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In most cases, interns tend to interact only within the functional area they work for and ignore others. Two reasons to interact with other functional areas:

To learn about the culture of the company: It is necessary to understand the relationships between different functional areas. Often times, different functions within a company have competing goals and have conflicting milestones. For instance, marketing and finance departments usually have different opinions on product launches. So it is a good idea to talk to all departments to understand the big picture. After all, it’s not guaranteed that you will end up in the same department when you get the full time offer.

To learn about the opportunities that are available in other areas: Hopefully you will do well in your internship and receive a full time offer from the department you worked with. In some situations, it may not be feasible to get the offer from your departments even if you did great in your internship, for various reasons that I will not elaborate on in this post. So interacting with other departments and building connections will help you apply for the opportunities that are available in those areas. If nothing, this is a good way to build your network and this may even create a unique opportunity to find your mentors.


This summer I have the good fortune of working at two different companies in two different functional areas.  I will spend 9 weeks as a finance intern with Wynn Resorts, Ltd in their Macau location and I will be working for 5 weeks in New York City for Excel Sports Management.  Excel is a sports agency that represents and markets professional athletes in many sports including professional basketball players, baseball players, and golfers.  While my summer will certainly be busy, I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with these companies.

Career Services was instrumental in my landing of these two internships.  The career services staff helped me leverage my existing network into real professional opportunities.  I used my existing network to land informational interviews with each of those two firms pretty early on during the school year.  The value of informational interviews cannot be understated.  They both got me face to face, one on one time with executive each firm and through these informational interviews, I was able to land real interviews, which eventually lead to internship offers.

It’s my feeling that I would not have either one of these internships if it were not for a session during orientation that Career Services did on informational interviews.  Informational interviews provide you with not only a valuable learning opportunity about the industry or the company, but they also give you access to face time with either a hiring manager or executive within that firm.  These interviews are also extraordinarily useful if you are looking to enter into a very competitive industry (professional sports for instance).   I think it’s safe to say that I would not have earned either one of these opportunities if it weren’t for informational interviews that I did with each firm.  Informational interviews can be a huge asset to applicants.  Take advantage!

– Nate Brodman,

As a first year MBA student, my every morning starts with scheduled classes and finishes with information session with at least one fortune 500 company. During orientation week, when I was listening to all of the opportunities, I was not really sure how would I benefit from all the events they spoke about. Do this many companies really come on campus for career fairs or information sessions? Do they all hire students for internships in this stringent market? Do they really come back for full-time hiring after internships? Is it really worth attending all these information sessions arranged by the Employer Relations team at Smeal? Well, I found my answer within just two months of my journey at Smeal. Getting four interviews from career fairs and three more by joining the information sessions is definitely more than what I expected to happen just in two months of time! The companies that I was interviewed by are Intel, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, VWR International, Colgate Palmolive and Baker Hughes.

Hats off to our Employer Relations team, who not only bring all these dream companies on campus, but also make sure we are considered very carefully while reviewing our candidacies.  However, that is just the first half of the job. So who does the second half? Why would seven multi-billion dollar companies call me for interviews within two months of my time at Smeal? Here comes another favorite department, Career Services at Smeal. As a first generation immigrant to United States, I always felt shaky about placing myself in a competitive position with my classmates, who have got years of experience in US market. I conquered my fear as I dove into the career services offered by Smeal. It not only helped me polish my resume, but also myself.  Identifying my strengths and weaknesses, and working with Career Services, made clear to me who I am and how to move forward working on my weaknesses and utilize my strengths. My career advisor is just a click away from me whenever I needed anything from him. The biggest advantage as a Smeal student is that the Career Services team knows each student individually. I always get answers to my questions, whether I met them in a common room, in a bus while going for a company visit or even while I meet them while grabbing a cup of coffee. They will not only make sure I am working on myself but also make sure my work is bringing the desired outcome.

