My Internship at McCormick – Bring on the Future!

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Having the opportunity to work for McCormick Co., Inc. this summer was something I only dreamed about. Being at the CIA has proven to open so many doors, especially in the area of prospective careers. Working under mature chefs and professionals in the industry gave me a new attitude about my education and the way I learn. As an extern at McCormick, there were some areas that improved more than others, but I still believe that my time there will have a lasting impression on my future. Exposure to different industry approaches, career planning, social skills, and seeing the quality of products and finished foods are major factors in the outcome of my professional experiences. In all of these areas, I learned something significant from McCormick, both the company and its employees.

Career planning is always challenging, especially when you’re still a student in college and have a limited understanding of your field. As individuals grow to become professionals, there needs to be lessons taught and obstacles overcome in order to progress. McCormick offers many avenues of employment that all revolve around something related to food! After affiliating myself with a multitude of culinary experts at McCormick, I was able to look into different career opportunities for post-graduation. There were a couple of careers that I could definitely see myself pursuing, like a descriptive panelist or a research and development chef. But there were also areas in which I knew I would not want a career. McCormick offered the job outlook I need to successfully plan for a future in the foodservice industry.

During my internship, I was able to actively participate in developing my interpersonal and learning skills. One of the biggest things my supervisor commented on while I was at McCormick was that it is essential for me to know when to slow down and ask questions. With the guidance of my boss, I practiced communicating on a corporate level and was taught how to navigate consumers’ interests. Teaching other department employees how to use McCormick products helped me to efficiently relay information to people with less knowledge of cooking techniques. I noticed situations in which it was okay to be more comfortable when talking to people and also when to be more professional. The best lesson I took away from my role there was to be kind and considerate to people and always listen before you interject in a conversation.

Even though I took an alternative route for an internship, I was given the chance to work with quality products and see the end result or the finished label that was to be packaged. McCormick had a variety of spices and recipe packets that were not yet “on the market,” so there was room to suggest changes. Not only was there opportunity to see the progression of McCormick’s products, but I also had the chance to get my hands on some of the best produce from a local grocery store! I would take daily trips to the Wegmans whole foods store when preparing for the Flavor University classes I helped teach. My job environment made learning about those products easy and accessible.

Exposure to approaches different from the CIA’s has been an additional benefit to my education as an intern. Finding innovative ways to get certain tasks done faster was always a goal of mine. I achieved that goal at McCormick by suggesting ideas to my supervisor about better storage tactics and cleaning habits. There were times for me to share my ideas, but there were more times when I was taught by the seasoned professionals. My favorite memory from this summer was watching the best way to smoke meats, with the addition of using McCormick products. After I was taught how to do it, I even got to practice it for one of our Grilling University classes!

Looking back at my relationship with McCormick, I know there was no other internship I would have rather done. I made so many lifelong professional connections, I was exposed to different jobs, and I gained a new respect for corporate companies in foodservice. I am incredibly thankful for the CIA’s affiliation with McCormick and the Career Fairs that they host. Attending a Career Fair and being equipped with the right tools for interviews by the CIA helped make my McCormick experience possible. Even though a second internship isn’t required by the CIA, I still intend to pursue another employment opportunity similar to my time at McCormick to earn more experience in the industry. As I move forward with that plan, I know I will be better prepared for my culinary future.

Thanks for following along! And if you’re just tuning in or you need a refresher, check out the previous blogs in the series: 
Part 1: Making the Choice
Part 2:  Flavor University 
Part 3: Guess What’s New? Cross-Training! 

By Julia Spondike

Julia Spondike