Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Bethany Rolan

Bethany RolanCompany: FIAT (FCA)

Position: Analyst – Resin Strategy Team
Chemicals Purchasing Department
Auburn Hills, Michigan

What did you expect to gain from your summer internship?

My goal for this internship was to get a taste for what a Supply Chain Management job really looked like in the “real world.” I hoped to gain analytical skills and have access to a global supply chain. I also wanted to work outside of Texas and get experience living in another state.

Did it meet or supersede your expectations? 

This internship definitely met my expectations. I gained a lot of insight into what my day-to-day life could look like working in a Supply-Chain-related role after graduation. One of the best things about FCA is that it is an incredibly open company. Almost everyone working for FCA in the US (with the exception of those working at the manufacturing plants) works in one giant HQ building. That means that everyone from legal to finance to design and everything in between, are all in one place. As an intern, I was given a lot of exposure to other departments and I was allowed to shadowBethany Rolan 3 or meet with anyone I wanted. I was also included in several high-level and cross-functional meetings, so I got exposure to several different roles.

Share an interesting encounter you had during your internship.

As part of the direct purchasing department, part of my job included visits to suppliers. This was one of my favorite things to do because I got to drive all around the state of Michigan and see the car parts actually being made. A few weeks into my internship, I was invited to visit a supplier with the engineering team. Since the visit was not primarily about a purchasing issue, I was the only person in the meeting from the Resin Team. To everyone’s surprise, one of the executives from the supplier starting asking about the Resin Program, something no one else was very familiar with.

Unexpectedly, I got to speak in the meeting and answer questions. It was really cool that I was trusted to speak to clients after just a few weeks as an intern, but it also boosted my confidence since I proved to myself that I could accurately articulate what I had learned about the Resin Program.

What did you learn about yourself that you did not know before?

Being in a work environment for 40+ hours every week taught me countless lessons about myself. I think the most important lessons have been about the kind of work I enjoy doing and how I prefer to do that work. I  learned that I really enjoy project-oriented work, where I can see something from beginning to end. I really found myself craving work that I felt would affect how the company did things, not what they did. I also learned that I like to talk through things with others, instead of sitting alone in a cubicle. Knowing more about in what type of environments I work most productively and what type of work I enjoy most helped me to give feedback to my supervisors which helped them place me on projects that were more and more exciting for me as the summer progressed.

What did you contribute to the company?

One thing that I identified as I was learning about the resin buying strategy was how segmented the Resin Team was from the rest of the purchasing department. Bethany Rolan 5There was a definite lack of understanding about how resin should affect and was affecting all of the other commodities. I started setting up meetings with other groups to better understand how resin fit into the larger picture and using the information I gathered to create training documents. I presented to individual departments in the hope of creating more cross-functional alignment so that everyone can both support and benefit from the overarching resin strategy.

Alumni Spotlight: Tera Highbarger Hogan, Class of 2004

TeraTera Highbarger Hogan, BHP 2004, is the incoming chair of the BHP Advisory Board. Tera is currently a Staffing/Recruiting Manager for Google, based out of their Austin office. Before joining Google, Tera was a management consultant at Accenture for many years and worked for Novotus, both in the area of program management.

Why did you decide to get involved through serving on the BHP Advisory Board and do you have any goals for your time as chair of the advisory board?

I really enjoyed my time in BHP and valued the programs that BHP offered. As an alum I want to be a part of making sure our great base of alumni is doing what it can to support the program. During my term, I will look for ways that alumni can provide more support and help to the program and how we can raise the profile of the program nationally. I would love to see more out-of-state applicants and more diversity of in-state applicants.

You had many roles at Accenture and stayed there for eight years. What did you most enjoy about working for Accenture and how did you develop professionally during that time?

What I enjoyed most about my time at Accenture was getting to see a variety of types of work and clients. I was exposed to a breadth and depth of businesses early on in my career. I was also fortunate to have a lot of client relationships at senior levels, especially considering how early I was in my career. Each project was different than the one before. I had to come in and learn a new area, identify what the clients’ needs were and be able to deliver on those. Throughout my experience at Accenture, I built my client relationship and program management skills and ensured that the clients’ needs were met.

You spent the majority of your career in program management and then switched to recruiting. What prompted that change?

