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Fall 2023 graduate Olivia Van Vossen
With a variety of internship experiences, business administration senior Olivia Van Vossen has set herself up for success in the Harbert College of Business, securing a job with the global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin for this upcoming January.
From supply chain analytics, marketing and public relations to human resources, Van Vossen has learned a lot from her three different industry internships.
“I wanted something a little bit more broad so I could gain a lot of experience in a lot of different areas and then kind of figure out what I wanted to do,” said Van Vossen when asked why she chose to study business administration.
Working in supply chain at the cleaning equipment manufacturer Tennant Company in the summer of 2021, Van Vossen recalls how Covid-19-related disruptions challenged her with finding components required to keep production lines open. On one occasion, Van Vossen says she spent three days cold calling several companies trying to locate propane tanks to keep production lines going.
Van Vossen said the internship, which was located in Golden Valley, Minnesota, helped her learn just how intricate manufacturing products is, with it all coming down to a single component like a screw in some cases.
The following summer, Van Vossen’s internship in marketing and public relations was located in Barcelona, Spain. Here, she gained invaluable international business experience, all while immersing herself in a completely new culture. Between tackling the language barrier and taking fun trips like a skydiving adventure in Costa Brava, Van Vossen described her time in Spain as both challenging and incredibly rewarding.
Working with many small businesses in Barcelona, Van Vossen recalls consulting with one company that made espadrilles shoes about entering the United States market and helping a brewing company strengthen its marketing tactics for a subscription box business model.
“It's fun because you get to work directly with the clients which is something I really like doing, I like working directly with people,” said Van Vossen.
Van Vossen giving back to community at IP internship.
Her most recent internship in human resources at the International Paper (IP) Company in Franklin, Virginia, allowed her to work with people in a manufacturing setting. With each IP facility located in smaller sized towns, Van Vossen said getting to see how the business was able to impact the whole community and how the community in turn supports the business was rewarding.
At IP, Van Vossen updated the hourly work and exit interview forms and even planned a few events during the internship.
“You just hear a lot of stories, and you have to do a lot of investigations,” she said in relation to her human resources job duties.
Originally from the small town of Hastings, Minnesota, Van Vossen applied to Auburn when a friend mentioned the university to her. She recalls the emotions she felt when she received her acceptance letter and how she knew that meant she was supposed to come here.
Van Vossen said she has always felt supported by Harbert personnel despite being so far from home—17.5 hours to be exact. For example, Megan Sumners, department of management and entrepreneurship program champion, encouraged her to apply to Harbert’s Executive Society where Van Vossen has been able to show prospective students just how amazing Harbert is.
“It was really cool to have someone that's always in your corner trying to get you involved and trying to send you different opportunities,” said Van Vossen.
Lecturer Jack Hopkins, Van Vossen said, advised her on how to get the best opportunity possible through the process of accepting her position with Lockheed Martin—a job she learned about at the Harbert Supply Chain Career Fair in October.
Once Van Vossen was interviewed, she received a job offer the very next day and now looks forward to moving to Grand Prairie, Texas, for her position starting in January.
“It's definitely going to be nice to kind of go into it and start my life,” said Van Vossen, “but it's also kind of bittersweet because I don't want to leave Auburn yet.”
The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.