Student Conversation

Conversation with Andrew Janzen, a summer 2011 GBI intern. He led a team with two other students for four weeks at Electrex/Capital III in Hutchinson, working to understand their wire harness manufacturing process and identify opportunities for process improvements. After four weeks of little sleep, he says, the team traveled to Baotou, China, for tours of local businesses, language classes and time with local university students.

Can you elaborate on “four weeks of little sleep?” Sounds rough. 

Our stateside project was in Hutchinson, Kan. We carpooled with an employee who started work at 6:30 a.m. every morning. We met at 5:30 in northwest Wichita, so our team had to leave the house about 5:00 a.m. It was hard to do that consistently, and being from the area, there were plenty of other good things to compete for my time! I felt like the overseas part was almost easier in comparison!

What do you do today?

I work for Flint Hills Resources as an analyst. I’m in the procurement group, where I work to support my company’s procurement system and improve related processes.

Why did you apply for the GBI summer 2011 internship? 

A GBI internship through FOCUS was a natural choice for me. Many of my friends had been on “traditional” FOCUS trips, so this was the opportunity for me to explore how my majors (economics and entrepreneurship) could be used for meaningful things. In terms of timing, it was the last summer before I graduated, so it was probably going to be my last chance.

What was the value of your 2011 internship?

The first—and biggest—value of my internship was being part of the FOCUS program. Dad has used FOCUS, then and now, to help bring the nations to the front of my life. And I got to see it first hand here in Kansas and around the world in China. What a heartbreaking privilege it was! My internship enabled me to go through their training (including Orientation Week), which was invaluable. I had the opportunity to lead the team, so it was a stretching, revealing and rewarding experience to lead the best I could to a place I’d never been.

The second value was getting real-life business experience. I got to learn about production flows, process improvement, leadership and project management. My experiences provided great examples for interviews as I looked for a full-time job after college, and the lessons are relevant to my job today.

Finally, there were friendships and subsequent mentoring relationships as a result of that summer that I still enjoy and learn from today. It was great to get to spend time with like-minded people, some peers and others further down the road.

How were the stateside and overseas components of your internship interconnected?

For the most part they were distinct. Apart from working with Electrex, we did some side-research on roofing material, including a visit to a company in Oklahoma. We took some samples to a roofing company in China. Once overseas, the primary business component included several factory tours and meetings with business professionals to talk about culture and business in China.

Were you prepared for your internship? 

Yes. We participated in the usual FOCUS trip training but then also attended a week of business training. The business training included several business tours here in Wichita along with presentations and workshops with local professionals.

What were the key takeaways of your internship?

  • Be patient, especially in explaining things. It may take time to explain your thought process.
  • Leading often requires leading others into a place you’ve never been yourself.
  • Business is an important platform to improve peoples’ lives and share Good News.

How did your internship experience change or enlarge your perspective?

I saw a local company with a desire to serve its employees.

I met local businessmen with a desire to honor Dad with their work and pursue excellence.

I saw the dusty hills of Inner Mongolia, counted the construction cranes (the national bird of China), and brushed shoulders with workers, students, shop owners and even little kindergarteners.

I found Dad to be the same, even on the other side of the world.

I saw hope and lostness, emptiness and new-found prosperity.

I met overseas brothers and sisters with a heart for their coworkers, their friends and their nation.

I saw mountains and deserts and a rainbow over a thirsty city.

How can I see these things and not be changed?

What would you say to a student considering a GBI internship?

Do it. Apply. It may be inconvenient or you may still have some questions, but you will not regret your experience or the lessons you learn. College provides unprecedented freedom and flexibility, so use it to lay your comfort—and your whole life, really—down for a summer. Go. Go to the ends of the earth. A Global Business Internship is going to help prepare you for the rest of your life, wherever you go. Leverage your flexibility to explore if your Father would have you overseas.

What would you say to a business considering becoming a GBI business partner?

If your business is Kingdom-minded, partnering with GBI is a way to make good on that commitment and invest in the next generation of business professionals. The students will bring energy and a fresh perspective, and they could be candidates for future roles in your organization. But it won’t be easy or convenient. Be prepared to help the students adjust to the dynamics of the workplace. Your experience and insight will help get them up to speed and challenge them to build both competence and character.

What, in your opinion, is the core value of a GBI internship?

It’s a chance to explore business with Kingdom-mindset. The workforce will be a large part of the rest of our lives, and this is a valuable opportunity to learn how to live and work.