For more than a year, College of Business administrators have worked diligently to cultivate the AutoZone business team at the corporate office in Memphis, TN. As a result of their hard work, AutoZone made history by hiring three interns in the areas of merchandise control finance, store development and internal audit.
Founded in 1979, AutoZone is an American retailer of aftermarket automotive parts and accessories, the largest in the United States. The company has over 6,000 stores across the United States, Mexico and Brazil.
The associate dean for the College of Business, Dr. Sheila Porterfield says, “The partnership that the College of Business has with AutoZone is essential to the success of our students and I look forward to our continued growth with the company for years to come.”
Christian Williams, a recent alumnus works as a commercial account representative for the company. He is responsible for analyzing and maintaining high risk credit accounts for local sales teams in various regions of North America.
Speaking with conviction, he expressed,” These students have achieved a major milestone in our university’s history. They are the first students to be recruited into the AutoZone intern program.”
Williams in collaboration with the corporation’s newest interns spearheaded a joint meeting with both JSU and AutoZone administrators to ensure that more students are selected for practicum opportunities at the company.
“I believe JSU students are highly competitive and deserve an opportunity to display their talents at the same rate as some of the bigger institutions,” he says.
All three interns provided touching testimonials regarding their professional working experience at AutoZone.
Michelle Patton is a senior accounting major that worked in the store development finance area. She performed period-end financial close activities including journal entries and balance sheet reconciliations. Patton also got a chance to build relationships with other interns, join Toastmasters to enhance her public speaking skills, and participate in volunteer activities at the Botanical Garden in the Memphis community.
“The culture at AutoZone is uplifting and the people are very influential,” she says. “This has been a life-changing experience for me because I gained knowledge and experience that will help me compete for jobs in the area of accounting.”
JSU football player and finance major, Matthew Harvey worked with the merchandising control team to review and report on the departments financial status.
“I had the opportunity to pitch ideas that could improve the overall future of AutoZone, senior vice presidents, and other members of the leadership team,” he says. “During my time with the company, I sharpened my skills in public speaking, Microsoft Office and team building.
Accounting major Brittany Thompson worked in internal audit sector at the company. “This opportunity gave me a closer look into the world of general accounting,” she says. “Being able to explore so many aspects of this business in such a short amount of time speaks volumes about the company’s core values.”
In honor of JSU and AutoZone’s growing collaborations, the company sponsored a “Partnership Luncheon” for the College of Business administrators and students this summer in Memphis, TN. During the luncheon, each intern made a presentation on the skills learned at the corporation. The students emphasized that they were able to correlate business projects at the company with concepts learned in their classes at JSU.
“The visit provided an opportunity for us to continually understand the types of employment opportunities that AutoZone has for our students,” says Porterfield. “Additionally, the visit provided AutoZone with a continued opportunity to better understand the College of Business’ academic and career programs.”