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The world of international business is opening up to Shea Strand, a junior accountancy major and Barrett Honors College student.
During the fall 2014 semester, Shea is interning at Freeport-McMoRan, a U.S.-based natural resources company that is a major producer of copper, gold, molybdenum, oil and natural gas. The company is headquartered in Phoenix and has operations throughout the world, including in Indonesia and South America.
Shea works 24 hours per week in the sales and marketing department, dealing with completing copper concentrate shipments to customers. This fall marks Shea’s third stint at the company. She interned in Freeport-McMoRan’s accounting department for two summers before switching to the sales and marketing department this year.
She describes her work in the sales and marketing department this way: “Each customer has a schedule of shipments and my department oversees the process of creating the documents for each shipment, collaborating with the bank and customer, exchanging assays for the copper concentrate, creating invoices, and making sure that we receive payment. There are hundreds of shipments that we complete and the process to complete a shipment can take anywhere from six months to a year.”
It’s a big job that’s contributing to Shea’s understanding of the ins and outs of multinational business and trade.
Shea took time out to answer more questions about her experience.
What about the internship interests you? What is your favorite part of the job?
One of the many interesting things about working for a company like Freeport-McMoRan is the exposure to international business. I am in constant communication with business professionals in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. In addition, sometimes representatives from other sites and foreign customers visit our office. It’s interesting to see their cultural differences in a business environment. I really enjoy being a part of a global company.
What have you learned from the internship?
Interning at Freeport-McMoRan has taught me many things. First, I’ve had the opportunity to experience working for a Fortune 500 company. The time I have spent at Freeport-McMoRan has allowed me to see multiple aspects of business. I have a greater understanding of accounting, sales and marketing, management, and supply chain as it takes place in the real world. Additionally, I have learned that the company is always changing. Since I have worked for Freeport-McMoRan the company has acquired an oil and gas company and sold a share of one of its South American mines. The people are constantly changing too. I worked in the same department for two summers, each with a completely different team of people, and I have even moved departments myself. Third, being professional can take you a long way in life. Companies value employees who are hard-working, dedicated, and respectful. I would not be in the position I am today if I had not put my best foot forward the summer I started interning at Freeport-McMoRan.
Did being a Barrett student play a role in you getting the internships?
Being a Barrett student set me apart from other students. Freeport-McMoRan knows that as an honors student, I am responsible and committed to my work.
How important is it for you to have internship experience before you graduate? Will having internships make you more marketable? Does interning enhance your academic experience?
Internship experience is a valuable thing for students, especially while going to school at the same time. Working and going to school shows that you are capable of holding many responsibilities at once. You must be efficient, hard-working, organized, and have excellent time management skills. Interning as a student has allowed me to make connections in the classroom as well. I can see the principles of management at work in the office and I understand from personal experience what makes a good boss and why. Working for the sales and marketing team, I get exposure to international business and work side by side with our logistics team. Having real world experience is most definitely of value.