willing to explore sites you may not have researched, but draw your interest at the fair.
  5. When you are meeting with employers, chewing gum, eating, or drinking are inappropriate.
  6. Do not travel in pairs or groups. Employers hire individuals and want to speak with you without your friends.
  7. If you are in line to speak with an employer, wait 2-3 steps behind the person who is currently speaking with them.
  8. Approach an employer with confidence, introduce yourself, and shake their hand.
  9. Do not ask if the internship is paid or not, unless the discussion is prompted by employer.
  10. As you close your conversation with the employer, ask what the next step in the interview process will be and get their business card.
  11. Make notes (on the back of their business cards) after speaking with an employer before moving on to the next one (i.e. name of person you spoke with, important considerations/talking points). This will be helpful for thank you notes, evaluating your options, and preparing for interviews.
  12. Remember, the employers are at the fair because they are looking for someone and they are all hoping that it is you!

After the Fair

  1. Say thank you and thank you again. Write a thank you message to the employers you connected with.
  2. In the thank you card, remind the employer that you met them at the job fair, express your appreciation, and give a short reminder on your qualifications and why you are interested in the job and attach a copy of your resume.
  3. If you are enrolled in the Self-Directed Search class, you must complete the HOD Capstone Internship Fair Worksheet and submit a typed copy on Brightspace with your Brightspace Self-Directed Search class check-in.

Other Resources


Good luck and let us know if you have questions or concerns. The HOD internship office is open 8:30-4:30 Monday-Friday in the Sony Building, 4th Floor.

HOD Capstone Demonstration Day Tips

The HOD Capstone Internship Demonstration Day showcases the design projects students have developed over the course of this semester. Students prepare a presentation and poster to share their design project with an audience comprised of fellow classmates, Vanderbilt faculty, and supervisors from various Nashville organizations. Read below for tips on how to prepare for the final presentation and poster.

HOD Capstone Internship Demonstration Day  Photos by: Susan Urmy

The Presentation

The 7-10 minute presentation will serve as way to demonstrate to your audience how your design project works and the impact it has had on your organization.

  1. Practice. Spend time practicing your presentation. The presentation should feel conversational in nature, but you will still be expected to effectively share your ideas and demonstrate your knowledge of human centered design. Practicing highlighting your main points can improve the overall effectiveness of your presentation delivery.
  2. Dress professionally or in business casual attire. You are showcasing your work, so make sure you present yourself in a professional manor.
  3. Arrive early. You will need time to set up your poster and settle in before the presentations start, so plan on arriving at 8:30 am.
  4. Slow down. Speaking too fast can take away from the effectiveness of your presentation delivery. Keep your tone steady and be aware of moments when you might begin to speed up. Practice helps with this!
  5. Make eye contact. This helps you connect with your audience and keeps them engaged with your presentation.
  6. Breathe. Taking time to pause and breathe during your presentation can serve many functions. It can serve as an opportunity to check and make sure you are still on-track, slow you down if you start talking too fast, and give the audience a moment to think about a point you just made.


HOD Capstone Internship Demonstration Day  Photos by: Susan Urmy

The Poster

The tri-fold poster should supplement your presentation and highlight key experiences and learning from the semester.

  1. Avoid too much text. Having too much text can make it difficult for audience members to follow along and pull out the major concepts and ideas you want to demonstrate.
  2. Make it readable. You want your audience to be able to read the text that you do incorporate into your poster. Make sure the design of your poster, including font size and layout, allows for audience members to clearly view all of your poster’s elements.
  3. Be creative. Use pictures and info graphics to supplement your writing in a creative and aesthetically pleasing way.
  4. Don’t overwhelm. While creativity is encouraged, you do not want your poster to be overwhelming to look at. Don’t add too many contrasting pictures, colors, fonts, and borders, etc. It should be eye-catching but not distracting.
  5. Proofread. Make sure to double-check your poster before Demonstration Day. This is an easy way to avoid simple mistakes in your work, which can take away from the quality of your overall presentation.

