For most students, the opportunity to intern abroad with a prestigious company is merely a fantasy. But for Waynesburg University junior international business major Jerry Lawman, committed mentors, diversified skills and a solid work ethic allowed that dream to become a reality.
This summer, Lawman served as an intern in Stuttgart, Germany, for Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services and the third largest appliance manufacturer in the world.
Since 1991, the company has sold energy-efficient German-engineered home appliances in the United States and has won the 2011, 2012 and 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, an award honoring organizations dedicated to environmental protection through energy efficient solutions.
With nearly 360,000 employees in more than 50 countries, Bosch has given Lawman the chance to further learn about the day-to-day operations of a successful international business. Through this internship, he has been able to experience life as a member of the controlling department, a department that helps to identify and reduce risk in monetary exchanges. He has taken on various responsibilities such as drafting machinery and equipment reports for the previous month, drafting cost center reports, making comparisons to the business plan or current forecast and designing Excel templates to increase the efficiency of processes.
Lawman says that his Waynesburg University accounting classes have helped him to develop the skills necessary to complete the types of tasks he was assigned.
"My accounting classes really [familiarized me] with what I would need to know for this internship,” he said. “A lot of [the] classes I have taken involved learning about Excel and business terms that are needed for an internship.”
As part of his internship, Lawman attended monthly meetings with Bosch’s controlling department, as well as weekly meetings with his mentor to discuss what he has learned from his experiences working at Bosch.
This unique opportunity allowed Lawman to further learn about the many functions that go into ensuring success for a company such as Bosch.
“This internship has really helped me see how important controlling is for international business. I learned a lot about how companies have to set goals and adapt to changes internally and externally,” he said.
Through his internship, Lawman has had unique learning opportunities outside of the office as well. While in Germany, he has taken advantage of time off during weekends and public holidays by traveling to more than 10 countries, including France, Hungary and the Netherlands. As a result, he has had the chance to learn about cultures and grow his love for travel.
For many students, adjusting to life in a different country may seem daunting, but for Lawman, this was not the case. The junior says that the guidance he received from Mary Cummings, Vice President for Student Services, and Marie Coffman, Director of Career Services and Placement, helped to ease his transition to life in Germany.
Lawman names the two as the most important people in his adjustment process.
“The process was stressful at times, but they helped me the whole way through, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that,” he said.
The junior credits many of his experiences at Waynesburg University, including his time as a member of the Yellow Jacket football team, for the opportunities and success he has experienced. Through his position on the team, Lawman experienced the caring support of Richard Shepas, head football coach at Waynesburg University.
“You see the way [Shepas] treats and cares for [his] players. That’s what you get when you come to a great school like Waynesburg,” he said.
Lawman believes that his time at Waynesburg has been essential in providing him with unique learning experiences and opportunities to grow as an individual.
“[Waynesburg has taught] me the importance of service and selflessness,” he said. “My Waynesburg experience has given me so many opportunities to grow and to better myself as a person.”
Upon graduation from Waynesburg University, Lawman plans to pursue his master’s degree and hopes to continue his work with Bosch. His time with Bosch has inspired him to seek additional opportunities abroad, including travel, mission trips and study.