Monthly Archive for April, 2011

Mercury Marine Co-op Experience

Travis Ruys, Mercury Marine
Purchasing Analyst Co-Op

Mercury Marine is a division of the Brunswick Corporation.  The Fond du Lac plant where I work produces outboard marine propulsion systems.  There are many plants in and around the Fond du Lac campus.  Some of these plants include the service, racing, propeller, and production plants.  Currently I plan for plant 15, Mercury’s outboard production plant.

My co-op experience is only half over and I have already learned so much.  My daily activities consist of: analyzing daily reports for possible component shortages, contacting suppliers concerning shipment statuses, placing part orders, reviewing MRP to determine future requirements, resolving receiving discrepancies, and much more.

When the Mercury co-op position was made available to me, I was hesitant on whether or not I wanted to delay my education for a semester.  I am very glad I decided to take advantage of this opportunity as I am gaining first-hand experience in a position that directly relates to my field of study.

As a purchasing analyst at Mercury I perform the same duties as a permanent employee.  The main difference from my desk and a permanent analyst’s is that I plan for fewer parts.  There is a great deal of responsibility and accountability that goes along with this position.  My number one task is to keep the factory running.  To do this I have to place orders outside each supplier’s lead time and expedite orders to assure parts are here when needed.

There have been many obstacles, as of late, that have been challenging the Fond du Lac team.  The impact of the Japan disaster on our suppliers, the transfer of our entire Stillwater plant to the Fond du Lac campus, new product launches, and an increases to our production schedule are examples of a few.  Over the past four months I have learned more about being an analyst than I thought possible within this time frame.  This experience is helping me develop into a much more effective employee and is providing a real world experience.

Council Tree Financial Internship!

Jordan Rhodes, Council Tree Financial-Finance Intern

In 2001 Michelle Bauer left her Senior Management position at a highly reputable company to start a financial planning enterprise that is now known as Council Tree Financial. What started as a tight budget leap of faith out of her home, is now a solid company that has 5 employees and well over 40 million dollars of assets under management. Council Tree Financial continues to grow firmly with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

 I started my internship at Council Tree Financial in the beginning of January 2011. This was my second internship under Michelle, my first one as a senior in high school I served as a service rep while she worked with Keystone Financial. This time around I am taking on a much bigger and a much more difficult role as a Finance Intern. My goals are to soak up as much knowledge as I can from Michelle and network as frequently as possible.

 So far my internship has been a great experience for both Michelle and myself. I have been able to learn a lot about the financial planning world especially when it comes to the products available. Also, because Council Tree Financial is a small business, I have been able to test out my abilities in other parts of business including marketing and human resource efforts. My internship has been a great experience and I have been offered full-time employment as soon as this internship expires.

SCOM Student interns with RR Donnelley!

Taylor Pontratz, Operations Intern-RR Donnelley

I started my internship in January 2011 at RR Donnelley-Brighton Beach Plant. RR Donnelley is the nation’s larger printing company, printing books, magazines, and other advertising materials. The Brighten Beach facility does only fulfillment and assembly functions. My duties as the operations intern vary from quality control on our calendar lines, to documenting procedures specifically for RR Donnelley’s ISO certification. My work not only helps them get closer to that certification it also helps them with workplace organization.

Although what I do helps RR Donnelley out a lot and gives them new ideas for operations, this internship has also helped me out a lot. It has given me real life experience and shown me what we learn in class in practice. Not only has it taught me more about supply chain and operations, it has giving me an idea about what I may be doing in my future.  Classes and skills I wish I had more experience with are more database classes like Essentials of Information Systems. I realize not all companies use Microsoft Access but it seems to be very common in assembly.

So far I have enjoyed my entire experience with my operations internship at RR Donnelley. My coworkers are very easy to talk to are take the time to explain why something is done one way and what their ideas are for something new. This has made my internship very fun and I have learned a ton, I hope to continue learning and gaining more experience in the professional world.

4imprint Accounts Payable Internship!

Joe Van Remortel, Accounts Payable Intern

4imprint is a distributor of imprinted promotional products and does business all over the country and also Canada.  The business model of 4imprint focuses primarily on customer satisfaction.  Our “360 degree guarantee” is our motto, meaning we have the customer covered at every angle.  Along with focusing on customer satisfaction, 4imprint also focuses on maintaining a fun and relaxed work environment.  In order to do this 4imprint offers several different work-place privileges such as casual dress attire, massages, and catered breakfast and lunch every day.  We also have a company-wide fun committee that organizes fun events every month.

