Business Students Intern at Fortune 500 Companies
Business students Matthew Chavana and Tonjaka Scott left San Antonio this summer to pursue internship opportunities with Fortune 500 companies.
Chavana, a junior majoring in finance, was one of only 28 interns selected to work at JetBlue’s New York headquarters this summer from 3,000 applicants.
“I’ve always been interested in aviation,” said Chavana, a college crew intern in strategic sourcing.
Using the power of Google, Chavana applied for the JetBlue position online and received the offer after numerous phone and Skype interviews.
Chavana worked on two major projects during his internship. First, he developed a comprehensive system for managing high-value contracts at JetBlue. Then, following personal ambition he researched cost-saving measures for the airline.
“At an airline input costs are very high,” he said. “When you can keep costs down that is very important.
By changing one aspect of an operation you can save money for the company.”
Through modeling he found that if they could remove just one can of soda from each aircraft they could save $29,000 in fuel.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” he said. “I’m laser focused on a career in aviation now. This internship has been a valuable experience for me. I’ve learned a lot about the industry, and I’ve developed networks that will be invaluable to my career future.”
And, the perks of working at an airline were not lost on Chavana. He was flown to Orlando for orientation and even got to pilot a flight simulator. “The office culture is that employees come to work on Friday with a suitcase so they can head to the airport after work and utilize the company’s free flight benefits,” he said.
Scott, a MBA student from San Antonio, received an offer with ExxonMobil after meeting representatives at a UTSA recruiting event. Working for the Controller’s Group at their Houston office, she analyzed the depreciation methods used at ExxonMobil, identified whether these methods should be changed and outlined steps that needed to be taken in order to implement these changes.
“Working for a Fortune 500 company, I was really forced to step out of my comfort zone and interface with not only those around me, but employees around the globe,” said Scott. “I learned that a company’s success relies heavily on the people working there.”
Scott credits UTSA faculty and administrators for helping her succeed at her internship. “UTSA has opened doors for me that I didn’t think were possible,” said Scott, who works with local accounting firm Cohen, Berg, & Co. “I have learned a lot from my professors and the graduate business career office.”
CAP Program Transforms Business Students Into Business Professionals
Learning how to network at a reception, dress professionally and put your best foot forward in an interview are all important skills necessary to succeed in the business world. But, they aren’t part of most business curriculums.
What sets the UTSA College of Business undergraduate program apart is that these skills are all taught as part of a 15-hour signature professional development program—the Career Action Program (CAP). This year more than 400 students completed the CAP program.
“The CAP program was so valuable to my professional development that I completed the program twice,” said recent graduate Janet Garcia, ’15, coordinator in the credit card department at Kohl’s. “It built my confidence and helped me learn to tailor my pitches. When I went on my first interview, the interviewer praised my professionalism.”
Offered through the college’s Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), the program begins with a daylong professional development conference and includes sessions on résumé development, mock interviews and speed networking each semester.
“All business students are encouraged to participate in CAP because it allows them to develop and practice their soft skills in a learning environment,” said Julio Ramos, ’00, director of student services in the CSPD. “Students interact with external professionals and learn how to build their network and be competitive in the job market.”
The CAP program wouldn’t be successful without the support of the business community. While the program is managed by College of Business administrators, much of the instruction comes from oneon- one interactions with business professionals. Each semester more than 125 volunteers participate in CAP programming.
“After hearing about CAP I was excited at the opportunity to help students prepare for their future careers and give back to the UTSA community,” said Lori Gray, MBA ’09, director of the workforce transition team at USAA. “It is a wonderful opportunity for students to interact with different employers while they gain professional skills in a supportive and encouraging environment. For employers it gives us exposure to the wonderful talent at UTSA.”