Internship Spotlight: Daniel Novotny – BHP Senior

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.

 

 

Internship Spotlight: Courtney Brindle – BHP Senior

Courtney Brindle spent her summer interning with PepsiCo in the Frito-Lay Supply Chain division. She ended up having an opportunity to learn more about the tie between corporate strategy and social responsibility through her involvement with Food for Good. Find out more about Courtney’s experience at PepsiCo and what she learned during her internship.

Company: PepsiCo

Title: Supply Chain Intern

 

 

What steps did you take to secure your internship?

I spoke with people I knew who worked there to get a feel for the company and the process. I then met recruiters at the Career Expo and talked with them for a while. I left my resume with them after the conversation, they called me in for an interview, and the rest is history.

What were the responsibilities for this role?

Although Frito-Lay Supply Chain hired me, I worked mostly with a social business group that is part of PepsiCo called Food for Good. As part of this team, I had many responsibilities including routing trucks, keeping track of data, building models, designing processes and researching, and recommending directions for the group. I did work a few weeks in FLNA Supply Chain, and there I did mostly data analysis to find streamlining opportunities to increase efficiency.

Describe the culture within the organization.

The people at PepsiCo are truly one of its best assets. Everyone is not only very competent, but also friendly and helpful. Family is very important at PepsiCo, as is work-life balance. But at the end of the day, everyone knows that if something needs to be done at work, your team will stay until it is finished. That’s how they stay at the top!

What was most surprising or unexpected during your experience?

I was surprised at the ease with which I could interact with senior leadership. They were open to one-on-ones and I heard from many of them throughout the summer.

What advice would you offer your peers in the Honors Program about getting the most out of an internship?

If you ever feel “bored,” find something you can do of value. Ask your manager or your team for a project – the more you take on, the more you learn. Also take the time to talk to the other interns and people in the company.

How did you find your classes in the Business Honors Program to be applicable during your internship?

The BHP has been useful because the students and professors in each class have challenged me. The students in BHP make you think both quickly and outside the box, and the discussion in classes has made public speaking become second nature. I didn’t know just how much BHP pushed me until this summer. I was able to handle important work, take on a large amount of responsibility, gain trust, and give presentations to executives with confidence.

How did PepsiCo ensure you got the most out of your internship experience?

I was lucky in that I was able to see different aspects of a business. I was able to see a small, start-up kind of business with Food for Good, and everything that went along with that. I was also able to sit in on meetings, work with real data and drive real results for the larger organization of Frito-Lay.

What are the most valuable lessons you gained from this internship?

I have learned that two of the main keys to happiness in a career are the value you feel you add to the organization and the people with which you work.

 

 

 

Internship Spotlight: Michael Valdez – BHP Junior

BHP junior, Michael Valdez, knew beginning his freshman year that he wanted to do an internship with Google. Starting the search for an internship early paid off when Michael was offered an intern position at the Google headquarters in Mount View, California. Michaels tells how his initial plans were to continue on to law school, but after a summer in Silicon Valley, life as a Googler may prove more persuasive.

Location: Mt. View, CA

Title: BOLD (Building Opportunities in Leadership Development) Intern

What steps did you take to secure your internship?

I started the summer after my freshman year. I participated in BOLD Immersion, where Google invites college freshmen to their headquarters to meet and greets to feel you out and get to know you. I applied for the BOLD Internship that following November. This specific internship has an expedited application process; there are no essays, but a lot of interviews. I knew exactly what team I wanted to be a part of so I made sure I did a lot of research and prepared for every interview.

What were the responsibilities for this role?

I worked with the Google Grants Team, which donates AdWords to non-profit organizations. My role was to use statistics to help the team out and look at the program as a whole. I used a lot of statistics, data analysis and Excel.

Describe the culture within the organization.

Unique. The biggest part was the transparency, being open and honest with both Google users and employees. We made a dedicated effort to allow employees to be open and give feedback. There wasn’t any sort of Ivory Tower feeling. My boss worked on the ground floor. I had access to my manager and my manager’s manager. I was able to meet and have lunch with the VP and SVP of my department. There are no closed-door offices; the people were welcoming and easy to talk to.

What was most surprising or unexpected thing you experienced?

It was better than college. I honestly didn’t think any job would be better than college. Google had a college vibe with free food and transportation. Employees even call the workplace “campus.”

What advice would you offer your peers in the Honors Program about getting the most out of an internship?

It’s most important to be assertive in meeting people when you get there. I would constantly try to set up lunch and coffee appointments with people within Google. Not just recruiters, but people in other departments too. Go out and just really enjoy your experience. Don’t just get to know the people in your area and pigeon-hole yourself. Silicon Valley is especially open to that type of culture.

How did you find classes in the Business Honors Program to be applicable during your internship?

A lot of things I was doing I realized — wow, I just took a final on this six weeks ago. I used a lot of things I learned in Statistics 371H such as regression analysis, data analysis. Really just math in general was useful. Professor Kumar was awesome. He did a good job of getting that material drilled into our heads and really making sure we were ready to take on these roles.

