University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Intern Spotlight: Lauren Horne

Lauren Horne

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Episode Transcript

00:00 Lauren Horne: I didn't realize how prepared I was for an internship until I really got into it and I realized that my procurement and sourcing class on campus related to my job almost identically. And so they mirrored each other really well, which was shocking to me in a good way.


00:31 Brian Fugate: We're outside the Walton business building with Lauren Horne. Lauren is a supply chain major graduating May 2020, and she was an intern this summer at Flint Hills Resources.

00:43 Lauren Horne: That's right.

00:43 Brian Fugate: So Lauren, could you tell us a little bit about what you did this summer?

00:46 Lauren Horne: Sure. So Flint Hills is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, and so Koch Industries owns several businesses. Flint Hills is probably one of the largest, and it's the first subsidiary. So generally people know that know it is a gas and oil company, so that's generally the industry that they associate with. So my procurement internship in general, my day-to-day responsibilities looked like analyzing different reports. So I'd check in and see if purchase orders had been confirmed, and if not I would reach out to vendors and really see if they had received the purchase order, if they could confirm it for us 'cause we really wanted to make sure that everything was going smoothly and that it was efficiently running. So if there were any revisions that needed to be made or anything like that, I would kinda go in and just manually edit the purchase order so that all of the processes in the back, such as invoicing and stuff like that, it didn't mess up accounting's practices.

01:43 Lauren Horne: And then I also checked in on expediting things. So if anything, it looked like it was running late for delivery, I would go in and figure out where it was. A lot of those situations, it had actually been delivered, but it hadn't been received into the system yet, and so just kind of figuring out where things were. But there were situations where we would have to expedite orders, and when you're working for an oil and gas industry, a lot of these are critical items, and so you really have to keep a close eye on them, because if not you'll kinda feel the pressure if the site needs something that they don't have 'cause it could shut down production. And so that was a lot of my day-to-day.

02:18 Lauren Horne: My internship also... Koch Industries as a whole, all of the interns got to participate in an innovation challenge, and so they assigned us to our business group, so we didn't get to pick them, you were pre-assigned, but your innovation project could be over anything as long as it was value adding to the company into just the end user as well.

02:39 Brian Fugate: So given you were in procurement working on purchasing and those kind of things. So can you look back to some of your classes and think about how maybe you used that in your job this summer?

02:50 Lauren Horne: Yeah. So I didn't realize how prepared I was for an internship until I really got into it and I realized that my procurement and sourcing class on campus related to my job almost identically. So they mirrored each other really well, which was shocking to me in a good way because my peers didn't have the same experience. And so the other two interns on my team when I talk to them about what their classes looked like, they had been taught completely different things, so theirs was still relative, but we had different comparative advantages and I felt like mine was almost more advantageous, because the way that my procurement class taught by Remko Van Hoek was taught is... He kind of segments it into three different cycles of procurement, so there's an ordering cycle, there's strategic sourcing, and then the most advanced organizations kind of get into supplier relationship management.

03:47 Lauren Horne: And the way that our restructure in Flint Hills had happened right before we got there, is they restructured to have buyer associates, which are kind of the ordering cycle, they have Strategic... Strategic Sourcing would be their sourcing agents, and then at the top they have category managers, and category managers are more responsible for that relationship management aspect. And so just... They mirrored each other really, really well, and so I was pleasantly surprised to just figure out how well-prepared I was for it.

04:16 Brian Fugate: That's great. And it sounds like they are relatively advanced in that space and that I think you're right in Supplier Development is really those truly advanced companies have the strategic foresight to invest into their suppliers and those relationships. And so it sounds like a really great company. And can you think of over the summer, I know you're talking about it, you were pretty excited about the experience you had. What made it exciting though, to work there this summer?

04:45 Lauren Horne: I would say the culture in general, I really loved the company culture. Everybody there that just had a high company and just personal morale, everybody was very open. They encourage a lot of knowledge sharing. And so nobody was really closed off. If they knew something, they were more than welcome to share it with you and vice versa, because everybody knew that they had a comparative advantage of their own, and so they didn't know everything and they weren't expected to know everything. And so you knew that someone was really good at X, Y or Z, and you could kind of balance off of each other. So just in general, the company had a really good morale and the people were just really inviting there.

05:22 Brian Fugate: That sounds awesome. So going into the summer, did you... Were there any... What were your goals that you had set for yourself?

05:29 Lauren Horne: So my goal for this internship in general, I just really wanted to gain the insight and the perspective of procurement since I had never worked in it before. I had worked in a transportation internship, and supply chain is just so broad that there's a lot of different niches that you can kinda follow into, and procurement was one that I didn't have any hands-on experience with, and so getting to work in it gave me a really... It just gave me the insight into how it works and how it functions in the business processes, that's really the insight that I was looking for to figure out if that's the job that I wanted later in the future.

06:00 Brian Fugate: What a great goal. In supply chain, we have the planning and the sourcing and the making and the delivering and so many different aspects and even more, and I know we hear a lot from students how hard it is to choose which path they love.

06:15 Lauren Horne: Absolutely. Yeah.

06:16 Brian Fugate: So for you to find that so early on is great for your career, and it is an exciting part of supply chain. So then what were maybe some of the challenges that you faced during your internship?

