Steven DelVecchio, BSILR
Moog, Inc., New York
I had an internship during the fall semester of my senior year. Transferring to Cornell as a junior, I knew it would be difficult to take advantage of the credit internship program in the relatively short amount of time that I had before graduating. I wanted to know what working in human resources really meant and if it was something that I should continue to pursue.
When I interviewed at Moog, I was given a tour of the sprawling East Aurora campus that made me want to stay. Moog is a multinational cutting-edge designer and manufacturer of precision motion technology that makes components for anything from the roof at Wimbledon to the Lockheed Martin F35 to Formula One racing cars and employs some of the most brilliant engineers in the world.
I spent the summer working in Learning and Development where I created a leadership development resource guide and worked on multiple leadership development initiatives. Surprisingly, I was given an opportunity to work on a leadership development research team and take a leading role. I helped generate and implement initiatives while leading a team of managers across different functions from around the country. This opportunity was a product of Moog’s uniquely flat culture, where I was immediately treated as an equal, not an intern. I even had an office next to the CHRO and met the CEO on several occasions.
In the fall, I spent time in multiple functions including staffing, benefits, payroll, and compensation. With each project I was given, I learned about different HR functions and how they worked together. I also gained insight on how HR serves the rest of the business and can be a major influence on success. In each function, I was put in a position where I could directly contribute to the business. One project involved consolidating benefits across all U.S. sites and was part of an effort that was estimated to save the company $25 million per year. I also had to review and develop U.S. HR policies that would be implemented across the 25 states that Moog operates in. These projects gave me an opportunity to see how problem solving in a business, especially at a national level, is far more complicated and tedious than I had imagined while sitting in a classroom. These projects in particular gave me a realistic view of what type of knowledge and skills are necessary for success in business.
I even had a chance to make a trip to Cornell to recruit for a new engineering leadership development program that was just being launched. This was an amazing and exhausting experience. I might even call it awkward, as I was interviewing students who were my age for full-time positions. Spending two days on campus at the career fair and interviewing one student after another was an interesting look at the other side lives.
My education at the ILR School prepared me for much of the work and my experience built off the classroom learning that I received. I had to use what I had learned in Labor and Employment Law, Disability and Employment Policy, Career Development, Introduction to HR and Organizational Behavior continuously while rotating through functions. I felt well prepared to accomplish the tasks I was given and excel. While at Moog, I developed a stronger understanding and appreciation for compensation and benefits that I had previously understood only at a broad level. This opportunity gave me a chance to really immerse myself within these functions and see what it was like to work in them.
The eight month experience was probably the most valuable time that I have had at Cornell both personally and professionally. I learned specific details of functions and processes within HR but also gained a broader understanding of business in general. I had a unique view as an ILR student to examine Moog’s culture, and gained an understanding of how corporate culture truly affects the business at every level.
Moog was an innovator in corporate culture, implementing the teachings of Douglas McGregor before human resources was even called human resources. As an ILR student, it was amazing to listen to the Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President talk about meeting McGregor and then coming back to Moog to talk about his philosophies over 40 years ago. Listening to the CEO explain how Moog’s culture was a top priority and greatest asset really changed my perspective of what HR really meant to the business.
The lessons that I learned about business, human resources and myself will be a great advantage to me throughout my career. I gained far more from my internship at a company that I had never heard of before than I could ever have anticipated.
- Steven DelVecchio