I began the MBA program unsure of which academy to choose. I knew I wanted a well-rounded experience and was very interested in a leadership development program following graduation.
As I learned more about different job opportunities in corporate finance, brand and product management, as well as other areas in marketing, I realized I was very interested in the area of marketing analytics. My past experience is in the field of information technology, and I felt that analytics was a strength I could offer in a marketing role.
I applied to dozens of jobs, attended the NSHMBA and Midwest career fairs last fall and interviewed with many companies before I found the right fit for an internship at United Airlines, in their Merchandising and E-Commerce division. I spoke with representatives from United at the Midwest career fair in Chicago, but United doesn’t begin their internship recruiting until the spring, so I interviewed and received an offer in February.
This summer at United, I worked on a specific travel product, including a financial and pricing analysis, customer segmentation and marketing plan, as well as a pilot customer acquisition campaign and forecast. I worked out a project schedule, got the data I needed from different people, and gave my manager weekly updates to make sure I was on track throughout the summer. I ended my last day with a presentation to the marketing department.
Throughout the summer, I made an effort to get to know people in every area of the company. In such a large company, this can be a difficult task, but everyone I met with was very willing to help and excited to share their experience. I attended every networking event I could, and participated in all of the intern events including lunch and learns with executive vice presidents in the company, a tour of the network operations center, a Cubs game outing, and an airport and maintenance base tour in San Francisco.
I met interns in engineering, operations, and finance, and learned from their experiences as well. I think some of the best resources were the other interns, and we made sure to share our knowledge and meet with each other on a regular basis. The events helped us meet a lot of people in the company, and get a better sense of how the organization functioned as a whole. Perhaps one of my proudest moments was when John Rainey, CFO at United, presented me and two other interns with 1st prize in the cupcake decorating contest.
One of the perks of working for an airline is pass travel! I went to Munich and to Maui with a few of my fellow interns. I also managed to get to Rome to visit my family on their vacation, and traveled to Seattle and New York City as well. Spending the summer in Chicago was great too, and I made a lot of fantastic connections and friends throughout the internship.
I had a great experience at United – with my coworkers, living in Chicago, and working in an exciting, challenging and ever-changing industry doing work that I really enjoyed.