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Two C of I summer interns thriving in New York City

“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,” Frank Sinatra famously crooned about New York City. This summer, that lyric has become a mantra for two College of Idaho business majors who are working and thriving in NYC. Recent graduate Charles Griffen ’14 is interning for the multi-media marketing firm Allied Integrated Marketing (AIM), while senior Ali Dang-Ngoc is interning as a summer analyst with J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

“Coming from The College of Idaho puts a chip on your shoulder,” Griffen said. “Every day, I come to work feeling like a 6th-round draft pick who has something to prove. The fact that nobody knows where my school is makes me an underdog in NYC, and it pushes me to work as hard as I can.”

The internship with AIM materialized after Griffen enjoyed a successful experience in Boston working with the advertising company Fluent Group. Griffen’s supervisor from Fluent recommended him to AIM. “It’s always easier to go in the side door than to try and cram my way through the front,” Griffen said.

Griffen became interested in AIM because of the high-profile entertainment clientele the firm works with, including Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures. Some of Griffen’s work has involved advertising client’s films for the award season blitz, as well as preparing an overview of Canada’s box office system. He also does strategic planning for Whole Foods, one of AIM’s non-entertainment clients.

“The most exciting thing was helping my supervisor, the vice president of strategic planning, on his sales pitch to the network Showtime,” Griffen said.

While Griffen works with powerful entertainment corporations, Ali Dang-Ngoc is reaping the benefits of working for the largest bank in the United States.

“J.P. Morgan’s undergraduate program is one of the most prestigious internships in finance,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be a portfolio manager, so Asset Management is the perfect opportunity.”

Earning the competitive internship wasn’t easy. After submitting her application, Dang-Ngoc participated in three phone interviews over the course of four months. Along the way, she received valuable advice from her C of I professors, particularly finance instructor Rick Goodwin.

Dang-Ngoc is grateful for the wealth of opportunities she has encountered during her time in J.P. Morgan’s 10-week program.

“It’s the most exciting opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in the industry and to be a part of J.P. Morgan’s world-class summer program,” Dang-Ngoc said. “I’ve learned so much. Aside from the learning curve, living in the city is great – always so much to do and so little time.”

Both Dang-Ngoc and Griffen encounter busy days in the Big Apple. Luckily, the work has allowed both of them to confirm their ambitions for the future. Griffen, who one day hopes to take over his family’s Iowa-based beer brewing company, has found enjoyment working for start-up companies, including a non-profit fashion company he helped market. Dang-Ngoc hopes to continue working as a financial analyst for a few years before entering graduate school to ultimately begin work with a tech start-up or a hedge fund.

But for now, New York City remains a city of opportunity—one where both C of I summer interns are more than happy to thrive.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 12 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit