UCSF/UCB Launches Internship Program
Thanks in large part to the initiative of one UC Berkeley student and one open-minded manager, UC San Francisco/UC Berkeley Supply Chain Management (SCM) launched its Student Internship Program in Spring 2015. The student was Zack Reilly, an economics major who was at the end of his sophomore year and looking for an internship. He had applied at various large companies, but with no experience he wasn’t having any luck.
“I decided that supply chain management might be something I’m interested in and applied at some large companies, but they don’t really hire interns with zero experience,” said Reilly.
That lack of success outside the University led him to seek out the UCSF/Berkeley supply chain group. Not having any connections to SCM, Reilly took a chance and emailed the help desk. They directed him to Greg Macway, Director of Strategy and Communications, and, despite the fact that SCM had no internship program in place, Macway found a place for him for the summer.
While Reilly gained some valuable experience, Macway considers SCM the big winner, so much so that he has formalized the program and is reviewing applications for three or more interns for the fall semester.
“The response from students has been amazing. Within days of posting the position we received over a dozen applicants,” said Macway. “These students are amazing too. Entrepreneurial and totally engaged. I can’t wait to see how they contribute to the growth of our organization.”
While SCM benefits from exceptional interns, the students get real work experience, not necessarily the “typical” intern duties.
“A lot of kids from my school work at consulting firms and investment banks and they’re doing very ‘intern’ type of work,” said Reilly. “I’m an intern, but I’m not necessarily treated like an intern. It’s not going out and getting lunch for someone. It’s ‘analyze these numbers and get back to me’ or ‘I’ve got a meeting next week and I need to show the boss some results from this program.’”
One project Reilly was especially excited about is a vending program for life sciences consumables.
“The idea was to put these onsite supply centers near lab workers to bring the supply closer to the point of use. And, it cuts out shipping costs because the supplier replenishes the machine,” said Reilly. “This was a fun project because there really wasn’t much in place, just an idea. I was analyzing spend by location to see what would be good places and if it was even a viable idea.”
Along with other data analysis work, Reilly worked with Macway to create a more official structure for the SCM internship program.
“It’s not necessarily a natural idea at my school to think about working in supply chain,” said Reilly. “But there are tons of opportunities here. I tell people that I worked in a division that’s innovation within the supply chain. They are constantly coming up with new ideas and new initiatives and that’s right up a college student’s alley.”
Macway agreed that having Reilly on staff offered a new perspective and he’s looking forward to the new batch of interns. “It helped to have a student engage with some of our more challenging stakeholders,” he said. “Zack’s level of excitement in the work he performed was sincerely engaging, making everyone more willing to participate.
Supply Chain Management, UCSF