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Dylan Scott: Winning the Intern Challenge

Taking first-place in the Intern Innovation Challenge was only one defining experience for the accounting major who interned at Koch Industries.

<em>Dylan Scott, second from right, with fellow interns and company CEO Charles Koch, center.</em>Dylan Scott, second from right, with fellow interns and company CEO Charles Koch, center.

A summer internship with Wichita-based Koch Industries proved life-changing in more ways than one for Alma College student Dylan Scott.

First, the experience resulted in a job offer for the senior accounting major from Owosso. Following his graduation from Alma College in April 2018, Dylan will begin his career as a tax analyst with the multinational corporation that has subsidiaries involved in manufacturing, trading and investments.

Second, Dylan participated in the corporation’s Intern Innovation Challenge, which asks teams of interns to identify a problem within the company and propose a solution to address the problem. Dylan’s team, competing against 25 other teams, took first place, earning a modest monetary award but more importantly the opportunity to present the proposal directly to Charles Koch, the company’s chief executive officer.

An ‘incredible experience’

“The internship was invaluable in helping me determine my career goals,” says Dylan. “The accounting field is very broad, and before the internship I didn’t know what I wanted to do. For me, interning at a large company and working on many projects was an incredible experience.”

Koch Industries is a conglomerate that owns companies such as Georgia-Pacific, Molex, Flint Hills Resources and Guardian Industries. Dylan worked as a tax analyst intern in the fuels group, which oversees major refineries in Pine Bend, Minn., and Corpus Christi, Texas. He worked mainly with the Corpus Christi refinery as well as with one of the Flint Hills Resources European subsidiaries.

“I had to learn Swiss taxes, and I had to translate from Italian to English,” he says. “I worked on the monthly and quarterly close-the-book processes for some very high dollar projects. Our work helped influence the decisions on where the company wanted to go with the various projects.”

A winning proposal

For the intern challenge, Dylan’s team decided to reform the company’s emergency management system in order to cut down on response time and improve productivity.

“We proposed an electronic system to replace an outdated paper-and-pen process and return 2,000 hours of production to the company per year,” he says. “We got the idea from our supervisor. We contacted the directors of security and facilities and talked to health and safety people from many different plants. There was lots of communication. We submitted our proposal and learned that our group was one of three semifinalists. We then presented our proposal in front of the other interns and a panel of business leaders from the company.

“And we won! The next week, we presented our proposal to Charles Koch in the executive board room. He asked us questions and found value in our proposal. By the second week of August, our proposal was already being implemented.”

Pursuing the CPA

When Dylan graduates from Alma, he will be qualified to take the CPA exam. He then plans to pursue a master’s degree at Wichita State University while working at Koch Industries, taking advantage of the company’s tuition reimbursement education plan for employees.

“I want to stay with the company for my entire career, but because the company is so large, I might have opportunities to transfer almost anywhere in the world,” he says.

While accounting is his principle academic interest, Dylan finds time to participate in other activities at Alma. He plays tenor saxophone with the jazz band and is a member of the Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity, the Ultimate Frisbee Club and the Alma Accounting Associates.

Story published on September 11, 2017