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: Warren Johnson
Graduation Year: May 2020
Major(s): Supply Chain Management / Information Management & Technology
Hometown: San Jose, California
Intern Company/Title: BAE Systems – Strategic Sourcing Intern
Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
During my time at BAE Systems, I worked with the strategic sourcing team on various initiatives. Early in the summer, I received projects that my manager and the team felt matched my supply chain and information technology background. I took on these projects along with others assigned to me as the summer progressed. Since I was supporting multiple projects, my tasks varied on a day-to-day basis. My responsibilities depended on what project I was working on, which job had an upcoming deliverable, and with whom I had a future meeting. Some of my projects included: commodity negotiations, supplier spend forecasting, website development, an intern team project, tools for capacity planning, skill assessment, and supplier selection.
How did you land your internship?
I was actively searching for internships online through various platforms, such as Glassdoor, Handshake and LinkedIn. While this was going on, my roommate, Adam Miller, an aerospace engineering student, got hired by BAE Systems as a test engineering intern for the summer. Knowing I had previously expressed interest in the company, he recommended I take another look into their operations opportunities. After applying, I received a request for an interview and then received my offer the next day. I was told my ability to speak about the technical skills I learned in the iSchool, and my supply chain background helped distinguish me as a perfect fit for the position.
What did you learn from your internship experience?
I learned many valuable things while working at BAE Systems. One of the biggest takeaways was the importance of time management. While working on multiple projects, I had to make sure I was as productive as possible, and met all of my deadlines. A new technical skill I was able to develop was VBA programming, and I used this skill to create and automate a few tools for the strategic sourcing team. Lastly, I gained more appreciation for the value of communication and collaboration, not only with my team but with individuals outside of my area of work.
Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
My experience has affected my openness to different locations, as well as the type of jobs I will be seeking after graduation. Before this internship, I had been locked into technology consulting in New York. While that is still something I am very interested in, I am revisiting what other jobs and locations I am open to and will be broadening my scope.
How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
This internship will help me in several ways after graduation. I made many valuable connections and was able to further my preparation to enter the workforce after graduation. Furthermore, this was the first time I spent a summer away from home, so it helped me see what living on my own would be like after college. I also gained experience in finding my work-life balance. I worked roughly 36-44 per week, but still had time to play soccer, go to the beach, hike and explore the area.
How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
The knowledge base I was able to develop in my supply chain courses helped me in understanding the type of work environment I was entering. Also, I used Microsoft Excel every day. The skills you learn for the certification exam become very useful, and for me even more, so the skills you learn in BUA345 were some that I used from the start of the internship. Lastly, all of my projects had some team aspect to them, even if I was only working with one other person. The team-focused work done in Whitman greatly helped me prepare for this work style.
What did you enjoy most about your experience?
I loved the team I worked with, and enjoyed being pushed out of my comfort zone to learn new technical skills.
Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
Be open-minded and keep searching. I didn’t land this internship as early on in the recruiting process as I thought I would. However, I am grateful for the experience.