Supply Chain and Operations Internship Fuels Passion for Academic Major and Future Career Possibilities
Marley Heritier (Applied Agricultural Economics; South Whitley, IN) began her college career in the fall of 2021. As a freshman, Marley knew she wanted to begin gaining industry experience as early as possible with the goal of getting a jump start on her career. Keeping her goals in mind, Marley began considering internships as an avenue to pursue different career interests. “I saw an internship as a great opportunity to grow my knowledge base and determine what I want to pursue post-graduation.”
Marley began her internship search early, beginning at the fall career fair. Initially, Marley dropped off her resume at the Land O’Lakes booth and did not think much more into it. It was not until a trip to a leadership conference that fall that Marley realized just where she wanted to be this summer. “At the AFA Leaders Conference, I made a connection with the college relations representatives at the Opportunity Fair. After the conference, I had an interview. I felt so excited after that interview; I knew that is where I wanted to be this summer.”
After a successful freshman year, Marley began her summer as a Dairy Food Sourcing Intern for Land O’Lakes. Located in Arden Hills, MN at corporate headquarters, Marley’s position is housed in the Supply Chain and Operations program. As a part of their internship experience, Land O’Lakes assigns each intern at least one project with the goal of solving real problems within the company. For Marley, the majority of her internship and project has had a specific focus on the dairy processing side of the company. “So far this summer, I have worked on standardizing the bulk cream receiving scheduling process for dairy plants across the country. This has entailed a lot of meeting with people and gathering information about current state, as well as identifying possible tools/systems that would optimize this process. I have also worked closely with my manager on 2023 ABP planning for Land O'Lakes.”
Through her internship, Marley has grown in many ways and allowed her to explore different possibilities. Marley easily identifies the exponential growth of her professional network and the industry connections she has made as one of the most impactful parts of her internship. “I have held countless informational interviews with people who are so willing to talk about their career, and this has given me a lot of perspective on possible career opportunities. I really enjoy what I am doing now, but I also have many new interests in what I could do in the future.”
This experience has also made positive impacts in other ways, most importantly, the reaffirmance in choosing to major in Agricultural Economics. “As I am working and introduce my major to individuals, I realize how broad the scope of possibilities is with this degree. Many people have mentioned that it is a "good one to have".
Through her work Marley has also found a passion for working in supply chain, as well as a Cooperative. “It is such an exciting area with just the right amount of pressure. Working in a co-op has been a wonderful experience as well because it feels really good to work for farmers. It is also quite an interesting experience because being farmer owned, we are highly supply driven. This leads to a very different dynamic; you often have to make decisions that could put you at a loss because taking member owners' milk is priority.”
In reflecting on her summer internship, Marley has found a love for the work she does and will continue to seek opportunities in this area. For Marley, the atmosphere, people and thoughtfulness as a company has only increased her desire to return to Land O’Lakes or a similar company in the future. “Land O'Lakes provides every opportunity for growth for their interns. We have had so many trainings for career and personal growth. They also want you to enjoy this experience, so the program has so many fun events scheduled in. They truly put top priority on their interns in the summer and place so much trust in our opinions and ideas. You feel valued here; you will actually be making an impact somewhere in the company during your time here.”