My Bradley Internship at RLI

By Ben Padgitt

I have always enjoyed learning about computers and information systems, and I want to pursue a career within information systems security. After coming to Bradley in 2019, I majored in Management Information Systems (MIS) with a specialization in cybersecurity, and I’m now pursuing an MBA. MIS majors are the technology experts to business professionals and the business experts to technology professionals. Cybersecurity is what I’m most interested in because it’s critically important to everything. In order to be successful in this field, you have to be passionate and willing to learn continuously because technology changes constantly. 

RLI Insurance Company has a highly rated internship program and they had positions in cybersecurity and networking. I chose the networking internship because I have previous cybersecurity experience and wanted to work with information technology (IT) infrastructure. I’m glad I made this choice because it was exactly what I was looking for. IT is a very broad field with many different roles and responsibilities. Internships are the best way to find out what you want to do before committing to a full-time role. After this summer, I believe the perfect job for me is one that combines IT infrastructure with cybersecurity duties.

RLI is an established specialty insurance company with business operations from New York to Hawaii, with significant IT operations in security and infrastructure. Over the summer, I learned about the insurance industry and IT infrastructure duties (data center design, servers, backups, networking, troubleshooting, security, and more), but the most important takeaway was understanding the impact company culture has on the work environment. RLI invests in employees for the long haul so that they stay with the firm to create success. This is something that we learn in MBA classes, but to experience it in practice helped me understand its importance.

To create a team of world class professionals from within, exceptional company culture should be a priority. Throughout the summer, there were companywide events to celebrate employee ownership and success. Every person was kind and they were willing to teach or show me how things work. This is a culture that retains employees, creates operational excellence and makes the “9 to 5” fly by. It was a very fun experience. My recommendation for students in an internship program is do as much as you can on the job because it goes by very quickly. Also, don’t forget to build your professional network.

Bradley University was and still is my choice because of potential and opportunity. I chose Bradley because it seemed like a good fit. Students have opportunities that you can’t get anywhere else such as the small class sizes, advanced ethical hacking class, and the chance to discover your passion. Bradley can deliver students the practical skills necessary today for solving tomorrow’s problems. From the classrooms to the clubs, there’s always been a chance to find my passion, to continue learning, and to stay involved. I’m glad to be part of the community helping make this a success for others.