University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Intern Spotlight: Alexis Avila

Alexis Avila

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Episode Transcript

00:00 Alexis Avila: I'm here to learn, and I'm here to just learn as much as I can. So I think that's something that I think I've done really well, is really trying to step out of my comfort zone and push myself and ask those tougher questions or ask, "Oh, why is it like that?" Really understand the background of it.


00:30 Brian Fugate: We're here at the JB Hunt headquarters with Alexis Avila, who is a supply chain management major at the Walton college, and she's currently an intern at JB Hunt this summer. So, Alexis, what do you think has been one of your best learning so far this summer? Coming as a college student right into this role, what have you, what's kinda been eye-opening, or...

00:55 Alexis Avila: Yeah. So definitely, just being able to problem solve a lot better, I feel like has really helped me. And just from college, I knew all the lingo, which was amazing coming in here. If someone emailed me about a BOL, I knew what that was.

01:11 Brian Fugate: Oh, that's good to hear. [chuckle]

01:11 Alexis Avila: It was a Bill of Lading. And so, I was like, "Oh, I understand that." And they didn't really have to explain as much as the terminology as I think they thought they would. It was mainly just the whole process and just always staying calm. And it's their job too, and it's our job. So just trying to work together. They have freight to be picked up, and they want to make money. And so we want to help them do all of that and the whole process of that. So that's just kind of what I've learned and...

01:37 Brian Fugate: Yeah. What a great learning that's really gonna serve you well as throughout your career, it will help when you go back to classes. And so, that's really good to hear at such a early part of the summer. Could you tell us a little bit... I can tell that you really enjoy, when we were talking earlier, you really enjoy working here, it's a really fun group. Can you tell us a little bit about what makes it fun to work here?

01:58 Alexis Avila: Absolutely. So our company is just really laid back and it's amazing. Everyone is so welcoming, and we enjoy our time here at work. And there's a lot of groups that you can be a part of here which are super amazing. And HR's super involved, especially in us as interns. We have days where they teach us about our resumes and interview styles and what works best and what they really look for. We have shadow days. So they really invest in us, which is super amazing. So, I love coming in to work 'cause every week we have something new. We're volunteering tomorrow, all of the interns for JB Hunt, which is super exciting. And we have shadow days, so I got to shadow HR and Marketing and a lot of other things that I never thought I would do, which was super exciting to learn more about this amazing company and how it all works together.

02:47 Brian Fugate: Wow, what a great experience. So, Alexis, I know you were talking to me earlier about some things that inspire you. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

02:56 Alexis Avila: Yeah. So I think, for sure... My parents didn't go to college, and so that really drives me to push myself even more and to get an internship, to strive to just be super involved, if it's in college, if it's at work, always trying to learn more and push myself, I think is something that I strive to do. So I look at them as examples, and just like, "Oh, how much I wanna push myself and how much they are proud of me and how much they encourage me to continue." And that's just what drives me, and it's super exciting to learn more.

03:29 Brian Fugate: Well, I'm sure they're really, really proud of you.

03:30 Alexis Avila: Yes. [chuckle]

03:31 Brian Fugate: Well done. So, Alexis, you were... Just this last semester, right? This last year in classes, campus life, and now you're corporate world. How did you prepare for that transition?

03:45 Alexis Avila: Yeah. So, I am a part of a couple of groups at the U of A, Arkansas Supply Chain Association, and WISE, Women's Impacting Supply Chain Excellence. And something that I learned in WISE was we had someone come from JB Hunt, a woman, and she was a part of their GROW program. And it's pretty much the same thing, it's about women empowering other women. And that was something that really resonated with me, and I really liked it about JB Hunt. It stood out that they care so much about women empowerment, which I think is amazing. So, she came and talked and then when I applied here, I talked about it in my interview and how I really love the program, and we talked about that for a while. And I'm actually gonna be a part of that group. We have our first meeting next month, which is super exciting. And so, just that and the correlation between those two things made it... Made me feel more comfortable to be here and more excited to be here as well.