HOD Capstone Internship Demonstration Day  Photos by: Susan Urmy

Good luck and let us know if you have questions or concerns. The HOD internship office is open 8:30-4:30 Monday-Friday on the 4th Floor of the Sony Building.

HOD Capstone Internship Demonstration Day

On December 8th, 2017, the HOD Capstone Internship held its first Capstone Demonstration Day. Students who completed the Capstone Internship in Fall 2017 presented their human centered design projects to an audience of their fellow classmates, Vanderbilt faculty, and supervisors from various Nashville organizations. The Wyatt Rotunda was full of energy all morning as students and members of the community engaged with each other and learned about the work the interns completed at their organizations.




Each student created a presentation and a poster to showcase the semester-long project they implemented utilizing a human-centered design approach.  In addition to presenting their own work, students learned from their peers by listening to each others presentations, viewing their posters, and asking questions.

Reva Alperson, Brookdale


Aaron Kwong, Goldner Associates


Kyle Bartholomew, G7 Entertainment Marketing


The event ended with a concluding address by Professor Bob Innes, founder of the HOD program. He shared stories from the first HOD graduating class and how the HOD program has shaped so many lives and organizations for the better.

The first HOD Capstone Internship Demonstration Day was a huge success, mainly in part to the students and all of their hard work throughout the semester. In addition, a very special thank you goes out to all of the individuals who worked to make this event possible.



3rd Annual London Tea Party


London Tea Party
The HOD Capstone Team was at it again with our third annual London Tea Party!

Held in the cozy Fireside Reading Room of the Peabody Library, students interested in interning in London met with HOD Capstone London alumni to discuss their experiences of interning abroad.

london banner

With a round of trivia, a session of FAQ’s, and plenty of tea and biscuits, HOD London alumni shared firsthand knowledge to prospective London interns about the what is was really like to live and work in the United Kingdom for their HOD Capstone experience.

HOD Capstone London alums share their experiences and tips to prospective HOD London interns.

Interested in interning in London? Read what a couple of HOD London Alumni had to say…

“GO TO LONDON!!! I’m sure your internship in Nashville is fine, but doing it in another country with another culture was such an incredible opportunity and one I’d recommend to anyone and everyone.” – Elissa Hakemack

“Even if the work doesn’t match up with your career path perfectly, the opportunity to work in London and expand your perspective of the work world is completely worth it.”  Alex Grant

Biscuits and English Tea served for an afternoon high tea

For additional questions, reach out to, and also, these past London interns are happy to help!

Alexander Grant
Elissa Hakemack
Charlotte Kwon
Rebecca Krieger
Lois You
Megan Mark
Pauline Leeuwenburg
Michael Mayer
Rebecca Jacobson
The Queen made her appearance!



2nd Annual London Tea Party

Students interested in pursuing internships in London met with HOD professors and London alumni to discuss the ins and outs of life and internships abroad.

On Wednesday, September 20th, the HOD Capstone Internship Office hosted its annual London Tea Party. Students who are preparing for their Capstone Internship semester were invited to join us in the HOD Internship Office for an afternoon high tea.

The tea party is an amazing opportunity for students who are interested in learning more about the London internship process. Students demonstrated their London knowledge with a round of trivia, got firsthand information from previous London interns, and had a Skype session with the London HOD instructor, Professor Morgan.




“I think it’s such an amazing opportunity. You really learn a lot about yourself. It’s hard to get there but it’s so worth it, because you can really live independently and live in an international city.”  – Natasha Raskin

“The best part of my HOD internship experience was doing a job I loved in a city I loved. I worked for Social Enterprise UK, where I had the pleasure of learning about all sorts of innovative ways that companies are using business methods to solve social problems. It was even better because I experienced a new work culture in another country, spent my nights exploring the amazing city of London, and spent my weekend traveling all over Europe.” – Serena Deutch


