A business unit analysis that led to a second-place finish in a seven-week intern challenge contributed to “an incredible experience” for Thomas James “TJ” Miller.
“I interned in summer 2015 with BASF Corporation, the world’s leading chemical company, out of the Wyandotte site, which is the main site for the Midwest hub,” says Miller, an international business administration major and German minor at Alma College.
Miller worked with the performance materials division in the transportation section.
“My responsibility was to create an automated uploading process for the technical data sheets from Microsoft SharePoint into the High Performance Sales Process iPad sales app,” he says.
As part of his internship, Miller was required to take part in the company’s Midwest Hub Summer Hire Intern Challenge. The interns were divided into seven groups of eight people and asked to analyze different business units to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas of growth.
Miller’s group consisted of half business majors and half chemical engineering or chemistry majors. They analyzed the company’s Global Advanced Materials and Systems Research unit.
“The diverse group really helped,” says Miller, a junior from Brighton. “The competency center is relatively new, and the goal of our presentation was to promote communication and show that there is this incredible resource.”
After presenting to a panel of judges, Miller’s group took second place by only two points. Because they took second by such a small margin, members of the group were guaranteed letters of recommendations for professional development programs.
“Overall it was a great summer,” says Miller. “I’m looking to explore opportunities to work out of BASF’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany, next summer before I study abroad next August at a German university. Eventually I would like to work in the automotive industry.”
Miller credits Alma College faculty for preparing him for a successful internship. Analyzing businesses with SWOT analysis—strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats—as learned in the classroom helped with his internship, he says.
“My business professors helped me develop a strong ability to identify a business unit’s weaknesses and areas for growth,” he says. “The skills I’ve gained over the past couple of years demonstrate why ‘plaid works’ for me.”
He advises incoming students to talk with their professors as much as possible, saying that the more you develop the relationships now, the better it will help in the coming years.
“The small class sizes really help,” says Miller. “Alma College offers a great learning environment. I didn’t think I could survive at a big university as just a number. Here you get to interact with the professors. Here they want you to succeed.”
— Alexa Bourne