Danielle Dawson ’17 – Top 100 Intern with Northwestern Mutual Continues with the Company Following Graduation

When you attend Simpson College, you don’t have to wait to graduate to be successful in your career field. And that step ahead of the rest can make all the difference.

Danielle Dawson ’17 accepted a full-time position at Northwestern Mutual following graduation with her degrees in marketing and global management, but not before being awarded some major honors by the company already.

“If I hadn’t been at Simpson, I never would have been open exposed to this opportunity,” she said. “Time after time Simpson taught me to be open to new ideas and to branch out. Because of that, I was able to become part of a really great company and do some amazing things.”

But she almost didn’t come here. Originally from Storm Lake, Danielle wasn’t even looking at schools in Iowa during he college search, instead hoping to attend a southern institution. When she visited, however, it just felt right.

“Once I came to campus, I immediately loved how beautiful it was and I could feel a strong sense of community,” Danielle said.

Before long, she was diving into her classes with her strong work ethic. When a classmate referred her to the internship with Northwestern Mutual, she gave it a shot and landed a spot that would last her two years.

“As an intern, I do everything a full time advisor does. I set and conduct my own meetings, network to expand my market, and create financial plans,” Danielle said.

During the school years, Danielle would work 15-20 hours per week along with being a full-time student. What’s more, she also played women’s tennis, served on Pi Beta Phi sorority’s executive council, worked as the management undergraduate assistant and worked another job. And she still managed to qualify as a top 100 intern with Northwestern Mutual based on her performance.

“I was really surprised that I qualified,” she said. “Once I figured out how passionate I was about this career, finding the work ethic was a no-brainer.”

Danielle never expected to love the company as much as she does. Finance was nowhere in her plans and sounded boring to her, but she quickly fell head over heels.

“It was a perfect fit for me and I’ve loved every minute there,” she said. “It’s competitive but there’s still a very strong sense of family.”

The whole experience has taught Danielle the importance of keeping an open mind, something she demonstrated in her studies as well. Though she never questioned her majors, she still took classes outside of them and found just as much value from the different perspectives and knowledge.

“I’ve never had a professor I couldn’t get along with or have a conversation with outside of class,” she said. “They’ve all played a key role in helping me get to where I am today.”

Danielle’s advice? Take a chance. It may take you exactly where you’re meant to be.

“Be open to every opportunity that presents itself. I never in a million years would have thought that this was the path that I would pursue,” she said.

“Sometimes you find your passion following the path you didn’t think was meant for you and that’s how I found my Simpson Success story.”

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