This is the latest in a summer-long #TGW series featuring student-athletes participating in the 2018 Fifth Street Bridge Program, Georgia Tech athletics’ summer internship program.
An important part of moving up in the business world is the ability to take the sum of your experiences and put it to use.
Rising junior diver Abbey Yates is doing that this summer in her internship at NCR. She’s working as a product analyst in the NCR Silver division, where she’s responsible for point of sale (POS) for businesses and restaurants.
“I look at a product from conception to completion, look at where we can improve and where there’s room for growth and expansion and then, basically, try my best to take it each step of the way and improve the products,” said the Dunwoody, Ga., native. “I’m getting to know a lot about how that works. I’m getting to apply my classroom knowledge and that’s really cool, getting to apply all classes I took this year, such as legal aspects of business, international business, tech communication, Ecommerce, really the whole gamut. It’s been really awesome getting to know everyone over there and being in the heart of the city and Midtown.”
NCR was first established in 1884 and works with a vast variety of companies worldwide to help them improve all aspects of their business. While the company has been in existence 134 years, it’s only been in Atlanta since 2009. Currently, NCR has over 160 interns at global headquarters this summer and are planning to grow the program to over 200 interns in 2019.
That move has opened the door for Yates and other Georgia Tech student-athletes — she made reference to recently graduated Yellow Jackets tennis player Elijah Melendez, a previous intern at NCR.
“They just moved their global headquarters to Atlanta and by Tech’s campus, actually right by my school, the Scheller College of Business,” she said. “So they’re recruiting heavily from over there.”
Yates actually sought them out, talking with a recruiter from NCR at a Georgia Tech’s Career Fair. That started the ball rolling, getting her an interview and, eventually, the internship.
She has been on the job for nine weeks and it’s been a rewarding time, albeit, quite a busy one.
“I like to go in a little bit early. A typical day is getting started and making sure I speak with my supervisors and see what’s on my agenda for the day,” she said. “They have a lot of really cool plans for the interns all the time. We’ve got lots of meetings to be a part of, lots of speakers to hear. We’ve had a lot of speakers and they just got a new CEO (Michael Hayford).
“Because NCR is not just a hardware company — they’re a software company as well — I need to learn a lot about software in particular and make sure I understand all the nuts and bolts of information technology, which is what I’m concentrating in over at Scheller,” she added.
She’s really enjoyed expanding her work experience at NCR, which is a new experience for her.
“The jobs I’ve held before have been coaching jobs so this is kind of my first corporate culture job,” she said. “As a student, when you’re learning so many new things in the classroom you’re wondering where things will be applied, especially involving like legal aspects of business and international business, all that stuff. NCR is a global company. They deal with clients all across the world and being able to understand the background for all of this and where people come from and basically being able to research all day as well.”
As Yates heads into the final quarter of the 12-week internship, she is pleased about the potential to learn even more and continue building on her Georgia Tech curriculum.
“The best part about the job is that, although I have all that background knowledge from the school, I need to learn so much more. I feel like I’m continually learning,” she said. “A lot of times over the summer maybe you’ll feel like you forget something you learned in school but because I have to keep up to date with everything going on, I need to read articles every day and comb the Internet and see what’s the latest and greatest. So it’s really cool to have the foundation from school and apply everything the teachers and professors have been going over in the classroom but also to keep learning and reading about everything online as well and keep researching.”
The internship has even worked out well for her diving. Even though her 9-to-5 hours at NCR make for long days, her schedule still has allowed her to get to the CRC to work with diving coach John Ames.
“I like the structure. I love that I’m still able to practice and train this summer so that I can go into the next season more confident and I still get to be around my teammates,” she said. “Overall, Coach John is very understanding about work and being busy and maybe being tired one day but also he wants us in there and he wants us working hard and preparing. So I really appreciate how much he’s been able to kind of coordinate and work with the divers that have jobs and are getting there around 5:30 p.m. It’s been really nice having that flexibility.”
The NCR opportunity has proved to be the icing on the cake of a sophomore year that saw her set personal bests in both the 1-meter (251.55) and 3-meter (269.90) dives, both ranking fourth on the season and coming against Delta State last Oct. 28 — unfortunately back and foot injuries hindered the former gymnast’s season — then being awarded an ACC Top 6 for Service award for dedication to community service and outreach programs.
And if there’s one thing Yates knows and appreciates it’s icing on the cake, be it figurative or literal, as she found time during the summer to pass two courses and earn certification as a Wilton Course 1 cake decorator.
“I am an amateur cake-decorator. I took two courses on a Saturday this summer to learn how to basically decorate cakes better with buttercream frosting,” she said. “As of right now it is learning how to make large and pretty cakes. I’d definitely love to take a couple more cake-decorating courses down the line. I’d love to maybe get into more complex things. It’s a hobby but I really enjoy doing it.”
She’d similarly enjoy a career at NCR and believes the company’s welcoming atmosphere is conducive to such a future.
“I like the idea that it doesn’t matter necessarily where you come from, there’s always room for growth,” she said. “At NCR, they really want to make sure that people know that they love to have young blood. There is vertical movement and horizontal movement, so you can try a lot of different things, then also, hopefully one day move up the corporate ladder. So I like the company in general, their embracing the idea that where you start is not where you finish. You can keep coming up and learning more. I like how NCR people are embracing innovation and continual learning.”