Scott Sims, an honors accounting and finance double major in Walton College, beams at everyone we pass in the Bentonville Sam’s Club, greeting the workers like old friends. He throws back samples of orange juice and pineapple, putting everyone at ease with his infectious enthusiasm for the multicolored displays of cereal boxes, fresh-baked flour tortillas and wasabi-flavored Doritos that stock the wholesale grocery.
Back at the Home Office, Scott knows everyone in the halls by name. He is a member of the Sam’s Club dry grocery team, and one of 25 Accounting and Financial Development Program interns working at Walmart this summer. Scott has been working closely with Sam’s Club Dry Grocery Team leader Mark Knisely on his project. The interns are all encouraged to network with leaders in the company, and while some mixers are scheduled, it is largely up to the students to initiate meetings. Three weeks into his internship, Scott had already scheduled nine interviews to meet with higher-ups!
The internship, as Scott puts it, is a “10-week interview of sorts,” and could result in a full-time position that involves rotations through different company departments. This sort of constructive training is a hallmark of the program. “It’s that constant building upon what you have until … you have this whole toolbox of skills,” Scott says. “It puts you in a different mindset.” In this way, complex problems can be reduced to simpler ones. And the best way to develop this problem-solving mentality? “The internship is a great place to start.”