This summer, six students from the College of Business Administration interned in a variety of departments at Burger King’s corporate headquarters in Miami. They worked alongside students from other leading universities, such as Harvard, Duke, Wharton, and the Rochester Institute of Technology.
In fact, according to Barry Shiflett, director of Career Management Services for the college, nine of the 24 summer interns at Burger King this year came from Florida International University’s graduate and undergraduate programs.
“This reflects very positively on the college and the caliber of our students—it represents a good step going forward in our relationship with Burger King,” Shiflett said.
Students earn kudos from Burger King.
José Tomas (BBA ’92), vice president of human resources at Burger King and also chairman of the college’s Master of Science in Human Resource Management (MSHRM) Advisory Board, offers words of praise for the university’s interns.
Students from the college gained valuable experience as interns at Burger King.
“They exceeded our expectations,” he said. “The students from Florida International University were very well prepared. It was a perfect match between an excellent education and the right roles for the interns. Clearly, the university took the time to prepare and coach the interns prior to their interviews and assignments. Many of them have been asked to remain onboard with the company—and that is no accident.”
The college’s students were given the opportunity to hone their skills in multiple corporate disciplines, including finance, marketing, human resources, IT, and research and development.
According to Tomas, the assigned projects “were planned with sufficient time to ensure they were meaningful and added value to the business.”
One of the interns, Katia Archer, a senior majoring in accounting, was assigned to the internal audit team within the finance department.
“I learned a lot about the different areas and departments within Burger King,” Archer said. “Perhaps most importantly, this experience gave me the opportunity to network with people in many different levels of the company, so I was able to learn from other people’s experiences as well.”
Internships complement classroom learning.
Tomas sees strong connections among the work of the MSHRM Advisory Board, the college’s coursework, and the summer internship program at Burger King.
“Members of advisory boards provide a real-life business perspective, ensuring that the curriculum is relevant to today’s issues,” he said. “The internship program goes one step further, offering students mentoring and networking opportunities. Practical know-how is not always gained through business case reviews or textbook theory. You need people with working experience in the field to help apply the teachings.”
Dominique Voltaire, a senior who is completing her BBA in management information systems online with an expected graduation in December, 2006, feels the internship at Burger King definitely complemented what she learned in the classroom.
“As part of the web development team, I found that my computer programming coursework made it much easier for me to pick up other programming languages that Burger King used,” said Voltaire, who has landed a position with the Internal Revenue Service in Austin, TX. “I’d also learned some of the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of working in a corporate environment—and knowing those came in handy.”
Ongoing discussions about the true nature of quality assurance and quality control within an IT environment added value to the internship experience for Luis Romero, who is on track to receive his Master of International Business (MIB) degree this December.
“I walked away from my internship in the IT department with new insights and the impetus to examine objectives from both a business and technical perspective,” Romero said. “Having the chance to sit down and chat informally with my manager and colleagues during a lunch break added to the total learning experience. It was invaluable.”
The six Burger King summer interns from the College of Business Administration included graduate students Antoinette Mulai, Luis Romero, and Abbas Salehmohamed, along with undergraduate students Katia Archer, Dianne Cordova, and Dominique Voltaire.