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: Scott Mueller
Graduation Year: May 2021
Hometown: Hardyston, New Jersey
Intern Company/Title: Lendlease – Project Management Intern
Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
Lendlease is an Australian company with a construction and development footprint across the world. There are hundreds of projects happening simultaneously, and interns are placed on one or two projects for the summer. I worked as a Project Management Intern in New York to build 277 5thAvenue, which is now the tallest residential building on 5thAvenue. I joined Lendlease towards the end of this project during a time in which there were more stakeholders to work with, including the building salespeople, investors, residents, government officials and many more. My role was to act as a liaison between the Lendlease project managers and these stakeholders every day. This was essentially meant to facilitate the tail-end of the project and bridge a communication gap. I also assisted with choosing subcontractors for certain pieces of the project and helped make decisions based on product/service quality, lead times and whether or not Lendlease had a positive relationship with them in the past.
How did you land your internship?
A friend of mine worked at Lendlease in its New York division in the early 2010s. Also a Finance major, he recommended it to me and I applied via the company’s website. After submitting my resume, I was invited to participate in a video interview in late March of 2019. A few weeks after completing the interview, I received an email extending an offer to join Lendlease.
What did you learn from your internship experience?
Without question, what I learned most is that you need to be a strong communicator and a quick thinker in business. We faced some high-stress situations this summer that required intelligent snap decisions, and I was in awe to see how some of the project managers navigated some intense and ambiguous problems.
Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
My experience at Lendlease hasn’t changed my career aspirations. It has shown me that I crave a dynamic environment that requires a lot of communication. It has also shown me that I would love to go back and even maybe try to explore other divisions or locations within the company.
How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
My ability to think quickly and make a decision intelligently and confidently was heightened through this experience. I think there are some skills, like these, that are transferable to any role, which is ideally what should be sought in an internship experience (or any job experience, really). I’ve also met some great, intelligent people who I can count on as mentors for years to come.
How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
In terms of technical skills, the Whitman coursework that prepared me most for this internship was MGT 247 and SCM 265. On the development side, my project on 5thAvenue was a joint venture with the Victor Group, and I was able to see how different projects operate under different levels of vertical integration, which is a focal point of MGT 247. Building residential complexes require many forces to come together on many levels, and Lendlease hires subcontractors and partners from across the world. Analyzing lead times and past partnership performances to elect these partners is a focal point of SCM 265. Serving as a Whitman Ambassador and being involved in other organizations that require a lot of communication with many different people were great experiences that helped me do the same at Lendlease. It’s a very relationship-based business. We were always communicating with subcontractors, developers, international clients and other parties, and you have to be able to communicate well with everyone you come across with. So being involved in organizations that involve just that prepared me for the internship.
What did you enjoy most about your experience?
My internship did not operate in a giant office environment as I expected it to. What I felt, and what my managers felt, was that each project was like a startup. We were building an entire complex from start to finish, and those who work on a project usually do not leave until the project is finished. This allows for a smaller group of people to form great relationships and become good friends. The environment was exciting and none of us were ever bored. I’m abroad in Madrid, Spain, now and I’ll be meeting two colleagues from Lendlease when they come here for business because we formed a great relationship during my time at Lendlease. Overall, what I enjoyed most is making the friendships that I did. To me, this is one of the most important things that should be found in an internship or job.
Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
Keep an open mind! A job description often does not encapsulate what your entire experience will be like. If a company or role looks interesting to you, apply for it and don’t let uncertainty hold you back!