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A week in the life of a Diamond Foods internship…
A typical work week consisted of a checklist with tasks that are to be completed daily, weekly, or monthly. Each month has its own set of tasks, both recurring and nonrecurring. For example, journal entries must be completed at the beginning of each month while certain tax filings and payments were to be completed quarterly. From time to time, we were given small projects to work on if we had free time. It was critical to be aware of deadlines and prioritizing work is a must because we were frequently assigned other tasks aside from our normal checklist.
The nature of the work was mostly independent and tasks were split between the interns. However, there were several team aspects as well since we were in constant communication within the department and we assisted the personnel whenever needed.
Highlights of the internship experience…
The best aspect of the internship was the ability to create our own work schedules and change our hours to accommodate our busy school schedule. I was constantly learning new things every month, which kept me on my toes. I had great mentors to explain difficult procedures to me and why I was doing them. Catered meals during quarter end closes and free nuts were also a plus!
Working for the general accounting department involves constant communications with other departments including Accounts Payable, Payroll, Accounts Receivable, Cost Accounting, Treasury, and Sales because our department serves as the central body that everyone reports to. Additionally, we communicated with external groups such as our auditors, PWC, and consultants, Protiviti. My communication and written skills developed greatly over the year because of this ongoing communication. I became more comfortable speaking with all individuals of the organization including directors and senior managers. More exposure to tax coursework could have been beneficial for me because we dealt with various tax filings that I had difficulties with.
The greatest takeaway was being able to work for the company for a whole year and understanding its operations from start to finish. Most internships are only a few months long and students do not fully grasp everything that can be learned in that position. During my internship with Diamond Foods, I was able to experience monthly, quarterly, and year-end closes. During the year, I’ve built great relationships with the personnel within the department and they proved to be a valuable resource if I need help with recommendations and referrals.
What differentiates Diamond Foods as an employer…
The culture of the company welcomed an open environment and we treated each other like family. We went out for lunch to celebrate birthdays and brought cakes to celebrate other’s achievements. Diamond Foods has been the most rewarding and gratifying work experience I’ve had.
Diamond Foods is a multinational public corporation with offices in Canada and Europe. Diamond Foods own several subsidiaries including Kettle Chips, Pop Secret Popcorn and Yellow chips. (Side note: Diamond Foods is often confused with Blue Diamond, which is another nut company that is an entirely separate and unrelated entity.)
What’s next for Robert…
Working in industry accounting definitely exposed me to the type of work I will audit. During my internship, I’ve compiled several schedules for our auditors and even answered questions and went over procedures with them. It was great to see how “the other side” operated and I know that this will be beneficial in my role as an auditor when I join Deloitte full-time next fall as a Staff Auditor.
Article compiled and edited by Kristen Wong, ESB ’16, CMC Marketing Intern
A week in the life of a San Joaquin RTD internship…
My day-to-day activities consisted of maintaining up-to-date records of contract invoices to ensure all products and services were within the contract scope and allocated funds. Invoices must be verified and signed by the respective Contracts officer presiding over the project, then scanned and filed electronically in the Procurement System to reflect the goods and services received from that vendor. Once Procurement & Contract Services finalized their process, Accounts Payable proceeded with their process before issuing payment to vendors. The Procurement & Contract Services department must follow a system to ensure all procedures are done in a timely manner and filed correctly for upcoming audits.
My main duties as a Procurement and Contract Services intern included the following:
- Assist the Procurement Contracts Department to make a shift towards electronic filing by archiving 50+ boxes of contracts and related documents dating from 1996 to 2008.
- Research and outreach to vendors who are potentially interested in working with RTD.
- Organize and maintain up-to-date payments by scanning and electronically filing invoices.
Highlights of the internship experience…
As an intern, I learned all about the procurement side of a business, gaining an understanding of the time and effort that goes into producing a contract. Creating a contract requires proper contract language and insurance, and a risk assessment of operations to ensure the best interests of the company, while also maintaining a positive relationship with the vendors. Although not a part of my daily task, a contracts employee must be able to negotiate and communicate well with vendors, have high levels of writing skills to create a contract with necessary contract and legal language, and be able to handle balancing multiple projects simultaneously while under the stress of meeting deadlines.
