White House internship offers marketing student once-in-a-lifetime experience

White House internship offers marketing student once-in-a-lifetime experience

Headshot of Savannah Habba
Savannah Habba held a prestigious internship at the White House this fall. She says her Oakland business education helped prepare her to succeed in that role.

What started as a random conversation in the library surrounded by her Oakland University School of Business Administration classmates evolved into a life-changing experience for Savannah Habba, marketing senior.

“While studying for finals, we started wondering what it would be like to work at the White House,” Habba says. Intrigued, Habba checked out White House jobs and discovered there was one week left to apply for an internship. She applied immediately and was accepted soon after. 

While applying was spontaneous, the opportunity to serve in the White House was a dream come true for Habba. “I followed President Trump’s campaign from the beginning,” she says. In high school, her marketing teacher often showed the class “The Apprentice,” the Trump-hosted reality show that focused on business mastery. “Even then, I thought Trump would be president one day.” 

Savannah Habba outside of the White House
Savannah Habba, marketing senior, says her
White House internship was a 
once in a lifetime

For her White House internship, Habba worked in the office of senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, who was the first woman to manage a winning presidential campaign in the United States. “I had the honor to intern for an amazing person who is the definition of a working professional,” Habba says. “She was a tremendous role model for me.” 

According to the White House website, the internship program is designed to help young people gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. 

That is reflected in the variety of assignments Habba handled during her three-month internship. In addition to compiling and working with polling data and collecting press clips on the White House’s policy agenda, Habba assisted other departments, which provided a unique perspective on the different elements of governance. She also volunteers at public events including the annual Fall Rose Garden tour and Halloween tour. Allowed to attend certain staff meetings, Habba had a front-row seat in the decision-making process. 

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something you’d never get to do anywhere else,” Habba says. “Every day, walking through the gates of the White House was a blessing. I tried to make the most of it.” 

Thanks to the professional preparation combined with her business education at Oakland’s business school, she was ready. “The opportunity the Oakland business school provides to learn how to operate in a professional environment and how to act in different situations helped,” Habba says. “I wouldn’t have been as comfortable in the White House without that.” 

Savannah Habba with Kellyanne Conway in front of an American flag
Marketing student Savannah Habba worked in
the office of senior counselor 
Kellyanne Conway
during her internship at the White House.

The White House internship experience solidified her skills and confidence. “I’m a lot more organized and confident that I can tackle work, school and everything else in my life,” she says. “If I was able to do well in the White House, then I can do anything. I’m capable of doing a lot more than I was giving myself credit for.” 

With graduation just around the corner, Habba already has impressive credentials. In addition to earning her bachelor’s degree, Habba works at Keller Williams Realty Lakeside Market Center where, in the last five years, she has risen from front desk receptionist to executive assistant to the firm’s operating principal, Dave Klaft. She also manages his real estate team of three associates. “Keller Williams Lakeside alone has more than 300 associates,” Habba says. 

Perhaps what’s most significant to Habba is how her White House internship experience demonstrates the importance of engaging in work that inspires. “I learned you have to do something you love with all your heart,” she says. 

“I will never forget this experience,” she says. “I was passionate about this presidency, I wanted to serve this administration and I was very fortunate to have been part of that team for a short while. I left at the end of each day feeling more inspired. Every experience, opportunity and conversation was special and something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”