Published: June 16, 2011

Jun. 16, 2011

I am approaching one month since my last update.  Like I said, time flies. The internship at Ball continues to be a great experience.  It’s been about eight weeks since I started and my projects are coming along nicely. I would say I spend about 25% of my time learning about Ball and the aluminum packaging industry, another 25% of my time working on what would be considered day-to-day tasks (if I were fully employed here at Ball) and the remaining 50% of the time is spent on projects.  Learning about Ball, the aluminum packaging industry, and the manufacturing industry as a whole has been a fantastic opportunity. Recently myself and all of the other interns (eighteen of us, about 75% are undergraduates and 25% are graduates from all over the country) toured Ball’s Golden Can Manufacturing Plant.  For anyone interested in operations this would have been a dream come true.  This plant was the definition of efficiency, producing two million cans over a twenty four hour period, every day of the year.  I’ve never seen so many cans in my life. It was a truly unique experience. Me and a select few other interns also got to tour a facility that produces the aluminum used to make a can and participate in an innovation meeting at the facility. I now know more about the manufacturing process from a block of aluminum, to a can, back to a block of aluminum and into a can again than I ever thought I would. I’ve learned an incredible amount about logistics, sourcing, and operations – especially for what I thought was a finance internship!

Speaking of finance, I’ve continued to learn more than I ever thought I would about spending and inflationary impact to a company’s income statement.  I’ll admit, the projects I have worked on are still ambiguous but having spent a fair amount of time with them they are becoming more and more clear and I understand more and more every day.  This is a good thing, because at the end of the project I will present to the CEO of Ball, which is still hard to believe. I have definitely been able to apply the skills learned at Leeds this past year.  More than anything, the leadership skills and organizational management skills have come in quite handy.  It’s an interesting process as an intern, trying to manage the development of financial models and secure the data you need to do so. You quickly find out who to go to for information.  I also realize that I’m seeing things from a different perspective after having a year of graduate school under my belt.  This new perspective, and internship, is exposing me to aspects of business I wasn’t privy to in previous jobs. It’s been eye opening.

Summer, of course isn’t all work and no play — at least for me it’s not.  I am not sure where my MBA will take me.  If this ends up being my only summer in Boulder, I want to make the best of it.  It has been filled with tons of group events. I am happy that we’ve stuck together as a class through the summer thus far. We have an MBA kickball team which I believe just won the championship, there’s an MBA softball team, and we go out on Tuesday nights to play trivia at local establishments. There have been countless hikes and BBQ’s.  The Farmer’s Market here in Boulder is nothing short of fantastic. There’s been Rockies games, concerts at Red Rocks …  you get the drift. It’s actually quite exhausting.  Not to mention, I’m trying to do some networking and planning for next year so that I’m ready for the first year students to hit the ground running. The second year students want to ensure we have impactful events and groups to participate in. Did I also mention I have a Half Iron-Man event coming up in two month?  Yikes!  This summer has been nothing short of epic, it’s tiring at times, but when I reflect on the opportunity I have been given I can’t help but smile and feel lucky.

- Chris Van Hoven (MBA ’12)