Intern Bloopers

No matter how much people tell you there are no dumb questions and that you should ask everything you don’t understand; there is something about not wanting to sound stupid that makes you think twice before just saying anything. Moreover, when the people around are experts dealing with the business you are trying to understand… you really don’t want to be that blank “puff” brain sitting in the middle of the meetings. .

So tip #1: Always take note of those million things you didn’t understand  then go to your desk and figure them out! You can Google, research or ask the next youngest employee to explain them to you (trust me he had the same or maybe even more questions). So, really is not that bad…

Now, what about that other type of questions that you never get any training on? I am talking about things like   how to get the stupid coffee machine to brew decent tasting coffee, or how to get the fax machine to work on the first attempt, or how to reach the people that set the air conditioning at crazy temperatures that make me feel like winter in Ohio, even how to find the conference rooms in an office space were the number sequence makes no sense at all.

As much as I have avoided looking intern-like, I have been defeated by some of this anti-friendly tech office equipment so I am going to tell you some of my stories so you can laugh with me and not at me.

  1. When I started working at Dow, I though my emergency contact list was only for Houston, and since I didn’t know at the time the company calling codes, I ended up calling Midland Michigan. Guess what, they can’t do anything about the temperature in my Houston office
  2. Fancy coffee machines are not easy to use.. not going to say any more about that
  3. Read the safety guide.. People don’t like or lets say REALLY don’t like when other people break the rules.. (Even though if its just holding the handle of the exit stairs)…
  4. For a fax within the USA you still have to dial one.  Am I the only one that thinks this does not make sense?
  5. Ask for help finding the printer that your computer has as a default. It’s not easy when there are at least 20 on each floor and even worst when it’s your first day and even going from your desk to the bathroom is a problem.
  6. You have to learn your maps when office 2301 follows 2419 . . .  go figure that out!
  7. Yes, you are required to go to that meeting your boss’ boss invited the whole team to (but you). No, you are not in the server and yes, somehow you have to figure out it is happening and you are ALWAYS free. Got it?

Anyways… just wanted to share some of the funny beginner mistake I have done so far and I think in a way admit the fact that you can’t always be a super intern. Its hard to feel comfortable asking many questions and not sound dumb to yourself, but others are actually expecting your questions and its better to ask them before making silly mistakes, loosing time or playing with your or others security (from now on I will always hold the stairs handle.. I promise. Ha-ha-ha

General Mills’ Key Performing Interns (KPIs) – LMA intern group project

As I sit in Centennial Park waiting for my cousin to finish touring the New World of Coke across the street, I realize I have not written in a while and I truly apologize for not sharing my summer with all of you; this is because it has simply flown by.  Time flies when you’re having a good time is correct, so to say that it’s been great is an understatement, cause I’m not really sure where it went.

Just like each professor has his/her own way to teach the same material in a very unique way, every logistics group at the various General Mills plants measure their performance variably.  Because the nature of yogurt, cereal, soups and other vegetables for example is so different, this is understandable.  But being the same company, shouldn’t there be a standard?

One of my projects was to work with the logistics interns at 9 other locations (varying from California to Iowa and Tennessee) spanning across 3 time zones in order to recommend certain standard metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that each planning group at the plants should know.  Then we had to quantify these metrics and understand what losses related to them, and how goals could be set to cut these losses going forward.  It was surely interesting to start from a collection of over 45 metrics that 20 plants measured (as each of us had a secondary plant we worked with as well in order to cover a larger network) to bring this number down to a final of just 10!!

The process helped us all learn more about each other and the different plants in the company along with another great team-work lesson.  We also have a better understanding of Supply Chain measurements along with Continuous Improvement, aka CI and linked Phase Progression in the Manufacturing World.

We also prepared to present our findings for leadership in Minneapolis during the company’s Intern Showcase on August 3rd.  Without meeting any of them before presenting together except for the day before the event was an interesting experience.  Attached are some photos of my room at the hotel we stayed in and the ladies are the female LMA interns.

This event was also a great networking opportunity, a wonderful time to meet all the interns in different functions from various locations, along with being a superb way to show managers at head quarters what we worked on over the summer.

Thinking on having an Internship?

