2014 Summer Internship Spotlight: Sagar Parikh, BNSF Railway
By: Trevor Bell
Major: Finance (concentration in Real Estate)
Minor: Public Relations
Hometown: Tucumcari, New Mexico
ExpectedGraduationDate: May 2015
Internship: BNSF Railway
Throughout his time at the Rawls College, Sagar Parikh has been actively involved both inside and outside the classroom. As a student, Sagar has been on the Dean's List and President's List multiple times due to his academic accomplishments. Additionally, he has extensive involvement with Alpha Lambda Delta/Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and was recently inducted into the Mortar Board National Collegiate Senior Honor Society as one of the top 50 seniors at Texas Tech University. Sagar has also been a member of President's Select for over a year and half, where he serves as a student representative for the university's guests, donors, alumni and prospective students. In the Fall, he will join the Real Estate Organization to further his skillset. During the summer, Sagar accepted a mechanical budgets internship position with BNSF Railway, the largest individual company within Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway.
What are your responsibilities at BNSF?
I work with the Budget Team for the Mechanical Department at BNSF, one of three operational departments - Mechanical, Transportation and Engineering. Mechanical is responsible for all the things you think of when you picture a railway: locomotives, engines, train cars, etc. We are responsible for anything above the track and land. We oversee the budget of the Locomotive and Car Shopping Program, where we purchase new trains, as well as all the repair shops and employees nationwide. This summer, my primary project has been to gather and compile data to send to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) to allow them to set a universal labor rate for repairs. I have also been working on cost allocation procedures for forecasting, attempting to better predict future expenditures. This involves developing new methods of allocating budgets between different locomotive shops while ensuring that each receives the funding they need for operations.
How have the skills and knowledge gained at the Rawls College transferred to your internship?
I think the broad scope of classes that the Rawls College offers has been the biggest help at my internship. From Dr. Delgadillo's first ISQS class teaching me the basics of Excel, to Intermediate Accounting I & II teaching me accounting principles, Mr. Flamm's Operations Management class, and everything else has had some connection to what I am doing. Even Dr. Eriksen's Real Estate Fundamentals class has paid tremendous dividends at my internship, because it gave me exposure to deciding whether or not to pursue a project based on NPV and IRR. Even though I have sometimes wondered why the Rawls College has us take courses in so many different fields, it has proven to be one of the biggest advantages.
What advice would you offer students looking to obtain a great internship?
I would say, regardless of what you think you want to do, never say no to an opportunity. As a Real Estate Concentration, I never would have imagined working at a railroad. However, the experience has been tremendous thus far, and I am extremely fortunate to have received this opportunity. My biggest piece of advice would be to not be afraid to stray away from the norm. You never know what to expect, and you might end up surprising yourself with what you actually like.
This supports the efforts outlined in the Rawls College of Business Strategic Plan. Learn more about the LEADER 2020 Strategic Plan and follow our progress on Twitter at #RawlsLeads.