Well that went quickly.  It feels like the last month and a half flew by, and right as I was really becoming a “Martian,” it was time to come back to Atlanta.  Everything about the second half of my internship at Mars seemed a lot smoother.  I was starting to understand the in’s and out’s of the company, who to talk with regarding questions about my projects, and most importantly, what time they re-stocked the candy baskets every day. 

The group of interns had a lot of opportunities to explore Nashville over the summer.  Some of the Mars highlights were a tour of our new Global Innovation Center (the new home base for creating future pet care innovations for the North American market) and the Mars Innovation Kitchen (where we were able to create, and taste, our own dog food recipes).  Outside of the office, we were able to take advantage of Nashville by checking out Honky Tonks, the Country Music Hall of Fame, going to a Titans game, and spending an evening at a winery about 10 minutes from the office.  I was surprised at the number of volunteer opportunities we were able to participate in over the summer as well.  On top of helping out with a pet adoption early in the summer, the interns helped facilitate Critter Camp, a two-day camp for at-risk children focusing on how to take care of pets. 

Similar to Goizueta’s core values, Mars has Five Principles that are the foundation of their amazing culture and how they approach business.  The principles (Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, and Freedom) were clearly apparent even on day one.  I specifically want to call out the Mutuality principle.  Our open office environment fostered a clear sense of mutuality, and every associate (Mars doesn’t have “employees”) is treated in the same way.  I thought it was amazing that I, even as an intern, could walk up to our senior executives and have conversation with them any time I wanted—and be on a first-name basis with all of them by the end of the summer. 

As my internship at Mars ended, I realized just how unique the company really was.  I enjoyed and appreciated the chance to work there and am grateful that my time at Goizueta gave me a special opportunity that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.