Confessions of a Summer Intern: Bittersweet End to a Fantastic Summer

Hello again!

What a bittersweet ending to a fantastic summer! I never imagined I would leave with such an array of good experiences and memories. I’ve met so many amazing and very accomplished individuals and even lifelong friends. I’ve volunteered many hours for a good cause, learned how to professionally present 15-minute to hour long presentations, and even met the CEO in the elevator.

Those are just the smallest of events that occurred over my internship experience at Rockwell Automation. As I mentioned in my first post, I had eight main projects to work on over the course of my internship, and I decided to discuss three of them.

Staffing, to refresh your memory, is the process of finding qualified applicants, phone screening them, bringing them in for an interview, and finally filling the open position if they answer the interview questions well and they have the appropriate experience/skills. I got to be a part of this process four times this summer and interviewed ten different individuals. I couldn’t believe how many different types of people are looking for employment. I think Rockwell does an excellent job of hosting all-day interviews and review sessions, and they do the best they can to hire the individual who is best qualified for the job and will most greatly benefit the company.

The second project I had was the ‘Retention Database.’ This project was definitely different than all of the others because it required much patience and understanding. In the end, we had to create a ‘dashboard’ of all of the most interesting graphs and findings on how to retain the most sales interns/employees. We used variables such as key college, GPA, caliper test (like a personality test), their interview scores, and many more. There were so many things to compare; the managers couldn’t decide which data they wanted to share! Eventually, I will present this information with another woman who worked with the majority of the data to our Director of HR and the three other managers who started the project. Luckily, I will have some time to prepare, as I have two weeks left.

My Onboarding project is even more unique. Remember, Onboarding is the process when new employees are going to work for their first time. They need to know how the company functions, what to expect, and how to adapt to the new company within the first six months. I am now in the final stages of completing this project. I had to contact 14 sales offices in North America (including Canada) and ask them for their ‘Onboarding Checklist,’ or the list referred to when each of these sales offices is welcoming a new sales engineer. The reason I contacted so many different offices is because I am trying to regulate and universalize one checklist, so that every location can use the same one, and every new employee can gain the same experience as their co-worker working in Dallas or Kansas, or whichever location they get assigned to. Trust me, it is a task. All I have to do after that is conduct a conference call with all of these 14 locations and roll out my new checklist, ask for any issues or concerns, and fix them right away. I believe this checklist will greatly help universalize the Onboarding process and create a more unified staff at all Rockwell locations.

As for networking, I’ve expanded my Rockwell network and met with just about 50 people. I couldn’t stop myself! There are so many different types of people at this company, and they’re so interesting!

In my previous post, I mentioned I had to present an hour long presentation about ‘Managing Generations.’ I prepared well, had concise and interesting information, but there were a variety of unexpected events I had to adapt to quickly. About a week before my presentation, the whole subject of my presentation changed. Initially, it was ‘Managing Four Different Generations in the Workplace,’ but then it was changed to ‘Communicating with Four Different Generations in the Workplace.’ While you might not think there is a huge difference, there is. However, I had some help from my manager and created a precise script so that I wouldn’t feel unorganized or unprepared. Throughout it all, I feel I was pretty successful and assisted interns understand why it is so important to be aware of the different generations that surround them in the workforce. Each of them communicates differently, thinks differently, and brings so much more to the workplace (experience-wise) than we could never imagine.

Though my internship was demanding, I still had a chance to get to know many new interns. Rockwell donates a variety of their time and money to the United Way, so the interns of Milwaukee got to participate in a ‘Day of Caring’ around the city. This was refreshing because we were allowed to leave the office for an afternoon. The group I was assigned to assisted a small charter school called La Causa, just three blocks away from our Rockwell building. Some interns gardened, picked up trash, scrubbed desks and swept the floor, babysat, played with older kids on the playground, while I got to paint.

Our group at La Causa.
Rockwell Intern Day 2011, Group

Here I am with two of my other friends painting in the art room.
Rockwell Intern Day 2011, Art Room

There are only a few things left that I must pull together within these last two weeks. With that being said, I am proud of my accomplishments and I can’t wait to go back to school and test what I’ve learned from my internship in my classes. While college really is the best time in our lives, it really wouldn’t be that bad working for Rockwell everyday. I look forward to graduation and the opportunities that may arise before then.

