Daniel Novotny, BHP senior, spent his summer at Ford Motor Company as a Marketing, Sales and Service Intern where he worked on the construction of a computer update to replace current paper forms and analyzed the Hispanic Market in California. During his internship, Daniel learned a lot about the automotive industry as well as entering the workforce in general.
What steps did you take to secure your internship?
I used OCR where I found an internship opportunity posted by Ford Motor Company. Since I was abroad, I was unable to apply through OCR and emailed my resume directly to the recruiter asking what I would need to do in the current situation. Within a week, he set up a Skype interview that included behavioral and industry questions lasting approximately 45 minutes. I was then offered the internship within a month of the interview.
What were the responsibilities for this role?
I was the Marketing, Sales and Service intern for the West Market Area housed in Irvine, CA and was tasked two main projects. The first project was the construction of a computer-based update that will eventually replace the current paper forms being used. With this information being located on an Excel spreadsheet we were able to analyze key aspects of a dealership facility in comparison to a forecasted guide to figure out if any correlations with customer satisfaction can be obtained.
The second and most interesting project was the analysis of the Hispanic market within California. With this task, I had free rein to analyze sales data collected in the last ten years within the automotive industry in order to figure out trends in the market and understand what opportunities can be found to help increase Ford’s market share within the population.
Describe the culture within the organization.
There was an amazing sense of teamwork. Everyone that was in my office is the expert in a certain area of the industry and I was always able to find someone willing to help. In turn, I was able to understand each piece of the automotive industry including how sales, service, Ford Credit, and marketing combine to create a successful organization. My coworkers respected each other’s expertise and create a fun and enjoyable atmosphere, while producing top-notch results. The “work-hard, play-hard” attitude was apparent and I was glad to go to work knowing I would have good laughs throughout the day.
What was the most surprising or unexpected during your experience?
Going into the automotive industry and Ford specifically, I did not know the complexities that come with selling a car. The studies that go on within this industry surprise me and I was excited by the amount of data collected to study the market for decision-making. From financing, to the color of a car, it was amazing to see how many little things becomes part of the package. When someone purchases a vehicle, a warranty is given, with a specific financing package, and service plan. Each of these aspects has intense studies so the right combination is produced to provide the best overall car package. The policies and industry norms at each of these steps creates even more complexities that I never understood until I began my internship.
What advice would you offer your peers in the Honors Program about getting the most out of an internship?
Ask questions! Although you will be assigned a supervisor and working in a certain department, it is important to understand how your piece is a part of the overall puzzle. I believe the most important things I learned this summer did not come from the task I was assigned, but from the 30-minute one-on-one sessions I had with individuals in my office. I was able to pick their brain and they, in turn, asked me questions that reinforced what I wanted to gain from the internship. By establishing relationships early on, I was able to create a welcoming environment and gained a lot of wisdom from those who have been in the business their whole career.
How did you find your classes in the Business Honors Program to be applicable during your internship?
The Business Honors classes I have taken were definitely applicable during my internship. I am glad that I paid attention during my statistics classes and Dr. Konana’s Intro to Information Technology class because the amount of Excel I used during this internship was amazing. I feel like 50 percent of my time was spent in Excel creating reports with Pivot Tables and VLookups for my bosses. I’m glad I enjoyed working with spreadsheets and data as much as I do. The Business Honors Program has done an amazing job overall in preparing me to overcome challenges independently and think creatively when given tasks. I felt well prepared when I began my internship and believe I impressed my colleagues during my experience.
How Ford Motor Company ensure you got the most out of your internship experience?
The Ford Motor Company did a good job of asking me what I wanted to gain from my experience working with them. They understood that I was interviewing them just as much as they were interviewing me over the course of the 10-weeks and allowed me to share my short-term and long-term goals. They then found someone in the office that might be able to share their experiences and give me tips on how to help achieve these goals. For example, I am interested in working abroad and was given the opportunity to speak with the West Market Area General Manager who has worked in Brazil and Thailand over the course of his time at Ford.
What are the most valuable lessons you gained from this internship?
This internship taught me to have fun with what I do, whom I interact with and the environment I create for myself. I have realized the importance of asking questions and understand you can accomplish more when you get involved in a team that has clearly defined tasks. The collaboration I saw throughout my organization opened my eyes to the potential a group of people hold when tackling a task.