5 Ways To Start Your Career At This Multibillion-Dollar Food Ingredients Company was originally published on WayUp.
Ingredion is one of the biggest companies you’ve never heard of. They’re the global leader in ingredient solutions—which means they turn grains, fruit, vegetables, and other plant-based materials into value-added ingredient solutions for the food, beverage, animal nutrition, brewing and industrial markets. Basically, they make crackers crunchy, yogurt creamy, candy sweet, paper stronger, and baked goods more nutritious.
So even if you haven’t heard of Ingredion, you might’ve snacked on something they’ve created.
From food science to quality control and supply chain to engineering and analytics, there are tons of ways to start your career at Ingredion. We spoke to some of their recent interns to learn more.
1. Rahul Started His Business Analytics Career Running
As someone who studies business and analytics in school, Rahul was looking for a role that would let him use analysis to make an immediate impact on a business. However, given how complex a field business intelligence is, he also needed mentorship from experts active in the field. When he heard about the Ingredion role, he found the perfect combination.
What He Did: “I was a sales and operations intern on the supply chain and analytics team. We used analytics to enhance efficiency in the supply chain, saving the business money and increasing productivity. I’ve learned so much throughout these two months, gotten a lot of good advice, and worked on projects that I’m proud of.”
How Ingredion Helped Him Grow: “I learned a lot here this summer, and it wasn’t restricted to one means of learning. With the remote situation, I thought it would be harder to grow and make connections, but that wasn’t the case. I learned how to use new business and data analytics programs, such as PowerBI, through Ingredion’s online Learning & Development course catalog. You also have a really helpful mentor. Plus, you can always schedule calls with anybody on your team or at the company. Everyone is so helpful and willing to share ideas.”
Favorite Project: “It’s this model called Sentiment Analysis or emotional artificial intelligence. I worked on a system that allows you to automatically input customer responses and get an understanding of how the customer is feeling. You input customer feedback, and it actually returns a score that reflects the sentiment.”
2. Zion Became A Top Contributor At His First Internship
Zion is an industrial engineering student about to go into his senior year. For his first internship, he wanted to find a company that wouldn’t just let him practice and learn his craft, but teach him how to best navigate the working world. Ingredion’s culture—which combines learning opportunities with real work experience—was the perfect place for him.
What He Did: “As a Continuous Improvement Intern, I worked on projects that helped us identify problems and improve our production process. I worked with various parts of the production process to enhance key performance indicator (KPI) reporting and improve efficiency. This is the first internship I’ve ever had, so I really came in with a clean slate, no expectations, just ready to deliver however possible.”
How Ingredion Helped Him Grow: “It’s a combination of mentorship and instruction. Ingredion gave me a lot of guidance on how to maneuver and navigate the company. My managers gave me a lot of tools to understand continuous improvement and industrial engineering in general. I even became a Six Sigma White Belt, which is really useful in my industry.”
Favorite Project: “One of my projects was creating a system to identify ‘bad actors,’ which are basically pieces of machinery that cause production problems. By the end of my internship, I hope to have a system set up so my coworker can just input data and find out whether a piece of equipment is a bad actor. I was also nominated for the WayUp Top 100 Interns list, and my coworkers at Ingredion have been so supportive, voting for me over 1,600 times already.”
3. Kiana Had Her Best Internship Yet—Even Amid A Pandemic
Kiana was worried about the remote internship experience. She knew first-hand how hard it could be to make connections as an intern and get valuable work experience. When she arrived at Ingredion, the team gave her exactly what she was looking for: safe, in-person experiences, mentoring and the ability to make connections across the company.
What She Did: “As a Quality Intern, I worked on various impactful projects. I was tasked with finding a new piece of equipment for the lab and a new software system to replace an outdated one. I also worked closely with the Quality Vendor Analyst to monitor and update testing requirements on products we import. I never felt that I was missing out on the full internship experience, even on the days I was working from home.”