My main project in the Contracts component of the department included records management which involved archiving dated records no longer actively used. Before I started with RTD, all past contracts were stored away in the Storage Room in boxes and cabinets. As we started the transition, I heavily focused on going through all the documents and binders, identifying where they belong, scanning the files and filing them electronically, and shipping them off to Pacific Storage to clear out space for future contracts. It was crucial that we followed a system for filing binders and documents because of the large number of content that goes with each contract, ranging from only one binder for smaller contracts to twenty-five binders for larger contracts. All contract-related documents must be filed in their respective binders such as email correspondences, bid proposals, invoices, and memos for just about everything because RTD is periodically audited by those who fund RTD.
All in all, being in the Procurement and Contract Services department has been a rewarding experience because I was able to apply the skills and experience I have learned at RTD to my audit internship at Armanino when I was tasked with looking at a client’s contracts and verifying they were the correct ones pertaining to the audit under the correct time period. Since I was already familiar with the language and outline of a contract, I was able to easily find what I was looking for.
What differentiates San Joaquin RTD as an employer…
RTD proactively outreaches to and supports local businesses in the area. My second main function was to outreach to businesses who might be interested in working with RTD. This not only helps RTD but also helps local businesses who may be unaware that RTD is looking for certain products and services. If a project is federally funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), RTD is required to also include Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) companies on the outreach list. DBE companies are for-profit small businesses that are at least 51% owned by an individual or individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
I conducted a variety of outreach projects, including landscape maintenance to ensure that major bus stations throughout Stockton are well-kept, intrusion alarm for RTD facilities, retirement services to ensure RTD employees are receiving their retirement benefits, and bus fleet washing services to ensure efficient fleet washing without wasting excess water during California’s drought, just to name a few. The outreach is an important process of increasing the solicitation competition pool as we enhance our online E-Bids Procurement System vendor registration. This system allows registered users to access not only the current solicitation documents, but it also informs them of any other projects that pertains to the types of products and services they provide.
What’s next for Lisa…
Following a summer internship with Bay Area-based public accounting firm Armanino, I was offered a full-time position within their Audit division and I will be joining the firm in the Fall of 2016. In the meantime, I will begin studying for the CPA exams.
Article compiled and edited by Kristen Wong, ESB ’16, CMC Marketing Intern
Join us for the Fall 2015 Sacramento MBA Fair hosted at the University of the Pacific Sacramento campus. The fair will feature a discussion panel of admissions representatives from Sacramento State, UC Davis and the University of Pacific. Following the panel, attendees will have the opportunity to receive application and admissions tips, tools and resources from MBA admissions representatives from all three universities as well as GMAT and GRE exam test prep representatives.
Attendance is free and a light breakfast will be served.
University of the Pacific
3227 Fifth Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95817
We look forward to seeing you there!
Have you ever had that feeling of being in the right place at the right time? That was how I felt at the Fall 2013 Meet the Firms event hosted by the Eberhardt School of Business. Attending the event had been a requirement for the MBA Career Development Seminar, but I saw it as more than that. It was about networking and exploring different avenues and realms that I may not have previously considered. Going into this event I already had a full-time job and starting over as an intern for another company wasn’t in the cards. This was before I encountered Stryker recruiter Lindsey Cooper. I was immediately drawn to the company. She invited me to apply for the summer internship program, and as soon as I was able to get back to a computer, I did just that.
What drew me to Stryker? It is one of the world’s leading medical device companies. Aside from their industry stability, the two components that really drew me was the opportunity to help people when they needed it the most by supplying the doctors with top-of-the-line products and Stryker’s emphasis on employee satisfaction and development. I never knew that culture would be so important to me, but now that I know what it feels like to belong. It felt like pure bliss, which increased my intrinsic motivation to succeed within the internship and forward.
