Southwestern Advantage Partners to Fight Human Trafficking

Southwestern Advantage Partners to Fight Human Trafficking

Southwestern Advantage Partners to Fight Human Trafficking

Southwestern Advantage is honored to have an official partnership with
END SLAVERY TENNESSEE. ESTN promotes the healing of human trafficking survivors and strategically confronts slavery through training, aftercare, advocacy and prevention services.

ESTN is the single point of contact for all human trafficking referrals in Middle Tennessee and provides comprehensive, holistic, trauma-informed care to every survivor in their program. We are honored to be partners with ESTN and to stand with our student reps against human trafficking.
Learn more about our Share The Advantage initiative:

Southwestern Launches LEAD Program for Young People

Southwestern Launches LEAD Program for Young People

Southwestern LEAD

It takes more than classroom knowledge alone to achieve our goals in life. 

For over 150 years, Southwestern Advantage has trained young people on the principles of leadership and community impact.  



LEAD is a new program designed to help young people gain the skills and character they need to achieve their goals in life. The program spotlights – 

Life skills, 

Emotional intelligence, 

Academics, and making a 

Difference in the community 

— building confidence, supporting positive mental health, promoting personal responsibility, and preparing students for success both before and after graduation.

Members enjoy full access to our academic service



Advantage4teens is like having unlimited access to a virtual tutor on every required school subject. Members can also choose access to, a valuable report and research-writing resource featuring the most commonly assigned nonfiction report topics covered in expert detail.

LEAD Growth Book



The LEAD Growth Book is self-paced. It covers over a dozen core leadership principles—and more importantly—suggested action steps with a social media challenge. By taking these simple action steps, you’ll experience immediate value while engaging with an uplifting social media community. 

Emotional Intelligence



Part of LEAD is intended to help young people better-understand themselves, so that they are able to better-understand and communicate with others. Members can take deep dives into Myers-Briggs types, different intelligence styles, social styles, and how each shape who we are and how we interact with the world around us.

Virtual Library 



Daily leadership lessons are available for members. These articles, videos, quizzes, and modules cycle with the underlying theme of applying that day’s lesson to your daily activity. Our online leadership education includes exclusive access to web interviews with professional coaches, accomplished speakers, and top students from across the nation.






Members will receive regular communication from Southwestern, and one-on-one professional performance coaching is available as a selected option at no additional charge.

Community Impact



In the ‘Difference’ part of our program, LEAD members have the ability to nominate a deserving family in the community for free access to our learning platform Southwestern Global Academy. We provide the framework; LEAD members provide the action.

Girls with LEAD book

Leadership Certification & Letter of Recommendation



By demonstrating action and understanding around the principles spotlighted in LEAD, members can receive a letter of recommendation from Southwestern that can be used when applying for colleges, scholarships, and jobs – written by Dr. Ralph Brigham, the Vice President for the Employer Network with the Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA).

Student with LEAD community

Advancement Opportunities

Members of LEAD are guaranteed a future interview with the Southwestern Advantage Sales & Leadership Program – 2019’s top-rated internship in the nation.

Click here to connect with the LEAD community on Instagram


Southwestern Launches Southwestern Global Academy



We are excited to announce that Southwestern Family of Companies is launching a new digital learning platform: Southwestern Global Academy. Initially, the platform will offer the Southwestern Advantage suite of educational content before expanding to include more life and professional development courses provided from businesses and expert practitioners within the Family of Companies. 

Over the past 165 years, Southwestern’s vast number of team members, alumni, and millions of customers have spanned more than 87 countries worldwide. Southwestern Family of Companies is uniquely positioned to provide, on a global scale, education based on proven methodologies, best practices, and time-tested principles for achieving success.

Quickly gaining momentum, the independent representatives with Southwestern Advantage launched Southwestern Global Academy as their lead product this summer. With more than 10,000 educational videos and over 50,000 monthly students—and growing—Southwestern Global Academy will quickly become the leading provider for independent learning and development around the globe.


