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Going beyond the classroom: IISE summer internships

Marcos Zatkulak & new friend
Marcos Zatkulak (l) makes a new friend
at PwC's Volunteer Day
Zoe Disori & Mallory Huff on a job site
Zoe Disori (l) & Mallory Huff (r) on a
job site walk-through
Tony Orr interned at Trane
Tony Orr at Trane in Chicago
Twenty-nine members of the Spring 2016 Purdue Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) board spent their summers gaining experience as interns in industrial engineering positions.

Tony Orr, Purdue IISE president, compiled the names and locations of the IISE board members’ summer internships. They interned in 12 states coast-to-coast plus Washington, DC, and one foreign country, Argentina. Hiring companies ranged from Trane, United Airlines, Siemens, GE, Halliburton, Meijer, Phillips 66, NextEra Energy, Disney, Amazon, and the U.S. Department of the Navy.

"Internships are a great way to…develop a professional network and gain valuable industry experience," says Orr. "Most internships expose you to key members of the company which is a great time to listen to their experiences and find out what drives their passion. Internships give a good perspective on what your future may look like and what you may be interested in for a future career."

Purdue IISE treasurer Marcos Zatkulak feels that his internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Chicago opened his eyes to the possibility of working as a consultant. "I worked on a project in which I helped give our client, a medical devices company, a Cloud Oracle Fusion system," says Zatkulak. "I learned so much about what it means to be a consultant, how to learn and adapt very quickly, and how to leverage the skills and assets of a team and of such a large and powerful firm."

Mallory Huff, Purdue IISE vice president, worked with Trane as a technical sales intern in Indianapolis, where she enjoyed meeting people, observing consulting and sales, and developing practical skills. "In addition to spending time with clients, I worked on creating a budget tool for the company's project estimator. I created a database of material and subcontractor quotes from past jobs, consolidating them into one usable and efficient excel document," she says. "This experience met my goals and expectations by confirming my love for people and for consulting. While I may not want to be in sales, I do know that I much prefer being out of the office meeting with people over sitting at a desk all day. Without an internship like this one I probably never would have discovered that!"

"Internships are so very valuable because they help you to discover what you do - and don't - want to do. They go beyond the learning in the classroom and allow you to put that knowledge and those skills into practice," Huff adds. "I highly recommend internships to everyone. They are exceptionally valuable in Industrial Engineering because there are so many avenues and industries that we can pursue after graduation. While only short periods of time, internships can narrow down the list and help you discover what you truly enjoy before accepting a full time job."

Zatkulak thinks consulting is a great opportunity for IE students. "An internship in consulting can be an uncommon thought for an engineering student, but the rigor and excitement of the job is amazing," he states. "If you like working with people and solving large complex problems, consider consulting."

Read more about Purdue IISE and IE and engineering internships.

Writer: DeEtte Starr, starrd@purdue.edu