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Sanika Nawathe was new to the specialty chemicals industry, but worked hard to quickly acquire information and apply her business analytics skills during a 2022 summer internship with Evonik Industries.
Sanika Nawathe was new to the specialty chemicals industry, but worked hard to quickly acquire information and apply her business analytics skills during a 2022 summer internship with Evonik Industries.

My Summer Internship: Sanika Nawathe

Photo by Julie Morin

Lerner College student uses business analytics skills during internship with Evonik Industries

Editor’s note: Students from the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics discovered new avenues for professional preparation and hands-on experience during the summer of 2022. Lerner College students pursued an array of remote, in-person or hybrid internships, externships and other professional development opportunities. From MBA scholars to undergraduates entering their second year at UD, students across a spectrum of Lerner programs shared their experiences accomplishing an assortment of projects.

Sanika Nawathe, a member of the Class of 2024, is an operations management, management information systems and business analytics triple major in the Lerner College and an Honors student. She spent the summer of 2022 as a coating additives market intern at Evonik Industries. 

Q: How did you find out about this internship? Why did you pursue it?

Nawathe: I found the internship on Handshake and applied. I felt comfortable during my interview and didn’t feel intimidated. I also really liked talking to my interviewer who ended up being my supervisor. When I got the offer from Evonik, I said yes almost immediately and was excited to begin.

Q: What did you learn from this internship that you think you would not have learned elsewhere?

Nawathe: Evonik is a specialty chemical company — an industry that I knew nothing about. I learned a lot of technical language and general information regarding coating additives and chemicals, but more importantly I learned how to work hard to learn about a topic I struggled with. I had to do a lot of research so I could understand the work I was doing on a deeper level, and I think I would not have had to do that at a company where I know the industry.

Q: What was the most exciting task or project that you worked on in your role?

Nawathe: My most exciting project was looking at one of our competitor products and analyzing their import data. I was able to use a third-party software to gather data and use Excel to analyze my findings. It was exciting since my supervisor trusted me to work on confidential material and I could clearly see how my work was being used to better our marketing strategy.

Q: What is an example of a time where you were able to apply what you’ve learned at Lerner to your role?

Nawathe: I used Excel for all of my projects and data analysis. My management information systems classes were incredibly helpful because I had all of the technical skills. My business analytics classes were especially helpful because I was able to put together reports for my team which “told stories” of why the data was meaningful.

Q: How do you think this internship will push you closer to your professional goals? 

Nawathe: I mostly got into management information systems and data analytics because I was good at the classes, and I enjoyed them. This internship helped me put my skills into practice in a real-world setting, and I realized that I would like to continue in some type of position where I can continue to use those skills.  

Q: Did you face any challenges during your internship? If so, what was the issue and how did you overcome it?

Nawathe: One of the biggest challenges was the learning curve of the industry. I was usually surrounded by people who had backgrounds in engineering or chemistry, so I often felt like they were speaking an entirely different language. I mostly did a lot of research about the company, products I was looking at, and other useful areas so I could learn more and did not feel so out of place. One thing that was helpful was that my supervisor took the time to answer any questions I had, gave me learning materials, and reassured me that the longer you work in the industry, the more you start to pick up on the technical information, even if you do not have the background. 

Q: What are your career plans once your internship ends?

Nawathe: Hopefully, I will be able to find another internship that I love as much as I did this one, next summer. Upon graduation, I hope to work full time and pursue my MBA.

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