Welch Scholars Get Hands-On Education at Unilever
Three of Sacred Heart University’s Welch Scholars had the opportunity recently to visit Unilever and experience the business world in action. Along with their professors, Dr. Barbara Tarasovich and Dr. Kittipong Laosethakul, Chandler Antczak ‘15 of South Brunswick, NJ; Jeremiah German ’12 of Pittsburgh; and Megan Papp ‘13 of East Lyme met with Unilever executives, Joanne Thomas, John McGowan and Angelo Desimone, at their Trumbull office.
Unilever is the third-largest consumer products company in the world and makes everything from Q-Tips, Vaseline and Dove Soap to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Hellman’s mayonnaise and Slim-Fast. The executives not only gave the students an overview of Unilever’s operations, but also explained what it means to be a finance business partner.
The visit began with a tour of the technology operations center that supports Unilever’s global business. The students learned firsthand how a $47 billion company provides IT services and manages a global ERP infrastructure environment. The executives also explained Unilever’s Compass strategy to double the size of its business in five years, while reducing its environmental footprint. They not only explained what it means to be a Unilever Finance and IT professional on a daily basis, but also how they support the company’s global priorities. The visit concluded with a demonstration of how the accounting and finance team use SAP, the global ERP system, to account for all their business transactions.
“No amount of reading or class work can truly prepare students for real-world business experience. This type of interaction is critical for our business students as they prepare for their future careers,” Tarasovich said.
“The Unilever trip was an incredible opportunity to see all of the technology and software we learn about in the classroom. Professor Tarasovich has always spoken so highly of Unilever, and from the very inviting atmosphere they provided, it is easy to see why,” German said.
Added Papp, “It was awesome to see how SAP is used in real world companies! Also it was very interesting to see how complex the data center is and how much of the world it supports. It was really great of the Unilever executives to take a large chunk out of their day to host us.”