I was teasing Gerlaugh the other day because since moving to Texas, she has already started to incorporate “y’alls” and other Southernisms into her speech (I swear she said “Bless your heart” to the lady who put extra meat on her burrito at Chipotle the other day). But I guess I have to stop teasing because I caught myself saying “ya’ll” this morning. It sneaks into your vocab, really. So, ya’ll are probably wondering how in the world I ended up in Texas of all places this summer. It all has to do with the fact I A. wanted to work somewhere unique (and outside of Ohio) this summer and B. love this company and didn’t think twice about relocating so far away to intern with them.
Just a little background on me, I started at University of Dayton as a freshman, left half way through my sophomore year to study through St. Louis University in Madrid, and then transferred to Ohio State at the beginning of my junior year. Sometimes it was nerve-wracking and stressful, but ultimately I could not have asked for a better experience thus far. During my semester abroad and in summers between schools, I interned at Fifth Third Bank’s headquarters in Cincinnati, traveled to Africa & the Canary Islands, and went on a service trip to Honduras. Over the last three years, I have met extraordinarily talented and vibrant people, made amazing friendships, and learned from a wide array of professors and business leaders. This exposure to so many unique people is what helped me realize that I find my motivation in the people I surround myself with, whether that is at work, in class, traveling or just in day-to-day life activities.
People are sometimes surprised to find out that I am an accounting major, knowing that I am an extrovert and get my energy from the people around me (breaking accountant stereotypes, I suppose). One thing that I have always liked in the Accounting field is the diversity of companies and opportunities I can pursue. Every company in every industry, from retail to transportation to energy, needs finance people. Therefore, I have chosen to pursue a vibrant and people-centered company to intern with, Southwest Airlines.
Almost everyone who flies or is in business knows who Southwest is and how they defy industry stereotypes by thinking outside the box in their business operations. Southwest is a pioneer not only in the airline industry and its lean operating system, but in the way they treat people. The culture of SWA is one of the most unique of large corporations in the United States and the world. One of my favorite quotes of our CEO, Gary Kelly, is that “We are a customer service company that just happens to fly airplanes”. That quote really illustrates the importance of putting people, whether it is employees or customers, first. Ever since reading a case study about SWA my freshman year at UD, they have topped my list of dream companies to intern with/ work for.
Last fall, after an extensive online application process, series of phone interviews and a flight to the headquarters in Dallas, I was thrilled to find out I was offered a summer internship in Internal Audit. Ask my roommates, I actually cried of happiness then subsequently got a speeding ticket on my way home because I was so excited. My enthusiasm only increased when I found the other two Alexs had landed internships here as well and were moving to Dallas with me! People we meet here never believe we are all from Ohio, are roommates, and are all named Alex. (We’ve brought out our IDs on numerous occasions just to prove we are all, in fact, named Alex). I am looking forward to exploring Dallas and learning as much as I can from such an amazing company. I hope you enjoy following along on the adventures of the Alexs at Southwest this summer!