Internship Provides Valuable Experience
Senior Accounting & Management Information Systems Major
During the summer, while most students were steering clear of anything to do with school, Maggie Erwin, a senior double major in accounting and management information systems, spent her summer analyzing data, updating manuals, and redesigning company processes. With the help of School of Business faculty and EIU's Career Services, she perfected her resume, networking, and interviewing skills. Then, she used her membership in Beta Alpha Psi and the Student Accounting Society as a networking tool with numerous recruiters and potential employers at the EIU Career Fair where she was offered the interview that led to her summer internship as a business analyst in the Information Technology department of Archer Daniels Midland Company.
During her internship, Maggie worked as a business analyst on the Maximo Technical Integration team. Business analysts provide a liaison between users of an application and the corresponding developers. Her responsibilities required her to use Microsoft Excel on a daily basis. She had to rely on skills she developed in her computer applications in business course and her business statistics course to operate Excel and PowerPoint efficiently and to understand the functions of a database system. She also had to use the problem solving and critical thinking skills that she had developed throughout her academic career. Perhaps one of the coolest opportunities Maggie got during her internship was the chance to present her proposed redesign to an existing webpage in front of the senior management of the Information Technology department, which included the Chief Information Officer.
Maggie admits that while her internship was an excellent learning experience, it was also very challenging. "Going into an internship without any previous work experience in the area can be difficult. When you first start working for a company, it may be intimidating with all of the things you must learn about your environment including where you sit, who you work with, and even how to submit your time. Along with all of that, my manager began assigning me tasks to complete. I found that I had many questions on how to proceed with the work at various stages."
The biggest challenge for Maggie was speaking up and asking for help. However, she was able to overcome this with the support and encouragement of her team. For students going into a new internship, Maggie advises them to "relax and ask the questions you need to, because all of your coworkers have been in the same situation as you and know what it is like."
This internship has provided Maggie with valuable work experience that will help her transition into the type of position she will hold upon graduation. This opportunity has allowed her to greatly increase her interpersonal skills and has made her feel much more prepared to enter the workplace. Maggie enjoyed her internship so much that she will be returning this summer for a second round. She is excited to return to ADM and see all the members of the Maximo Technical Integration team and to meet her new team members. She still keeps in touch with several of her previous coworkers and has developed friendships with many of them. A career at ADM upon graduation is definitely a possibility in her future.
Maggie speaks highly of EIU's School of Business. "The School of Business has professors who want you to succeed and will do anything to help you reach your goals. The close-knit atmosphere of the School of Business encourages students to get to know their advisors, professors, and classmates. By your senior year, you will know almost everyone that passes you in the hallway. The School of Business provides students an excellent learning environment, because of the small class sizes and the ability for students to be comfortable speaking up in class about questions or concerns they may have."
She encourages incoming students to get to know their professors and classmates. Not only will this help you with your studies, but it could also result in assistance in finding a job in the future. She also recommends getting involved in professional organizations in order to learn what employers are looking for and to network with recruiters. The last piece of advice from Maggie is to study hard; in her experience, a high GPA helps tremendously in finding opportunities for relevant career opportunities.