Heidi Wong, BSILR '14

GE Energy, MN

During the summer and fall of 2012, I worked as a Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) intern for GE Energy. My time at GE was extremely rewarding, and I am confident that it will serve as a worthy building block for future professional endeavors.

Strategic Workforce Planning aligns human capital analytics with the broader business strategy. It enables a business to efficiently achieve its financial goals by acquiring and placing mission critical talent at the right time and place. GE, whose HR expertise is globally recognized, is at the forefront of applying, refining, and reaping SWP's benefits. I worked on several high impact projects shaping GE's immediate and longer-term future. One of my projects involved managing an advanced workforce-modeling software with a vendor. Another comprised of analyzing talent markets in order to suggest where a new business should locate to attract and retain desired talent. These and other projects complemented my ILR coursework, allowed me to develop new technical skills, and really stretched me to examine the impact of decisions from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders.

Much of the work I did was self-guided, and I really appreciated the autonomy and freedom to accomplish many tasks wholly on my own. However, my ability to execute those projects would not have been possible without my supervisor. He was a wonderful mentor, and instrumental in easing my transition from the ILR School to industry. I am deeply grateful for the trust and guidance I received from him. His strong consulting background and SWP expertise were especially of great benefit to me. My supervisor continually introduced me to key business concepts, articles, and other resources related to my work. Many brainstorming sessions with him taught me how to maximize impact by shifting priorities; these sessions enhanced my ability to navigate ambiguity, draw insight from incomplete data, and deliver high quality results.

I also had several opportunities to present my work to senior leadership. During my final presentation to the Global HR Shared Services leader at GE Corporate and her staff, I learned that GE is in the course of further developing the initiatives that I helped lay the foundation for. It was rewarding to see the impact of my work, and I am looking forward to seeing GE's continued innovation.

All employees were encouraged to serve the surrounding community at GE, and I had fun participating in those activities with the other interns. We served refreshments to participants in a Habitat for Humanity charity bike ride, and also assembled backpacks filled with school supplies for youth in the inner city. GE sponsored us for a few events as well, such as going out to lunch with our supervisors, cheering on the Minnesota Twins (to victory!), and having a movie night out.

My internship was a fantastic experience and is definitely a highlight of my ILR education. I highly encourage students to spend a semester broadening their expertise through a Credit Internship. I have come away with a much greater appreciation for my ILR education, and gained invaluable skills and perspectives that I will continue to develop throughout my future professional career.

- Heidi Wong