Made it to my cubicle (3)

Classroom training has finally come to an end and I have moved on to one on one training sessions with analysts and business consultants. The past two weeks of more personalized training have allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the skills that I learned in the classroom. Since the people who train me are on a rotation, I have also gotten to build closer relationships with full time employees. Brandon, a senior analyst on my regional team, has become a mentor to me. My very first one on one was with Brandon and he made me so excited about my new position by being enthusiastic and passionate about his work that the last two weeks have flown by. His session set a precedent for what the rest of my internship would be like and so far it has lived up to the hype. Since then, we have had several training sessions and his enthusiasm has not faded. Another person that has grown into a mentor figure is my team’s business consultant, Nick. At my first one on one training session with Nick he decided to ditch the curriculum and do things his own way. We sat and talked for two hours to get better acquainted with each other. Eventually the conversation shifted towards my goals and what I want out of my internship experience. I shared I am not set on a career path after college and thus want to learn a variety of skills and to see what other departments do. I’m glad that Nick set time aside to understand my wants and needs in order to help me get the most out of this summer. The genuine discourse we shared is what made me feel comfortable with him and has helped in making him my mentor. What’s best is that Nick is already working to help me meet my goals and to branch outside of revenue management so I can see what else is out there (even though I love my current position).

As great as these two have been on a daily basis, the rest of my coworkers have been just as exceptional. Everyone I work with encourages me to seek their guidance whenever needed. There is always a friendly face around to help out which makes learning that much easier. The Southeast regional team that I’m on is full of people that make the day fly by and help me grow. My manager Danny (aka Danager), has started to teach me how to use a programing language called SQL that is used to manage data. Although it’s not required for my position, it is a useful language to understand and I appreciate the time that Danny is taking out of his day to teach it to me. It has also been a privilege to watch Danny lead our team on a daily basis. Our overall attitude stems from him as he radiates positivity. I could go on and on describing people that have gone out of their way to help me but I think I have made the point that Southwest has an amazing culture.

Although I began this summer doubting whether I can work in office, I have been enjoying my job so far. I find my work interesting and my co-workers make the day fly by. Now that I am out of training, I am kept busy with managing my markets and working on my market research project. At Southwest, every analyst is assigned to a region and given roundtrip markets manage. I was lucky enough to end up on the Southeast team and assigned markets including a couple of Atlanta ones, some in Florida, and a Detroit-Nashville one. As an analyst, I research my markets to fully understand them and adjust the seats available in each fare class based on historical data, forecasts, and my judgement in order to maximize revenue. My objective is to sell as many seats as possible for the highest price that each customer is willing to pay. Although I only have five markets to my name at the moment, managing them takes up most of my time due to the shear amount of flights Southwest flies daily (over 4,000 total). Thanks to the training and experience with my markets, I am learning skills that I am confident will be useful to me for a long time and valuable across several industries.

On top of managing markets, I have been working on my market research project which is intended to give new hires experience with all the tools and methods that we learned in training. The project requires a lot of analysis of past data to explain performance in my Detroit-Nashville market. The analysis is also meant to help us discover the nature of the market as well as to find drivers that cause it to act the way it does. The final portion of the project revolves around finding new opportunities and possible trends with a market review being the cherry on top.

Since I will present my project to a room full of managers, business consultants, and other coworkers, I have been following my row-mates around to meetings to see what is discussed and how people carry themselves. I have yet to go to a meeting that hasn’t started off with a story that makes everyone in the room laugh. Moments like these make me appreciate how uniquely comfortable the culture that we have at Southwest really is. Last week I attended several market reviews where analysts presented on how a certain roundtrip market that they managed performed in May. Although these meetings were more formal than all the other ones I sat in on, the mood was light and I could tell that the managers in the room worked to create an environment that would make their employees feel comfortable. Seeing these presentations made me feel better about my upcoming market research project presentation. Having spent the past couple weeks working on it, I feel ready to present my findings especially now that I know how casual the presentations are.

This internship experience has blown my expectations out of the water thus far. I can’t wait to see how the second half of it turns out with evaluations, presentations, managing markets, and exploring other departments coming up.

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