Final Reflection

Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures, which is based in Bozeman, Montana, is the premier booking agent for fly fishing trips as well as other adventure travel.  At its core, Yellow dog is a group of travel agents who specialize in planning trips in incredibly remote parts of the world.  Yellow Dog’s mission is simple, to provide its clients with the fishing trip of a lifetime.  Yellow Dog is are a no-hassle, easy, in-depth solution to arranging a fishing trip.  To provide their clients with the best experience possible, Yellow Dog employs experienced guides and other fly-fishing industry figures who have traveled the world for fly-fishing.  Yellow Dog is renowned in the fly-fishing industry for having the one of the most experienced staffs in the entire fly-fishing world.  They take care of all of the travel essentials, from booking lodging and flights to providing an in-depth list of gear and flies and travel tips for every location they book.

My internship this summer at Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures provided a useful education in the outdoor industry as well as many fun opportunities to explore the US West. Yellow Dog is one of the most recognizable names in fly fishing and this allowed me to work closely with many big names in the outdoor industry which provided useful connections. These connections are paramount for success in the outdoor industry and have already yielded some job opportunities for after graduation. My internship this summer exceeded my expectations from provided a valuable business education and provided opportunities for after graduation.

Yellow Dog has a very strong marketing department which allows them to remain one of the most recognizable names in fly fishing. I was able to work closely with the marketing directing doing web design with him. Learning to create and appealing webpage to advertise your business is essential to success. I also was able to learn more about good ad services and other sorts of data based marketing which is the most effective means of marketing these days. I was able to refine my writing skills when I was writing the text for the new website. I had to write descriptions for every lodge that Yellow Dog works with. This not only provided me knowledge of every location that Yellow Dog works with, but also exposed me to real world feedback on my writing by the sales team and the marketing directors.

Yellow Dog has a broad range of clientele, ranging from experienced anglers to people brand new to the sport of fly fishing.  As a guide, I sometimes struggled with explaining more basic concepts to clients who were newer to the sport.  Interning at Yellow Dog this summer gave me the opportunity to interact with both novice and experienced clients and explain to them certain details about their trip.  I would use this opportunity to work on my teaching and explanation skills in order to better answer client questions and further their understanding of some of the more complicated concepts in fly fishing. I was able to work closely with much of the sales team at Yellow Dog. This allowed me to better understand sales and customer interactions. Having a close relation and face to face interactions with many of Yellow Dog’s customers allowed me to better understand what keeps people coming back and working with Yellow Dog and the importance of customer service. Additionally, I was able to listen in on phone calls between Yellow Dog and the lodges they work with in other countries. This gave me an insight into some of the differences in dealing with international businesses rather than solely US companies. It was very interesting to see the different ways Yellow Dog has to combat different nation’s policy decisions in order to effectively operate a travel company that often works in 3rd world or struggling countries.

In addition to working closely with the sales team to learn the finer points of customer service, I was able to work with the Director of Sales to put together a few different sales analysis to help him review the performance of certain regions and directors of those regions. This gave me the opportunity to work hands on with QuickBooks, Salesforce and Excel, all of which are important skills to have in the business world. These projects were at times difficult because I did not have much experience using these softwares before but with help from some coworkers got it down pretty quickly. These projects were not only useful for me, but the two owners used them in their own sale presentations to the team and gave me one on one experience working with them.

My experience with the owners at Yellow Dog resulted in invaluable connections that have already started to provide some job opportunities after graduation and potentially retuning to Yellow Dog at some point in the future. I quickly identified that I really enjoyed working for Yellow Dog and put all of my efforts into making sure they thought I was a good fit to work there. My work spoke for itself and they seem to want me back after graduation as they invited me to attend  their staff retreat back in Montana over fall break this year. Even if working at Yellow Dog does not work out, I have met many people in the outdoor industry that have been encouraging and willing to help me find a job somewhere in the industry after graduation. Overall, the most valuable thing I got out of this summer are the connections that I have made.

In order to excel and advance in the fly-fishing industry, you have to be a skilled angler yourself.  While I am done some guiding and fished for most of my life, this summer I had the opportunity to be surrounded by true experts in the field.  Additionally, I wa sin one of the most famous fly-fishing locations in the world so I was be able to spend plenty of time on the water honing my skills in order to make myself more hirable in the field.I also was able to spend time with and go fishing with many of the famous guides that Yellow Dog employs. These friendships outside of work allowed me to become a better fishermen and more fully understand the fly fishing industry as a whole from individuals who have fished and worked their whole lives in the industry. You don’t get much respect in the fly fishing industry if you are not actually a good fishermen so learning from these professionals helped me grow my experience and skill set. I was also involved in landed a record fish for Montana which gave me even more recognition in Bozeman which is the epicenter of the fly fishing industry.

My leadership studies course helped my understanding of how to outdoor industry fits into the larger business world as a whole and helped me to better understand how to be an effective intern for Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures. This in turn allowed for greater connections and job opportunities for after college. LPC theory helps to explain what type of leader would be useful in certain situations. While Yellow Dog allows its sales team much freedom in the operation of their region, they are still responsible for meeting company goals and improving sales every year. The owners do a great job of remaining very numbers oriented while still providing the sales team with everything they need to be successful. This combination of task oriented and relationship oriented leadership works perfectly for Yellow Dog. While sales are still very numbers oriented, leaders keep the sales team motivated by their willingness to support the sales team in any way they need. Be it financial support, marketing or access to their hug network of connections in the fly fishing industry. This has even affected me as an intern, I have been very busy with tasks this summer, but Jim and Tom (the leaders) provide me with anything I need to complete the tasks and offer guidance with a smile on their face every-time. This in turn motivates me to work as hard as a possibly can. They have even given me great recommendations for career opportunities after graduation furthering my desire to give back to Yellow Dog in my professional career.

My hope moving forward is to remain as connected and involved with Yellow Dog this school year with the hopes of returning to them in my career. They mentioned I may need to get one more season guiding under my belt but after that I may be able to return to Bozeman as an employee. This semester I hope to firm u those plans and continue to hone in on other opportunities.