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Gearing Up for Post Grad with General Electric

Tess Devinger is a senior from Woodstock, IL with a major in Industrial Engineering and a minor in Psychology. At Purdue, Tess is involved with Greek Life and Mortar Board. She has had three internships with General Electric Power in the Early Identification program specifically the Operations Management Leadership track. Through this track, she worked at the GE manufacturing plants and held valuable positions including Lean Technical Intern, Supply Chain Intern, and Process Engineering Intern.

What attracted you to GE?

"I was drawn to the position because I knew it was hands-on. I knew I wanted to be in a field where I could be immersed in what I was doing rather than sitting behind a desk and that is exactly what I got! I also knew that GE had a supportive and interactive intern program that I wanted to be part of."

What was the hiring process like?

"The hiring process was geared towards behavioral interactions with other people. It involved lots of questions that dealt with how you handle adverse situations and reactions with the people you work with. The technical aspects of the job were also mentioned, but the most important part was people."

What was your typical day like as a process engineer?

"My typical day this past summer involved being on a manufacturing floor working with and inspecting gas turbine parts. As a process engineer, I focused on quality with GE Power in Greenville, South Carolina, where we produced gas turbines. My job was to look at a certain part that was defective and figure out why it could not be used in production. Then, after figuring out the problem with the part, I coordinated with design engineers and fabricators to figure out a way the part could be repaired. Finally, I was in charge of facilitating the fastest and most efficient way to fix the part so it could be used. This saved GE money because they could just repair old, defective parts for less money than buying a brand new part and starting from scratch."

Did you get any cool perks at your internship?

"My location had about 30 interns on site. We planned a few trips together and went to baseball games, had intern challenges, and hung out on multiple occasions. It was helpful to be connected with peers when you are the youngest person in a full-time world."

What did this job teach you about yourself?

"This job taught me that I am in my element when it comes to being on a shop floor. I learned that I thrive when I am close to the product or process that I am working on, and I like to see the end result whenever possible. I also grew in my confidence with quickly becoming an “expert” on a topic and being able to help other people with the knowledge that I have gained in a short period of time."

Where do you see yourself working post-graduation?

"I was hired for the Operations Management Leadership Program with GE Power. This is a full-time, two-year rotational program that allows you to have three different roles within the company. You get to see different types of jobs you may have as an engineer at GE, as well as go through training programs for certifications and get exposure to leadership within the company. The conversion process is much like an internship, you are placed on a team and given a role and goals for your rotation. Then you transition into it in a short period of time, and after that you are expected to learn the ins and outs of the role as you work towards the goals you set with your manager. Learning on the fly is key in this role."

How do you feel that your education at Purdue helped you while working for this company?

"Purdue has prepared me to learn from failures and succeed when something doesn't work the first time around. The hard work load has pushed me to keep going and try things another way when they don’t work the first time. Things don’t always work right away, and if they do it’s probably not the best way to do it. A great way to learn is by making mistakes, but then correcting and improving from the knowledge you've gained.

Purdue has taught me how to deal with situations and topics that I know nothing about by keeping an open mind, as well as to always ask questions about things that are unclear. People are usually always willing to help if you ask. Purdue has also given me great time management skills and exposure to the professional world through the organizations I have been involved with."

What do you wish you had known before your first internship?

"I wish I had known that being successful isn’t about having the perfect job right off the bat, it’s about creating worthwhile relationships with the right people who are equipped to help get you where you want to go in the long run."

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