06:30 Lauren Horne: I would say everybody or myself in general, and I think it applies to a lot of younger students, is that I always wonder what it's gonna be like transitioning to a new position where I don't have the hard skills. So I may not be familiar with the processes that they're doing or using in a lot of their software systems, and everybody uses different software systems too. But I kinda realized early on that as long as you have the soft skills to complement that and you're willing to just be open to admitting what you don't know and you're willing to learn and just really dive head in, a lot of those hard skills you'll pick up on really fast 'cause companies realize that they can teach you anything that they wanna teach you, but you just have to be willing to learn first.

07:11 Brian Fugate: And what a great attitude. That's good to hear. So had a great internship experience, right?

07:17 Lauren Horne: It was, yeah, phenomenal.

07:19 Brian Fugate: How did you find it?

07:20 Lauren Horne: So my internship experience, I found that at the Supply Chain Networking Breakfast... And so it's a fairly new thing on campus. It's only been here, what? This is going on our second year, I think. And so every fall and spring, companies will come. And the supply chain members from the Arkansas Supply Chain Association will get to go and just meet recruiters on a really just intimate basis, before the Career Fair itself. And so, I met our campus recruiter at the breakfast in my sophomore year, and I hadn't needed an internship then. I already had one secured away, but when my junior year came up and I knew that I was looking for one, I sat down with them again and I was like, "Hey I'm really interested in Koch. I couldn't take an internship with you guys last year, but I need one now." And I really got to establish that relationship with them there, and that kind of segued straight into it. So.

08:08 Brian Fugate: What a great example of building that relationship and it paid off later.

08:13 Lauren Horne: Absolutely.

08:13 Brian Fugate: That's really interesting to hear. So thinking about your classes, I know that you mentioned Remko's sourcing class. And so when I ask you what your favorite class is... And so I'm gonna let you offer two options since you already spoke about it.

08:33 Lauren Horne: Okay, alright. So, I think Remko's was the most relative to the position that I just left, but my other favorite class would be the intro class with Stephanie Thomas 'cause that's the one that sold me on what supply chain was 'cause I had never heard of it beforehand. I think a lot of people have that experience. But she was just really encouraging. She was really inviting, and she was passionate about the class. And so it kind of really just got my interest in the beginning, and so it's kind of what sold me in the first place.

09:00 Brian Fugate: So, another question for you, Lauren. Why do you like supply chain management? Why did you choose that?

09:08 Lauren Horne: Because it's different every day. It's not predictable. And so I knew that it was a position that I would get into and I would never be bored with it. And so, there's like we said earlier, it's really broad. And so there's just different business segments that you could fall into. And it's kind of the backbone of any industry in general. And so you could go anywhere with it. You could work for anybody, and it's just really versatile.

09:32 Brian Fugate: So Lauren, you've done so many things already. You're three years now. I guess.

09:39 Lauren Horne: Going on four.

09:40 Brian Fugate: Going on four.

09:41 Lauren Horne: Yeah.

09:41 Brian Fugate: Multiple internships, awards and honors, often mentioned whenever we're talking to faculty. You've really done well. And one of the things that you've done is taken on the leadership role as President of the Arkansas Supply Chain Association, ASCA. So could you tell us a little bit about what that involves.

10:01 Lauren Horne: Yeah, ASCA in general is just really for networking. So we try to supply really good relationships between our students and just employers and recruiters, and try to establish that relationship so that people have opportunities like I did to go straight into my internship. And it's just phenomenal internships, too. And so we try to do a really good job at that, and we also try to just incorporate different just skills for students that they might not be able to do other ways. And so we'll have workshops where we do resume building, and we'll prepare people for the Career Fair, kinda give them tips and tricks and stuff like that, and just try to make supply chain a little bit more hands-on for them and just get them involved.

10:44 Brian Fugate: That's such a great opportunity that you guys provide for the students in helping them develop all the things around the courses so that they're really prepared for their career and to get a great job. So, thanks for taking on that leadership role. I know it takes a lot of your time.

11:00 Lauren Horne: [laughter] I love it.

11:01 Brian Fugate: I don't know how you do it in the midst of everything else you're doing, so that's great to hear. So given that, if you were speaking to some freshmen, sophomores, your earlier self maybe, what advice would you give yourself?

11:12 Lauren Horne: Hands down, I would just say to get involved. Because as soon as I got involved in the Supply Chain Association, it just made a world of a difference. And so it just gave me tremendous opportunities, and it also just gave me a lot of networking opportunities in general. I've met some really incredible people that have just made some really cool connections with. And then apart from that, I would say just find a mentor. And that's kind of hard to do, it's a little bit intimidating. I heard that a lot my freshman year, and I didn't know where to start. But once you just find somebody that you connect with, whether that's a professor or it's... If you have scholarship donors or something like that, just somebody that you can just connect with and ask questions too, they provide a support base. It's pretty invaluable.

11:55 Brian Fugate: That's awesome, that's great to hear. I hope everybody hears that and heeds your advice. Lauren, thank you so much for taking the time...

12:01 Lauren Horne: Thank you.

12:02 Brian Fugate: To sit down and talk with us and share about your internship and the advice that you offered. So thank you.

12:08 Lauren Horne: Thank you.