Skyping with Kate Morgan, residing London HOD Capstone Professor


“This program is better than any opportunity out there with Vandy, because you get the study abroad cultural immersion type of thing and on the weekends you can travel but during the week you are having this completely immersive work experience. It’s a nice balance because you have the work experience in London and you can travel on the weekend and meet up with friends. It is such a cool growing experience unlike any other abroad programs.” – Aaron Chasan

“The London HOD internship provided an ideal opportunity to further my academic, professional, and personal goals through the internship coursework, international work experience, and travel opportunities.” – Kelsey Laabs




For those interested in completing your HOD Capstone Internship in London, here are some helpful resources:

Critical London Internship Information

HOD London Tips

London Housing Tips

If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to these past London interns via email:


The Queen would love for you to visit!



An Afternoon with HOD Alumnus and Fashion Creative Director, Timo Weiland

An HOD alumnus and graduate of the Class of 2006, Timo Weiland, was kind enough to visit with current Vanderbilt students during his Homecoming Weekend trip and provide them with valuable information about the fashion industry. In addition to learning about his story as he began his own career in the fashion world and eventually created his own company, “Timo Weiland,” students can have a glimpse into his world as he shared a few personal vignettes and favorite NYC spots, detailed below.

Q: What would you like HOD students to know about you or your work?

TW: “As a creative director, I am constantly observing the world round me, getting inspired, and learning as much as I can from every situation, scenario, or interaction. I have a multi-faceted career that spans design, lifestyle, music, and business- but all aspects are interrelated and come down to interpersonal relationships and brand-building.”

Q: What are your favorite spots in NYC?

TW:  “Such a difficult question to answer! There are too many places to mention. Some highlights are below:

Favorite museum(s): Tie between The Frick Collection & The Cloisters
Favorite surf spot: Rockaway Beach @ 90th Street- accessible by subway
Favorite date spot: Lilia in Brooklyn
Favorite movie theater: NightHawk Cinema
Favorite bar: Acme or Loosie Rouge
Favorite breakfast meeting spot: Ludlow House
Favorite brunch spot: Marlow & Sons
Favorite burger: The Happiest Hour
Favorite staycation: The Urban Cowboy B&B”

Q: What is some advice you can give to students about things you did and/or would have done differently during your HOD experience?

TW: “HOD provided me with a phenomenal foundation for both the start of my career on Wall Street and after as an entrepreneur. In hindsight, I would have done more research and due-diligence prior to my HOD internship, especially for startup companies (now so many of them based in Nashville!). That would have ensured that I would be able to maximize learning from every aspect of the program. Take full advantage of all of the resources now available! So much more advanced and robust than when I was a student.”

Q: What do you look for in candidates who apply for jobs or internships? What do you think it takes to make it in the fashion world?

TW: “For internship candidates, I look for students that have put themselves out there in terms of extracurriculars, projects, and are committed to learning inside and outside of the classroom. We are a very all-hands-on-deck office, so we also look for candidates that can handle the fast-paced often highly stressful environment of a startup collective.”

Q: Do you have a funny story that you overcame to encourage current students?

TW: “When applying for school or a job, or starting a company of your own, it is crucially important to differentiate yourself in the most positive way possible- to really set yourself apart from the pack. When applying to Vandy in 2001, I was wait-listed (unfortunately hadn’t thought to apply Early Decision!), but was eventually accepted because the regional Admissions counselor remembered our very in-depth 1-on-1 conversation during his visit to my high school, Episcopal. Fast forward 4 years to when when I was applying for jobs on Wall Street through the Career Center, I had never seen longer lines for the meet & greets. I had minimal experience, only a 2-month internship at Merrill Lynch, but I took every opportunity to connect with Hiring Managers, Analysts, Associates, and high-ranking Vandy alum Managing Directors from each bank. I asked the right questions- things I genuinely was curious about- the learning experience of the Investment Banking Analyst program. With the Deutsche Bank Securities team, I felt a particularly strong bond and ended up as 1 of only 2 first year analysts hired from our class of 2006.”

If you are interested in learning more about Timo’s brand, visit