In the fall of 2014, business administration major Aaron Richardson was already thinking ahead towards a summer internship. “With the help of my pre-internship class,” he said, “I started applying for programs all over the United States.” Over the next several months, he got a few responses, but nothing panned out. He was starting to look into other options for the summer, when he got an email from Southwest Airlines asking him to do a phone interview. Four weeks later, he flew to Dallas for an in-person interview. Shortly after, Richardson was awarded the Southwest Airlines Technology Procurement Internship – named one of the top five internship programs by IntershipKing.com.
Landing the perfect internship
As a member of Southwest’s technology procurement team, Aaron is responsible for buying technology that will be used throughout the company. “It’s crazy to think that more than 14,000 people apply for this internship each year, and they chose me,” Richardson says with a laugh. Of that number, 129 were selected.
Concordia prepared me very well for this internship. I learned how to think critically and look for opportunity. I feel like Concordia taught me the foundation of how to work in a real company and how to adapt to problem-solve issues as they come up. A liberal arts education is so valuable because although you don’t learn how to do every job exactly, you get the tools to be able to tackle anything that comes your way. These skills are invaluable.
Come fly with me
Along with a once-in-a-lifetime marketing opportunity, Richardson also enjoyed the perks that came with working for Southwest – including free travel anywhere the airline flies. “One of the coolest things we were able to do was take an internship trip to San Francisco for a quick weekend getaway. When we got on the flight, the attendants called us out on the intercom system and the whole plane gave us a round of applause. “Amid the fun, Richardson notes that the interns weren’t afraid to get to work. “We helped serve food, picked up trash, and handed out snacks.”
Reaching for the sky
According to Richardson, this internship has connected him to various corporate leaders and has given him some great attributes to add to his resume as he begins to look for a job following graduation in the spring.
In addition to his studies in business administration, senior Aaron Richardson is the incoming Associated Students of Concordia University president.