That’s all I have for you! Thanks for reading!

Hope you all had a wonderful summer!

Read Gabby’s Internship Journey

  1. Meet Gabby Fenzel
  2. Time Flies When You’re Learning So Much

Other Summer Intern Confessions

Erin Quist

Sarah Suter

Alysondra Milano

Confessions of a Summer Intern: Time Flies When You’re Learning So Much

Welcome back! How quickly time flies when you’re learning so many new concepts and terms! As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a variety of projects that I continue to work on simultaneously. A few of them are near completion, but luckily I still have a little time before their due dates.

The doors to my office!
Gabby's Office

This month, I really focused on networking. Due to the fact that Rockwell is such a large company, I really considered the pros and cons of networking. I found very quickly that there are no cons. My version of networking is a little different than others. I chose to hold a one-on-one meetings that consisted of a half-hour conversation, asking select individuals about their education, career experience outside and at Rockwell, challenges and achievements, and where they see themselves in five years. Hearing first-hand from my personally selected group of HR and Marketing/PR/Communications employees helps me understand what each department does in relation to Rockwell’s “big picture.”

There are two reasons behind my one-on-one meetings. The first is to help me learn which career path I would like to take (Marketing and HR are both very different aspects of business), and the second is to make sure I can sustain corporate friendships and check in with them upon graduation. Hopefully, one of these individuals will remember and advise me to apply for any available positions come May. Right now, I have met with over 40 people and hope to keep in contact with all of them. Ultimately, I hope my efforts lead me in the direction that best fits my work style and career goals, as I would love to pursue a career here.

There are a variety of qualities that I am impressed with about Rockwell. I can definitely say that I will have high expectations for any other corporate company. There were countless orientations that provided information all about the company. Rockwell has an event called, ‘Lunch and Learn,’ where speakers come and talk in a huge conference room during our lunch so that we can use our time wisely and still be able to listen and learn while we’re eating. It’s a pretty neat experience. Usually, the topics are pretty interesting, like Short Term International Rotation (STIRs) or Rockwell’s very new Leadership and Development program. People such as the Senior VPs and VPs of the company come and speak to us! I always look forward to these presentations.

Bridge Market (Like Prairie Street and Drumlin Market)
Bridge Market at Rockwell Automation

The Cafeteria
Cafeteria at Rockwell

Another thing I am impressed with is Rockwell’s mentor program. Of the 123 interns in Milwaukee and Mequon, all of us have a formal mentor assigned to us. These mentors may meet with us weekly or bi-weekly to check in with us on our progress, give us advice on our projects, answer any questions we might have, help us find our strengths and skills in our field, or supply career advice.

My mentor is also an HR rep but for a different business unit called Operations and Engineer Services (OES).  It’s great to learn from her because of her experience with the company. She has worked with me on a few projects and has provided information and insight that I never would have thought about. I am so happy I was assigned to her and will definitely keep in contact with her throughout my career.

The Fitness Center
Rockwell Fitness Center

As for progress on my projects, I am doing well. I have had a variety of smaller projects along the way to keep me fresh. One of these smaller projects includes an hour long presentation about managing four different generations in the workplace. Currently, there are Traditionalists (1922-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), and Generation Y (1981-2000). All have different values and viewpoints about their work and the way things are done. I am creating the presentation about how to manage these differences and to identify what the differences are.

Ultimately, I mention how all generations can attempt to merge their different styles into a cooperative and successful work atmosphere, so that companies can retain their new talent and continue the spread of knowledge throughout the company. I will present it to a full room of my intern peers as well as my manager and a few other HR reps and managers. I am eager to be finished, but it will take so much to talk for an hour without notes! I would like to say I am not nervous about presenting, but I fear that presenting in front of students at school is a lot different than potential employers.

Practicing for my presentation.
Gabby Practicing Her Presentation

Wish me luck! I will share the results of my projects with you in my last post. I can’t believe it’s already July.

Until next time – Gabby Fenzel