At General Electric (GE), I had the opportunity to intern in the GE Power division that made steam turbines and generators that power electricity for cities. While I was there, I balanced about five to seven projects, but my main task throughout the semester was to lead all talent acquisition for GE’s plant in Schenectady, New York from full-time hires to intern hires. It was interesting to see university recruiting from the employer’s point of view and to experience labour relations between GE and its union workers while still being a student.
I was extremely fortunate to get this internship because GE internships are mostly reserved for master’s or MBA students. Other interns in a similar role as me throughout the country were master’s students. The responsibilities assigned to me were real and important.
Initially, I was shocked of the responsibilities I had at GE. However, the knowledge I gained in ILRHR 4620 Staffing Organizations, ILRHR 2600 Human Resource Management, ILRHR 2660 Essential Desktop Applications, ILRLR 2010 Labour and Employment Law, and ILRLR 2040 Introduction to Conflict Resolution and Negotiation classes gave me the confidence to move forward.
During the course of the internship, I discovered my ability to learn quickly and to be in new environments very different from my initial background. For instance, I had never been in a manufacturing plant before so I had to learn about the product and job positions. I also learned that I am not satisfied with the status quo of how things get done so I took on numerous projects to solve issues outside of my job description.
Another thing I discovered while working on GE’s new system for tracking hourly attendance from Kronos and placing it on Cloud computing showed me that there is a link between HR and technology. I then became more interested in computer science and information science, so after the internship I began to take many courses in the College of Engineering and ended up doing a minor in engineering.
At the end of my internship, I was still too young to qualify for a full-time job offer because I interned between my sophomore year and my junior year. There were no other summer GE HR internships for undergraduates that I could do after my internship. I did get a recommendation to be a GE Communications Intern, but ended up choosing an offer to stay within HR at Corning Incorporated for the following summer. I did receive multiple offers during the summer of 2017 with a few Fortune 500 companies. The GE internship definitely made it easy to get interviews and to be considered for some great roles.
I highly recommend future students pursue the Credit Internship Program. It gives students a wealth of experience early in their careers. I have now close to a year of working experience in Fortune 500 companies due to this internship. Very few students ever get this opportunity before graduation. Take advantage of the credit internship; it makes it much easier to know what you like and do not like for planning your career path. The internship does influence what classes you want to take and what you want to do before graduating from Cornell.