Senior nets market research spot at Chicago investment research firm

Rhiannon Miller ’14 earned the internship with the global company in part because of her research experience in the Department of Communication the summer after her sophomore year, in part because of her exceptional resume, which lists six previous internship experiences, and in part because she connected with an alumnus who currently works there.

All the parts came together for Miller, and now she is gaining experience in an industry she did not know she would enjoy so much.

The communication major and business minor originally was aiming for the event planning internship at the investment research company, but her interviewers recognized a different skillset in her.

“I have this personality where I’m very organized and I like to find reasons for why things are the way they are…,” Miller said. “I’m always looking to make things more efficient or to solve a problem that others don’t see as a problem.”

It’s why the market research position they offered her after seeing her research experience was a perfect fit.

Miller started with Morningstar full-time in May and is continuing her work part-time through the end of the academic year. In this role, she is responsible for designing, implementing, and analyzing client satisfaction surveys and compiling web metric reports. Currently, she is meeting with companies that sell social media tracking tools so she can listen to their demos and help determine which one to purchase.

“I love it at Morningstar, and I love my team,” she said. “I feel like I’ve learned so much and they trust me and they trust my feedback.”

Miller first learned about the position as a student worker in the Career Advancement Center. Brad Donahue ’08, a senior index analyst at Morningstar, reached out to Dee Dee Dolan, CAC assistant director, to let her know about the internship openings.

Miller applied and then took initiative to meet Donahue face-to-face during the CAC’s annual Get Hired event in February.

“The whole night he had a group of people around him and I’d been waiting, so I just went up to the group, stuck out my hand to him and said, ‘I’m Rhiannon,’” she said. “I told him I was very interested in the internship and gave him my contact information…I set up a time to talk to him, and he told me about his experience at Morningstar and prepped me for the interview.” 

Prior to Morningstar, Miller completed a variety of internships, each showing her a different realm of the communication industry. She secured one of them at the CAC’s Speed Networking event.

“I realized that if I wanted to have a great internships my junior and senior year I had to have experience, so I had to start right away,” she said.

She appreciates that she had the chance to observe the spectrum of business structures through her internships — from new not-for-profits, to more established not-for-profits, to small businesses, and from working in an office to working at home.

Because of this, she knows she enjoys Morningstar’s corporate environment the best.

“There are no offices. We are on the 16th floor, and there are eight floors of Morningstar. There are meeting rooms, but they’re glass walls. Even the CEO is in our office space,” she said. “I’m able to say hello to everyone. I feel like I’m part of a community.”