By Rahul. S., Summer Intern and Student Ambassador
In the past, when I thought of agriculture, I imagined a man wearing long overalls, planting seed in a field, a toothpick in his teeth and a cow somewhere in the background. I am a computer engineer and never in a million years would have thought that I’d work for an agriculture company. I did not know how I was going to face my friends who were interning at Google.
But now I know that agriculture is so much more than that. Agriculture is an extremely sophisticated and complex discipline that incorporates all aspects of science and technology into the many solutions it creates. From GPS guided harvesters to robotic automation and sensors; from genetically engineered seeds to the use of data science and field mapping—agriculture is as exciting as any other industry out there.
I spent my entire childhood in three different boarding schools in India before I moved to Urbana-Champaign to attend the University of Illinois. Moving to a new place was never really scary for me. In fact, I always looked forward to it. Nevertheless, coming to a company the size of Monsanto was daunting, even for me. However, within minutes of my arrival, my nervousness vanished. Everyone was friendly, polite and very eager to help. That’s when I knew that I had made the right decision by coming to Monsanto.
I was a part of the Service Automation and Monitoring team. We automated synthetic transactions from an end user’s perspective using scripting languages to monitor some of Monsanto’s core business services, such as internet browsing, video conferencing, etc. We also used a cloud-based program to monitor the big machine data that we gathered to provide real-time updates to service owners about their performance and availability status. Don’t worry, I was just as confused as you are when my manager first explained this to me. I like to think of it this way: the team allows Monsanto’s service owners to resolve issues before 20,000+ employees have a chance to complain about them. The team provides the service owners with the ability to evaluate Monsanto’s managed service providers, so that Monsanto gets the quality of service that providers promise to deliver.
The thing I liked the most about working at Monsanto was that I was never treated like a student, or as someone who was a burden on the team; I was always treated like a fully contributing member. I credit my supervisor and the entire workforce at the company for creating an environment where continuous learning is valued. Even during the brief gaps of time between projects, I was encouraged to learn new tools and software. From the IT-specific learning sessions to the secrets of successful presentations training, there were tons of learning opportunities available through Monsanto University.
Another thing I learned during my time at Monsanto was the difference between socializing and networking. My experience as a co-op taught me the value of building meaningful and long-lasting relationships. Business resource networks such as the Monsanto Young Professionals Network (MYPN) and the Monsanto Asian Connection gave me a wide platform for cross-cultural interactions to meet, connect and share ideas with like-minded people. Through the MYPN Lunch Buddy program, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting with people from varied backgrounds across the spectrum, which enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of Monsanto’s manufacturing process and expand my knowledge horizon. I learned things during those one-hour lunch meetings that I would have never had the chance to grasp as a computer engineer.
Not all was milk and honey, though. There were times when I was drowned in work and struggled to meet deadlines. But every evening when I walked out, I knew that I had learned something that I didn’t know before. It was this feeling that made me excited for the next morning!