Internship Spotlight: Yamelle Gonzalez '22 BSBA (Business Management) at PepsiCo

Aug. 27, 2021

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Yamelle Gonzalez '22 BSBA (Business Management) interned at PepsiCo: Frito Lay in Tucson, AZ in the summer for 2021.

Tell us a little bit about how you got the internship:

PepsiCo:  Frito Lay attended one of the many career fairs that ALPFA organizes and given their strong mission statement and other factors that I value at a workplace, I decided to connect and express my interest to them. Within a week, Ethan Widdes, who is the zone sales director in the Tucson office reached out via LinkedIn with a link to apply to the Sales Management Internship. After they reviewed my application, I was invited to an interview with a recruiter and was extended the offer. If there is anything important to learn from my encounter with a professional from the corporate world, is the importance of networking and of demonstrating that one is a good fit for the company.

What was a typical day at your internship like?

Every day was different, which was something that made my adaptability skills enhance. In the moment, and because it was new to me, that was a big challenge for me. I am a person who loves having a plan and structure, but now that I am analyzing my internship experience, I unquestionably value that it was organized the way it was and that I had great mentors, who made overcoming the challenge easier for me. For instance, some days I worked closely with sales professionals and shared strategies, data, and experience, other days I executed sales plan in various large format (larger stores including Supermarkets, Mass Merchandisers, such as Target and Wal-Mart, Club stores such as Sam’s and Costco) and small format stores (smaller stores such as convenience stores and small drug stores), while other days I talked with store managers and supported PepsiCo: Frito Lay’s volume growth, by gaining access to their tools and process, among many other responsibilities.  To conclude, I was able to excel in a different type of environment and learn several skills with their diverse responsibilities.

What was your favorite part of the internship?

My favorite part of the internship was having the opportunity of networking, sitting in on important meetings and shadowing professionals from the team, because it answered the doubts I had regarding the corporate world and because I acquired several skills. In other words, it made me realize and get excited that I will be working in a corporate setting in the near future that I will enjoy and make a valuable contribution in, by understanding the operations of a Fortune 500 business.

What are a few things you learned?

I realized and understood the importance of building strong relationships and how the practice of sales is not a simple math equation. For instance, I realized that managers are able to be more flexible with their rules and offer more displays if they know you, and know that you care and properly service the store and their customers. Also, how it's not just selling a product or service, one needs to do their research and see beyond what is in front of them or with what people expect, such as finding the patterns. The patterns can go from understanding the consumers lifestyle to the location of the display, among many other things.

What advice you have for other students looking for a similar internship?

To not be afraid of failure is the one piece of advice that I would give to other students, and that helped me. A “no” is always guaranteed, therefore, if they really think about it, they aren’t losing anything. I would also recommend that they apply to different companies that align with their qualities, interest, and previous experience to have options, and if invited to an interview, to deeply research the company and be prepared for challenging questions. The recruiter wants to know if they will be an asset to the company, so they need to prove them that. In addition, when they land an internship, I would encourage them to make a positive impact and treat it as a long interview, because if they want a full-time offer in the firm, they will evaluate their work and attitude.

How did Eller prepare you for your internship?

The University of Arizona, especially Eller, prepares its students to excel outside of school. If they take advantage of the tools and resources that Eller provides, many students will witness it, or some have already done so, because professors never stop pushing its students to innovate and grow. Its students have a willingness to learn, and they are taught many leadership skills, that is the reason why they catch the notice of the many corporate recruiters who work with Eller or launch their own businesses right out of the gate. In short, there are many opportunities and paths to choose from, as Eller has a huge professional network. Why? They are happy with former Eller student’s work and have the confidence, skills, experience, and connections that they will succeed.  Therefore, I can humbly say that I was able to perform the way I did because of Eller and my hard work.