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

Intern Spotlight: Megan Rice ’11

Megan Rice

Megan Rice, Senior (May 2011)
Major: Finance
Internship: Global Finance Intern for Johnson Controls’ Power Solutions Unit

How did you find out about this internship? What interested you in the position?

I have always known Johnson Controls to be a company with a reputation of quality and integrity. Upon researching the company, I discovered their passion for sustainability which paralleled my own. I knew this was the type of company I wanted to work for. I initially found the internship on the company’s website. About two weeks later, I received a phone call requesting an interview. I had one on site interview and received an offer a few days later.

Describe your internship experience.

I currently hold the position of Global Finance Intern for Johnson Controls’ Power Solutions business unit. My team is transitioning to a new global financial reporting system (used by over 3,000 people throughout the world), and my job is to assist with this transition. In my role, I help analyze any discrepancies in the translation of financial reports. I have also been quite busy training employees who will be using this system on a daily basis worldwide.

What have you learned during your internship? How does this opportunity relate to your career goals?

Where to begin?! I have polished my analytical skills by applying the concepts I have learned in my formal education at UW-Whitewater to practical applications in my internship. My supervisor has played an active role not only in my career aspirations but also in my education. She has encouraged me to take an additional accounting course and a course in multinational business finance to enhance my abilities as a financial analyst. I love being able to learn a concept in my accounting class and apply it the very next day at my internship. I no longer sit in class wondering if I will ever use this information. I have become much more active and engaged in my education.

What advice would you give other students about internships?

Have fun! It is a lot of work, but it can be extremely rewarding if you enjoy the experience. I have taken pleasure in meeting people from almost every continent and in doing things I never thought I might. Take your responsibility seriously but have some fun along the way.

Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Megan? Tell employers, faculty, and fellow UW-W students what makes/made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, please visit the UW-W Intern of the Month Program info page.

Be sure to check out past featured students’ stories as well!