I know a lot of people that take their Major classes before senior year, I really don’t have a strong opinion of what I think would be better since I see multiple pros and cons to each way one can choose to follow. In my case it worked out that I was able to get all my core business classes and GECs out of the way in my first two years at OSU, and I will have my senior year solely devoted to my  Major. I will be starting my third year in the university (and the USA.. WOOO) this September but this will be my last year in OSU.

Anyways, at some times during my internship I felt it would have been easier and gone much faster if I was more familiar with the subject. It was a little frustrating to have a small idea of what  people are talking about or what they are asking you to do (from the introduction classes) but not enough to get going. I felt sometimes that people forget  that you are an intern and they talk to you about details and specific processes as if you have learned that already your whole life! On the other hand, if you are one of those students that is not  working in an area 100% about your Major, having an internship will really help as a way of discovering if you can see yourself doing that type of job in the future. On another note, internships are supposed to give you a test of what the real world is like and you are there to learn. I think I will go back to school with an advantage. I will take with me many learning’s and experiences that will help me understand my  Major classes better and actually have a real world perspective to the material being studied. Having some familiarity with the class work will really make it easier (at least in my opinion).  For my Majors in Logistics and Operations specifically, it was key having a foundation of material through Introduction to Operations Management. Each day it became more relevant when working with inventory targets, understanding Value Stream Mapping, Six Sigma, etc.

I would advise other students to think of these different options and try to plan their schedules so they can make their internships the most beneficial for their own situation. Having an internship that applies to your major is a great way of seeing the opportunities that would open if you follow that path. Also, it can help you understand if that path is the one where you see yourself in the future and if it’s the right fit for you. You can learn how a company works and what type of company is the right for you (big corporation, location, culture, benefits and values that are important for you, etc). Another great advantage of an internship is that it can also open your eyes to other areas you might want to explore.

Above anything, no matter where you are in the career decision you make, or the plans you have for your internship, or even the current economy that makes it harder to have an internship you really wanted, having real work experience is key for your personal development. Besides all the people you meet, the experience, the opportunity, the exposure, the salary, etc, I think is an enrichining experience that you will always carry. Also,  from the perspective of a college student giving advice to other college students,  never underestimate the importance of the work experience field on your resume.

A Perfect Getaway

Week 5: Monday August 3rd-Sunday August 9th

Meeting new people, gaining valuable knowledge about the industry I want to work in, exploring a city of sunshine, beaches, palm trees, and bright lights, learning the art of independence, even taking classes at the New York Film Academy! Living in Los Angeles has really become a perfect getaway. Little did I know that this term would take on a second, even more thrilling meaning in the context of my summer adventure.

Monday August 3rd: Marvel – Production Office

Tuesday August 4th: NYFA – Classes

“Director’s Craft” 11:30-2:00

Lunch, then got my Universal badge!

“Writing” 3:00-5:30

Break

“Acting for Film” 6:00-8:30

Back home

Wednesday August 5th: A Perfect Getaway, Red Carpet, Movie Premiere, and After Party!

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Pretty excited to run into Steve Zahn! Five minutes before this picture (below) was taken I walked by Dan Byrd, Hilary Duff’s co-star in A Cinderella Story. I happened to have spent a large portion of my youth worshipping Miss Duff, so I turned around and like a little girl I said, “Hey! I loved you in A Cinderella Story!” …Embarrasing, I know. He responded very kindly and we chatted for a couple of minutes. Basically the highlight of my night, haha… I’m glad I refrained from asking what it was like working with Hilary and if he thinks her and I would make good friends.

It was wild to see Timothy Olyphant, Kiele Sanchez, the rest of the cast, and a slew of other celebs at the after party. The life of the rich and famous sure is nice!

To my disappointment, Mila left for a flight to London right after the premier and Chris Hemsworth, the soon-to-be Thor himself, was M.I.A because of Marvel-related business.

With Steve Zahn

Thursday August 5th: Marvel – Production Office

Back to work at Marvel!

Friday August 6th: NYFA

“Acting for Film” 4:30 – 7:00

Out to dinner with some NYFA students

Saturday August 7th: NYFA

Guest Speaker Dana Lustig spoke of the ins and outs of independent, low-budget filmmaking. Her advice: if pursuing a career in this industry, don’t underestimate the importance of business knowhow. “The film business is still a business,” she said. And studying more of the legal, financial, and logistical side of things is something she wishes she had done more of back when she was just beginning her career. Dana also emphasized the importance of having big actors in your film, even (or especially) if it’s low budget. Big names attract money and attention to your work and in the end, the goal is to sell the film and create a profit for your investors (which they will ideally then re-invest into your next project). As far as markets go, Dana spoke of the lucrative nature of the foreign markets. The trend of shooting films in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, etc., where labor and other costs are cheaper, underlines the importance of filmmakers creating and maintaining strong foreign relations.

