Alexandra Restrepo, Gustavo Munhoz, Daniel Merino, Josh Bloch
There's studying business in the classroom. Then, there's experiencing business in a true corporate setting. An opportunity to intern at Siemens has allowed several Queens students to learn the difference through long-term internships with the multinational engineering and electronics conglomerate.
"There is so much more to business than what we are taught in the classroom," said Alexandra Restrepo Osorio, a native of Bratislava, Slovakia, who began interning with Siemens in June and expects to be there until her December 2013 graduation. The biggest challenge for Alexandra, a business major and pre-law minor, has been balancing school and internship responsibilities. "Free time became a big unknown for me, but I would not change a thing."
Time management was also a challenge for Daniel Merino when he interned in Siemens' Steam Turbine Finance department in summer 2012. "Through this experience I have learned to be a more organized person," said the native of San Salvador, El Salvador.
Another challenge was learning how to use Siemens' accounting system software, but many multinational companies use the same SAP product. So, Merino's steep learning curve led to valuable experience for the junior majoring in business with a political economy minor. "The difference between school work and real life work is huge," he said. "It is not really not how fast people see you get things done, but the quality of the things you do that matters in business."
The internship program has seen five Queens students placed at Siemens thus far, with interviewers coming to the campus again this month looking to fill future opportunities.
"It is important to show confidence during the interview," said senior Gustavo Munhoz, a native of Santos, Brazil, who began his year-long internship with the company in June. "They are looking for people who have good communication skills; they want people who are not afraid to talk with others because you are always working with different people."
The work these devoted students are doing, immersed in an internship for longer stints than the typical few months of summer break, has benefitted Queens as well. "These students have real world examples to discuss in class," said undergraduate business program chair Steve Cox, adding, "These interns tell us what skills that they see that they do not have and help us target our offerings to the needs of the market place."