The internship semester

As many of you know, I (Dave) am in the finishing throes (finally) of getting my MBA at the august University of Rhode Island. My dream of scoring a perfect 4.0 has died thanks to a few blunders in the Financial Management final (which I took moments after my second Pfizer dose so we’ll blame it on that) but it’s been a very productive experience all around. 

This semester, there is one required Economics class to take, and then I have a choice of electives. Since I’ve taken so many of the electives that I wanted to already, and because course selections and offers are what they are on a schedule I don’t control, the ones I’d want to take between here and the finish aren’t my top choices. Looking into it a bit further, I learned that I could do an internship as an elective, and that’s what I’m doing.

As we’ve talked about a few times here, Rhode Island has a thriving composites industry. It started with boat building way back in the day, and has continued on developing with technology. A few smart citizens diversified away from the yacht industry (which is just as much of a hair-puller as the cycling industry, just with a lot less “bro!”), and now focus on industrial and defense applications as primaries, and some marine stuff as fill-in. The shop where I’m interning was actually my first choice for having rims built locally, because the rims they’d build would be out of hand perfect. Alas, they’d also be higher cost than where a lot of the market is now. There’s a chance we’ll try to put some prototypes together but it’s a small chance, and that’s not the point of the whole thing anyway. 

The composites experience I have through past work history plus what I’ve done with November makes things a lot easier for me there, since I’m more or less fluent in materials and processes, but that’s not going to be my role - I’ll have only a little shop floor involvement. I’ll spend most of my time on marketing, business development, and workforce development. 

What this means long term is undefined. It might totally transform our business and see us into product development and production, although that chance is slim indeed. It will certainly further our in-house composites expertise, which I already consider to be quite high as is. Life at the leading edge. It’s of course funny that the business that started life as a side gig now has a side gig, but if the last 18 months (on top of the previous 10 years) haven’t taught us to expect the unexpected, what will?


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  • Dave on

    Thanks everyone.

    Dave B it’s somewhat less of a break and more fitting 8 lbs of stuff in a 5 lb bag but I’m used to it now.

    Ashwin – Great question. The first thing I think you have to decide is what’s the present vs future value of doing it. Without in state tuition and my flexible schedule there’s no way this could pay off for me. As is, maybe. It’s made me better at quantifying things, and I’m certainly much smarter about marketing. Haven’t yet gotten to fully apply these in November context yet in a big way but have in many small ways. I think the most it does for you is it increases your career mobility. Oftentimes the best/only way to move forward is to move companies. This certainly makes that easier. A lot of my classmates are going this on their company’s dime in order to be eligible for the next step, and for those ppl it seems an easy choice.

    I can tell you that the majority of what I’ll start on at internship is applying and integrating stuff I might have had some traction on before but really solidified with the program.

    James – Composites manufacturing is really neat.

    Paul – Thanks. It’s amazing how local damage was. Face east toward open-ish water? You probably got hammered. For us, storm passed at low tide = shop didn’t get flooded.

    It’s both made me smarter about November and opened up a bunch of doors, so I’m generally in favor of it.

  • Paul on

    First, I’m relieved to see that Henri didn’t blow or wash you out to sea. Second, congratulations! Mr. McGuire was right: there’s a great future in plastics.

  • James Kirsten on

    Hi, I recently checked out the Chinese rim manufacturer Btlos. Really interesting how they make their own carbon rims. Good luck to you Dave!

  • Ashwin on

    Is there anything else you’ve learned or done in Rhode Island that makes you think pursuing an MBA was worthwhile?

    Sincerely,
    Man Who Has Avoided Business School

  • DaveB on

    My very best wishes to you, Dave!
    It’s been a long trail ride, and you deserve a break, big time!


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