June 23, 2017

Intern report: Stephanie Hagen at Tektronix

Stephanie Hagen is a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.

Before starting this internship, I’d never heard of a waveform monitor or a rasterizer, let alone understood the business models they represent. That’s all changing, though, as I get deeper into my work with the Product Line Finance team at Tektronix. Tek, as everyone here calls it, manufactures test and measurement equipment from its headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The best-known devices are probably their oscilloscopes, which graph electrical signals; I haven’t quite figured out how it works, but am still very much in awe of the new model they just launched. (It’s so cool!) Although I was expecting to hear a lot about break-even analysis and NPV, I’ve been struck by how much my work draws on other classes from last year. One of my first tasks was a correlation analysis that had me missing Statistics (and wishing that “call up Professor Solow” wasn’t just a classroom joke). My main project focuses on Software as a Service (SAAS), providing solutions that were previously hardware-based on demand through the cloud—it reminds me a lot of our design discussions about the transition to digital. I’ll also be working with the marketing team in developing a strategic pricing analysis. And of course, this wouldn’t be a finance internship if I weren’t spending much of my time tweaking models in Excel. After living in Cleveland for several years, it’s been interesting to see some of the cultural differences back in Oregon. The style is a little more casual, rain is accepted as inevitable, and people take their coffee very, very seriously. Not only does Tek have its own Starbucks in the heart of its campus, but it also has a “coffee cam” on the company intranet where caffeine-deprived employees can check the length of the line before heading over. It’s also just a quick trip on the MAX to downtown Portland and its hipster coffee shops on every corner. Thanks to the “summer hours” policy at work (working longer hours during the week to take a half-day on Friday), I’m looking forward to the chance to check out as many of them as I can!

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