My current position is an accounts payable intern.  I have many responsibilities and I will be taking on more as I get farther along in my internship.  Right now my main responsibilities include the following: processing expense reports, entering invoices using financial software, and also filling out tax and banking forms for our vendors.  At first having all of these responsibilities were overwhelming and in some cases very confusing.  However since getting hired I have become much more comfortable within my role and it has been a great learning experience.  I have been able to improve several skills that I think will really help my professional career such as work-place communication, organizational, and accuracy. 

One of the most exciting parts of my internship has been learning the different functions of an accounting department and also learning different tax laws.  Since I am a finance major I have not take any courses that have given me extensive information regarding tax law.  This internship has provided me with a great deal of tax knowledge and I am continuing to learn more by working closely with my superiors who are very knowledge about tax law.  In addition to learning about taxes, I have become very familiar with the functions of an accounting and finance department within a business.  I think the knowledge I have gained working at 4imprint will add significant value to my work experience and also show that my finance degree has versatility.

Since I am majoring in finance, I was reluctant to apply for an accounting position.  However after discussing it with my academic advisor, he recommended to do so.  I decided to take his advice and apply for the internship.  I was hired back in November of 2001 and I could not be happier with my experience that I have had working at 4impritn so far.  Not only have I improved my business skills and increased my accounting knowledge, I have made some great professional contacts.  I have also become friends with many of the other interns in my department and I can truly say that I enjoy going to work!

Northwestern Mutual Internship Experience!

Jason O'Connel, Northwestern Mutual Intern

Northwestern Mutual was founded in 1857, in the great state of Wisconsin.  The company survived through a Civil War, The Great Depression, two World Wars, a number of recessions, and 9/11.  Our long-time experience and superior knowledge of products is what sets us apart from our competition. 

Northwestern Mutual offers a wide variety of products to help people manage financial risk and achieve financial security throughout their life.  Our company is a main producer of Life Insurance policies, but we also produce disability insurance, long-term care, retirement funding, educational funding, cash management, and estate planning.  At Northwestern Mutual the client comes first.  This is the reason why our company is so highly appraised.

I began my internship in December 2010.  During Christmas break, three other interns and I went through a week of training.  After the training seminar, I was required to pass two state exams to be licensed to sell insurance.  A lot of time studying went into this internship.  Once the exams were passed I was set to begin my Northwestern Mutual experience.  Right off the bat I started making calls to set up appointments and built a client base.  The appointments are done with another financial Representative and me.  So from the appointments alone I am learning so much.  I have conducted a meeting by myself and did it with confidence.  This internship has a lot to do with activity.  If I don’t make the calls or set appointments my experience is very limited.  What I put in is what I will get out of this internship.

Each week my supervisor and I make up weekly goals.  These goals are typically centered on activity whether it is from phoning to getting qualified suspects.  My supervisor makes sure that I am on track and is always willing to do joint work with myself.  The atmosphere here at work is great.  The Representatives made me feel welcome right from the get go and were always willing to help me if I had questions.  Overall so far this internship has been a rewarding experience and I hope to continue my relationship with Northwestern Mutual after the internship.

Unique UW-Oshkosh Internship!

Ari Balkin, Student Allocations Committee Controller

In January of 2010, I was given a unique opportunity and honor to sit on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Allocations Committee.  The Allocations Committee distributes money to all UWO’s clubs and organizations. As a member of the committee, I was appointed to serve as the controller. Our fiscal budget for this year was approximately $800,000.00; this money was to be dispersed to about 130 clubs and organizations.  In the coming fiscal year the committee will be adding competitive sports as well.

 Being able to be a part of the entire process, from initial budget talks to the final allocations is an amazing experience.  Few students have either the opportunity or the experience to participate in such complex financial management decisions. Being the controller is a powerful position in that each individual request must be carefully considered and justified before the funding request is granted.  It is also a huge responsibility because the money needs to be well spent and managed when allocated, since the money comes from the entire student body.  For this coming year I was voted and appointed to be chair of the committee for the upcoming year, 2011- 2012.

What I really enjoyed was seeing the process from beginning to end, it is similar to a portfolio manager; watching so many different organizations manage and distribute their money.  I learned how to implement a budget, to teach others the process of requesting funds, how to consider all points of view, how to consider what the student body as a whole would want, and to compare and contrast their goals with the individual needs of the clubs and organizations.  It is a balancing act; requiring financial knowledge, understanding of the committee’s guidelines and purpose, fiscal responsibility, historical perspective, social skills, and communication skills.  The committee ensures continuity to the clubs and organizations; it is the constant as their leaders come and go year to year.

