Brandon Hopper an Internal Audit Intern at Seagate
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and background?
I am a senior at Oregon State University, double majoring in business information systems and accounting. The reason I choose these disciplines is because it’s very diverse for an accounting major to have a strong tech background and I believed I could market myself better in the job market. Also BIS is applicable in any job market, especially in high tech since I am interested in going in that field. At OSU I am in an investment group, which has over $2,000,000 in equity holdings. I also worked in the industrial sector specializing in materials and utilities. I have also had campus jobs, and did an internship the year before at Gas Park.
How did you come across this internship?
I found the position on LinkedIn, and searched about what the company did. I liked the product and believed in the company, they also had a good financial backing. After I applied they got back to me 2 weeks later. I had 3 rounds of interviews; the first round was all over the phone mostly behavioral questions and they tried to see my knowledge in auditing, it was mainly to see if I was a good fit for the company. The second and third interview (phone as well) was behavioral too, but also consisted of some technical questions. About a week later they got back to me and gave me an offer. The overall process took about a month and half. I applied late November and had all the interviews in December and they got back to me the beginning of January.
Can you tell us about your role?
I was an intern within internal audit; it was a lot of project based work experience. I was involved in a lot of the audits, wasn’t an owner of any particular audit, but worked on about 14 different audits. I had a great team and there were 10 people within my department, and I have never met a group that is so intelligent, that’s good on the technical side, but also obtains great soft skills. Our team had different dynamics than the norm, four out of the ten people were from a different countries and having diversity on my team gave me a new perspective. My primary function was looking at data analytics, they had me do a lot excel spreadsheets, with over 80,000 records. This was more in the planning stages of the audit; I would condense the audit specifically focusing on the key parts for us to tackle. I didn’t have hardly any client interaction and that’s one thing I think I missed out during this internship.
What was the company culture like?
The company is unique, we are primarily manufacturing so there is higher-level of maturity, we didn’t have the foosball or Ping-Pong tables like other typical tech companies and the benefits they provide you with are more practical. It was a nice to have a workout facility, company BBQ’s and my team did lunches on Friday. As an intern we had an event where we were able to talk to 5 executives and ask them questions for over 2 hours. Additionally, every 2 weeks we got a free lunch buffet style, and got to go to Giants games; overall it was a good company culture.
Internal audit is a lot different from the rest of company; we are supposed to value the company like an outsider. Seagate is a very layback company, all mangers got in around 9 AM, and people left when they got their work done. The interns I was working with were from Ivy leagues and other prestigious schools, but they were very humble. Being from OSU I don’t get much recognition as other schools, but they treated me the same as everyone.
What was the highlight of your internship experience?
From an achievement based perceptive, I had to look over 100 page contract, I helped identity cost savings of $40,000 with one of our venders and allowed us to get cash back.
Another great highlight was being able to talk to the CEO for 2 hours, almost everyone wants to be where he is, and to get his insight on the company was cool. Also he mentioned how to get where he is, and its one thing for a college advisor to give you career advice, but they haven’t actually experienced it.
Is there anything you wish your internship program could have improved on?
As mentioned earlier, I wish I had a little more client interaction. Its not a very good assessment of the company as whole, it was just exception for me in Audit.
How does this internship help you in your future?
From a technical standpoint the reason I choose internal audit, was because I got exposed to 9 different departments and learned many processes. Data analytics and excel was very cool skills to learn which are great to have in the future, applicable to many companies.
If you could give advice to a student seeking a similar prestigious internship, what would you tell them?
Be aggressive, the most aggressive people are the most successful. If I didn’t have anything to do I would go to team members for work. There weren’t a lot of times this happened, but there is always grunt work they didn’t want to do. Know the ins and outs for your position, for me I had to learn a lot and read a textbook. I wish I could have been more prepared coming into it so it wasn’t such a steep learning curve; I could have spent a lot more time learning other things.