In the Department of Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness, we believe an internship experience can be a valuable part of the academic training and an important component of the student's preparation for future employment. It is an opportunity for students to learn more about a specific agribusiness organization and the 'real world' activities and responsibilities that individuals within that organization face on a daily basis.
Internship Spotlight: Patrick Harrison (Zen-Noh Grain Corporation)
Over the months of June and July, I completed an internship at Zen-Noh Grain Corporation. Though Zen-Noh Grain is located in Convent, LA, it is owned by a several Japanese stockholders in Japan. ZGC is the most efficient grain elevator in North America. At full operation, Zen-Noh can move over 500 million pounds of grain every twelve hours. ZGC is by no means a storage area. They unload the commodity, whether it be corn, wheat, sorghum, or soybeans, and then grade it, weigh it, and then export it. Very rarely does grain stay on sight for many days because they are importing and exporting day and night every day.
When I got the opportunity to go through their internship program, I was overcome with excitement. I spent the summer bouncing around the whole corporation. I worked for a week in the safety department, purchasing department, dockside operations, landside operations, and the maintenance/electrical department. I spent two weeks in the control room and spent my last week where I wanted. At the end of that week, I presented my final project, that I had been working on all summer, in front of all the supervisors and managers.
When I was in each department, I worked alongside with that department’s manager/supervisor and the other employees. While working with them, I also picked their brain and took in as much as possible, so I could get a good idea of what they do and how it effects the business. I truly enjoyed it and learned far more than I thought I would. I can’t say enough about the people at Zen-Noh Grain. I am so thankful for the experience and knowledge I gained that I will keep forever.
Frequently asked questions
An agribusiness internship is a practical learning experience in an agribusiness firm or organization that deals with the type of work you hope to enter into upon completion of your academic degree. Its purpose is to bridge the gap between your formal classroom learning and the professional world. In an ideal internship, you would be assigned tasks and responsibilities that allow you to observe and participate in various operations of the organization. You would be encouraged to ask questions of the organization, and to contribute your ideas and input toward the objectives of the organization. In return, you receive valuable work experience and college credit toward your academic degree.
The primary reason to participate in an internship program is for you to learn more about the career area you wish to pursue. An internship enables you to discover which aspects of an organization’s activities best suit you, e.g., purchasing, sales, market research, public relations, etc. In addition, learning that you don’t like a particular area of an organization’s operation can be a valuable learning experience. An internship also allows you to apply concepts you have learned in the agribusiness curriculum. It can also give you an edge in the job market. Quality work experience looks good on your resume and a good letter of recommendation from your supervisor may open a few doors. In some cases, an internship may also lead to permanent employment with the participating company.
You should be thinking about participating in an internship near the middle to end of your academic curriculum. You need enough formal training and knowledge about your career interests to benefit from an internship experience. You must be willing and able to handle the responsibilities of career-oriented employment. This means you must be able to conduct yourself in a mature, responsible and professional manner. Remember, during an internship, you will be dealing with professionals in the business community and will be representing Louisiana State University.
You can participate in an internship during any academic term, although the summer term is the most common for an agribusiness internship. Some internships may require a substantial time commitment. Because of this, you might want to arrange an internship only for semesters when your course load is light.
Students interested in pursuing internship opportunities should contact Dr. Biswas at email@example.com