Dr. Ralph Brigham & Southwestern Advantage Awarded Top Internship in U.S. for 2019

Dr. Ralph Brigham & Southwestern Advantage Awarded Top Internship in U.S. for 2019

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Dr. Ralph Brigham & Southwestern Advantage Awarded Top Internship in U.S. for 2019
Dr. Ralph Brigham and Southwestern Advantage have been selected as recipients of the 2019 Charles F. Kettering Award.
Each year, Cooperative Education & Internship Association (CEIA) recognizes one recipient of the Charles F. Kettering Award for excellence in industry, business, or government internship/cooperative education programs. CEIA is the national leader in cooperative education and internship program management.
This award comes with the distinction of being rated as the top rated internship/cooperative education employer in the nation providing outstanding resources and service to college students and the profession. Southwestern Advantage joins a prestigious group of past winners including IBM, NASA, Walt Disney, AT&T, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Bloomingdale’s, Ford, and General Motors.
For the past 17 years Dr. Brigham has served as the company’s Global Director of Campus Relations. In his role, Dr. Brigham is the liaison between universities and Southwestern Advantage in building and maintaining relationships with the more than 200 universities in North America, Europe, and Asia that have students participating in the program (over 1,600 campuses total in 151 years of continuous operation). He has been invited to speak to students at universities across the United States and in France, England, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Kazakhstan to name some recent countries. 
Dr. Brigham has served as the president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which includes about 9,000 careers center professionals and campus relations directors. And, in 2013 he was inducted into the NACE Academy of Fellows. Prior to his time with Southwestern Advantage, he was the Director of Career Services at Montana State University. He is currently serving as Professional Vice President of the National Council for Pi Sigma Epsilon, the professional sales and leadership fraternity. Dr. Brigham is a certified life coach, mentoring students and professionals in topics like finance, career, and health and wellness, and developing habits to build a successful life.
Dr. Ralph Brigham
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized by CEIA, and for Southwestern Advantage to also be recognized alongside some of the top companies in the world. For over 150 years, Southwestern Advantage has provided services and opportunities for college students to gain an experiential education through our entrepreneurial program. This award is a result of the principles that the company stands for and instills in the students who participate,”
Dr. Brigham
Southwestern Advantage is the oldest entrepreneurial program in the United States. Since 1868, Southwestern Advantage has offered a sales & leadership program that gives university students a way to afford their degrees, gain entrepreneurial skills, and build character. Each summer, a sales force of nearly 1,500 independent student reps market an educational learning system to families across the US & Canada through direct sales.
In addition, Southwestern Advantage empowers university students with the tools, training, and coaching they need to build their own businesses and gain transferable life skills. The product line of early learning, homework help, and SAT/ACT resources help millions of children excel academically and feel excited about school. Student representatives meet with families for short consultative visits to discuss education and show a line of websites, apps, and books that help families reach their academic goals. 
SW Advantage
Southwestern Advantage is a member of Southwestern Family of Companies:
Established in Nashville, Tennessee in 1855, Southwestern Family of Companies is a diversified, growing, international, and employee-owned company built on a foundation of principles and purpose. Comprised of companies with a shared mission of building people and helping others, Southwestern Family of Companies provides a large range of products and services, including educational books and websites, school fundraising efforts, healthy meal solutions, luxury travel packages, financial advising, consulting services, sales and leadership coaching and more.
Southwestern Family of Companies has expanded beyond Southwestern Advantage to include member companies across a range of industries and continues to grow each year.
Southwestern Advantage Building
Press Release
Contact: Trey Campbell, APR
Director of Communications

View Press Release:

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College Internships & Becoming a Great Job Candidate

College Internships & Becoming a Great Job Candidate

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College Internships & Becoming a Great Job Candidate

As a college student, you know internships are important. You know there are many to choose from. So, how will you find the right one for you? How will you become the right person for them? How will your internship springboard you into a fulfilling post-grad career?

Let’s start here…

3 Qualities of a Great Internship


You may have expected “experience” to be first on the list, so why would challenge rank higher? Ask yourself this – wouldn’t the more challenging internships offer you better experience by default? Wouldn’t a future employer be more interested in your history of taking on challenges? The fact is, dealing with challenge is synonymous with meaningful experience. The bigger the challenges the better the experience. Don’t be fooled by that “internship in the fashion industry” where the day-to-day responsibility is to fold t-shirts at the mall, or the glamorous experience interning in Manhattan on Wall Street where the day-to-day responsibility is to pour coffee and staple papers.


