I knew that I would not have nearly as much experience in the corporate world as compared to my future classmates when matriculating into the MBA portion of the Science BS/MBA program. To gain some real-world business experience, I decided to apply for a co-op within the Global Strategic Sourcing (GSS) department in the Product Supply Organization (PSO) at the Clorox Company in Atlanta, Georgia. I chose Clorox in particular because of the company culture. Clorox is not a large consumer packaged goods company, as compared to businesses like Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, or Unilever. Clorox only has a little north of 7,500 employees around the world. Thus, working for a smaller, yet very successful company, made it enjoyable to come to the office everyday because I was able to network with not only people within my department, but across the company as a whole. It is rare to have the chance to build close relationships with VPs, as well as have opportunities to work on projects with the senior management of a corporation.
I had the opportunity to work on a diverse number of project management tasks, data management projects, and personnel projects. Within GSS, I worked with a team on multimillion-dollar cost-savings projects, organized and managed Clorox E-sourcing events, and even helped with Clorox’s college recruiting efforts. I developed a wide range of technical skills that I most likely would not have had a chance to learn in my classes through these types of projects. I became familiar with various systems that are commonly used in sourcing departments, which include SAP, IASTA, PPM, and CMS. Beyond technical skills, I was able to develop my professional skills through presentations, mock interviews, and simply being in the business setting.
Although this co-op was not directly related to my undergraduate major, it made me more versatile by giving me a chance to get my feet wet in a different field of interest. The skills I took away from this internship have helped me during school with time management, teamwork, and networking. I would highly recommend doing a co-op because you gain skills that are hard to develop inside the classroom. I also encourage students to branch outside their respective majors because you can develop a wide range of skills and will have a multifaceted experience. I was a bit skeptical before going to Atlanta to work for Clorox, but I can say with complete confidence that it was an extremely valuable experience.
Matthew Lee is a third year in the Science BS/MBA program. The program is a five-year, dual degree program where students study general science during three years, and then enter into the Smeal MBA program for the remaining two years. Lee is starting the MBA portion of the program in the fall and intends to graduate in the spring of 2016. After completing the Science BS/MBA program, Lee plans to attend medical school.