The Art of the Networking Coffee Chat

Everyone knows the old saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts.” Networking is certainly an important skill in the business world, and my internship this summer at Cardinal Health has helped me tremendously in building that skill.

The culture at Cardinal Health is very supportive of networking within the company. Everyone that I have encountered so far is more than willing to share about their role in the company, their career path, and any helpful insights they may have. As an intern, you have a “free pass” to learn as much as you can about other functions within the company.

I quickly discovered the concept of the “coffee chat,” a quick, usually 30-minute, meeting with someone who has a background or role you would like to learn more about. And of course, the chats are normally held in the comfortable chairs around the Cardinal Health coffee shop, Crimson Cup.

Throughout my internship thus far, I have scheduled coffee chats with other employees from a variety of sources. I attended Cardinal’s Finance Open House, which is like a career fair for internal employees. Here I spoke with someone in the tax department, who gave me the name of a director I could chat with to learn more about opportunities in tax.

My intern mentor has also helped connect me with a few networking contacts. Having expressed interest in a finance role, he directed me to a manager in Financial Planning and Analysis who gave me valuable insight into his day-to-day role. While chatting with the FP&A manager, he connected me with another employee who provided more information about full-time employment opportunities and the hiring process at Cardinal Health. The networking chain continues!

Whether you are in an internship role, a student, or just reaching out to family and friends, never be afraid to utilize your network. Even a 30-minute chat over coffee can be a great learning experience and lead to potential opportunities in the future.

Why am I Working Here Again?

Oftentimes as business students, we lose sight of the purpose of our work. Excel spreadsheets, CRM updating, e-mail after email, what’s it all for anyway?

When taking this job with Weight Watchers, I knew about the brand, as my mom had done the program years ago. In my mind, I had a picture of a group of people in a room talking about their weight loss and going on and on about everything they eat. Little did I know this perception would change so quickly.

Every month Weight Watchers holds a corporate meeting in which they disclose to their employees new products and updates to the company. The other interns and I had been looking forward to it all week, as we do for any meeting, to break up our day on the computer. Finally, the day had come! The first product was revealed, but after that I started to tune out–it wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped for. I was ready to go back to my desk and continue my work, until one of the members came to the front of the room and started to talk about her weight loss journey. After her first few words, I didn’t want to leave.

Since then I have heard a few other member’s stories at Weight Watchers member meetings, as well as I have started the program myself. I didn’t realize how much of a lifestyle change it truly is! Although our journeys have all been so different, we all have one result in common–not weight loss, but happiness. Reaching a goal or progressing towards one can be rough, but the support Weight Watchers provides its members keeps them motivated and proud of their success so far.

Knowing the purpose of the company I work for and seeing it in action has truly changed my attitude at work. It gives me a reason to make it through the long commute and those hours on the computer. Although it may not seem like my small intern tasks add value to the company at times, I know that my work helps those higher up make a larger impact.  It also made me realize the importance of finding my purpose and finding a workplace that aligns with what I feel I am set to do. By working with like minded people, I find myself more excited to come to work every day.

So why do I update the CRM system, pull reports, and work on sales reviews every day? I do it to make people happy!

Introduction to Cara Armstrong

Hello! My name is Cara Armstrong and I am excited to share my internship experience with you over the course of this summer. I recently finished my third year at Ohio State, majoring in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance and a minor in Leadership Studies. This summer I am interning at Cisco Systems in Research Triangle Park, which is located in North Carolina between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.  Along with two other interns, I am living in a house in Durham, near Duke University. Thankfully, my internship did not start until June 12, so I was able to relax for a few weeks of the summer. I am excited to dive into my internship, but first I will tell you a little about myself and how I secured my internship.

Beginning my freshman year at Ohio State, I was unsure of what I wanted to pursue within the finance field. I got involved in the Undergraduate Finance Association and went to their weekly meetings to learn more about different careers and companies within finance. These meetings helped me weed out jobs that I knew were not right for me, like investment banking and financial advising.  My sophomore year led me to a new job at Fisher College of Business in the Undergraduate Leadership and Engagement Office. I completed administrative work supporting different co-curricular programs, such as student organizations. Over the year, I networked with different companies, joined new organizations and decided that I was going to travel abroad to Europe for the summer. Deciding not to have an internship between my sophomore and junior year worried me because I did not wish to hinder my future chances at gaining an internship or job. In hindsight, traveling abroad did not hinder my career outlook, but rather broadened it. Interviewers and employers love that I had overseas experience and gained valuable skills that could seldom be taught through school or work. Over the course of the summer I traveled to New York City, went on the Sustainable Business Global Lab in Copenhagen and Rotterdam, spent time in Amsterdam with new friends, lived in Germany with extended family, traveled to the Alps, went to a Euro Cup soccer game in France, visited Rome and Barcelona, along with the Spanish islands of Ibiza and Formentera. The new experiences were invigorating and allowed me to become more independent and adaptable.

