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Pamplin School of Business: Internship Reflections
Throughout their academic career, our students gain the skills they need to be successful in the business world. They build their knowledge through job shadows, mock interviews, resume building workshops, informational interviewing, and the creation of a professional portfolio. They are able to directly test and expand on these skills through the completion of a required internship either during or immediately following their junior year. This experience gives them the real-world perspective that sets them apart in today's competitive job market.
Students complete internships is a wide variety of industries all around the world. Read below to learn about some of their incredible experiences.
Kacia Hicks, '13 Accounting & Finance, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Portland, OR
This past summer (of 2012) I interned for the public accounting firm, Pricewaterhouse Coopers. This was my second internship at PwC, the first was with the recruiting department and this time was with the Assurance (Audit) staff. The internship at PwC is very structured, one week of training, six weeks of on the job auditing, and one week of training at the end. On paper it seems rather dry, much like the entire accounting major, but having actually participated in the program, I would vouch for how fun the experience actually is!
Training turned out to be in Seattle where we went on a city-wide food tour, while also learning the accounting software we would be using for the next month and a half. My on-the-job experience was really challenging but also gratifying. I worked in small teams, with staff that were helpful and knowledgeable. PwC also has very young group of people working in the Portland office, so relating to everyone was very natural. The “training” at the end was at Disneyworld in Florida, where we participated in cooking challenges, theme park challenges, and evening socials.
|The best part of my internship was my volunteer trip to Belize City, Belize. PwC is dedicated to education as their philanthropic mission. This includes working with local educators and they have pledged to help Belize City as well. Each summer the firm sends around 400 staff, partners, and interns to volunteer in the Belize schools and teach courses on financial literacy to students (K-12). During my short trip, I grew very attached to my group of students and actually felt like they had learned something from all of us. The entire experience made me proud to work for a firm with a mission that was similar to my own personal mission.|
My internship experience had a lot of fun activities and experiences, but during the daily routine it was a lot of hard work and long hours working on the audit. I think that the Pamplin School of Business Administration really helped me in this aspect because I had to use my time management skills. Being a double major has been time consuming in itself, but PSOBA helps you figure out your schedule and encourages you to make the most of your personal connections. I used a lot of these skills during my time at PwC and I think that it was a large factor of my success. I received an offer to work full-time for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and will start my position as an Associate Auditor in the fall of 2013.
More summer 2012 Internship Reflections:
I met a recruiter from Nike at the OTM Speed Networking event last year. I stayed in touch and he was able to connect me with the hiring managers who would later become my supervisors.
I started my internship with Nike in June 2012. It didn’t take long for my co-workers and managers to realize I was willing and able to do much more than they had originally expected. The University of Portland prepared me to sit comfortably among these experienced business professionals and have the confidence and knowledge to be able to add value to the entire group.
|It was exciting to connect classroom material to real business scenarios and to be able to apply this knowledge on projects. Completing the internship prior to the start of my senior year, I was also able to return to class with a renewed excitement for learning and new perspectives to apply to the material. Being able to apply my internship experience to class topics helps me see the direct value of the material.|
One of the most important lessons I learned during my internship was the power of relationships. As students, we leverage the knowledge and experience of our peers and professors to help us produce the best work we can. I realized that this also applies in the workplace, particularly at Nike. The value of connecting with others is immeasurable- I learned so much from my co-workers and felt that by utilizing everyone’s skills, experience, and resources I was able to produce high quality deliverables that exceeded expectations.
The Pamplin School of Business has helped me develop both personally and professionally throughout my four years here. My preparation and hard work paid off and I was offered a full time position with Nike. I look forward to the beginning of my career and returning to Nike in January 2013!
|My internship experience at Boeing Commercial Aviation took place in the summer of 2012 and occurred within the Commercial Airplane Services (CAS) division of the Program Planning and Controls group. CAS exists to manage the process of all post-sale conversions, modifications, and licensing for all Boeing aircraft. My time with CAS had me deeply involved with the customer acceptance testing process of a new Project Management database PMdb tool. While customer acceptance testing is neither glamorous nor easy, the project itself allowed me to leverage my existing six years of IT experience against the skills and techniques learned in my business classes.|
| As an intern it was an amazing experience to help shape the next generation of a tool that affects nearly 1,300 users and is responsible for managing nearly $1 Billion in yearly revenue for the company. I felt that my team and other managers at Boeing valued my work and skills.
In fact, I have just accepted an offer to come back to Boeing in a developmental three-year IT rotation program. I firmly believe that UP and the Pamplin School of Business played a key role in preparing me to make the most of this opportunity.
2011-12 Internship Reflections
Working at Boeing Portland was my first taste of working in the operations field. I have had two other internships but they were both finance positions – I am really glad that I interned with Boeing because it helped me realize that I would prefer to pursue a future in operations, rather than finance.
