Elizabeth Neal '14: A Force to Be Reckoned With
Accolades abound for Spring Hill rising senior Elizabeth Neal. The 4.0 GPA student is a trail-blazer and go-getter, having secured internships with a Fortune 500 company, a European powerhouse, and a $15.4 billion company since the summer before her junior year.
A business administration major from Montegut, La., Neal says that her professors and advisors at Spring Hill were invaluable in offering encouragement and support to network with professionals in the community and secure valuable internship training.
“Everyone knows my name, my personality, and what I’m passionate about,” said Neal. “Dr. Margaret Massey gave us the opportunity to attend a conference with other business professionals in Mobile. Rhonda Lucas invited us to attend functions with the Women’s Christian Association. It was fabulous.”
“Elizabeth is a student that goes above and beyond,” said Lucas, a Spring Hill College business instructor. “She never let the answer ‘no’ stop her from succeeding. She’s always researching, posting her resume, and completing applications – even on weekends.”
Neal’s first internship focused on business management with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a privately-held company with 74,000 employees. “The summer before my junior year, I was a management trainee intern,” Neal said. “I learned about fleet management, contracts, insurance, and inspection of vehicles.”
Next, Neal decided to explore her interest in business operations by pursuing an internship with Airbus Americas Engineering. “The Mobile office didn’t have an internship program in place, but I sent a cover letter and resume anyway,” said Neal. A month later, she landed the internship.
Neal says that her Airbus internship was exciting, but very challenging. “The company is a global leader, but very supportive of local employees, and committed to service in the community, which is important to me.”
The office where Neal worked runs all operations for aircraft cabin and cargo areas. As such, Airbus Americas engineers and employees travel extensively – to Germany, France, Miami, Kansas, and Herndon, Va.
“My role was to help track and analyze travel patterns and costs based on the company’s goals and objectives,” explained Neal. “I created year-to-date reports for each manager, analyzed the data, and came up with options for better budgeting, efficiency, and cost effectiveness.”
At the end of her semester with Airbus, Neal relayed her findings in a formal briefing to 25 department heads and managers. “My job was to show how ‘on track’ Airbus Americas was to their goal of saving one quarter of the year’s total budget. My presentation received a very positive reaction.”
Neal is now working at her third internship with Edward Jones in Louisiana. “I wanted to explore the finance side of business,” she said. “I was introduced to the opportunity through Monde Donaldson, director of alumni programs for Spring Hill College, and Marnie Skinner, president of the SHC National Alumni Association Board.”
Neal received a call from Edward Jones in April of 2012 that she’d made the cut for a phone interview. Of 1300 applicants, only 270 students were interviewed. Of that, 170 students across the country – including Neal – were selected for summer internships.
“I started working for Edward Jones in June and love it,” said Neal, “I’m meeting with clients, knocking on doors, and making phone calls. I assist with retirement and estate planning, mutual funds, and 401(k) analysis. It’s great experience.”
Neal says she can’t wait to be back at Spring Hill this fall, and that there’s much work to be done during her final year on campus. “I’ll be concentrating on my studies, working to maintain my 4.0 GPA, and exploring my best career options.”
Neal’s work study supervisor, Julie Kraft, associate director of advancement services, has no doubt she will enjoy continued success. “Elizabeth is very capable and detail oriented, with limitless reserves of energy. She is proof that hard work and determination pay off. She is a force to be reckoned with.”
Following graduation, Neal is confident about entering the work force and securing a fulfilling job. “I have friends all over the country who are having trouble finding work. Because of my college education and my internships, I’ve had amazing, real-world experience,” Neal said. “It’s sure to make a difference standing out from the competition. Spring Hill raises the bar when it comes to preparing students for the work world.”