Networking” has become a tired cliche. It causes too many students to think that the execs at the firm will be inviting them to happy hour and to sit in the boardroom. Anything’s possible, but is it probable? Here’s the reality: Executives invest time in executives, not interns. Ask any potential program to show you its leadership capacity – specifically how they help their interns grow professionally. If you’re not learning and growing, ask yourself – is it really an internship or is it just a job?


Yes, money – that thing you need to get through life. If you consider yourself to be a person that adds value, find an opportunity that pays you based on the value that you add. If your heart is in volunteer work, fantastic! However, bills still exist. Spend your college summers earning and saving as much as possible, not accumulating debt.

What can you do to become a great job candidate?

In addition to all the experienced professionals interviewing, 1.8 million college grads will enter the job market this year. This is why employers will spend an average of 6 seconds reviewing your resume to determine if they want to interview you or not. Their primary interest is your track record.
A smart high school student does what it takes between 9th-12th grade to prove they should be admitted to a great university. A smart university student does what it takes as an undergrad to prove they’re ready for a great career. Picture yourself as an employer in a competitive industry. Who would you rather spend time interviewing – college graduates with the type of work experience that high schoolers are known to have or graduates that have results-oriented experience?

Don’t rush your unemployment

What’s the most opportune time of year that a university student has to gain work experience for a future career search?
Summer, of course. Again, picture yourself as an employer. Would you seek out candidates that graduated “on-time” or “early” or would you seek out candidates with a track record of skills and expertise? How does an early or on-time graduate with little to no experience expect to compete with a 28 year old that has 5 years of experience? Employers do not care if it takes you 6 years to graduate; they want the best candidates. Use your summers wisely, and do the hard things that other undergrads are not willing to do.
Your degree will serve as fantastic theory and foundational knowledge, but when other job candidates have a bachelors or masters degree too, it takes more to stand out. The fact is, each employer will have their own way of training on-the-job technical skills. It’s the communication and interpersonal (soft) skills that are always in low supply and high demand. It’s these sales skills that help teams, organizations, or businesses grow the fastest. The engineer, the doctor, the accountant, or the environmentalist that advances in their career is the one with sales skills. After all, sales skills are simply communication skills.
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

What are communication skills specifically?

A good employer can quickly spot a resume filled with fluff. During an interview process, top employers with the most sought-after jobs will ask candidates to give specific, detailed, results-oriented examples of how they have demonstrated their soft skills (sales skills) in these areas. It’s great to have charisma, but if you can’t catch the ball, you won’t make the team.
At Southwestern Advantage, part of our mission is to help every single one of our participants have not just theoretical but also experience-based answers to every single scenario below. Whether a university student participates in our program or not, having experience-based answers to each of these potential employer’s interview questions will make them a great candidate. Find an internship that will enable you to give impressive answers for these communication skills:
  • Verbal – share a time you effectively expressed new ideas to a potential partner
  • Active Listening – share a time you asked questions to determine a specific situation or need
  • Idea Expression – share a time you explained intangible benefits
  • Facilitating Group Discussion – share a time you led a meaningful group discussion
  • Dealing With Doubt – share a time you helped someone past a hesitation, concern, or fear
  • Negotiating – share a time you came to mutually beneficial terms in a professional setting
  • Perceiving Nonverbal Signals – share a time you interpreted body language in a helpful way
  • Persuading – share a time you convinced someone to make a short term sacrifice for a longer term reward
  • Verbalizing Feelings – share a time you discussed the way you felt in a helpful way
  • Interviewing – share a time you asked questions that got to the core of an issue
  • Extracting Details – share a time you collected data that helped you achieve a goal
  • Problem Solving – share a time you had to independently think on your feet
  • Setting & Achieving Goals – share a time you set a big goal and how you were able to achieve it
  • Defining Needs – share a time you discovered a need and how you improved the situation
  • Developing Rapport – share a time you quickly built professional trust with a stranger
  • Providing Emotional Support – share a time you positively influenced a teammate’s mental state
  • Cooperation – share a time you achieved something significant with people of different backgrounds or personalities
  • Professionalism – share a time you provided a favorable interaction with someone on behalf of your organization
  • Assertiveness – share a time you demonstrated confidence under pressure
  • Teaching – share a time you helped a teammate understand a new concept
  • Delegation – share a time you empowered a teammate with new responsibility
  • Motivating – share a time you motivated yourself and others through a challenge
  • Leadership – share a time you led by example and completed a difficult task because you said you would
  • Coaching – share a time your technical advice helped a teammate improve their performance
  • Counseling – share a time you went beyond the technical and helped a teammate mentally and emotionally
  • Collaboration – share a time you were part of a decision that positively impacted the organization
  • Conflict Management – share a time you diffused a potentially damaging situation
  • Reporting Data – share a time you explained what the numbers were saying
  • Planning and Research – share a time you conceptualized future needs and offered solutions
  • Initiating New Practices – share a time you used sequential knowledge to grow professionally
  • Organizational Leadership – share a time you led a group through a challenging situation
With first-hand experience and a skill set in each of these areas, chances are you’ll find yourself picking from job offers while your peers are hoping to be picked for an interview. Remember, the job candidate you will someday be, you are now becoming.
The above content was made possible by the Career Services division of Thinking Ahead – which specializes in the professional placement of recent graduates and entry-level talent.
Thinking Ahead is the executive search & placement firm within the Southwestern Family of Companies.
SA Family of Companies
southwestern advantage

