All good things must come to an end.
True, but the impact they have travels with us.
The past eight weeks of my internship with Monsanto have flown by. Before we came to St Louis, we received a list of projects we would work on, giving us an idea of what would be expected of us, the teams that we would work within, and the output expected.
If this list had included a “What you will learn at Monsanto” section, you can bet it would be infinitely short of the actual lessons I’ll take away with me.
Not just about the work Monsanto do: fantastic tours of the Creve Coeur and Chesterfield facilities were immensely enjoyable and brought real insight and understanding to the impact that Monsanto can have on the future of the world’s food. But lessons on who I am, who I want to be, and how I can contribute in the work place.
My projects have varied. I have had the good fortune of working as part of a large international team with Monsanto’s Vegetable Seeds division, helping with the global branding of two of their products. This has been a fantastic opportunity to learn about the intricacies of such grand scale international planning. The attention to detail is phenomenal.
Heading for my final year of education, it’s a welcome reminder that details are what make the difference between presenting something that is good, and presenting something that resonates with your audience and represents all you are capable of.
The opportunity to work on individual projects during my time at Monsanto has been a fantastic indication of the expectations that the Corporate Marketing and Communications department have of their interns, and trust in them to succeed as a valued member of the team.
Internships are a lot more prominent in America than in Scotland, and not to detract from my fantastic education at The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, but internships and placements provide you with skills you just cannot acquire in a classroom setting. I am fortunate enough to have a university that promotes placements and internships and feel really strongly that this is where I have gained most confidence and understanding of the areas my degree will allow me to work in.
I’m not entirely sure I’m able to sum up my time in Monsanto as effectively as I’d like. My ill informed ideas of GM and bioscience have completely changed now that I understand the processes and the reasoning behind this necessary progress.
My opinion of Americans (essentially formed by watching re-runs of Friends) is pretty much what I thought it would be. Friendly (pardon the reiteration), larger than life, and unforgettable, can sum up the people I have met here in St Louis. Within Monsanto, the same can be said.
Monsanto, like all corporations, comes down to its people. Talented, hard working people who work their whole lives to hone their skills whether they are on the farm, in the lab or in the office. People who really believe in what they are doing and know that they have the capacity to make a difference.
It has been a fantastic environment to work in, and I hope I meet many of my colleagues in the future.
Going home to Scotland I’m excited to promote the Saltire Foundation, my Monsanto internship, and the importance of grabbing every opportunity you can. I have often stumbled over the question “what do you want to do when you leave university?”
A little advice from our CEO Hugh Grant, that you should find something that really excites you and work from there, has left me feeling the possibilities are endless. Provided you have a passion for something and you embrace the opportunities you are given, you could end up almost anywhere in the world, doing almost anything.
You never know, I may even end up back in St Louis.
By Kitty Gordon
Editor’s note: Kitty Gordon is one of two UK interns spending their summer at Monsanto’s global headquarters, under a program with Scotland’s Saltire Foundation.
The Saltire Foundation is an independent charitable organization representing a new vision for Scotland, providing invaluable opportunities through experience, learning and business networking. Its undergraduate internship programme offers Scotland’s students the chance to spend 8 weeks working at a top multinational company with the aim of encouraging candidates to develop their confidence, skills and capacity to succeed.