Clickers in hand and microphones hot, U-Haul college interns stood before a room of managers, supervisors and Team Members and made PowerPoint presentations on their work achievements and future goals.
The annual intern presentations, spread over two days in August, reflected the quality and poise of the young people U-Haul has recently welcomed into its corporate family.
The internship program began in 2007, according to Anne Collins, Human Resources corporate recruiter and internship coordinator. It has afforded numerous college and high school students the opportunity to expand their skills and understand the components of what makes U-Haul a national brand.
“I got lucky enough that this was presented to me,” said Alex Castillo, an engineering services intern. “I didn’t want to pass up something like this, especially with a company that’s as well known and such a household name like U-Haul.”
Castillo has worked at U-Haul for the past three summers and is studying civil engineering at Arizona State. His experience at U-Haul has convinced him to expand his education by adding a minor in mechanical engineering.
Castillo described in his presentation the trips he has made on behalf of U-Haul to investigate and reconstruct accidents involving U-Haul equipment. These investigations have helped him make the real-world connection between civil and mechanical engineering.
“I’ll be able to use the mechanical side that I’ve learned from how (vehicles) work, how they react to certain situations to hopefully help my civil engineering side when I design a highway,” Castillo added.
Hands-on experience is a focus of U-Haul Company’s internship program. Lynnie Nguyen, a social media and digital marketing intern for the past two years, said the environment created at U-Haul has given her the opportunity to utilize what she learns in the classroom.
“Everything I’ve learned here will help me moving forward,” Nguyen said. “This internship has better prepared me to understand how corporate structure works and how to work in a business environment.”
Bradley Lopes, a digital marketing intern since June, also noted the stimulating environment that U-Haul provides for its interns.
“I chose U-Haul because of how committed they were to helping me learn and grow,” Lopes said. “I have been exposed to different tools, terms, and projects that I never understood or thought about. U-Haul has opened my eyes to the digital marketing and the steps it takes to be successful in this field.”
Andrea Batchelor, an external communications intern since last November, said that she had no idea what she was going to do with her career path until she started interning at U-Haul.
“If it wasn’t for this internship, I wouldn’t know what to do with my degree,” Batchelor said. “I didn’t really have an end goal, but the internship has shown me that the skills I’ve learned in school can be applicable in a Fortune 500 company.”
The other 21 college interns can also attest to the success of the internship program and how it has benefited them.
Interns have gone on to become full-time U-Haul Team Members and directors of departments in some cases. Akhila Balaraman, manager of software development, and Toni Jones, director of social media, were interns before they carved out a path to management.
Future U-Haul interns will have the same opportunities, and they can turn to the current class of interns for some sound advice.
“Find your voice and make a difference,” Nguyen said. “It doesn’t pay off to keep quiet.”
“Observe and listen to your mentors, and pay attention to everything they do,” Castillo added. “Ask questions. I asked a bunch of questions, but learned way more than I would have if I didn’t ask questions. I think that’s a big part of it.”
[Not a valid template]
Are you interested in working at U-Haul? To view jobs and internships that are currently available, visit our Career Opportunities page on uhaul.com.