To sum it up, I believe our Employer Relations and Career Service departments are simply the bridge between me and my dream companies.They made my crossing the bridge so easy that today when I am writing this blog, I still am amazed by seven interviews in two months.This is not only an excellent job done by these two departments, but also fulfills each and every promise that they made during orientation.  They have already helped me beyond my expectation!

-Monira Linda

MBA Class of 2014

It is Smeal’s belief that future business leaders cannot be groomed just within classrooms and hence the MBA administration actively encourages student organizations to visit different companies to meet with industry leaders and learn from their experience.  As someone who had been to couple of such visits, I thought I would pen down one such experience to encourage more students to participate in such events.

The MBA Consulting Association had organized a company visit to Ernst Young’s Philadelphia office on Jan 13th, 2012 to provide networking opportunities for the first years and also help them find a fit within the firm. As one of the association board members, I led a group of 13 Smeal MBAs on this one day trip. We started from the business building around 7 am on Friday. We had four long hours of drive in front of us to Philadelphia, but thanks to some good music and great company, the journey was smooth and enjoyable. We arrived at Ernst Young’s office at 10.30 am sharp and were well received by the company representatives. They gave us a quick tour of their new office, which had a great view of the downtown. We then moved to conference rooms where we had a chance to meet several key senior leaders in the company, from senior managers to partners within the Performance Improvement Advisory services.

Ernst Young professionals then gave us a presentation about the company, the consulting career and the organizational structure. We also had roundtable sessions with the partners about the company culture, employee learning and career development. We spoke to a couple of Penn State alums about career opportunities within the firm and discussed in detail about various aspects of the recruiting process. Seldom do students get such fine opportunities for a close room session with company recruiters and we were thrilled about meeting so many consulting professionals.

I have been hearing very positive feedbacks from both the students and the company about the trip and we are working on more such engagements with our recruiting partners. Such sessions do open up vast opportunities for networking and many careers have been made through such events as the recruiters get some chance to assess your interest and fit within the company. The fact that Smeal vigorously promotes such events may be one of the reasons why we have been repeatedly ranked No: 1 among the recruiters by numerous business journals.

Greetings from the “real world”!  I have just completed my first rotation in the Carlisle Management Development Program (MDP) and I wanted to write a quick note to impress upon you the uniqueness and value of this opportunity.  While Carlisle is now seeking just its second class of the MDP, the commitment from all levels of management I’ve witnessed has been astonishing.  For example, the first day of orientation, the CEO, Dave Roberts took two hours out of his day to personally sit down with us and explain the business and his goals.  My main point of contact has been the President of our Food Services division and my assigned mentor is the President of the Construction Materials division (a $1 Billion business in its own right).  To be sure, the company is deeply invested in this program and expects you to succeed and become a leader quickly.

As for my experience so far, I have been staying in Carlisle, PA working in Sales and Marketing for the largest business unit, Carlisle Construction Management.  After conducting market analysis, writing business plans for new products, going on the road with regional managers, and participating in Kaizen process improvement events, I have learned more about the manufacturing industry than I could have ever imagined.  I look forward to experiencing similar challenges and growth in other business units working in finance, supply chain, and technology in Cleveland, Nashville, Oklahoma City, and Shanghai.

Obviously, living in a hotel/executive housing for a year can be tough at times, but I am confident I made a great decision coming to Carlisle Companies; and I encourage you to at least attend the information session to get a better understanding of the opportunities available.

-Bob Sanders
Class of 2011 Smeal MBA Graduate
Carlisle Companies web site:

On a wonderful Wednesday afternoon of November 3, 2010, I received a phone call; a call that most first year MBAs eagerly wait for! It was a call from Reckitt Benckiser for a summer internship offer. Same old thought process, I am an international student, opportunities are scarce, remuneration is very lucrative etc. etc. and I accepted the offer.

