By: Rachael Shahi | College of Business Student | Marketing & Management | Altria
Who am I?
My name is Rachael Shahi and I am currently a fifth year at the University of Wyoming pursuing a dual majoring in Marketing and Management with a triple minor in Finance, Honors, and Sustainable Business Practices. This summer, I had the privilege interning with a company called Altria Group Distribution Company (AGDC).
How I landed my internship
I acquired this internship through the Career Fair and a personal acquaintance that had previously worked as an AGDC intern as well. There were three rounds of interviews we had to get through in order to be hired for this position. This company is looking for individuals who are hard-working, confident, possess strong leadership skills, teamwork capability, and people who are goal/work oriented. I was able to prove to the company that I can multitask with all the majors I am pursuing and the multiple jobs that I have held. They are looking for people who are involved on campus and in their everyday lives as well.
There were many great things about this internship that I thoroughly enjoyed. As interns, we were able to travel to places that I had never been before, gain the experience of a new company and become a part of the amazing culture, and have several networking opportunities.
I would say the best part of this internship was all of the traveling. As interns, we went to Boise, Richmond, Seattle, and Denver on various conferences and finales. This was an amazing experience and I personally had a lot of fun at all of the events. While there were business aspects with all of the trips, there were also several opportunities for the interns to get to know other TSM’s and interns across the country, along with various fun activities that we were able to participate in as well. For our meeting in Boise, we were spilt into teams and had a fun day at the park playing various games and competing as a team to win sand pit volleyball (my team won!) In Richmond, we were treated to an amusement park called Busch Gardens. This event allowed the interns to mingle together and have a fun time riding all of the rides! If you like to travel and participate in fun exciting activities, this could be the internship for you!
Another pro would be the benefits. While we worked a full-time schedule, we were compensated very well and also reimbursed for various expenses. I had never experienced this with any company that I had worked for and it was incredible to feel that important. As a company, AGDC is investing in future leaders for the company, they believe that by compensating people above average, they can attract and retain the best talent.
The culture would be another pro to this internship. This company fosters incredible support and great team efforts. I gained personal acquaintances that helped me get through tough days on the job. My team members made themselves available to me through e-mail, text, or call and I was able to reach them to ask questions I had. I was able receive help on any issues that arose throughout the day. As interns, we were also able to meet the CEO of AGDC, Craig Johnson. We had an opportunity to personally talk with him and ask him questions and we were also able to meet the CEO of Altria Group Inc., Marty Barrington. Marty spoke in front of all of the interns at the final finale in Richmond Virginia. While speaking, an intern asked him what he does to combat his personal life and his work life, his response is something I will never forget. Marty replied, “Well, it’s simple, family comes first.” I had never expected to hear a CEO of a fortune 500 company say that his family came first above all else; this was amazing to me. I think that it is extremely important in a career to have the support you need and a basis of strong leadership.
While I mentioned previously that the travel was a positive, if you are not a fan of traveling, then this may not be the job for you. We drove a lot during this summer and that is a main part of the job. We are required to drive our own personal vehicles (you are reimbursed for mileage) however, there will be a lot of miles put on your car. Being that it is only a two to three month internship, this should not be that bad of an issue.
Another con for me was the cell phone usage. For this job you are required to use your cell phone a lot. This ended up making me go over my minutes every month and paying extra fees to cover the calling costs. If you happen to have a phone that has unlimited minutes, this will not be an issue for you!
The last con that I would say is that there are a lot of people who are not okay with working for a tobacco company. This is a controversial company that may be frowned upon by many. This was not a big issue for me because I realize that smoking is a choice. While I fully understand that smoking is harmful, it is also that individual’s choice to smoke. You will face people who do not understand this and will protest, but like everything in this world, there will always be people who are advocating for their cause. This company also goes above and beyond expectations of a tobacco company. AGDC partners with the FDA to regulate tobacco warning labels. AGDC is committed to responsible manufacturing and marketing to ADULT tobacco consumers. They do this in a multitude of ways, for example, as I mentioned above, partnering with the FDA, starting a “we card” program that helps deter underage tobacco use and prevention, and also offering a smoking cessation website and help line. While they do sell tobacco, AGDC does so as responsibly as they can, helping reduce the stress on the individuals working for the company.
This internship was an incredible experience for me this summer. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is hard working and willing to put in a lot of effort to make a memorable experience. The amount of effort you put into it will reflect on what you get out of it as well. This was a great experience for me to see what a job is like that I could truly make a career out of. I would recommend this job to anyone who is interested in a company who invests in leadership, provides a challenging and dynamic work environment, and wants to work on a fun, supportive team!
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