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Krannert Summer Intern - Ricardo

MBA Student

Pre-Program career: Product Engineer – General Motors Brazil

Previous Degrees: BS Mechanical Engineering

How did you best prepare for your internship experience?

I have read a lot about companies on websites such as glassdoor.com and also asked questions to my coach and other KPDC members. Something that helped me was trying to know what my role would be in the company; knowing that, I talked with professors and looked for classes that I would apply the knowledge in my internship. 

What are some outcomes the organization will have from your internship experience?

As it is a new company – they have been assembling cars for only 4 years – I am bringing my knowledge from my experience in GM Brazil to help Tesla to improve production and eliminate waste in assembling new models. In one of my projects, I have the goal to introduce a new model on the assembly line. As an outcome, Tesla will have an optimized paint shop line ready for the next vehicle.

What will you take away from your internship experience?

Something that I learned in my first year in the MBA program is that business is all about relationships and connections. Introducing a new vehicle on the assembly line is something that requires an effort from the entire company. I am building relationships among areas such as Paint shop, Body shop and General assembly, calling meetings to bring everyone on the same room and make them aim for the same goal. The take away is listening to everyone and having the whole team aligned for the same goal is important for the success of a company.

What has been the most challenging part of your internship?

As it is only 12 weeks, there is a lot of work to do, but in a limited time. I am running more than one project and I have the goal to finish them all at the end of my internship.

What do you enjoy about your internship?

I came from an industry that is very famous for the bureaucracy and slow moves. Tesla is doing everything different. Things change fast and they are ready to listen to what new people have to add to the company. The chances to advance to high positions are there, and that happens fast.

How did you find your internship? What drew you into this company?

Since I was admitted to the program back to May 2014 I started to look for an internship. I had been using LinkedIn a lot. As Tesla was one of my target companies, I searched from people inside the company, and one of them was a Brazilian intern. He gave me the HR contact and we scheduled a meeting. After 4 interviews, I received my offer letter.

What has surprised you about your internship experience?

What surprised me the most is the fact that a company which is building a complex product such as a vehicle still behaves and has the culture of a startup company . The management matrix is very flat and you have access to a lot of information. What surprised me the least is that even running a factory in a huge facility, some operations and manufacturing solutions need changes. On the good side, there is a lot of room for improvement, which I see as an opportunity for myself.

What courses from the MBA program have you found beneficial?

Purdue is very well known for its operations focus. I am using everything that I learned in the operations classes that I took before coming here. The main one is “Introduction to Operations Management;” my role is an extension from the classes and I am even using the class material to help me.

What courses do you plan to take upon returning to Purdue?

I have an engineering background and now I am looking to sharpen my management skills. With that in mind, I will be taking classes such as Mergers and Acquisitions, Management of New and Small Firms, Project Management and others.

Advice for someone looking to work at the company you are interning at?

Working for Tesla means that you need to be far away from your comfort zone. Changes happens every day, there is no bureaucracy and if you work hard promotions and benefits will happen. Tesla is changing the world, and they are looking for people who wants to be part of it. With an MBA at Purdue, you will definitely be an asset for Tesla.