Sarina Smith is a junior management major from Melissa, Texas. This summer, Sarina interned for Raytheon Technologies in McKinney, Texas in their Intelligence and Space Division as a program planning intern. Sarina is hopeful that this internship will lead to a full-time job with the company after graduation. “My management identified me as a ‘high performer’ and have invited me to intern again next summer as well as documented their desire to hire me upon graduation.” We asked Sarina a few questions about her internship and her preparation for her future career.
What were the greatest lessons you learned in the internship?
My role in the internship was performing schedule management and ensuring my programs had strong performance and robust project management analysis. This included cost estimating, earned value management, critical path, schedule risk, plus cost and schedule variance analysis. One important thing I learned about myself during this internship was that I am adaptable and highly capable. This internship took a lot of communication and advanced skills, however, with determination I accomplished more than I thought possible. Something else I have learned is the importance of being proactive and enterprising in the workplace. Much of the time I had to teach myself or find solutions independently. Taking initiative and not stopping until you reach your objectives is what leads to success.
How has your time at ACU prepared you for this internship and for employment after graduation?
My time at ACU has prepared me through relevant coursework. My academic coursework went hand in hand with my internship. My COBA classes were outstanding preparation for me having the technical knowledge and proper tools to be successful and most importantly my coursework gave me real-world relevant business scenarios. As a communication minor, my communication classes aided me greatly in leading meetings and interacting professionally with all levels of the organization. The leadership opportunities ACU offers also helped as much as the coursework. Being the pledge class president and current social director in my social club helped tremendously with organizational skills. The experience of being an officer and active in ACU Acapella choir increased my self-discipline. My confidence and communication skills were also expanded by serving on leadership teams for Sing Song, TED Talks, and volunteering as a mentor leader at Wildcat Week. My time at ACU has prepared me for employment after graduation by giving me the necessary tools and skills to thrive in the workforce.
I now understand more fully what being in the professional workplace entails. My goal is to excel in my career using as many resources as I can and through self-study. I will apply what I learned during my internship to my academic coursework by using my improved technology skills as well as better time management. Some transferable skills I developed during my experience were analyzing and prioritizing tasks, extracting important information, and facilitating group discussions.
What’s been your favorite thing about being a COBA student?
My favorite thing about being a COBA student is getting involved in the many opportunities COBA has to help you optimize your career goals. COBA’s Leadership Summit in Colorado was especially impactful. COBA truly cares about their students and will go to great lengths to see them grow.
What advice do you have for students who are preparing for an internship?
My advice would be to not underestimate yourself. Everyone has to start somewhere. Next, find mentors. It can be overwhelming being a part of something much bigger than yourself. Just like your classmates depended on you in a group project, your coworkers depend on you to help elevate the team. Therefore, ask for help. Having someone to show you the ropes and answer questions is a great way to make sure you are maximizing your contributions to the team quickly. Also, don’t be afraid to seek answers on your own. A mix of independence and self-direction but openness to learning from others is a winning combination.