Former intern Nick Mansfield shares his story about how the Southwest Internship Program has helped him grow.
About six months prior to the Internship, I decided on a whim to try something different for the second semester of my junior year. I’m a native Californian, but I attend Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Bowdoin juniors typically go abroad second semester, but I was looking for something different. Southwest Airlines’ internship program provided a perfect opportunity for growth at just the right time. I moved to Dallas for the semester in late January, while friends back in Maine wrapped up pond-hockey tournaments and prepared to hunker down for a long, cold winter.
From day one, it was apparent how much Southwest values its youngest Team Members. As an Intern, it was humbling to be viewed as an investment, rather than just a temporary tool. For instance, my Team spent the first five or six weeks of the internship making sure I was up to speed on our tools, data, and industry jargon. As an Intern on the Market Strategy Pricing Team in Revenue Management, I spent three and a half months digging into what drives the performance of our markets. Whether it be a schedule change, a competitor’s pricing action, or something totally out of the box, it’s been fascinating applying my training in order to tell the story of what happened and how we can improve. More broadly, it’s been eye opening seeing how competitive the airline industry really is, as well as the amount of work and orchestration it takes to ensure 3,900 daily departures are orchestrated without a hitch.
It’s hard to overstate how much I’ve loved my time in Dallas as a member of the Southwest Team. As an Aviation Geek (“avgeek”), I felt right at home. Apart from work, flight perks provided a fantastic opportunity to engage our Fun-LUVing sides, and sometimes our Warrior Spirit. Handing out peanuts to Passengers might be all in a day’s work for our Flight Crews, but I know it’s a story many Fellow Interns and I will be telling for years to come.
I feel truly blessed to have gotten a short taste of Living the Southwest Way. It’s been repeated time and time again, but Southwest really is a special place. Employees carry themselves with a purpose that permeates throughout the Company, and it’s evident that people are proud to be members of this Family. I cannot thank Southwest enough for the opportunity to learn, contribute, and grow, and I hope to be back in the future!