 

When I got home, I started my junior year and began my search for an internship for the following summer. During this time I became the Vice President of Operations for the Undergraduate Finance Association, switched my minor to Leadership Studies, and started in the Business Analytics Industry Cluster.  My responsibilities at work increased as I became Peer Impact Consultant, where I help students get involved in co-curricular activities to assist them in finding a career path and developing outside of the classroom. I applied to many different internships, but one company caught my interest. I had seen Cisco Systems on campus the previous year, and they came to the Finance Career fair where I was able to speak one on one with someone in the rotational program. Knowing the opportunities I would have at a giant technology company like Cisco, this company quickly became the place I wanted to work. I learned everything I could about the company and the rotational program. Going into the first interview I felt prepared and confident in my interest in the company. After the interview I emailed my interviewer, thanking him for his time. I also emailed the person I met the Finance Career Fair, telling her how my interview went. After about a week I received an email asking for a second round interview. I was ecstatic that my personality and passion for the company had paid off. Thankfully, I got an email a few days later congratulating me on getting the internship; I couldn’t have been happier! The next 8-9 months following were difficult because I desperately wanted this new phase of my life to begin. Rather than being nervous for my new internship, I welcomed my new work with open arms!

 

 

Third Week in London: Updates on Work and Personal Development

Hi All!

I’m coming to you again from London! This post is about my third week –  work has been great and has really picked up! I’ll talk a bit about what work has been like, and also the things I’ve done just living in London and my personal development.

Part 1: Work

I’m currently helping prep for my company’s app launch. They’re working on making an app that will be used on smart TVs, much like the Netflix app. The user will be able to create playlists of short films on their own, and the app will also make recommendations. It’s a really exciting project that they have been working on for quite some time now. I’m doing my part by inputting data into the database from which the app will get all the film information. This type of information can include the synopsis of the film, the genre, subgenres, etc.

Apart from working on the app, I’m also watching and reviewing films for one of the acquisitions team members. I write notes about the films while watching them, and then wrap up all my thoughts in a word document. I take notes about things like theme, camera angles and shots, emotions, and really anything else that I may fancy. I really enjoy doing this because I get to see so many different types of films. It’s so interesting to see what people all over the world come up with. I’ve watched some really good ones– films that have almost moved me to tears– and others that have been super weird.

I’ve also been helping go through contracts for my company. They have to clear out their cabinets because they’re acquiring so many new films, and there’s not room for them. It’s my job to go through and find the contracts that are expired and can be moved. Doing this is helping me learn about all the components of the contracts and how diverse the film world is.

The biggest thing that I’m working on right now is my marketing strategy project. The marketing team, which consists of two men, one from South Africa and another from the Netherlands, has asked me to help them with their marketing strategy. It’s a huge project, and once completed, they may use some of my ideas in their own work. I’m learning so much by doing this. Not only about marketing, but also how to work on my own and utilize my critical thinking skills. It’s definitely a challenge, but I’m excited about it. Wish me luck!

Part 2: Personal Experiences

A lot of my time after work this week was devoted to cooking and working out, but I did go out on Thursday night which was pretty fun. Since I have never really cooked before, I decided I would teach myself to cook here, in order to save money and help prepare me for living off-campus this year. So far I’m doing pretty well!

Chicken with Spinach and Tomato Spaghetti
Salmon with Veggies

Aside from cooking on my own, I’ve also had some awesome stuff out in the city. First of all, let me tell you that it IS possible to eat for cheap in the city. You just have to go to the right places! AND there’s so much variety here. It’s super fun to try all kinds of things!

Poppies– BEST fish and chips EVER
Pizza from Pizza Union on my street. This place was super cheap! Kind of like Blaze on OSU’s campus
Gelato from Camden Market.. super beautiful and it was super good. I got raspberry, strawberry, and mango

It’s definitely a good idea to keep track of how much you’re spending while doing your internship abroad. If you’re like me and paying for your trip yourself, things can add up quickly. I keep lots of my receipts to track my spending and also monitor my online bank account quite frequently. It keeps me knowledgeable about where my money is going and how much I have at all times.

Going out at night in London is also fun! I explore the city with other people from the program and it has been a great way to socialize and have fun after work! The most important part is to stay safe though. Always be with someone or let someone know where you are!

St. Pancras International Station at night. This picture doesn’t do it justice–it was stunning.

Hope you all have enjoyed reading so far! I’ll post again soon about everything I did my fourth week (it was a lot). That’s all for now!

XOXO

Sarah

Leadership Analysis

This week, the week before the Fourth of July, is the week before many General Motor’s locations close down for a week for the annual North American shut-down. This has meant that after the past few hectic weeks of work, things have been winding down as many people have been preparing for their upcoming vacations.

This slow-down has allowed me to start thinking about how GM operates, specifically how the many different forms of leadership and management come into play within this large company. From what I have gathered through my observations and from what the other interns have told me, I think there are a few different forms of management that all interact within my office. Some managers are very hands-on. They work directly with team members and constantly monitor project progress. Others are a bit more lax, leading from afar but still maintaining high expectations of the performance of their team. Finally, some have teams so large that they are forced to be quite hands-off.  All of these styles seem to work flawlessly, it just appears to depend on who makes up the teams being managed.

In a large company such as GM, people are traveling around the globe to various locations, plants, and/or suppliers everyday and it can be difficult to keep track of the actions of every team member every day. I think it has been very important to the growth of this company for the leadership teams that run the organization to give employees the proper space that they need. Some people need to be tightly managed while others need to be able to work things out for themselves, it is vital for managers and directors to be able to see this difference and to lead accordingly. From what I have experienced, this is something all of the leaders I have interacted with at GM have been very good at doing.

Over the next few weeks of your own internship begin to consider the type of leadership styles you have experienced throughout your current, and past, role. Also think about which type of style you prefer; this may be something to look for in your next job and it may be how you choose to lead in the future. You never know!