Now as most of my classmates know, I am a super brand conscious person and my resume so far is a testimony of the same….BUT…. every time people/friends asked me where am I interning and I said Reckitt Benckiser, I used to get the same replay What? Which Company? Then I had to explain that its billion dollar CPG house which makes AirWick, Finish, Lysol, and French’s Mustard etc. and then the same typical reply… Oh, I use this products but I never knew who made them! I think this is sufficient enough to describe sorrow of a brand driven person like me and also the mindset with which I entered my internship. I was little annoyed, more hurt and most dissatisfied before I joined this office on May 16th.

But to my surprise, it took less than one work day at Reckitt to overcome all these feelings. It’s the only place I have ever worked at as an intern where on your first day, there’s a Huge Board at the reception with your name on it and a welcome message. The only office where documentation, orientation and introduction all gets done in first 30 minutes and you start work right then. No formalities, no ceremonialities, people here just believe in work and results. It’s also the only billion dollar organization that I have come across where company promotes no processes and near zero documentation policy. They expect each new employee to come with intellectual curiosity and creativity and the company gives full freedom to implement those creative ideas and new ways of doing things. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Friday before I joined; one of our purchasing managers left the firm and on Monday morning they wanted me to take over his portfolio and get the budget ready in a week’s time. At first, I found this weird, but that’s how things work here; least guidance; least turnaround time and full freedom to do the things the way you want to do them. It’s been one month in this internship and I have made budgets, worked on a Carbon-20 project, dealt with price changes, prices exceptions, handled supplier meetings, prepared and executed supplier contracts, prepared a few NDAs, and finished a benchmarking analytics project. And despite that my leads think that I still have lots of time and bandwidth to handle more work! But with all this work, the company also gives you authorities, power and needful facilities. It’s my only internship work place where they got business card printed for an intern for tenure of just 3 months and officially assigned an assistant to an intern to take care of system jobs. All in all, it has been a very rewarding experience so far. Every day is a new day with a new challenge and an opportunity to learn something new. My complain about Brand Identity is still on but there are lots of other things that compensate for the missing brand value.

With all said, I am very sure that this is no different than the experiences my dear classmates are having in other firms, the only difference is I am writing this so you get to read and they will write very soon.

With Lots of love and eagerness to get back to college and study again with all you friends!!

  – Mehul Pathak

MBA Class of 2012

I took a risk in committing the time and money to attend the Net Impact Conference at the end of October, and the payoff was immediate. I feared that being cooped up in a car for the 7-hour drive to Ann Arbor had the potential to suck, but the road trip was actually one of the best parts of the experience. Being “stuck” in a car with my classmates was both fun and really quite liberating. All we could do was talk and joke and listen to music – a precious luxury in the life of an MBA. I rode out with Susan Slopek, Matt Jones and Alex Rosenthal and rode back with Ryan Mallet, Rangarajan TC and Alex. We all share an interest in and a passion for sustainability in business, and we were excited about the networking and career prospects that lay ahead.  The seven hours went by fast! Rama Murugan and TC made the same drive out to Ann Arbor after Diwali, arriving around 5 am, and like true rock-stars of business, they were ready to go the next day for the kickoff of the conference at 7:30 am. Bottom line, we had a great and diverse Net Impact crew on site, and our mutually reinforcing energy lifted us all up.

Net Impact sets the bar very high for career development conferences. The Net Impact Conference is so much more than a resume drop.  We had multiple keynote speakers, more than a hundred industry panels, happy hours and yes, a career expo. The differentiator is the fact that it is common interest, a sense of mission and shared vision that unite the participants and sponsors. So much good can come out of that kind of environment, whether you land a job or not. Collectively we are moving the dialogue on business, the environment and sustainability forward, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.

That said, the career expo was very exciting. It was a moment when my career aspirations were concentrated in to just a few rooms. The feeling of potential was incredible. I would not be surprised if my summer internship has something to do with what happened in those rooms. I came away from the conference with new certainty in my plan to pursue a position in corporate sustainability or to work for a company where I can make an impact through resource efficiency and the reduction of waste. I met fantastic people from the Environmental Defense Fund, DuPont, Herman Miller and the National Park Service – organizations for whom I would be proud to work.

