Name of Student: Weston Soete
Year in School: Senior
Job Title: Project Manager Intern
What ignited your interest in Boeing, and how did the process for achieving this position begin?
Weston Soete began his pursuit for a Boeing internship as a freshman. He was intrigued by a conversation he had with a Boeing recruiter at an information session during fall semester of his freshman year. As a sophomore he pursued the intern recruiter again at the Finance and Accounting job fair hosted in September, where he made a name for himself, and revealed his passion. During his junior year, Weston attended yet another information session where he turned in his resume in hopes of an interview. Fortunately, the next day he was given and interview, and his journey with Boeing began alas.
Can you describe the interview process?
Weston’s initial interview took place in person on Gonzaga’s campus, and left him optimistic about what the future may entail. Come late October Soete received a call from Boeing, offering him an official interview for a project manager intern position. Weston described his first official interview as very professional. The interviewer presented numerous problematic situations, and Weston was asked to describe how he would develop a solution. His first official interview was soon followed by a casual discussion, where it was clear that Boeing was trying to get a good idea of who Weston is. After the casual discussion he had with one of Boeing’s recruiters, Weston was extended an offer for the internship, and he was ecstatic.
What made you a valid candidate for the position?
Although the interviewing process for this position is rather daunting, Weston was able to remain relaxed by being himself, and sharing his relevant experience. The qualifications for this position are a little blurred, as Boeing searches for well-rounded, collaborative individuals. At the time of the application process Soete had been working hard to submit a 3.5 overall GPA. Although his hard work in school is recognized, Boeing is in pursuit of students who have had some sort of unique leadership experience as well. Weston explained that he had a significant role with Kitsap County Public Works, for three years as a Water Quality Assistant. Here, Soete learned the basics of the business process, and the essence of problem solving. Prior to his internship with Boeing, Weston was also a network administrator for a youth center, where he learned to analyze, and organize data to eliminate processes that weaken the organization overall. In addition to all of his unique work experience, Weston studied abroad in Florence his spring semester of junior year which also made him a competitive candidate. Out of all his valuable skills, Weston feels that his experience with databases strengthened his application the most.
What were you expected to do as an intern?
While interning for Boeing this past summer, Weston worked with the Program Management Integration team. The primary goal of this team is to improve people, processes, and tools. This is a unique experience, in that Weston was able to examine several different segments of the business. It gave him a great idea of how a company of Boeing’s caliber should be running. Later on in the summer, Weston worked as a member of the Boeing Test and Evaluation team. Here he built dashboards in “Power BI” which is a program that allows managers to input data, and get a distinct measurement for the real-time overall standing of any specific business operation. Needless to say, “Power BI” is an incredibly useful tool, and Weston got to learn how to use it inside-and-out. One of his main goals as a member of the Boeing Test and Evaluation team was to gain support on the program so that the software would be made available to all Boeing employees.
Can you describe the culture of Boeing? How do people act towards one another? Is there a high level of engagement?
Although Weston’s team was dominantly virtual, (meaning they work from separate locations, often online from home) he would still describe the culture of Boeing as very open. Weston mentioned that Boeing employees believe in the mission of the company, and they enjoy what they do. He said it is very easy to get help when you need it, and that everyone is willing to help each other find a solution, even if they work on different teams with different objectives.
In your opinion, what was the most valuable thing that you learned as a project manager intern?
Weston’s experience at Boeing was molded by an abundance of different assignments, all of which contributed greatly to his knowledge on the role of project manager. While he valued all of the time he spent at Boeing, Weston most valued some of the workshops, and classes that he took. During this summer, Weston attended a project management fundamentals class at Boeing, which explained business processes in a simple way. Weston also took advantage of a finance “boot camp” that Boeing offers, where he learned the essentials of “Power BI.” Weston described that this internship was a great learning tool to understand the fundamentals and functions of a company that size.
What was your favorite thing about the internship?
In addition to all of the valuable lessons that Weston learned this year, he also got to go on many tours which he enjoyed thoroughly. His internship allowed him time to tour the 737 Max Simulator, and the P-8 factory, which showcases submarine hunting airplanes. Soete also enjoyed the time he got to spend at the Customer Experience Center, where essentially customers come in and get to pick out their fleet.
Would you recommend applying for this position to other Gonzaga students?
With all the experience that he got Weston would strongly recommend applying for an internship with Boeing to anyone concentrating in supply chain management, or management information systems. He explained that there will be a lot of opportunities with Boeing, and that upward mobility is common.
Any closing comments ?
“My experience at Boeing has been an enormous stepping stone in my career, and the lessons I learned there are invaluable.”