The interview process was an experience in itself. Stryker really focused on finding the RIGHT people for the company. It was more about company fit rather than solely based on resume and knowledge. I went through a Gallup interview, which examined my personality and productivity traits to determine whether I would fit into the company culture. Once I succeeded in this phase of the process, I went onsite for a day-long interview with 10-12 employees across diverse roles. This was more about learning and asking them questions than it was an interview for me. I got a clear understanding of what drives them in their daily jobs and why they chose Stryker. Shortly after the interview I received an offer for the summer internship. This is when I knew I had to take the risk and leave my full-time job to explore something else that would make me happy in the long-run because I would LOVE what I was doing.
Like the company, the internship program was something I had never experienced in my prior internships. As a Business Planning intern, my role was to ensure that we had the product available in inventory for the customers when it was needed. I planned production levels and generated analysis to determine adequate levels of buffer inventory. I was a assigned both a mentor and manager who I met with weekly and daily that really developed me not only as a new professional in the workplace but also personally as an individual. I was given real-world projects that impacted the business. Nothing was ever busy work or filler work. Stryker had a work-hard-play-harder environment. The cohesion was something I had never experienced before in a work situation. The relationships that I created over the summer are something that I still hold onto. When you can go to work with your friends and then do extracurricular activities on the weekends and after work with them, that’s something that cannot be duplicated.
Finishing up the internship and getting to present my accomplishments and experience to everyone who impacted my summer was a major highlight for me. The internship taught me a lot about what I wanted out of a company and, above all, how much I fit in and felt appreciated. I would not change that experience for anything else.
Accepting a full-time post-MBA offer was the icing on the cake. I will continue making an impact for our customers and reuniting with everyone that left a footprint in my experience. The quote that best describes my summer is “every journey begins with a single step.” My advice to students and fellow alumni is to take that first step because you never know where it will take you.
UPDATE: Since graduating with her MBA in December 2014, Alexys has returned to Stryker as a Purchasing Analyst. She’s continued to work on some of the projects she was involved with as an MBA intern to further improve those processes. She’s working directly with suppliers to learn about their processes and build stronger relationships, and she’s delving into the products that Stryker Endoscopy manufacturers to better understand how they impact the lives of the consumers who are the ultimate beneficiaries. Connect with Alexys on LinkedIn
We have all heard the saying “practice makes perfect,” and in the case of Eberhardt Masters of Accounting student Jim Feliz, this quote rung true with his search for the perfect internship. Jim practiced his interview skills with many companies and conducted mock interviews to be well equipped to take on the task of finding a summer internship. This approach combined with alumni connections pursued with the help of the Eberhardt Career Management Center gave him a foot in the door for an interview with Pacific alumnus Kevin Turco, the HR Manager / Corporate Recruiter for Armanino LLP.
Although Jim prepared extensively, the interview with Armanino was unlike any prior interview he’d experienced. The pressure was on him during his final round of a three round interview process. Rather than having a partner ask him questions, he had to fill the entire thirty-minute interview slot by asking questions about Armanino. This was a unique way of finding out if potential candidates were interested in the company and had done a thorough job of researching the firm ahead of time. It was also a unique approach to ensure that he was a good fit with the firm’s organizational culture. The offer of a summer internship proved he was!
What does a day in the life of an Auditor look like? Contrary to popular belief, Jim stated that everyday was different. He got to deal with diverse segments of accounting, meet with senior staff, and had direct interaction with clients.
The highlight for Jim was the autonomy and high level responsibilities that the company gave him as an intern. He said he felt less like an intern and more like a first year Staff Accountant. Jim’s most rewarding experience was signing off on successfully completed audits, which spoke to his high efforts and dedication to the quality of his work.
Jim appreciates the foundation of accounting knowledge that the Eberhardt School of Business has given him. He has been able to put the theory learned in the classroom into real world application. Jim was able to quickly learn on the job and adapt to the professional working environment.
If he were to offer one piece of advice to students pursuing an internship, it would come down to a famous quote by Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” For Jim this means put yourself out there, attend events, utilize your resources, and apply to as many different types of internships that you may be interested in. He said that persistence was essential and not getting discouraged along the way kept him focused on the end goal.
Jim secured a full-time offer with Armanino upon graduation, continuing his quest to achieve longer-term career goals of passing the CPA exam and moving up in the accounting industry. Jim’s success demonstrates how important summer internships can be for students.
