Information Science Junior Climbs the IT Corporate Ladder

Last summer, information science junior Michael Koss received an IT internship offer at Tenneco, an automotive hardware supplier. What he knew was that he’d solve employees’ technology-related issues, interact with many different departments and develop necessary IT skills. What he didn’t know was that he’d be asked to continue his work into the school year, the summer after and likely post-graduation. 

Though Koss was certainly nervous about joining Tenneco, he attributes his success in the company to embracing the unknown and the uncomfortable. 

“I mainly focused on the ticket queue,” Koss said. “Whenever people around the company had issues with anything technology related, I would diagnose, troubleshoot and fix those. I also worked on the deployment of technology and upgrades. Looking ahead, I’m planning on getting into more project work this summer.” 

Because he addressed issues all over the large corporation, Koss was able to make meaningful connections with colleagues he otherwise might never have met. 

“I loved being able to interact with all of the full-time employees,” he said. “I got to interact with a lot of them and just learn about the company in general. One day I would be working with the engineering people on their systems, the next I’d be going upstairs to the marketing people. It was a very good variety of meeting people in different positions.” 

Koss also embarked on altruistic projects while working for Tenneco. 

“My favorite memory was when we got to build a house in Monroe,” he said. “We paired with Habitat for Humanity and got to physically help them build a house. That was an experience I’ve never had before, but it was definitely a fulfilling one. It felt good doing the volunteer work and also connecting with the other interns, all for a good cause.” 

As Koss worked to fix IT problems, he also improved his social and communication skills. 

“Being able to talk to anyone and building upon my overall patience with people was a skill that I improved on,” he said. “Working with others definitely has its difficulties when things aren’t going the way they’re supposed to, so speaking with people and telling them about why the problem is happening was something I gained.” 

In fact, getting a feel for how other departments operate is necessary for Koss as he hopes to move up the corporate ladder in technology and eventually oversee many different sectors. 

“Working on the floor and IT support has helped me on a daily basis because I want to move up into a position of leadership eventually,” he said. “I think I’m still figuring it out, but I want to be in a higher position within IT that allows me to look over what technology is going where.” 

Koss was asked to continue his work into the school year and this summer, and his manager wants to keep him on the team post-graduation, he said. This wasn’t by chance, he noted, but by taking a chance. 

“Going into sometimes uncomfortable scenarios like this one definitely pays off greatly,” he said. “The main lesson I would take away is just taking a chance and going into something that’s maybe uncomfortable at first and making the most of it. I was definitely nervous, but looking back, I had no reason to be. Now is the time to try, see what works for you and go for it.” 

By Stella Govitz