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Meet Daniel Erickson '13, Intern at IBM
Meet Daniel Erickson '13, Intern at IBM

Daniel Erickson is a PSU alum from the class of 2013, graduating from SBA with a triple major in Human Resources, Management Leadership, and Supply & Logistics. During his time at PSU, Daniel spent a summer working with IBM Citeras as the Leadership and Development Intern. Today, he shares the story of how he found his internship and his passion, and then turned that into a fulfilling career.

Tell us about your internship role.

My role was to help develop an internship program while being an intern myself. Our cohort was 15 people and I was the lead intern, and I was to conduct weekly meetings to help develop job skills and help make internships worthwhile for everyone there. Based on my experience while being a mentor here at PSU, I knew a lot about how to teach and develop curriculum. You just want to make the whole experience worthwhile. That was one aspect. The other aspect was to deliver trainings and create roundback sessions for full time and part time employees. I had one more role that was with the Recruiting & Hiring division. I had to coordinate with the Hiring Director to find all their Hiring Managers to get all their applicants processed directly because all their people had left applicants in the system although they had all been interviewed. The system had an 800 person backlog they had to deal with and we had about 40 Hiring Managers we were working with to figure out how their iRecruitment system worked effectively. There were a lot of different roles.

How did you find this internship?

I found it through an advisor in SBA who told me that I would probably be good for this job.  I applied for it and interviewed through it, so I got this through the SBA advising office.

I worked in the 3rd floor labs as lab staff, and I’d walk around and talk to people. Becky Sanchez was my advisor and I was in there frequently anyways. I became friends with a lot of people, so it was about networking. You have to get out there and talk with the people that have services that they can provide, so that they can understand who you are and what you’re about. That was how I got the internship and it’s ultimately how I got my job now.

Do you feel that your work in your major helped you in your internship?

Yes. I hadn’t at the point picked up the Supply & Logistics major and was only focused on HR and Leadership & Management, so I was familiar with all of the buzz words and lingo they use there. It was all sorts of slogans and jargon, but I was prepared by a lot of my teachers to be able to handle it no problem. It wasn’t that stressful.

Sounds like you were prepared by school and by your work on campus.

Yeah, I have worked at multiple places on campus, and that really helped. It helped set myself apart to get the internship. If you’re not utilizing what you’re doing at the same time you’re learning it, then you’re not getting as much value out of it.  The last staff job I had was at a desk… I was a double major in 5 years because I chose to work at the same time. I could have done it faster by taking more classes but I wouldn’t have had as rich an experience through school and work.

How did you get from the internship to Oracle?

After finishing working in HR at IBM, I decided I didn’t want to do it anymore. I had taken that Supply and Logistics class and thought that might be fun, and I knew I wanted to do an internship again or try to find a postgrad type job. One of my teachers in my new field worked for Oracle. I just kept hounding him about internships and I asked him how it was to work there. Eventually he recognized my skills because I was doing good work, which was important. I gave him my resume and he put my resume on the desk of my ultimate Hiring Manager, and that was how I got hired at Oracle. He got my foot in the door by working with him. My skills from working with IBM, what I learned there, and what I did in school helped me get into my current position, which was really important.

Can you elaborate on what you’re doing now?

I’m a Program Manager for Oracle in the Supplier Management Division. Supplier Management works with our outside suppliers who bring in materials to our factories. Buyers of parts, widgets if you will. And I work in the Supplier Management in the PROST division, which is Procurement and Operations Strategy. So my role is to work with the Supplier Program Managers who are actually interfacing one-on-one with the outside people to make sure they are trained for specific programs.

One sustaining project is the Business Continuity Management Program. I work with all of our worldwide offices division as their Global Business Continuity coordinator. I have to interface with all of the Supplier Program Managers and our internal manufacturers. We have 3 internal manufacturing locations – one in Hillsboro, one in North Carolina, and one in Colorado. We have to run tests for business continuity in the cases of civil unrest, pandemic, natural disasters, power outages, and make sure we’re up to Oracle’s standards of business continuity. We have to run tests, and I’m the administrator of all the details for that. I also audit all of our external manufacturers for their Business Continuity plans to make sure that IF there’s a typhoon, tsunami or earthquake, and [our external manufacturers] go lying down for 6 months, that they have a plan in place to move their operations to assist their facility.

What advice would you give to other students considering an internship?

Do it in your Sophomore, Junior and Senior year if you can if you’re not working full-time. Even if you are working full time, then take a hiatus from your normal job it. Because working at the labs and the coffee shops are not equivalent experiences. The money is a lot better if you get into a good internship. And you can translate that experience in to a lot of different things and it’s really worth it.

Do it early, apply early. The best internships go very quickly, they are paid in general. You need to differentiate yourself, and you need to do it early. The earlier you can do it in your college career, the better. It’s all about standing out in a crowd at the end of the day. You have 40 people in your class, they’re all trying to do the same thing that you are. How are you going to stand out from your neighbor, or your friend?


Getting credit for an internship

This series is made possible via reThink PSU grant support.