Finding a summer internship can be a long and arduous process, but the internship I acquired at Littelfuse Inc. was well worth it. As the Product Management Intern, I had two main tasks, to cleanup and improve the automotive section of the website, and to use my analytical and math skills to assist my boss, the Director of Global Product Management and the Product Management Business Analyst in a variety of tasks.
Before the work even started, there were several factors that enhanced the internship. I had my first in depth experience with Outlook. Although it was a little hard to navigate at first, I now have gained an appreciation for having an organized schedule, with reminders, and an assignment queue. Moreover, the Office Communicator Software allows me to communicate with people from around the world through a chat system. I talked to people located in the Philippines, Germany, and the third floor of my building, without ever having to leave my seat. It is quite handy when you only have a short question and need a quick response.
I knew it was going to be an interesting internship from the first day when I had to wait until noon to have my laptop ready. I ended up spending the morning familiarizing myself with the product catalog offered by my division, the Automotive Business Unit (ABU) – I know way too much about car fuses now. After a day or two of training and meeting various employees, I began the less exciting part of my summer working on improving the website and product datasheets. No one had this responsibility since the end of December, and my inbox quickly filled up with many changes that needed to be made ASAP. After a few weeks when I finished making all the changes, I was ready to begin the second part of my internship.
This was the part of my internship that was extremely data and excel heavy. The first thing I was assigned to do was to update some S&OP (Sales and Operation Planning) charts for one of their products. While this task may seem simple, it becomes much harder when several people provide you with several different sets of information all about the same thing. It required me to sort through all the data and even make some of my own projections from time to time. Another assignment was to analyze a Gross Product report and look for areas of potential margin improvement. After calculating many numbers and creating many charts, my work was included in a presentation to the CEO and CFO of the company. Even though I was not actually in that meeting, the fact that my work was used for this showed that my boss and the company thought of me as a full time employee and not just as an intern.
In addition to working hard, it is clear that one key aspect of the workplace was lunch time. There was a group of about ten of us who ate lunch together almost every day. It was more than just the few guys I work with; it was a mix of people from different departments and floors of the office. The social interactions between employees helped me to understand why things ran so smoothly in the company. It isn’t just the skills of each of the employees, but the way they interact with one another. They were very welcoming and I didn’t feel like an outsider during their conversations. It was something I looked forward to everyday.
The summer, although I still have a few weeks left, taught me a lot about the structure of a corporation. Good coordination and communication between individuals located around the world can mean the difference between a satisfied and unsatisfied customer. Furthermore, when employees can connect with each other on a personal level, everything runs better. It was a great experience with a great company.
Leo Spornstarr is a rising senior in mathematics and economics. He is hoping to become an actuary after college.
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Views from the Cube offers an inside look at what it means to be an intern from Northwestern students who are interning across the country and internationally for companies and organizations in all industries. Would you like to share your experience? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.