Internship Experience: John Fenton, Procurement Intern at Dell Technologies

In this “Internship Experience” blog post series, we will be featuring the profile and thoughts of our students from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management as they return from summer internships. 

Name: John Fenton
Graduation Year: May 2021
Supply Chain Management / Marketing
Minor(s): Information Management and Technology
Hometown: Franklin, Massachusetts
Intern Company/Title: Dell Technologies – Procurement Intern

Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
I was a procurement intern for the Mechanicals Storage Procurement team. Some of my daily tasks included sitting in on supplier meetings, learning about different new projects my team was involved with, and working on renegotiating contracts for certain commodities.

How did you land your internship?
I had family friends who worked in the company and recommended that I apply for the position. Having grown up using Dell computers and learning about the story of Dell’s founding and growth, I was already drawn to the company. I applied, landed an interview, and then got the internship.

What did you learn from your internship experience?
I learned a lot about supply chain management and communication. I learned how important it is to effectively communicate with your coworkers. To complete a project, I needed to ask the right questions and find the best people to answer those questions. Also, I learned how to maximize my time when I was in the office. Everyone on my team had their roles and tasks, so I needed to ask efficient, timely questions about projects I was working on or about general advice. If you can maximize your time, no project or role seems too big.

Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
This experience made me realize that I like supply chain management. With the world moving towards a more global economy, companies are becoming more heavily reliant on efficient supply chains. I know I want to be in the supply chain field, but I’m still figuring out if I want to specialize in procurement, operations, or logistics.

How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
I know Dell is a company that values college graduates, and after my experience this past summer, I am very open to working with Dell full-time once I graduate. Also, my internship experience gave me an inside look into how the business world works and taught me how I needed to communicate clearly and advocate for myself for my work to be recognized. I learned to prioritize conversations with certain individuals who have great expertise in the areas that interest me the most. I also realized that I could become an expert in any area I want, as long as I ask questions and am open to learning from others.

How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
Whitman prepared me for this internship by giving me an introduction to supply chain management and how global business works. When I started my internship, I relied on the knowledge that I gained from SOM 354 and SCM 265, classes from the required core curriculum. Also, I used skills that I had gained from certain IMPRESS events to effectively network with individuals on my team and throughout the company. Using this knowledge, I was able to confidently talk to senior-level management and learn more about their roles and the company as a whole.

What did you enjoy most about your experience?
The part I enjoyed the most about my experience was the autonomy I was given as an intern. I was given two projects to complete during my internship, and my manager let me try to solve any problems I ran into by myself. The environment of the company emphasized that it’s okay to fail, but that it’s important to learn from your mistakes. Being able to grow from my failures and having a great deal of independence helped me grow both professionally and personally.

Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
Look for companies that interest you and try to get as much knowledge about the work you are doing and the industry you are in while at your internship. You should maximize your experience and try to be involved with as many projects and tasks as possible. Keeping an open mind and learning as much as you can at your internship will better prepare you for work post-graduation.

Sandhya Iyer