Dana also spoke in depth about film distribution:

Two major markets: Domestic (US and sometimes Canada) and Foreign (elsewhere)

Main mediums of distribution: DVD, TV, Cable TV, Theatrical Release, Internet, Phone (now developing more), Airplanes/Cruise ships

Film markets: Annual events which attracts thousands of industry participants from all over the world who converge to buy and sell distribution rights for completed films or to gain financing for projects in various stages of production. This is a tradeshow where production and distribution deals are closed. Attendees generally include: acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, press and all those who provide services to the motion picture industry. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Film_Market)

For a list of film markets visit: http://www.movieindustrymarketing.com/cgi-bin/gt/tpl.h,content=15

Film festivals: Today, many film markets are taking place in conjunction with film festivals. “A film festival is an organized, extended presentation of films in one or more movie theaters or screening venues, usually in a single locality.” Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_festival)

Overall Dana states, “Never put your ego before the big picture. You want the picture to sell, to satisfy your creativity and artistic vision and to produce a ROI for your investors.”

Sunday August 8th: Beach and brainstorming

Headed to the beach to relax and write. Next week, I’m going to have the opportunity to shoot my own short film at the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios!

Keep a lookout for new video posts this week on My YouTube Page. For more pictures from my trip, check out My Flickr Page. Thanks for reading guys! Love reading your comments!

Next post…Monday August 10th-Sunday August 16th

How Coursework Connects to Intern Projects

For this week, I decided to look back on all of the projects I have been assigned throughout this summer and figure out how my coursework has helped me succeed as an intern here at Cohen & Company. First of all, since I have been exposed primarily to such a niche group, fund auditing, the coursework has not related directly. Having not taken any official audit classes yet I can’t speak for those, however there have been numerous topics that were mentioned in my accounting classes that I have dealt with.

When it comes to accounting, especially tax issues, the rules and regulations are capable of changing daily. If anyone is interested at all with accounting statements, the most common subject I am exposed to is the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 157. This statement deals with the fair value of a companies assets and liabilities. Since I work primarily with stocks and mutual funds, the fair value is the current or closing trade price. Other than that, the concept behind basic journal entries is something that has to be second nature. As an intern you really cannot afford to spin your wheels when it comes to journal entries. Obviously, you will be involved with certain topics that are foreign to you but as long as you put forth the effort, it will be noticed. One class that I know as mentioned by another Fisher blogger is CS&E 200. I honestly feel like this course should be taught later in the curriculum, since the acquired skills are imperative to being efficient when working on computers all day. At Cohen & Company, the woman who is in charge of training holds weekly sessions that are open to all employees. These presentation topics range from “Excel on Steroids” to “Hidden Treasures in Adobe Acrobat 7.0”. These are great opportunites to brush up on your skills as well as learn numerous shortcuts and other features that increase your efficiency.

Another aspect of coursework that related directly to my internship experience is the importance of group work. It seems like in every class, by the second day, you have been assigned to groups that you will work on all projects with. I cannot stress the importance of learning from these experiences. For our intern summer project, as I mentioned earlier, we had to create a Facebook Fan Page. This past week, we presented in front of 35 employees in the Cleveland office in addition to at least 50 others listening in via webinar. As soon as we were assigned this task, we knew it would be a tremendous amount of work, especially if we wanted it to be successful. By the time this entry is posted, the site will have gone public, please feel free to become a fan (Search: Cohen & Company on Facebook and look for the Fan Page). Also, as a question to readers, how comfortable do you feel becoming fans of companies you may be interested in working for? Even if the recruiter can’t see your profile, does this sound like something you would do? What type of features would keep you returning to the site? Also, how many of you are on Twitter? This was another assignment associated with our summer project.

Below are a few pictures that are posted on the site.

 

Conference Room in Columbus Office
Conference Room in Columbus
Intern Group on a client tour in Cleveland
Intern Group on a client tour in Cleveland
My cube in the Columbus Office
My cube in the Columbus Office