The Intern Experience: Melanie

Vanderlande’s North American Headquarters, located in Marietta, Georgia, is currently in the midst of our 15-week spring internship program. The program offers students the opportunity to learn in an international environment, tackle complex business challenges, and build lifelong skills and relationships.

Our internship program offers an ideal experience as it allows students the chance to gain relevant working experience, while also providing the company with the opportunity to discover and invest in new talent.

“The end goal for us is obviously to make a full-time hire,” said Kristine Graham, a corporate recruiter at Vanderlande, “This program allows us to build those relationships in order to make that happen.” In other words, our internship program serves as a test drive for both the intern and the company.

That test drive experience is exactly what Melanie Banks, a Georgia native and senior at Kennesaw State University, was looking for. Rather than simply registering for another class to fulfil her degree requirements, Melanie decided to find an internship where she could gain real life experience related to her field of study.

During her search Melanie discovered Vanderlande on a job board and after doing some research she was immediately sold. For Melanie, the decision to apply was easy not only because of the “sheer size of the company,” but the fact that, “Vanderlande presented the opportunity to grow on a global level.”

But what really drew Melanie in was the culture here at Vanderlande. Beginning with the interview process, “It was clear by the questions I was being asked that they cared about who I was outside of just my resume…and that was a good feeling.”

And that feeling has only increased throughout her internship experience at Vanderlande, one of the main contributors being the structure of the spring internship program.

As an Organizational and Professional Communications major, she is well versed in new hire onboarding practices. Due to her knowledge, she has observed that at Vanderlande, “There’s a strategy utilized which shows they really are investing in us as interns. It’s obvious they want to help you succeed here and you don’t find that everywhere.”

For us, devoting time to our intern development is a no brainer. Kristine Graham speaks to that point in saying, “Our goal with the program is for an intern to gain great experiences and ultimately have a very good understanding of how the company works as a whole.”

That process includes panels on the subject of career advancement, a chance to shadow an employee in a different field, a resume workshop, and even a Warehouse tour of our manufacturing facility. All of these events are meant to not only increase an intern’s knowledge of Vanderlande but develop their overall skills as a budding professional.

Melanie’s favorite aspect of the company however has not been planned at all, and that’s the people. In her opinion, respect among colleagues is crucial to a company’s culture and at Vanderlande, “Everyone is treated and spoken to the same, no matter their position or rank.”

As the Communications SharePoint Intern, one of Melanie’s main responsibilities is to create and organize an engineer focused site complete with all training and onboarding materials. Due to this, she is involved with multiple departments and present throughout countless meetings.
Witnessing those moments of interdepartmental cooperation is one of those prime instances of respect. She recalls how in meetings, “Everyone is heard, and everyone has the opportunity to speak…I love being able to watch everyone respect each other’s strengths.”

Above all, what truly stands out to Melanie about Vanderlande is the sense of acceptance she feels exists within the company. As a wife and mother to three children, “I know I’m not the typical intern, but still I’ve been accepted here. And more than that, as a minority, as an African American woman, I’ve been respected. I’ve been given opportunities to show my leadership…I’ve been allowed to just be who I am.”