Peter Scelfo '15
- Internship: Disney
- Internship: Colgate-Palmolive
- Member, Cornell Student Assembly (SA)
- Member, ILR Student Government
Peter is from Long Island, NY and was attracted to ILR specifically because of its credit internship program and the unique perspective ILR provides on the business world. He has interned with the Walt Disney Company and with Colgate-Palmolive and has taken on leadership roles in Cornell’s Student Assembly, Cornell Dining, and ILR’s Student Government Association.
I was originally looking at business programs, but I liked the idea of entering the business world with a set of skills that is different from what other programs provide. It’s a great advantage to know all of the issues that affect a workplace and employees because employees will determine if you succeed or fail. The ILR Credit Internship program also distinguished ILR for me. There aren’t many schools where you have a chance to gain an entire semester of academic credit while working and getting paid.
In the Disney College Program in Florida, I had the opportunity to work on the frontline for The Walt Disney World Resort alongside 70,000 Cast Members (employees), and experience first hand what I study in ILR. I saw how a company can sustain success because of its employees’ dedication to the company’s values, mission, and vision. ILR allowed me to understand that dedication, not just see it. In the Disney College Program, I interviewed training managers and upper-level management who taught me how Disney develops and maintains their culture, how they recruit and select Cast Members, and the little details of their training program that make the Disney difference. The Disney College Program was the best experience I’ve ever had.
The faculty at ILR are very interested in ways that they can help you explore your interests. I've always wanted to work at Disney, and my professors have been very supportive of that. I’ve been able to tailor assignments and projects to the Disney company to learn and understand everything I can about that organization.
You work hard here, but we still have time to join a few student organizations. Joining organizations is the best way to apply what we learn and to develop leadership skills further. I think my Organizational Behavior (OB) classes have been critical to my success with these groups. OB classes have taught me the best way to brainstorm, the best way for teams to work together, and even the best size for groups to be. The SA has about 28 members, so when we break up into committees, I’m able to suggest what size will work best for the committee’s goal. My favorite OB class is called Managing Creativity, where I learned how to encourage the development of creative ideas and solutions within an organization.
The ILR skillset is about knowing how people work with each other, how a team can become cohesive, and how to develop and change a culture, whether it’s a student organization or a workforce. It’s about knowing how to use your resources and how to make sure you’re being an effective and resourceful leader. It’s also about knowing which laws apply to you and how to make sure you comply with and exceed the expectations of the law. It’s about developing the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors that help you establish yourself as a contributing leader within a team because you truly know how to bring the team to success.