There were so many takeaways from the Conference, but the one that sticks out the most is the concept of the cradle-to-cradle product lifecycle. William McDonough, one of the opening keynote panelists and co-author of the book, “Cradle to Cradle / Remaking the Way We Make Things” presented this new paradigm – zero waste and 100% recyclability – in the context of the bottled water industry. Speaking with co-panelist, Kim Jeffries, CEO and President of Nestle Waters North America, McDonough showed how working with and through – not against – the world’s most powerful businesses we can move towards the critically important goals of preserving the environment and conserving our finite natural resources. Companies like Herman Miller and DuPont have embraced the zero waste, 100% recyclability concept. They are making these goals fundamental to their operating strategies. The Environmental Defense Fund leads the way by embedding its MBA Climate Corps Fellows in Fortune 500 companies to help uncover energy savings that ultimately reduce the consumption and waste of fossil fuels. This is inspiring stuff!

I am excited for what is to come this year and over the next summer during my internship. The Net Impact Conference has given me what I had hoped for: an expanded knowledge of the issues and opportunities in sustainability and clarity in my vision of how I can make an impact. Now it’s time to get embedded!

–          Ezra Nanes, Smeal Class of 2012

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During the summer, Ryan Mallet posted a blog entry about his summer internship as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow. James Gowen, Chief Sustainability Officer at Verizon wrote his own blog entry about Ryan’s work this summer:

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“By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!” This phrase from the popular (well, I knew this cartoon from India, so it’s gotta be popular) cartoon show in the nineties summarizes Environmental Defense Fund’s summer project “Climate Corps.” EDF brings together a vision of energy efficiency in Fortune 500 companies and wants to show to the world that it can be profitable as well. There are 51 Climate Corps Fellows this year, from different schools and different backgrounds (just like the Planeteers from different continents) brought together by one common thought:  “greening” Corporate America.

For someone who had absolutely no knowledge about energy efficiency and sustainability, EDF’s 3-day training program was of great help. We were asked to pick the “low hanging fruit,” and their training also gave a comprehensive idea as to where to look for these.

It did not take long to realize that CA Technologies had energy efficiency projects that were either done or underway. Every suggestion I gave them, they had already heard about. I started to panic and saw myself digging more on the internet. But passion conquers all and motivates you, and I am happy that I chose not to give up and that it paid good dividends. Here’s a gist of what I take away from my experience.

  • Low hanging fruit grow back: I did not believe until I actually saw it happen at CA Technologies. We have energy efficient T5 bulbs all over the place, but we had too much of it (10 foot candles of luminance is standard, but we had 35!). So, de-lamping gave us significant 6-figure savings.
  • Even the most logical ideas need financial backing: The HQ of CA Technologies has a tie up with NY Power and gets electricity at a subsidized rate (which is almost half of what we usually get) and hence it makes logical sense to relocate all servers from other data centers to the HQ. But, this needed to be validated and see if there is a chance of energy efficiency here. Bundling virtualization and relocation together, shifting the lab servers from one of the locations to the HQ brought about a whopping $1.24 million in annual savings, just in electricity savings. Numbers speak larger than logic, indeed!
  • Marketing is important to sustainability: We realized that both internally and externally, people were not aware of the sustainability initiatives taken by CA Technologies. I worked with a couple of teams to market our sustainability projects taken so far; this is necessary for sustainability to be a focus in the future.
  • Collaboration is very important for sustainability initiatives: There are people interested in sustainability in different business units. So, for an effective business case and plan of action for a project, collaboration is very important. I learned a lot about working with cross functional teams and effective ways to keep everyone involved.
  • There is always something to do; look beyond the barriers: One of the major barriers for CA Technologies is that they look for a payback period of 1 year or less for all its projects, and with the subsidized cost of electricity, having energy efficient projects can be difficult. But, there is something for every barrier… so keep digging!

When Captain Planet leaves, he says “The power is yours” and gives the powers back to the Planeteers, but in our case, the power is truly in the hands of the host companies and they truly are the champions here.

