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driven_to_successThis summer UTSA College of Business students Alicia Cordes and Lynsey Curran traded the hot, sunny weather of San Antonio for the chance to intern with Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan.

Securing internships with a Fortune 500 company can enhance a student’s résumé no matter what future plans they may have. Both Cordes and Curran were afforded the opportunity through the college’s partnership with the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA). NSHMBA’s annual career expo was in San Antonio last fall and allowed UTSA business students access to top national employers like Ford Motor Company.

“We are looking for the best of the best,” said Samuel Warnock, human resources manager at Ford and chairman of NSHMBA’s corporate advisory board. “We provide our interns with the best-in-class experience within the auto industry.” This past summer Ford hired 470 interns, mostly in the areas of product development, finance, manufacturing and information technology.

While at the conference, Cordes, an MBA student, learned that Ford was looking for individuals with engineering experience. She thought her undergraduate degree in engineering and her business background would be a perfect fit. Cordes was hired to work in Ford’s information technology department.

Curran’s participation in the college’s Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) student organization led to her Ford internship. Her résumé along with others from ALPFA members were sent to Ford recruiters prior to the career expo.

Ford employee Adrian Esqueda, ’93, MBA ’99 wanted to leverage Ford’s participation at the NSHMBA conference in San Antonio to recruit at his alma mater. Working through the college’s Center for Student Professional Development, he hosted an on-campus information session for students. Curran was selected for a phone interview, then invited to interview in person at the conference and present a business case.

Esqueda, a finance supervisor at Ford, noted her effort and enthusiasm as qualities Ford looks for in potential interns. “Hands down it’s the energy,” said Esqueda, who got his start at Ford as a student attending the NSHMBA career expo. “Lynsey is a ball of energy. We look for students with enthusiasm, who grasp the concepts and can articulate their point.”

Curran, a senior accounting major, worked on a team responsible for transitioning Ford’s accounting standards to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). She benchmarked how peer companies reported under IFRS and helped draft the financial statement footnotes. “So far I’ve had a blast,” said Curran. “I love the culture at Ford; I love my team. In general, I feel the team motto is work hard, play hard.”

Summer internships can be great opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and learn how to interact within the workforce. They allow for employers to see how interns fit into the company and how they solve problems on the job.

“Employers are hungry for passion and talent, especially passion for the company,” said Peter Morales, ’97, MBA ’04, assistant director of graduate business career services at the UTSA College of Business. “You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least explore that opportunity.”

While at Ford Cordes analyzed and interpreted analytical data from Ford’s website in order to improve the user experience for a new website in development. Cordes gained perspective on the automotive industry prior to her internship from her courses in management of technology at UTSA. “Statistics courses helped me choose what mathematical tools to use to analyze the data,” said Cordes.

FordstudentBoth students said that being chosen to intern at a Fortune 500 company allowed them to imagine new career possibilities. In addition to their projects, Cordes and Curran met other Ford interns and had the chance to network with a vast array of Ford employees. Other opportunities included meeting top Ford executives, visiting various plants and even driving Ford cars on the test track.

Cordes’ internship experience allowed her to fine-tune her career goals and made her realize that she’d prefer to work for a large company instead of pursuing her original goal as an entrepreneur. “I like the opportunities available in larger companies and the focus on corporate culture.”

Likewise, Curran has discovered many new positions that she might be interested in after she finishes her accounting degree and is CPA certified. “I took it upon myself to find shadowing opportunities,” said Curran. “I talked to people throughout the finance departments and learned about opportunities in the industry.”

Given their success in recruiting at UTSA, both Esqueda and Warnock hope that they can continue to recruit UTSA students. “We want to develop a pipeline with UTSA and other Texas universities to leverage the diverse talents of the area,” said Warnock.

“Ford is a diverse company,” said Esqueda, who has volunteered with the finance team to recruit at NSHMBA the last several years. “Recruiting at UTSA brings in different views and perspectives, which are important to Ford. The biggest benefit of working at Ford is the opportunity they give you to move around the company and learn different jobs.”

Both students will return to the College of Business this fall armed with a wealth of knowledge about the auto industry and new professional connections. “In a nutshell, it was an awesome experience,” said Cordes.

Following their valuable experience at Ford, Cordes and Curran will certainly continue their drive toward success.