Internship series: Madelyn Ackley takes career fair to internship experience
Like many other students, Madelyn Ackley’s internship story starts at the UNIBusiness career fair.
In mid-September 2017, Ackley connected with John Deere at the career fair. She, along with a few other UNIBusiness students, then went through a series of interviews before receiving an internship offer at the end of October.
Ackley was placed in Horicon, Wisconsin, a small town in between Madison and Milwaukee, where John Deere owns a factory that creates lawn equipment and the company’s famous Gator vehicles. Ackley, a senior in accounting, worked with the accounting and finance department at the plant. She helped with a few annual audits, completed research for standard cost studies, and worked on many other day-to-day or week-to-week tasks over the summer.
“Summer is a good time for the factory to start preparing for the next fiscal year, so the interns do some research and give the professionals information to make those decisions,” Ackley said. “They gave me a good idea of what other interns were working on, too, which was great. It allowed me to see bigger projects and learn what other people were doing.”
John Deere also held some formal training sessions for Ackley and the 20 other interns. They volunteered at a local Habitat for Humanity, traveled to the company’s headquarters in Moline, Illinois, and participated in various other group and networking sessions.
Another unique benefit of the internship program: If Ackley decides to work with John Deere full time after graduation, she said the company will allow her to enter a three-year developmental program, where she can do three one-year rotations in different positions throughout the organization.
“I think that’s really unique and will help students right out of college be familiar with their long-term decision for a career,” she said.
Ackley finished her internship on Aug. 10, but the experience will stick with her throughout her final few semesters at UNI.
“I think my main takeaway was to see how a large company operates as a whole but also being a part of the smaller subgroup within that company,” she said. “I can see it work into the bigger picture. It was a good experience to have that large business environment to work with a wide variety of people in different areas.”