Refuse To Be Average

Refuse To Be Average

Article seen in Bloomberg, Businessweek, Fortune, and Money

Since 1868, extraordinary college students from around the world have developed people skills, come to understand their strengths and weaknesses, experienced what it means to work without guarantees, and become employable – forever.

Many college students look for standard summer jobs and internships to put on their resumes or make a little spending money. But that’s not what they’ll find at Southwestern Advantage®.

“We’re looking for young people from all majors who have incredibly high goals. We then give them a track to run on, which—if they apply themselves—will develop in them the skills and character needed to achieve those goals. We give them the opportunity to succeed, usually by first falling at on their faces repeatedly,” says President Dan Moore, who joined Southwestern Advantage as a Harvard freshman in 1974 and has never worked anywhere else. “It’s more than a j-o-b. It’s a y-o-b: Your Own Business.”

Students who are up for the challenge spend their summer break in an unfamiliar location. There, they build their own businesses by direct-selling print and online products—developed by professional educators — to families who want to give their children an academic edge.

“College students are experts in education because they have lived it for at least the past 12 years. Our best performers care as much about helping families as the families do about helping their kids,” says Moore. Returning participants learn to recruit and lead teams through the experience in future summers.


For nearly 150 years, Southwestern Advantage has equipped students with personal and workplace skills that translate into future success. “Employers today seek to hire graduates who can contribute to the organization immediately. In the best roles, there isn’t much room for those who feel ‘entitled,’ but there’s a lot of room for people who can hit the ground running. This program embeds that ability in young people,” says Moore.

This experiential education goes beyond what can be taught in a classroom and delivers top attributes employers look for, including leadership, teamwork, problem-solving skills, verbal communication, strong work ethic, initiative, flexibility and adaptability, and interpersonal skills.*


The Southwestern Advantage program is presented to tens of thousands of undergrads each year, but only a small percentage has the self-confidence to take on the challenge. A careful selection process ensures the program is “right for the student, and the student is right for the program,” says Moore.

As with every sole proprietor’s small business—with no floor or ceiling when it comes to potential pro t—discipline and attitude are proficiencies that must be quickly developed and applied. The most successful students stay the course, work hard, prepare thoroughly, bring an attitude of service to others, and remain highly coachable.


“A summer opportunity can lead to a full and diversely interesting career with Southwestern Advantage, as it did for me,” says Moore. Other career paths within the Southwestern Family of Companies include investment advising, residential real estate, sales improvement consulting, professional fundraising, and offering nutritious, all-natural herbs, spices, and infused oils to families. The common thread? A rewarding, one-to-one effort focused on helping people achieve their goals.

And the first step is in the summer.

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Refuse To Be Average
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