I loved my time at Accenture and wouldn’t change that for anything. It was a great place to start my career. I had been doing the same thing for a while though, and I was interested in other types of work and in being in a business, instead of just being a consultant for one. I was also looking to get off the road and spend more time in Austin. I decided to take a job with Novotus, a recruiting firm where I was still leveraging the program management and client relationship management skills I had built.

I have always been most interested in the people side of business. When I was working for Accenture, I enjoyed career development with my staff and recruiting activities, so I was drawn in by these parallels and the opportunity to spend more focus on people.

What are the challenges of recruiting and staffing for a company the size of Google?

The volume, scale and complexity of Google is a challenge in everything we do. Google is looking to hire the best of the best for each and every role. There is such a variety of things at which people excel and for which they could be a good fit. Matching people with their perfect dream job, not just the next job, is our goal.

My teams are focused on passive candidates – people who haven’t applied, but that we have gone out and found because they are the best in their field. We get in touch with them and get to know them, to find out what they are interested in pursuing. We find out what they are passionate about and what their goals are to see if we can make that happen for them at Google.

Google has long been considered one of the best and most fun places to work. How do you sell your recruits on working there and what do you enjoy about working there?

We sell our recruits more on the work they will be doing. The fun is certainly a piece of it, but what they are most interested in is working on cool, challenging projects and how they can really change the world by what they will be working on. It is a fun, laid back environment to work in with free meals on campus, scooters – all those fun things. We work hard, but we also have fun.

As a recruiter, what advice do you have for students interviewing for jobs and internships?

Do your homework on the company and be yourself during the interview. They are assessing if you are a good fit for the job as much as you are assessing if it is a job you would want. You will be doing this job 40 hours a week, at least, so you want something that is a good fit and that you will enjoy. Also, don’t stress so much, it will all work out!! It’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking this is what you will be doing forever, but that isn’t the case, and really you’re looking for the best starting point for you (which won’t be the same as everyone else).

How did BHP prepare you for the work you have been doing?

The small classes and project focus of BHP prepare you for the real world because that’s how the real world is structured. You have to work with others to solve problems. There are also many times when you will have to work with people you don’t have authority over and in school you practice that when working with peers on group projects.

What are some of your best memories from your time at UT?

Making new and lifelong friends, and spending time with those friends. Also having a flexible daily schedule, which you don’t get when you start working. I have been in a book club with some of my BHP friends who live in different cities, and even different continents, for over 10 years now. The BHP friends you make are always going to be people who understand things you are facing in your career and will be there to provide great advice and guidance, because they are probably walking down a similar career path to you, even if it is in a different industry.

Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Ashwin Ramakrishnan

Ashwin RamakrishnanIntroducing BHP Intern Ashwin Ramakrishnan

What company are you interning for and what is your title or department? I’m working for DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, California as an intern in their post production department.

What did you expect to gain from your summer internship ? I expected to gain a better understanding of the feature animation pipeline, but mostly I wanted to develop good relationships with the studio’s artists, employees, and the other interns.

Has it met or superseded your expectations? Why? This internship has really surpassed all of my expectations. The people here are extraordinarily friendly and always willing to sit down and talk with you. The studio hosts dozens of classes every week (from drawing to public speaking to improvisation), Dream Works Logoand has a huge video library of recorded lectures from industry professionals. Our internship coordinator brings in a different company leader each week to speak to us, and helped us plan intern socials throughout the summer. With a beautiful campus, free breakfast and lunch everyday, and movie screenings every Monday, DreamWorks is a wonderful place to work.

Share an interesting encounter you’ve had during your internship. Post production handles all the sound recordings, so I’ve gotten to record Jack Black and Bryan Cranston.

What have you learned about yourself that you did not know before? I’m more of a self-starter than I thought before – I’m really proud of myself for being proactive about arranging meetings with the people I wanted to talk to and tackling my own projects.

What have you contributed to the company? I helped prepare the Kung Fu Panda 3 movie trailer for release, as well as ready our TV shows for Netflix. I’ve also organized and archived footage from older films and shows and recorded our voice actors.

Ashwin Ramakrishnan - DreamworksI really love animated movies like How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda and wanted to be a part of the studios that make those stories happen. It can be scary to follow your passion – especially if it falls off the beaten path – but I think you’ll be happier for trying.”