 A major highlight for me personally this year is being responsible for bringing in the funding of competitive sports into the Allocations Committee.  Some of the challenges that I face are taking an old financial system and putting it into our own financial system, orchestrating the cultural shift as the people move under our policies; and keeping the entire two systems unified with their integrity intact.

Oshkosh Corporation Compliance Internship!

Ben Mertes, Oshkosh Corporation Intern

Oshkosh Corporation is a global leader in specialty vehicle manufacturing. The majority of the business Oshkosh receives is through government contracting, specifically with the U.S. armed forces. Oshkosh reported a Net Sales of $9.8 billion in 2010, 73% of which was attributable to the Defense segment. Oshkosh Corporation has built a reputation of excellence among its customers through high quality products, consistent delivery, and the ability to adapt to each customer’s individual needs.

I began my internship at Oshkosh Corporation Defense segment in the Finance – Compliance group in the beginning of January 2011. In my less than 3 months on the job I feel that I have learned a lot about the organization, the compliance field, and the complexities that doing business with the Federal Government may bring with it. This said, my experiences have also in ways opened my eyes to the fact that there are a lot of things that I have no clue about.

Generically, my responsibilities as a Compliance Intern are to assist the Compliance team in making sure that Oshkosh Corporation abides by the many intricate rules and regulations of doing business with the Federal Government. Working with Compliance has given me the opportunity to view the operations of the business through a broad spectrum. The many regulations that must be followed when selling your product to the Government touch almost every department of the organization.

So far I have enjoyed my time at Oshkosh Corporation and plan to stay with my internship until graduation. I am confident that the knowledge gained through my experiences with a global, Fortune 500 organization I will be well prepared for whatever opportunities the future holds.

The Advance-Titan Sales Internship!

Chelsea Maas, Ad Sales Manager, The Advance-Titan

The Advance-Titan was established in 1893, and continues today to keep students and faculty informed, entertained, and enlightened. The paper is distributed for free on campus every Thursday of the regular school year, and contains news, sports, editorials, feature stories, and an anything goes B-Section, complete with humor columns, comics, and gripes.           

As the Advance-Titan Ad Sales Manager, I am responsible for the entire ad sales function of the school newspaper. This includes, but is not limited to, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and training sales representatives and graphic artists, as well as keeping them on task and making sales in accordance with their weekly goals. The position also entails making sales at the national level, and working with any high maintenance local clients as needed. I also keep logs of weekly, monthly, and yearly sales figures, and come up with discounts and promotions to control demand during off-peak times of year. Other tasks include keeping a payroll, establishing commission and bonus structures, and handling employee conflicts if they arise.

I have held this job since February, 2009, and still I continue to learn new things every day. The decision to use this job as my College of Business Internship has allowed me to re-examine my goals for myself and the organization, and has helped me apply the knowledge gained in Business classes to my fullest potential.

UWO SHRM Trip to NYC-A Recap

On Thursday of last week we finished our last day of service at the Boys and Girls Club.  It was a sad day, because we had to say goodbye to our new friends.  We capped off our last evening at the club with a dodgeball game.  It was the adults against the kids.  We were heavily outnumbered, but I like to think we held our own.  Thank you to the kids and staff at the Navy Yard Clubhouse of the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club!  We had a wonderful time!

We are now back in Oshkosh.  All of us are back to classes, work, and club activities.  I tried to take a little time this week to reflect on the trip.  I am really very proud of our students!  This trip almost did not happen.  Fundraising during these tough economic times proved difficult, and travel to and lodging in New York City is not cheap.  Our students were extremely persistent; they ended up completing six different fundraisers, and they tried others.  Every time something did not work, they made modifications and tried again.  This paid off!  They were able to make the costs of this trip very reasonable.   They were able to do this without touching membership dollars! 

These students were successful in planning and carrying out meaningful service at the Boys and Girls Club and God’s Love We Deliver.  After one day with God’s Love We Deliver, most of our students were wishing we had signed up for more days.  We navigated the subway and the city streets to successfully deliver meals, and I think it built our confidence. 

Our students also made strong connections with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club.  Two of our students said going into the trip they were not really “kid people”.  Those students were clearly moved when leaving the Club; one was near tears.  I think we are better for having had this experience. 

We have a number of people to thank!  This trip would not have been possible without the financial support of the College of Business, the Pepsi Fund, Fox Valley SHRM, Oshkosh SHRM and Alta Resources.  Further, we would like to send out a hearty thanks to all of the faculty who volunteered to take part in our pie eating contest fundraiser.  Finally, we would like to thank Jennifer Loftus, the President of HRNY (the New York City Professional Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management) and Parsons Brinckerhoff.  Everyone we met associated with our company tours truly went above and beyond the call of duty!

Copyright 2013 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System