Hi Buffalo Family! My name is Maddie Little and I graduated with my Marketing Degree from WTAMU in 2017. I am a current WT Graduate Student pursuing my MBA with an emphasis in Management. During my time at WT I worked as a Peer Leader and as the Administrative Support Intern in the Office of the President and was also involved in various student organizations. Since September, I have had the amazing opportunity to work with Southwest Airlines as the Training Coordination and Project Intern at the Headquarters in Dallas, Texas. I began looking into working with Southwest Airlines in January of this year and applied for this internship on a whim. Fast forward to April of this year; I was contacted by my Recruiter at Southwest and within a week or so, I was flown in for an in-person interview and offered the internship from my dream company. My recently passed Grandfather retired from Southwest Airlines in the early 2000s, so I knew that this was a great way for me to continue his legacy.
I specifically work with Southwest Airlines University which is an internal employee training department that promotes collaboration, consistency, continuous improvement, and community. Southwest Airlines University handles all aspects of our employee trainings from the creation of content, the delivery of the information, and the analysis of the experiences and information. Every single employee that is hired at Southwest sits in at least one of our classes. The team that I work on is the Operational Support Team and we focus on all areas of coordination for the classes. Some examples of the areas that our team handles are: ground transportation, lodging, print material tracking, meal cards, student support, and facility management. I really have been able to immerse myself into my team and also our Company Culture! A few of the special projects that I have had the opportunity to work on are: a hotel utilization project, an internal audit of Flight Attendants’ FAA Numbers, a supply room reorganization project, and various department culture activities. I am also coordinated the SWA U Holiday Party with another intern and we are handling all of the logistics of the event for 450 people.
Something really unique about my internship is that I was able to participate in Halloween at Southwest. I did not know this going into my internship, but Halloween is an extremely loved and celebrated holiday at the company. I had the opportunity to perform in the SWA U Halloween Skit for the entire company and I also helped create the choreography for an entire scene of the skit with another intern. I definitely never expected to be performing or choreographing anything in my internship, but it ended up being an awesome way for me to build relationships with other employees in my department that I normally didn’t interact with. What made this experience even more exciting is that our performance won first place in both Judges’ and People’s choice! Yes, our company takes Halloween so seriously that we bring in external judges to score all of the performances. Halloween was truly an amazing experience, and I was also able to meet and take a photo with our company CEO, Gary Kelly.
Overall, my internship with Southwest Airlines has truly been an irreplaceable experience that I will be forever grateful for. I never fully understood the full strength and power of the company culture at Southwest until I became a part of it. It truly is very special. My best advice to any student involved in an internship is to network and take advantage of every single opportunity that you have. You never know who or what will help you find another internship or job in the future. My time at WTAMU in the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, my previous on-campus jobs and involvement in campus organizations really “gave me my wings” to be able to be selected for this internship and then to be offered a full time position as a Pilot Crew Scheduler for Southwest! I am beyond excited to continue my career with Southwest as a Crew Scheduler and work alongside another WTAMU Alum, Shannon Jungman. It is truly a honor to share Southwest Airlines with the 63,000 other employees and especially my Grandfather.
If you are interested in more information about the WT Internship Program, visit the Career Services website or contact Steve Sellars at (806) 651-2345.