Connect with Jim on LinkedIn
To learn more about Armanino and career opportunities: http://www.amllp.com/careers
Eberhardt graduate students collaborated in an orientation teambuilding exercise that included 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and marshmallows. The goal: build the highest freestanding structure. The catch: varied and conflicting instructions! Which team do you think generated a fresh idea?
When she committed to the Eberhardt MBA program in 2012 Rebecca Teichmann could not have predicted that her internship experience would be spent in Modesto, CA on a dairy farm with 3500 cattle! To say the least, it was a bit unexpected, but she believes it was worth every (stinking) minute. The opportunity was created by Brian Fiscalini, fourth-generation General Manager of the Fiscalini family farm, and recent graduate from the Eberhardt MBA program, class of 2012. Brian recognized the opportunity to capture new ideas and talent through an MBA intern from the program. Rebecca’s assignments were focused around the needs of Fiscalini Cheese Company, the family’s artisanal cheese brand. More than once Rebecca jokingly said “they could pay me in cheese.”
Working in a family business environment wasn’t entirely new to Rebecca. In two past experiences prior to pursuing her MBA, she worked in the same company with her brother, Matthew Teichmann ESB ’03: one an internet marketing company and the other Matt’s own consumer products gourmet food company, San Franola Granola. The summer internship with Fiscalini Cheese Company helped Rebecca crystallize her post-MBA career goals in the area of marketing of consumer goods. It also reinforced her desire to return to the East Bay where she plans to launch her post-MBA career.
As the MBA Marketing Intern for the cheese company Rebecca initially spent some time getting familiar with the products and the production processes, dedicating a day in the cheese plant with the master cheese makers learning about the process from start to finish. As most of the cheeses produced by Fiscalini Cheese Company are aged products, “finished” is a relative state. However, she was able to participate in the observation and analysis of new product line extensions into soft (fresh) cheese options, including mozzarellas and spreads, that the company has been producing with the use of new equipment while optimizing shelf life and determining the optimal packaging in terms of quality to maximize sales. And, to Rebecca’s delight, there were numerous opportunities to taste test the product throughout the summer.
In addition to learning about the business from the inside, Rebecca was able to gain valuable insights about industry competitors which helped in her understanding of the market segment and enhanced her ability to give sound marketing recommendations in the delivery of her projects. The primary deliverables that Rebecca was asked to produce through the internship included contributions to logo redesign, a major overhaul of the website, and a refresh of both internal and external marketing collateral key to the company’s sales efforts.
Visiting local competitor Hilmar Cheese with Brian Fiscalini allowed Rebecca to benchmark the Fiscalini product packaging and presentation to a similar local producer. Assisting the Sales & Marketing Manager, Linda Rodriguez, with the company’s participation at Tony’s Fine Foods vendor trade show exposed Rebecca to a broader selection of consumer food products within the industry. She discovered that while the various brands are competing for shelf space, consumer interest, and loyalty, there are also valuable insights to be gained by networking within the consumer products industry.
Another key takeaway from the experience for Rebecca is a bit more universal to any situation, but particularly true in any smaller organization. Because the nature of this particular business is one that operates on a very lean scale, Rebecca realized quickly that projects and assignments weren’t always going to be laid out waiting for her. Instead of waiting for direction or guidance Rebecca tried to anticipate future needs of the Sales & Marketing Manager and proactively address opportunities, for example, to update and enhance the internal sales tools with up to date pricing sheets or re-organize the cheese store, where customers “off the street” might just show up and purchase a piece or even a few pounds of product straight off the shelf.
While she thoroughly enjoyed 10 weeks on the farm and many of the advantages of working in a small company environment, particularly seeing the immediate tangible impact of her contributions, Rebecca is actively pursuing opportunities with consumer products companies in the East Bay and San Francisco. She hopes to combine her pre-MBA experiences and undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies from Gonzaga University with her MBA and summer internship at Fiscalini Cheese Co. into to a marketing role with a larger company with multiple product lines that target a wider range of consumer segments.
For more information about the Fiscalini Cheese Company and the wide variety of aged cheeses, fresh cheeses, and cheese spreads available, please visit the website fiscalinicheese.com