From UIC Business to the Magic Kingdom

Cynthia Mancilla headshot
by Cynthia Mancilla
Beginning in June and continuing through the end of the year, I’ve been fortunate to be working for a mouse, Mickey Mouse, as a Consumer Insights Market Research intern at the Walt Disney Company offices in Orlando, Florida.
So far, I’ve had the great pleasure of researching consumers in the U.S. as well as international consumers in Mexico, Brazil, and Canada. Part of my role is assisting in qualitative and quantitative research projects across Disney parks and resorts. Specifically, my tasks include using SPSS to analyze data and create reports, designing slide decks for clients, developing macros to do projects more quickly and efficiently, and presenting data to directors and managers. Not to mention, I get to go on backstage tours! Aside from this, I have the opportunity to help with focus groups and attend classes to learn data analysis tools such as Tableau, SQL, and SAS.
In 2014, I was an intern in Disney’s College Program where I worked as a merchandise and concierge cast member at Disney’s Port Orleans and Grand Floridian resorts. While my past Disney internship experience may have helped my chances of securing this Disney Professional Internship, UIC Business and the Business Scholars program heavily prepared me for the professional environment. Through the UIC Business Scholars program’s speaker series, company tours, and mentorship events, I was able to hone my skills and build confidence needed to navigate through Disney’s corporate world. From learning how to network to learning how to be resilient when projects don’t go as planned, the most important skill I gained was being myself and creating my own strong personal brand. I used this knowledge to redesign my personal website to reflect who I am and what I personally love. My direct manager at Disney mentioned she was amazed by what she saw. Thanks to the UIC Business Scholars program, I’m one of eleven interns in my department out of the thousands of people who applied.
Equally important, UIC Business has given me the best possible educational experience for my current position. This is not an understatement; I applied to Disney Professional internships over thirty times before attending UIC. After taking UIC Business courses like Interdisciplinary Product Development I & II, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, Global Marketing, Business Analysis Using Spreadsheets, Managerial Communication, and Creativity and Innovation, I was more than prepared to start my internship. Most enrichening about these courses was the freedom for creativity, hands on experience, professional guidance, and empowerment to take on challenging projects.
I’d like to give a special thanks to a few professors and advisors whose extra efforts and guidance really helped me get to where I am today. Professor Lan Chaplin, Professor William Kohler, Professor William O’Brian, Rachel Marten, Professor Jelena Spanjol, Professor Stephen Melamed, Professor Miiri Kotche, Professor Unsal Ozdogru, Professor Cheryl Nakata, Professor Claudine Ise, Professor Anthony Pagano, and Professor Anna Cui. Because of you all, I’ve gotten to take my family to Disney World for the very first time!  Thank you!
For more information on internship opportunities for UIC Business students, visit the UIC Business Career Center.
Cynthia Mancilla is a UIC Business Scholar in her senior year, studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. She currently works as a Consumer Insights Market Research intern with The Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Fla.