Madison Weaver is a senior Management major, with a concentration in Human Resource Management, from Sugar Land who is scheduled to graduate with his bachelor's degree in May 2016. During his time at the Rawls College, Madison has discovered a passion for management in human resources through his coursework and extracurricular activities. As the previous president for the Tech Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, he has expanded his working knowledge of the industry, which led him to obtaining two internships working in human resources. Madison first interned with Alliance Federal Credit Union in Lubbock, where he spent six months interviewing new hires and acting as a liaison between executives and lower-level employees. His success in this position inspired the company to offer him a part-time job as an HR Assistant. His time at Alliance provided Madison with the experience he needed to secure a six-month position with Southwest Airlines in Dallas as a Human Resources Intern. At Southwest, he had the opportunity to manage the company's applicant tracking system, which included responding to applicant questions. Find out what Madison learned from his time at the Rawls College and as an intern in the Q&A below.
What were your responsibilities at Alliance Federal Credit Union?
As an intern, I worked mostly with new hires. I was able to explain benefits to new employees, while answering any questions they might have about their coverages. As the person in direct contact with the employees, I was called upon by benefit brokers to relay information to and from the new hires. After a month with Alliance, I was allowed to analyze the payroll register to ensure the correct deductions for policies were taken out. I reported directly to the HR director, who assigned me the task of pulling together a report that detailed the reactions of all 70 employees to the executive changes that had been made in the last two years. This project was exciting because it gave me the opportunity to create engagement questions and gauge employee satisfaction. I created an excel sheet with my findings, and my boss was able to utilize it at the quarterly board meeting.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
I enjoyed interviewing employees. I learned what types of questions should be asked to candidates and what to look for in their responses. The experience gave me insights into the interview process and what qualities are most coveted in employees. In many instances, I found that the lessons I've learned at Rawls about leadership coincide with what employers are looking for in candidates.
How did your internship with Alliance help you land an internship with Southwest Airlines?
The internship I completed with Alliance showed the hiring managers at Southwest my passion for human resources. I wouldn't have obtained the position with Southwest if my resume hadn't shown them my dedication to the field. Furthermore, my time with Alliance assured Southwest that I am trustworthy with confidential matters, which is a huge part of HR. Ultimately, I took the lessons I learned in school, applied them to my internships and was rewarded for my hard work. I am currently working as an HR contractor with Southwest.
What did you enjoy most about working at Southwest?
My absolute favorite part was getting to travel each weekend. During my time with the company, I traveled to nearly 10 cities in the U.S. Apart from this, the most rewarding duty was being able to help answer candidate questions. I handled the applicant email inbox, which gave me the opportunity to support applicants if they were experiencing 'turbulence' during the pre-employment process. I know what it is like to be on the other side, waiting to hear back from a company, and I loved getting to assure potential employees that they are important to the company.
How did the skills and knowledge gained through your Human Resource Management curriculum transfer to your internship?
I think my Team Leadership class has benefited me the most in the working world, especially at Southwest. The company is very team oriented, and the class prepared me for working in groups. It also taught the best methods for highlighting each other's strengths to create the best work possible.
Beyond classes, Rawls prepared me for success in my job search through its resume critique workshops, etiquette dinners and networking opportunities. By attending one the college's networking events in the fireside room, I met a Southwest representative, who discussed internship opportunities with me and what to include on my resume to secure a position with the company. Without the help Rawls and the Career Management Center has provided, I would not have the experiences I now have under my belt.
What advice would you give other students who are pursuing an internship?
The best advice I can give is to have a clear goal. Know what you are looking for and then do everything in your power to achieve it. Find out what specific interests you have and expand your experience within that field. I found that you need to be passionate about your work, or you are unlikely to succeed. As I said before, I would not have landed a position with Southwest if I hadn't shown that HR is what I love. Get excited, have a vision for the future and then just go for it.