Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Summer Internship with Heinz - Michael Betts, '13

This past summer, I accepted an opportunity to intern at H.J. Heinz in its brand marketing function, which is based in Pittsburgh.  This was a great opportunity for me and exactly what I had hoped to achieve when I went back to school to get my MBA.
The first thing that struck me about Pittsburgh the first time I drove in was the spectacular view.  This was a surprise to me as I am sure it is to you if you are unfamiliar with the city.  I had just spent 10 hours driving from Athens, up through the Carolinas, across Virginia, crossing deep through West Virginia and into Pennsylvania.  My driving directions were telling me that I was getting very close to the city and, yet, I couldn’t see it.

Finally, I entered a tunnel through a small green mountain and as I emerged, the city and the three rivers burst across my vision full of shiny high rises and curving bridges.  It was a fantastic thing to see and, I felt, boded well for my summer.

Heinz was putting me up in a downtown apartment directly across the river from PNC Park, where the Pirates play baseball.  Next to the baseball stadium is Heinz Field where the Steelers play football.  And I could walk to the office.  Not bad.

The North American headquarters for Heinz are in a building called the Heinz 57 Center, directly across the street from a Gothic-looking church that has a hot dog shop in its basement and right next door to someplace called the Duquesne Club.  It is one of those places I will likely never be invited into.  Mitt Romney actually held a dinner there during my stay with a full allotment of dueling protest groups outside.

They had a small welcome breakfast for the intern class, I met my boss, and before I knew it I was seated at my desk with 95 emails waiting for my attention and a shared drive full of research to read through.  Someone had been expecting me.

So the work started in a hurry but it was good work.  My boss was awesome and I started learning a lot, fast.  The whole summer pretty much flew by and I never felt that my time was being wasted or that the people at Heinz weren’t very excited to have me there.  Before I knew it, it all culminated in my final presentation to my brand team and a gallery full of interested observers.  Everyone really set me up for success and it went well.

The summer had been fantastic.  I had had a chance to visit a ketchup plant, tour Heinz Field, attend some concerts and Pirates games, help out the children’s hospital, play in a kickball tournament, and get acquainted with the city of Pittsburgh.  It was actually a little tough to leave to head back to school but I had a lot of work to do for Terry, too, and it was nice to get back to Athens.

So that was my summer with Heinz in a very small nutshell.   

1 comment:

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