Here at the University of Massachusetts, I am a student in the Isenberg School of Management majoring in Operation and Information Management. The major focuses on the processes and planning when it comes to running a business. This may include supply chain management, which is what I was most interested in. I decided to search for an internship within the supply chain management industry.
What company did you intern for?
This summer I interned at Pratt & Whitney which is mainly located in East Hartford, Connecticut, but I worked at a smaller location in Middletown, Connecticut. Pratt & Whitney is an aerospace manufacturer that is primarily responsible for jet engines. If you are a frequent flyer, chances are you have flown in a plane that used Pratt & Whitney engines. They manufacture these engines for commercial and military use, so getting exposure to both sides of the aerospace industry was very rewarding.
I was specifically in the Mechanical Systems, Externals, and Nacelles (MSEN) department where I was apart of the Small Machined Parts group. This group is in charge of purchasing for any part that was under 16 inches in diameter. With about 15 people, Small Machined Parts alone is in charge of over 6,000 parts with over 50 suppliers all over the world, while spending over $500 million annually.
What did you do?
Going into the role I didn’t quite understand how complicated and important supply chain management was, especially for parts so small in comparison to the gigantic jet engines Pratt & Whitney is responsible to make. During my time there, my manager wanted me to have a good understanding of the company’s supply chain process within the MSEN department, and gave me various tasks that covered delivery assurance and account management. What this meant was that I had to help coworkers when it came to purchasing all of our parts. Since there are so many parts, there are constantly problems when it comes to delivery, organization, and scheduling. In order to alleviate this, we would have to communicate with suppliers or figure out ways to successfully get our parts. Whether it was going into the online software and extracting/analyzing data, or calling suppliers trying to figure out what was wrong with some manufactured parts, I acted as a liaison for any issue that my coworkers had.
What did you learn?
Throughout my 14 weeks at Pratt & Whitney, I learned a lot about the aerospace industry and much more about supply chain management. I was grateful to be placed into the MSEN department because there were so many parts, so I was fully immersed in the supply chain process. One of the most surprising things I learned was just how valuable and important continuous improvement is when it comes to supply chain management. Some parts were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars while others were worth pennies. Regardless, the supply chain is essential when it comes to being financially efficient. In addition to this, I also learned a lot about being part of a large corporation. This was my first internship experience and I expected to do stereotypical “intern work” like making copies and filing papers but I did nothing of that sort. In addition, I had many opportunities to network and meet a lot of interesting individuals.
How did you get your internship?
I got this internship through IsenbergWorks which is the school of management’s career search platform. Isenberg in general has a program that helps students find internships and jobs after graduation. There are many companies that visit UMass Amherst and do recruiting on campus, and Pratt & Whitney was one of them. After applying online, I had an interview on campus and was later offered the position. UMass Amherst in general is really good when it comes to encouraging and helping students with their career paths. No matter the major you are in, there is a ton of help and advising you can go to in order to find an internship.
Overall, I will share a bit of advice that I was told to me on my first day at Pratt & Whitney. An internship is a long, two-way interview. Yes, the company wants to see if you are a good fit and you are capable to be a valuable asset to them, but at the same time, it’s important that you test the waters and see if the company is a good fit for you.