How to succeed in business was on Roshni Joshi's mind early in 2004 when she signed up for a spot in BASE (Business Academy for Studies & Experiences), which Commerce Bank runs in conjunction with the Cherry Hill high schools.
The academy offers students the chance to take business courses taught by real-life executives and business professors (some credits may be transferable to college) or to get internships and employment opportunities at Commerce Bank. Roshni, 18, did a stint at Commerce Bank's Mount Laurel headquarters, where she earned $7.25 an hour. "I took a marketing class at Commerce University and had a 60-hour internship in the bank's mystery shopper department. The section sends out undercover employees to evaluate tellers at Commerce branches," she explains. "I was responsible for filing and other clerical duties. It takes special training to go out on evaluation assignments, but the value came from being in a professional environment. You're expected to dress in a suitable manner, to show up on time, and to follow appropriate etiquette. The experience was very helpful."
Roshni, who graduated from Cherry Hill East in June 2004 and started at Villanova University in the fall, where she plans to major in finance and international business, says she found out about the BASE program from her teachers and school counselor. "To get into BASE, I went through Commerce's standard employment procedure," she explains. "First I filled out an online application form and then I went through a formal interview."
Did the experience reinforce her career goals? "Definitely," she says. "I got a chance to work with high-level executives and to see the back-office routine. Everyone treated me like part of the team. It's the kind of environment that I'd like to be in when I complete my education."