I certainly cannot believe how time flies so fast! It has been an incredible experience for me, especially for an international student to have her dream fulfilled. Hats off to EDF, Net Impact and all the host companies for coming together for a noble cause. A special thanks to my host company, CA Technologies for making my internship a wonderful experience. Thanks to Google search engine as well!

“Go Planet!”

Rama Murugan | CA Technologies | Intern, Office of Sustainability | EDF Climate Corps Fellow

MBA Candidate, Class of 2011 | VP of Operations, Penn State Net Impact | VP of Communications, Association of Women MBAs | Penn State University – Smeal College of Business

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While millions of people spent the weekend watching PGA golfers go for the green at Pebble Beach, or World Cup players chase a soccer ball across the green in South Africa, I began a search for a different kind of green. You know – the kind of green that you put in your wallet. I recently began my EDF Climate Corps fellowship with Verizon in search of energy efficiency savings that could provide the kind of green we all understand. It is also the kind of green that adds to the planet’s bank account instead of draining it.

After an extensive training from EDF on the best practices of corporate energy efficiency, I approached Verizon’s LEED certified offices in Basking Ridge, NJ ready to make a positive contribution to the bottom line. I knew that my task at hand would not be easy, since Verizon has already made significant energy efficiency improvements over the past decade, earning awards and recognition for their efforts. I found myself looking up at the lighting fixtures, checking to see when the lights were on in conference rooms and looking for occupancy sensors in the bathrooms. Often times, energy savings comes from asking simple questions like “Why do you do it that way?” or “What if we tried a different approach?”

Although energy efficiency represents a huge opportunity, I’m aware that it is not “top of mind” for most businesses and consumers. It does not involve new or exotic forms of energy that require a PhD in physics to decipher. However, energy efficiency represents the largest, cheapest and cleanest energy source for our energy-hungry economy. According to Mckinsey, the potential energy savings from existing energy efficiency measures is estimated at $1.2 trillion through 2020, which translates into 23% of our projected energy demand. As an added benefit, we don’t have to worry about it spilling.

There are indications that business leaders are beginning to pay attention. According to the Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator survey, 71 percent of business leaders are paying more attention to energy efficiency than they were a year ago. Planned energy efficiency investments are expected to be strong in 2010, motivated primarily by concerns around cost reduction, climate change, enhancing public image and taking advantage of government and utility incentives. Survey respondents expect energy prices to climb by 9 percent during 2010 and say that improving energy efficiency in buildings is their most important carbon emissions reduction strategy. Notably, respondents from India (85 percent) and China (80 percent) were more likely to consider energy management very or extremely important as compared to those in Europe (55 percent) and North America (53 percent). I am tired of falling behind and want to help change those stats.

As I begin my energy treasure hunt, I remind myself that it is often the little things that can add up to a whole lot of energy savings. Over the course of the summer, I will be analyzing the energy profile of Verizon’s data centers and developing energy efficiency recommendations. A significant portion of Verizon’s annual energy costs are consumed by power-hungry data centers, where hidden energy savings lie. There’s a good chance that the information you’re reading right now is stored on one of their servers.

Sometimes energy savings lie in small places, like blocking holes in server racks and raised floors to improve air flow and cooling system optimization. It could also be as simple as unplugging equipment that is no longer needed, consolidating server space to increase server utilization or powering down PCs at night to save energy.

Over the coming weeks, I will dig in to find the energy treasures that are hidden just below the surface as will the other 50 EDF Climate Corps fellows that are on similar hunts for corporate energy savings across the country. So far, it looks like there is a lot of green out there and some of the energy-saving opportunities are gimmees. If we all collectively make up our minds to line up the putts and make them, we could cash in on some green energy savings. Maybe we’ll even get our names on one of those big cardboard checks (made from recycled materials, of course). But first, we have to make the gimmees.

By Ryan Mallett, 2010 EDF Climate Corps fellow at Verizon Communications, MBA candidate at Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University , Member of Net Impact

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