Virginia Commonwealth University’s efforts to “Make it Real” encourage learning during all parts of life, both in and out of the classroom, and VCU students, faculty and staff are doing just that. The “Where in the World is VCU?” blog series follows members of the VCU community across the world highlighting their interesting adventures and experiences to show just how dynamic VCU Rams really are!
Can you start by telling me your name, year and major?
Sarah Mekonnen, Class of 2019, Supply Chain Management and Analytics
Where in the world are you this summer?
I am here in Richmond, Virginia, interning for Century Distribution Systems (CDS), which is a third party logistics company. I am learning a bunch and so grateful for the experience.
How did you find yourself in this opportunity?
I was proactive and talked to my teachers about opportunities and was introduced virtually with a recruiter. My Global Supply Chain Management teacher helped me in the door, I secured the interview, and the rest is history.
What has your experience been like? What was your favorite part? What was your biggest challenge?
Overall a positive one! I can’t believe how much goes into getting a product into our stores. Everyday is new and a challenge at my internship. I have a great boss and coworkers who give me room to learn and support me along the way. Logistics is very complicated and a whole new language to me but the good thing about internships is that you are there to learn and no one expects you to know everything. My favorite part is that there is a beautiful lake right behind the office which everyone likes to go for a break. After working on projects all day you definitely are in need of a nice walk.
What did you gain from this experience? Do you feel like you grew personally/professionally?
I am gaining an extensive amount of industry knowledge in such a short amount of time. This experience will potentially impact how I perform in the future. Personally, knowing I will be in a challenging and ever-changing environment, I know it will only make me a better problem solver. Professionally, the list can go on – having been exposed to many aspects of Century (CDS), I will be equipped to tack on more responsibility.
What advice would you give anyone looking for similar opportunities to do a summer internship?
I will advise you to take the chance, because for most people these opportunities will only come once. If you plan on interning, try to look up some industry terms and get familiar with the type of work you will be dealing with. If you have no idea what you will be working on (like me), be willing and open to do it all! Never back down from any task big or small, and most importantly never ever think any question is too “dumb” to ask. Ask it right then and there.