Four from UAH’s College of Business Administration benefit from Boeing internships

College of Business
Michael Mercier | UAH

Each summer, Boeing's Business Intern Program gives a handful of business students an enviable preview of what to expect after graduation with a three-month paid internship. Invariably included among them are students from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), and this year was no different with four upperclassmen from the College of Business Administration accepting offers.

"Each local Boeing company site works with focus universities to find good young talent to come in as interns," says Lane Watts, Senior Manager of Financial Operations, Integrated Scheduling, and Employee Development at Boeing. "We continue to get a very high-performing field of young talent from the College of Business Administration at UAH."


Resumes were collected last fall via three avenues: college fairs, direct communication with the universities' deans, and Boeing's online employment system. "We're talking hundreds of resumes!" says Jack Kachelman, Senior Financial Analyst at Boeing. Once downselects were made in late September, candidates were called in for interviews in early October.

"We usually have a range of positions open, but this past summer we had six positions," says Kachelman. UAH students Bingjiao Chen, a senior finance and accounting major; Brittney Decker, a junior acquisition management major; Tara Henson, a senior business management major; and Austin Mordecai, a senior finance and economics major were among the six selected.

The experience proved nothing short of invaluable for them, with each gaining a unique insight into their chosen career path:

Bingjiao Chen

Chen says she originally applied for the internship because she "wanted to apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations, gain valuable work experience, and meet and network with professionals in different fields," among other goals. But what she took away was so much more.

"I have learned the importance of planning for the short term and the long term, the usefulness of Microsoft skills – especially Excel, and that effective communication is a vital part of success," she says. Perhaps even more meaningful, she came to realize that "the journey of learning doesn't stop after college. It continues throughout our lives."

Now that the internship is complete, she says she would "strongly recommend this great opportunity" to other UAH students. "I had great mentors, teams, and managers who were always there to provide guidance and support."

Brittney Decker

When Decker learned of the internship from a College of Business Administration email, she says she thought it seemed like a good opportunity to "gain practical experience in the defense industry to better position myself for a career after graduation."

She ended up working in contracts on the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Program – and ultimately changed her major because of it. "I previously intended to major in supply chain management, but after my internship in contracts, I was excited to switch to acquisition management," she says. "It also affirmed for me that I did truly want to work in the defense industry."

While on the job, Decker learned a lot about the structure and processes behind customer interfacing, in addition to creating and maintaining finance metrics and charts and drafting customer correspondence. "I would absolutely recommend this internship program to any student who is interested in working for a large defense contractor," she says, adding that she will be returning to the internship program next summer.

Tara Henson

Henson's relationship with Boeing has been a close one since receiving the Boeing Business Scholarship her freshman year. For the past three summers, she has worked at the company as a summer intern, most recently training as a material cost analyst assigned to the Integrated Air & Missile Defense program.

I hope to own a business and I know that my experiences with Boeing have helped me to expand my knowledge of finances.

Tara Henson

UAH student and Boeing intern

"These three internships taught me that being a management major can open you up to a very wide range of jobs," she says, adding that she also worked in Boeing's core accounting department and on the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Program. "Even within Boeing, I had three very different jobs in three very different programs.

As a result, she now feels prepared for "a variety of careers," including that of company CEO. "I hope to own a business and I know that my experiences with Boeing have helped me to expand my knowledge of finances," she says.

Austin Mordecai

Mordecai wasn't looking for just any workplace experience when he applied to the internship program; he was looking for the big time. "I applied because Boeing is a Fortune 500 company and I wanted to gain experience in working for a big corporate company," he says.

His ambition paid off. He landed the internship and was soon assigned to the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Program. "I worked within finance with the business operations group, where I was responsible for many daily analytical reports," he says. "And I worked with my team to help improve daily functions through many forms of innovation."

Now, he's learned "how to work within a huge company," and has made a lot of contacts in preparation for his future career in finance. "I would definitely recommend this experience to all UAH students," he says.

In return, Boeing benefited from their hard work and dedication for the three months each served in their respective positions. "All four did an outstanding job," says Watts, adding that two – Chen and Mordecai – also received firm offers of employment after their graduation. "We enjoyed having them work with us and we look forward to working with them in the future when they come on board as full-time employees."