How did this organization ensure you got the most out of your internship experience?

Google pulled out all of the stops. You’re assigned to a mentor that has nothing to do with your job, just to help integrate you into the Google community and show you around. Then you have a manager that sets your objectives and helps you with what you need to do your job. I met with my manager day-to-day and discussed my OKR objectives and key results. Interns are also grouped into a BOLD Team, which sets up classes for you to go to weekly and listen to executive speakers. There were tons of events put on for BOLD interns.

How did this internship affect or influence your future career?

Right now my major is Management Information Systems (MIS) and my original plan was to continue on to law school. However, after my experience in the tech world I now realizeI’m not going to law school. I feel really good about my tech skills, like coding. Google is really good about getting you comfortable around technology and keeping you confident in knowing what you’re doing. I really like the tech world and I really like Silicon Valley. I hope to go back next summer.

What are the most valuable lessons you gained from this internship?

Communication is probably the best means of advancing yourself in your internship no matter what you’re doing. Communicating with your team about what you’re doing and being collaborative is the key to success. Being able to create well-written emails is so important to an internship or really any job. It’s not about your area of expertise, but how well you’re able to communicate those findings.

Internship Spotlight: Lisa Kao – BHP Junior

Company: Northern Trust

Position: Hedge Fund Services Intern

When Lisa Kao started her internship with Nothern Trust, she never imagined how drastically work experience would change her career aspirations. Discover how Lisa found a laid-back, friendly community in a large, conservative organization.

 

What steps did you take to secure your internship?

I found out about this internship at the McCombs Spring 2013 Career Expo. After getting to know the recruiter a little better, I decided to apply for the job through OCR. There were two rounds of interviews. A few weeks after my second interview, I received a phone call notifying me I had secured an internship position with Northern Trust.

What were the responsibilities for this role?

Within the Hedge Fund Services (HFS) division, I worked specifically on the Cash & Collateral Management team. My daily responsibilities included: providing quality control on overnight batches for OTC margin monitors, issuing and responding to clients’ OTC margin calls, and creating productivity tools for increased client coverage and efficiency. I also had the opportunity to help lead college information sessions for underprivileged children in the Chicago area on behalf of Northern Trust.

Describe the culture within the organization.

My experience with Northern Trust might have been a little different from the other interns’. Northern Trust itself has a conservative culture; it is a bank with over 120 years of history. However, the division I worked under, HFS had a relaxed, fun culture. Many employees were only a few years out of college and were very relatable to college interns. The relationship I had with my manager was easy-going and friendly, although still professional. HFS encouraged its employees to get to know each other on a personal level and hosted several networking and social events throughout the summer. Dress code in the HFS division was not quite as strict either; instead of suits on a daily basis, employees could wear jeans and Sperry’s. I truly enjoyed my time as an intern in HFS and am grateful I was placed in that division!

What was the most surprising or unexpected during your experience?

Coming into this internship, I thought most of my learning would be done through the work I was assigned. However, I learned the most about my career interests and about myself as an individual through talking to the people around me. The principles I thought I valued in my future career are no longer the same. It is both exciting and scary to realize that there is no “right” career path for me to follow anymore.

What advice would you offer your peers in the Honors Program about getting the most out of an internship?

I would say the most important thing is to truly get to know the people you work with. Every employee and intern comes from a different background, and you can learn something from each person whether or not you may think so on first impression. Make sure you ask many questions and take advantage of the resources around you. Another important piece of advice is to enter your internship open-minded. You should never go into your internship thinking you MUST like/dislike your experience there. Your internship is your opportunity to grow and discover your interests. It’s okay if the internship does not end up being how you expected it to be, good or bad. In the end, it is always a wonderful learning experience!

How did you find your classes in the Business Honors Program at the university to be applicable during your internship?

Definitely. I personally find it a little exciting whenever I’m given a task at work that requires me to apply skills and knowledge I’ve previously learned in class. Honestly, working helps you learn the concepts you learn in class on a much deeper, more thorough level. A concept you may not have understood in your accounting class can suddenly make sense once you are given a real-life financial statement to analyze.

How did this organization ensure you got the most out of your internship experience?

Northern Trust has a very well developed, well-structured internship program. A highlight of the program is the weekly “Lunch & Learn” session. During these sessions, executives from different divisions throughout the company would come speak to the interns about his/her career background and current responsibilities. Everyone in the company, even high-level executives, were generally very willing to make time to meet with interns and offer advice to those who reached out. In addition, Northern Trust hosted several service and social outings for the intern class.

What are the most valuable lessons you gained from this internship?

Although this was a finance internship, the most valuable lesson I gained from this internship was not finance related at all. Being a student in the business school, I think it can be very difficult to block out all of the artificial expectations society sets for you and to truly ask yourself what you value in a career. This summer, I met so many people who have completely changed their careers to pursue their passions and have become happier people because of their decisions. You will be successful in your career as long as you are doing something you are truly passionate about. I am grateful to realize and understand the importance of this now rather than later.