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Q&A with Chaifetz School Senior Olivia Tran

Most years, Chaifetz School of Business students finish out the spring semester and leave campus for internships, summer jobs, vacations and study abroad trips. While COVID-19 has certainly impacted these opportunities, many students are as busy as ever, carrying out internships and summer plans from home. We talked to rising senior Olivia Tran, a marketing major at the Chaifetz School, to hear about her internship at Boeing and her plans for returning to campus this fall.

Chaifetz School Senior Olivia Tran

Chaifetz School senior Olivia Tran.

What have you been up to this summer?

This summer I’m interning with Boeing as a procurement agent intern. I’m also getting ready to open Reinert Hall, where I’ll be a desk manager this year. 

How has COVID-19 affected your internship experience? 

It’s been hard, but I’m very grateful that Boeing still had internship opportunities for all of us. It’s all remote, so they sent all the interns computers to allow us to work from home. I think the hardest part is not meeting my manager and my team members in person, but they’re doing their best to connect with us. Boeing has also hosted enterprise intern events, too, where you can virtually meet other interns and speak with executives at Boeing. It’s been good--they’re doing a good job keeping us busy. 

How are you liking your internship? 

I never thought that I would be interested in the supply chain side of things, and I think it still kind of intimidates me. I sit in on calls with procurement agents where they’re negotiating prices or working with challenging suppliers, and I think I’m still a bit nervous about that part of the job. But I’ve been sitting in hours of training where they teach us how to go about that process, so I’ve been learning a lot, and that makes the work seem less intimidating. 

Boeing is really all about career development, so I’ve had the opportunity to explore other departments while I learn the supply chain side, which has been really cool. 

Having a good manager has helped. He’s been giving me projects that help me learn about what they do. Everyone has been super flexible with having me on the team. 

What has been your favorite part of the internship?

My favorite part has been connecting with other interns. There’s actually a fellow SLU student in the supply chain internship program. I’d never met him in my time at SLU; we met for the first time through this program. There are about 150 interns in the St. Louis area, and it’s been a lot of fun to connect with people. 

I also have an amazing mentor, Vasantha Narasimhalu, who’s a SLU alum. She has helped me through the transition to being a Boeing intern and has really guided me on next steps. It’s been nice to have someone to talk to outside of my manager and my team--I usually only talk to them about work, but my mentor and I talk about our SLU experiences, classes I should take--she was also a marketing major, like me--so it’s been really nice to have her. 

Tell me about opening SLU’s residence halls. How is that going right now?

We are all a little confused, but excited! We just got our training information. I’m just excited to be back. The move-out process back in March just happened so fast, I barely had time to say goodbye to my floor and my staff members. 

It’s going to be weird this year, because we usually have training all together in one room, and this time we’ll be split up when we go back. I’ll be in Reinert, so I won’t see any of my old staff who might still be in Gries, or possibly another residence hall. But I am excited to get to work with my best friend--I’m a desk manager and he’s the lead RA, so we’ll work really closely together, which is great.

I also just bought two yards of SLU fabric to make myself a SLU mask. I wanted some kind of SLU attire to wear for the new residents when they move in. 

Have you been keeping busy with anything else this summer?

I’ve been trying to pick up some new skills, so I signed up for a month of LinkedIn Learning. I’ve done Photoshop classes, and got into personal finance for a little bit. At Boeing, interns get all the benefits of a full-time employee, so I thought I might learn how to start saving money for retirement. 

I’m also just excited to be back on campus. It will definitely be different, but I’m so excited to see everyone again. 

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Olivia Tran is a senior marketing and communications double major at Saint Louis University. Tran’s on-campus activities include SLU Housing and Residence Life, Beta Gamma Sigma and the Dean’s Student Advisory Board. She is currently working as a procurement intern for Boeing.