How Ingredion Helped Her Grow: “I was provided a mentor on the first day of my internship. The members of the Quality team I worked with were also all extremely helpful and very willing to teach me. They always answered my questions and showed me the workflow of the lab. We also had a final capstone presentation which allowed us to sum up the projects we worked on in front of coworkers, supervisors, and leadership. This presentation allowed us to shine in front of leadership and show them the contributions we made to the company.”
Favorite Part Of The Program: “Despite the challenges that this pandemic has created for everyone across the globe, Ingredion has not let it stop them. Ingredion provided me with the best internship experience I’ve ever had. The HR team has consistently kept me in contact with all the other interns, planning fun virtual activities such as music trivia events, or providing opportunities for us to connect with leadership, such as with our ‘Lessons with Leaders’ meetings.”
4. Taylor: Safely Working In The Lab—And Seeing Teamwork In Action
2020 was Taylor’s third summer interning with Ingredion. With many internships being canceled, Taylor wanted nothing more than this experience to continue, but she was worried about how it would be handled during a pandemic. She didn’t want to take a backseat in the research and innovation OR miss out on the learning experience of teamwork—and Ingredion’s internship program helped her safely stay in the action.
What She Did: “I was always able to safely complete my lab work. Before walking into the main office, you get your temperature checked and receive a new mask daily. When I arrived, I began training, and the importance of my projects was explained to me. Because my projects were heavily lab-based, I was in the office four to five times a week. After training, I began my project independently, but there was never a time where I found myself not able to ask for help. Multiple team members checked in on my progress and made sure I was doing well throughout the summer.”
How Ingredion Helped Her Grow: “At Ingredion, there is a Business Resource Group called the Network of Early Talent (NExT) , which supports the early talent community and helps us learn and grow professionally. This summer, the group piloted an Intern Buddy Program, where each intern at the site was paired with an Ingredion employee, so we’d have a friendly connection to learn from. I learned some key skills from my buddy. My boss also set up training with other experts. They showed me how to utilize the necessary equipment and gave me great advice.”
Favorite Project: “Members on different teams, other than my own, gave me training on different equipment and shared old data and useful tips. Gathering all the information given to me from the many teams I interacted with, is what ultimately allowed me to complete my projects and be successful.”
5. Liam Started His Process Engineering Career With Great Advice—And Hands-On Experience
As a future Process Engineer, Liam needed to apply what he’d been learning in school AND learn from experts in the field. Getting floor experience during a pandemic was going to be a challenge, but—you might be picking up on a theme here—Ingredion was committed to getting him what he needed.
What He Did: “I work in process engineering, so my team must work closely with operations and maintenance. For my projects specifically, that included coordinating with operations management to find when events would occur. Also, I would spend a lot of time on the plant floor working alongside operators to gain insight into what the process looks like from their perspective.”
How Ingredion Helped Him Grow: “I learned through a combination of my own curiosity and being surrounded by good people. My manager, Jenny, filled that mentor role for me. She was indispensable in providing specific insights on projects and strong advice in general. Meghan, our internship program manager, also provided fantastic support to the intern class by providing us with connections throughout the company. Every week, she put together a program she called ‘Lessons from Leaders,’ where we heard great advice from the company’s leadership.”
Favorite Project: “I’m proud of the improvements I made to the changeover process of one our machines at one of our manufacturing centers. These changes can save the company well over 100 hours of downtime per year. They make the operators’ job a little easier because I provided the necessary tools to complete parts of the process. I’m also proud of the connections I made through this internship. I’ve met many great people who have followed very different career paths. And I’m lucky that they can help me make the right decisions when I am paving my own career path.”
To Start Your Career Right, Start At Ingredion
No matter what the circumstances are, Ingredion gives their interns the experience and knowledge they’ll need to compete in a tough job market.
Check out open opportunities for Summer 2021 and beyond at Ingredion on WayUp!