Daniel Calderas interned with the Resource Industries Mining Center of Excellence division at Caterpillar where he expanded his network and built his marketing, service, and sales skills.
Why did you choose this internship?
The goal of this internship was to gain experience in a professional environment, while learning about the ins and outs of the company and how they work. As a kid, I heard a lot about Caterpillar growing up near their headquarters. I loved seeing the impact they made on the construction industry, and thought of how I would love to work there. I also know people who work for the company and they have always had great feedback about what they stand for.
What was the focus of your internship experience and what skills did you develop?
I was able to work on several significant projects, one of which was the Annual Business Plan & Target Setting for 2024, where I talked to Life Cycle Managers throughout Caterpillar and got their feedback on the current year’s layout, and ideas for the next year. I also talked about metrics and potential changes to our targets and goals for the upcoming year. Besides this, I had the amazing opportunity to work on a competitive profiling project, where I conducted a SWOT analysis on our competitors in the aftermarket parts area.
Public speaking is a skill I really wanted to work on, and this internship gave me a great opportunity to work on it day by day. The interactions with other interns, mentors, and colleagues in the office made me feel a lot more comfortable, but actually seeing and hearing Caterpillar employees talk about their career stories helped significantly. I participated in a number of great events that gave me a chance to showcase my presentation skills. Finally, I had multiple chances to talk about some of the work I completed, the steps I took, and the impact the project will have moving forward.
What did you find challenging about your internship?
I found it difficult at times talking to individuals about the weaknesses in their area. For one of my projects, it was necessary to talk to different reps and gain insight on their strengths and weaknesses. At times, I had to pry or conduct multiple meetings to get the information needed, but with this came the learning that there are different ways to approach a project, and that can determine the quality and depth of the information you receive.
What was your favorite part of your internship?
Being able to participate in global meetings was one of the most memorable parts of the internship. Caterpillar did a great job in making sure all of the interns were involved in important projects. This was meaningful because it made me feel like part of the company and not just someone who is there for a few months.
I also enjoyed being able to gain exposure to the different areas within Caterpillar by talking to employees that worked in different areas. It opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities, including my project area of aftermarket parts. It sparked an interest in me that I didn’t know I had before the experience.
What advice do you have for other students as they begin their internship?
Do as much as you can to stand out from others, but do not let it take over you. Also, make as many connections as possible. At the beginning of my internship, we had a very large orientation event, and I thought that because the company is so large that I wouldn’t see the majority of those interns again. Yet, I still made as many connections as possible to learn about the areas they were working in and what schools they went to. A few weeks later, I saw a lot of familiar faces from orientation at our Case Competition event, which made the process a little easier and more comfortable.