Because I had taken Dr. Eom’s Database class, my supervisors created a position specifically for me within the Supply Chain Management team. My role was primarily to empower my users and create solutions that everyone was comfortable using. The people in my department have worked at Boeing since before Boeing used computers to build planes; some analysts have been at Boeing since they tracked parts with pencils and tablets instead of computerized systems! By designing user interfaces, providing technology trainings, and developing reports for the analysts, I learned about supply chain and information management while helping my team increase their productivity and comfot using technology.
|I am really glad I spent a summer at Boeing because the experience helped me find a vocational passion, a company where I love going to work every day, and a job for after school. I was originally skeptical about working for a large company but after this summer I know that a large company can offer unique opportunities as well as a great workplace culture. I would recommend a summer at Boeing to anyone. What others dream, we do!|
I drove out to Great Falls, Montana this summer to intern for D.A. Davidson & Co. Having lived in Seattle, WA my entire life, I was glad that I got to experience a different environment and lifestyle. The summer after my sophomore year, I interned for Merrill Lynch and gained an overall knowledge for the finance industry. After Merrill Lynch, I knew the financial services field was the route I wanted to take and that becoming a financial advisor was the ultimate goal.
This internship with Davidson was the obvious next step in my career path. D.A. Davidson offered an opportunity for interns to be sponsored for the Series 7 and 63 license exams. These licenses are required for advisors, and earned through comprehensive exams that require an overall knowledge of securities, and uniform state regulations and laws. Studying with nine other interns all summer, along with being mentored by a retired Davidson advisor, I passed the 7 and 63.
|This internship was geared toward graduates with degrees in finance, and having only just finished my junior year, I was behind on the learning curve. Business Finance and Managerial Finance really helped me with some of the concepts in the Series 7, but the real experience that I learned through my internship can be seen in my senior year work. I have excelled at my finance classes this semester because of the experience I gained through my internship, and my professors have also taken notice to my vast improvement. Because of my internship, I’ve also been offered a job tutoring finance this year.|
I started my internship at Safeway Health in June of 2011, after returning from participating in PSOBA’s London summer program. My internship was one of the most incredible learning experiences, both professionally and personally, since I was living in a completely new city (San Francisco, CA). During my internship, I was able to apply much of what I learned in the classroom to real business situations. Since I spent a majority of my time in Access and Excel, I frequently used the skills I learned from my Management Information Systems, Decision Modeling, and Technology Operations courses. These courses provided me with a skillset and mindset that were invaluable to me during my internship.
|The two major projects to which I was assigned required me to have a thorough knowledge of Excel and experience in using Access. I was first given the task of reverse engineering an Access Database, since the creator of the database had left the company and no one else knew how to properly use the database to create reports. After that project, I was assigned to another project where I created reports for clients pertaining to their healthcare costs. Though much of what I learned came from experience on the job, the University of Portland gave me the foundation that allowed me to be successful and excel in my position.|
During the summer of 2011, I was granted an amazing internship opportunity working with the Internal Audit Department of Greenbrier Companies located in Lake Oswego Oregon. During the first few weeks of my internship, I was responsible for completing a number of Sarbanes Oxley Tests for various subsidiary companies such as GRS. Once I had some time to become familiar with the terminology and material, my team and I began traveling all throughout the United States. The purpose of our travels was to visit at least ten GRS locations and complete a "quick impact audit." Neither corporate Greenbrier nor corporate GRS wanted the internal audit team to do anything besides gain an understanding of the main processes of each site. Since these particular audits were a bit more unofficial, it made each visit very enjoyable and tranquil for both the internal audit team as well as the employees at each specific location.
|Before my experience with Greenbrier Companies, I was uncertain as to what I would want to do after my time at the University of Portland. There are so many routes one can take with an accounting degree, and I was not convinced about what would be a respectable fit for me in the workplace. Subsequent to my internship, I am more confident in my ability to take on new and intimidating tasks, knowing that my education and additional preparation with the Pamplin School of Business has successfully prepared me to be an aspiring and well educated individual ready to take on the professional world.|
I spent summer 2011 working as an intern with Nike UK and Ireland in London, England. I spent three months working with the IT support team, as well as the Sales Operations group. With IT, I gained exposure to IT systems and programs, technology repair and maintenance, and end-user communication. With the Sales Operations team, I was responsible for a large project where I had to update a customer list of several hundred accounts. I learned how to manage a project on my own and motivate various parties to carry out their work. These responsibilities allowed me to positively impact the business and make a name for myself in professional circles.
|Working within the Nike culture while also in a foreign country allowed me a perspective I had never encountered before. It was an amazing experience that opened my eyes to the global scene with the resources of a multibillion dollar company. Not only did I gain professional experience and extensive networking contacts, I learned about myself and my working style. I now know that the Operations and Technology Management major is the right one for me and I am prepared to excel in it. With my education, experience, and networking connections, I am confident in my career prospects, whether it is for Nike or another company, after my graduation in May of 2012.|