Great Valley students apply skills at internships

MALVERN, Pa. — Penn State Great Valley graduate students find a plethora of ways to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-life situations. Several international students spent their summers applying their skills at a variety of internships.

Some students shared the details of their experiences.

Vani Chaudhary, Engineering Management, Medifast

Chaudhary spent her summer as a continuous improvement intern in Medifast’s supply chain department. She primarily focused on finding ways to maximize the efficiency of machines and processes.

The highlight of her internship was receiving two large projects to complete on her own. While the responsibility was initially daunting, Chaudhary enjoyed the opportunity to take ownership of the projects, and she received plenty of support from her manager.

“Making a process more simplified will definitely help you gain more knowledge towards things,” Chaudhary said. “That’s what I felt was an eye opener for me because I definitely do complicate things, because that is human nature. After coming to this internship, I have become more calm and more understanding towards human relations, which served the one of the purposes of getting an internship.”

Chaudhary initially had trouble finding an internship, applying to hundreds of positions. The tide started to turn in her favor after she began working with Karen Carli, associate director of career management services, to update her résumé. In fact, Chaudhary said the hiring committee at Medifast were particularly impressed by her résumé.

Landing an in-person internship was especially exciting for Chaudhary given the nature of her work and that many of her friends were working remote internships.

“I was actually fortunate to work on site,” Chaudhary said. “I feel proud that I got I got an opportunity to see people, to meet people because I feel that’s how I’m going to improve my connections, improve my skills.”

Namratha Sri Mateti, Data Analytics, Checkr

Checkr is headquartered in San Francisco and although Mateti was offered the option of a remote internship, she opted to spend her 12 weeks in-person. Being downtown in a city full of startups offered plenty of networking opportunities and a different atmosphere from Great Valley’s location in a corporate park.

As a data scientist intern, Mateti focused on building machine learning models by scraping data from the company’s database.

“I built machine learning models to predict if potential customers in Checkr's database would become customers and if they did, how much annual revenue they’d generate for Checkr,” Mateti said. “I integrated the results with LOOKER dashboard to allow sales representatives quick access to highly ranked potential customers.”

At the end of her internship, Mateti presented her work to other employees. Her company-wide presentation wasn’t daunting thanks in large part to her classes at Great Valley. In most of her courses, Mateti worked on a project throughout the term and presented to the class at the end.

A crucial aspect of the presentation was making sure she explained everything in simple terms so everyone—particularly those without data science backgrounds—could understand, which was a key takeaway for Mateti.

“I’ve learned a lot, like how to look at the problem, defining target variables, and overcoming the challenges,” Mateti said. “My mentor helped me a lot. If I wanted to work on a particular idea and discuss with my mentor, he always supported and guided me through the right way.”

Utkarsh Singh, Engineering Management, AQUA

Singh was a supply chain intern for AQUA, though his duties were far-reaching. He helped secure new contracts with existing vendors, analyzed how much water customers used in winter versus summer and analyzed and organized a variety of other data.

The most memorable part, though, was helping with AQUA’s transition to using SAP. Singh and his fellow intern served as the help desk for employees learning the new software.

“[SAP] was completely new software for me” Singh said. “From not knowing what SAP is day one of joining to actually being able to train other people while leaving the company, it’s a pretty big achievement for me.”

Keeping up with the amount of information covered during Great Valley’s seven-week courses helped Singh become a quick learner, which was just as valuable during his internship as the other skills he gleaned from classes.

Singh’s first professional experience provided him with not only important technical skills, but also a deeper understanding of the norms and customs of the American corporate world.

“The internship was also a big cultural shift for me as I come from a different part of the world,” Singh said. “Corporate America is a completely different world, so I was trying to find my way through it by meeting new people, learning how businesses work, and understanding how things are done in a company. The internship, being my very first professional experience, was a challenging, but a fun learning experience for me.”