Culture

2021 Intern Day of Giving

Remarkable Teams in Action – Wabash National Intern Program

  • Culture
  • Recruitment
by Rachelle Henderson, Communications Specialist | Aug 05, 2021

Ask any Wabash National intern what they value most about their experience and almost all will share it’s the way they are treated—as full-time early career professionals, given freedom to explore their ideas, passion and creativity. Wabash National’s Intern Program is a 12-week paid program from mid-May to mid-August, where undergraduate and graduate students gain experience in their field of study through real-world application. The program was redesigned in 2018 and is running strong. One of the things the company prides most about the program is the symbiotic nature of the experience: interns gain applied work experience and we learn new ways of tackling pesky old challenges. 

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mike Pettit agrees. “I’ve worked with interns throughout my time in Wabash. These early career professionals often provide great insight and fresh ideas to problems our business confronts every day. When a college student decides to spend their summer with Wabash, they are given meaningful projects and access to company leaders as we work together to deliver our mission and fulfill our purpose.” 

This year, Wabash National hired a cohort of 14 interns. During the program, interns engage in structured time with company leaders, community outings, have time for their projects as would any regular full-time employee and work on real projects to solve business challenges facing the company. The program culminates with presentations they give to the company about their projects. 

WHY WE HIRE INTERNS

We have a heritage of innovation at Wabash National. The collaborative setup of our program is one area where this heritage and our values come to life. Innovation requires curiosity, fresh perspective and a commitment to work and win together. Combine this with the professional freedom and types of projects interns are assigned, and you have a recipe for innovation. 

“Wabash National has successfully developed a program where intern assignments are often more enriching to the intern and more impactful to the organization than what larger companies typically offer,” said Pettit.

Because our program encourages creativity and risk-tasking, interns also help develop and improve products that make a difference to internal and external customers. This allows college students to learn new skills that translate their theoretical classroom learning to hands-on deliverables.

When asked about the best part of his experience so far, Sonny Pham, engineering intern and Purdue University senior in mechanical engineering, shared how his time in the program has been meaningful to him personally and professionally. 

“Working as a product development engineering intern this summer has changed my view of innovation and technology development. The projects that I am working on allow me to understand how our products are designed and how we can continuously develop them to solve our customers’ problems. I have built great relationships within the company that help me grow both personally and professionally, as well,” he said.

Samantha Crowel, finance intern and Purdue University junior in finance and accounting, echoed Pham’s comments.

“The best part of my experience with the internship program was being able to be innovative,” she said. “My manager always encourages me to try different methods of doing things before settling on a final idea. The internship has grown me professionally in more ways than just refining my finance skills. I had the opportunity to participate in weekly Lunch & Learn workshops, where I got to learn from all the different departments of the organization. I also participated in plant tours where I learned more about the manufacturing process.”

Wabash National desires to provide opportunities for early career professionals so they can learn and grow in a nurturing environment, ask questions, test ideas and contribute to solving the challenges facing Wabash. Read on to learn the top three reasons why this year’s talented cohort chose Wabash National and what advice they would give to those considering an internship with the company.

THREE REASONS WHY INTERNS CHOOSE WABASH

1. You’ll be treated as a valued team member.

“I chose the Wabash National Intern Program because I wanted to be in an environment that made me feel valued and where I could contribute my thoughts and ideas. I also wanted to be at a company that was big enough to gain experience in a corporate environment but also was small enough where I could reach out to anyone in the organization. Overall, I wanted to further develop my skills in finance and leadership, and I felt like Wabash would be the perfect fit.” – Samantha Crowel, Purdue University, junior double majoring in finance and accounting 

“Personally, this program has given me joy. Despite being amidst a pandemic, I am filled with gratitude for having the opportunity to experience an in-person internship. Professionally, I have learned and understood a lot of HR activities in such a brief time. The exposure to many functions, from creating job descriptions to shadowing on exit interviews, has benefitted my career development. Additionally, for me, the internship was an important deciding factor for choosing between a corporate job trajectory versus conducting research after graduation. And by far, I am leaning toward the former option. The best part of my journey has been to experience the ‘Win Together’ leadership principle in real life. Despite having a severe foot injury and being unable to come into the office for a while, my manager and team’s trust and confidence in my work stood out to me. I have realized that Wabash National is a supportive, tight-knit family where the quality of work and actual results matter!” – Mehak Advani, Purdue University Krannert School of Management, master’s student, human resources management

2. You’ll have access to and support from colleagues and leaders.

“The Wabash National Intern Program is an excellent way to expand your network, particularly in the Lafayette area. The offices are open concept and employees are often very willing to meet with the interns, so you can easily get to know people throughout the entire company.” – Madison Burgett, Butler University, senior, double majoring in marketing and entrepreneurship & innovation

“Even if you have no experience in the manufacturing industry but have a growth mindset, I highly encourage you to apply. This internship is a great opportunity to build relationships, grow professionally, refine your technical skills, and work in a positive environment!” – Samantha Crowel, finance intern

“The fact that I am an HR Director’s direct report has been a pleasant surprise! In general, it is rare for interns to get the chance to work closely with such a high-level professional and thus, gain depth to their internship experience. Of course, it is a huge added benefit to have a supportive, open-minded, empowering and visionary manager. It was also a surprising fact that my desk is a few steps away from our President and CEO, Brent Yeagy.” – Mehak Advani, HR intern

3. You’ll enjoy creative and professional freedom.


“Wabash is a great company to intern for if you like to do engineering (I can only speak for the engineering side). We have all the ‘fun’ stuff here: an amazing R&D test lab, large manufacturing plants with heavy-duty machineries, all kinds of engineering software tools, plenty of challenging projects and of course, a lot of smart engineers. Most importantly, the people you work with care about your success. If you want to be curious and technically challenged all the time, Wabash is the place to be.” – Sonny Pham, Purdue University, senior, mechanical engineering

“If you are looking for a company where you can freely express your ideas, curate your professional career, and take on challenging but rewarding work, the Wabash National Intern Program is the one for you!” – Mehak Advani, HR intern

HOW TO LEARN MORE

Are you a college student interested in applying for the Wabash National Intern Program? Be sure to keep an eye on our careers site! The application process begins in February 2022. If you have questions about this program, please contact careers@wabashnational.com.

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