04:39 Brian Fugate: That's fantastic. Wow. That's good to hear. And I know Stephanie Thomas with WISE will love to hear about that and understand the impact that that club is making and their connections with GROW. So that's really great to hear. So could you tell me a little bit more of maybe, what's going well this summer in your mind?

05:00 Alexis Avila: Well, I feel like I've really pushed myself. Every day I come in to work, and I think everyone is scared to start their internship. They don't really know, they just learned from what they learn in school. But every day I tell myself that I'm gonna try something new, and I'm gonna try my best to do it. If I need to ask questions, that's okay. I'm here to learn, and I'm here to just learn as much as I can. So I think that's something that I think I've done really well, is really trying to step out of my comfort zone and push myself and ask those tougher questions or ask like, "Oh, why is it like that?" Really understand the background of it, and so I think that's something that I'd never thought I would be able to do, but I have really just grown into my role and have found my place in my company, which is awesome.

05:44 Brian Fugate: That's wonderful. So thinking about what you've experienced and some of the things you just spoke about, I wonder if you were looking at, talking to yourself a year ago or maybe some freshman, sophomores back at the Walton College, what advice would you give them?

06:00 Alexis Avila: I think I would tell them I didn't really know what I wanted to do my freshman year. And a little bit of my sophomore year, I was still trying to figure out, "What do I wanna do in business?" Trying to learn it all. And it's okay to really take in those first classes, those entry level classes and just absorb it and see what you're drawn to and what you are passionate about. And I think that's something that I had no idea what supply chain was until I took "Intro to Supply Chain" and I fell in love. And I realized it at the end, and I was like, "I don't want this class to end. This is absolutely amazing." And so, I think it's okay to not know what you wanna do. And just push yourself. I always went and talked to my teachers and talked to them about opportunities in clubs. And I think that's something, even though I was a little scared to do that, doing that pushed me in the right direction and helped me feel more confident and have other things to talk about at the Career Fair and all those things.

07:00 Brian Fugate: That's wonderful. So you talked about you fell in love with supply chain. Why? Why did you fall in love with supply chain?

07:07 Alexis Avila: I don't even know if it's a... It's interesting, but I think that I just took the entry level class, and I was like, "Wow, it makes total sense how something goes from point A to point B, but you don't even think about it, and how the process is so much more tedious than people think." And I think I really liked that and I liked the process of something. So I think just learning that and I was like, "Wow, I wanna learn more and I wanna know how all this happens and stuff."

07:33 Brian Fugate: That's cool. So, you are just like the rest of us supply chain geeks.

07:37 Alexis Avila: [chuckle] Yes.

07:38 Brian Fugate: So good for you. So, thinking back about your courses then at supply chain, what was your favorite course?

07:46 Alexis Avila: I feel like I can't just pick one.

07:48 Brian Fugate: That's okay. That's okay.

07:49 Alexis Avila: I loved Intro to Supply Chain. It introduced me to this. I had no idea what this was and what this meant. And then, Transportation and Distribution Management. I really learned more about just, trucks. And we spent a whole month learning it, and I thought it was super exciting to really learn those roles. And I apply those every day 'cause I have to deal with drivers and making sure they don't go over their hours. And I also loved... Inventory Forecasting was super different, and I thought it was super cool just to see how they do that kind of data to come up with how much they need, how much they need for fulfillment, which is super exciting.

08:26 Brian Fugate: Wow! That's really great to hear. So, Alexis, I really appreciate you taking the time to share with us your experience here. And when you get back on campus, I wanna hear more. I wanna hear about how it's gonna go, or how it went. So I appreciate your time.

08:39 Alexis Avila: Absolutely.

08:40 Brian Fugate: Thank you very much.

08:41 Alexis Avila: Thank you.