Students gain valuable work experience from internships, and contacts can be made in a variety of ways. For Matthew Schmidt ’14, of Neenah, Wis., the opportunity to intern came in a completely unexpected way – social media.
In spring 2012, Schmidt was approached by Oshkosh Corp. on the social networking site LinkedIn. “They came across my profile on LinkedIn (an online professional network) and asked if I had any interest in interning for them,” Schmidt says. The company offers both short- and long-term, year-round internships.
According to Schmidt, a computer science major and mathematics minor, Oshkosh Corp. owns multiple companies and each has its own information system that contains vast amounts of data. This includes financial, operational and logistical data.
Since the summer of 2012, Schmidt has interned with Oshkosh Corp., responsible for business intelligence data. His duties include taking all of the data from various sources and consolidating it into one system.
“We can create reports that can tell you almost anything that you would want to know within the company,” he says. “The work that I do directly aids corporate decision-makers in deciding the best course of action based on historical data. If you don’t learn from what happened in the past, you’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes,” he says, paraphrasing a popular quote by George Santayana.
Schmidt also answers emails, provides internal and external customer support, brings data into the Data Warehouse, and aids in Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) development, the process used for this purpose.
His career goal is to work with computers as a developer. “I have had a natural affinity with computers since I was around six years old. I love programming new applications and websites and just seeing them run,” says Schmidt.
His experience with Oshkosh Corp. has helped him on this career path, he says. “I’ve learned exactly what it is like to be in the corporate world and the type of expectations that are placed upon you. I have had the opportunity to see professionally developed applications and how they work and are implemented.
“Oshkosh Corp. employs very talented individuals who are veterans in their respective fields. In essence, I have been trained in best practices based on their years of experience. This is invaluable to someone like me who is just starting out. You will know what to look out for so you don’t make the same mistakes.”
He advises that students have a LinkedIn profile and start networking with people. “This internship quite literally fell into my lap because of it,” he says. “On a somewhat regular basis, I have had recruiters from LinkedIn actively trying to recruit me for jobs.”
-Tsering Yangchen ’14
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