Alisa Salesevic Internship

Name: 
Alisa Salesevic
Major: 
Global Resource Systems and Supply Chain Management, Minor: Horticulture
Year: 
Senior
Hometown: 
West Des Moines, IA
Company/Organization: 
OSI Food Solutions, Supplier Intern
Location: 
Duisburg, Germany

Describe your internship responsibilities:
I had one main project for the duration of the internship. The project was to develop an Evaluation Tool for the Environmental Management Department that would be used during their supplier audits. Part two of the project was to develop an automated scorecard to aid in ranking and organizing the suppliers. My nine weeks consisted of a lot of research, a lot of neat travel opportunities along with meeting incredibly knowledgeable people through which all helped to build on my project, and a lot of hard work with the amazing support system OSI provided me.

What did you enjoy most about this internship?
TRAVELING! I was fortunate to get the opportunity to visit multiple parts of Germany as well as Poland and the UK. These travels allowed me to visit different OSI plant locations as well as some of OSI’s suppliers, which was a very beneficial component for the development of my project. I met some really unique people who taught me things I could never learn from textbooks, shared life stories, and opened up my views and interests in new directions I did not know I would start developing passions for. This part of my internship really just went beyond the corporate world and company; it really helped me see myself in all aspects of life.

How has this experience impacted your future career plans?
To be honest, never in my life would I have thought that I would work in a field that handles meat, and even further, the whole process of it becoming a consumable product (aka the whole slaughter process). But this experience truly opened up my mind and showed me all the different avenues and combinations of careers that are possible. Most importantly it taught me to keep my mind open and not to just shut something out because it may not sound appealing to you. There is now a little more indecision and fear instilled in me because I have gained many more passions that I would love to include in my career in the very near future.

What resources did you utilize to obtain this internship?
Networking, Networking, Networking! I started at Ag Career Services where I received some direction and more contacts in who could help me with my search for an international internship. From there, I visited and talked to as many teachers as I could because everyone else seemed to know someone which just kept extending my chain of contacts. Email was my second best friend. I kept emailing nonstop to companies and contacts I received from the resources that I obtained here at Iowa State. The key to this was to always continue sending emails to other companies and not just stop once you got a reply or something seemed like it might turn out, because I had a couple of opportunities that I thought might come through but didn’t materialize.

What advice would you offer to other students seeking similar internships?
I have three pieces of advice. First, be patient! Especially with my situation where I was communicating abroad so time differences certainly played a factor, but overall you just need to face reality and realize people are busy and you more than likely are not their first priority. This is where you need to build your own opportunity and show them why you should be taken seriously. Second, have a backup plan. Never solely rely on one thing, as you never know when it could all fall through and you may need to go back to the start (personal experience). Lastly, never give up! Sure you probably hear it all the time, but this is really important, especially if you do indeed need to start all over again. This is also why always continuing to communicate with people and companies through the entire process of searching for an internship is crucial.