Carnegie Mellon University

tesla

June 28, 2018

Student Spotlight: Interning with Tesla

As an undergraduate student in computer science and engineering, Anusha Atluri had the opportunity to code Microsoft phone applications. “I realized that coding was somewhat of a solitary experience, and I wanted a more collaborative role,” she said. She participated in an internship with S&P Global as a business analyst, and joined the company full-time upon graduation. “I worked in the technology division,” she said, “and I also got to learn a lot about the financial world. I really enjoyed the diversity of experience.”

After spending four years as a business analyst for S&P Global, Atluri was interested in moving into an operations-focused career. “I chose Tepper for my MBA, because Tepper was the second-best school for an operations MBA, in addition to having a great reputation for technology and a close-knit community,” she said.

With a highly technical background and a steadfast dedication for experience in operations, she attracted the attention of a manager at Tesla, best known for its electric vehicles. She is working with Tesla’s Automation Controls team this summer as a program manager intern on the Model 3 general assembly line.

Persistence brings reward

In December 2017, Atluri applied for a summer internship in MBA Program Management at Tesla. She joined her classmates on a visit to the company’s Fremont, California, office as part of the Business and Technology club trek. Following the visit, she spent several months making connections with Tesla employees to get her foot in the door.

“I reconnected with an old friend of mine who worked at Tesla,” she said. Her friend passed her resume along to his colleagues, one of whom reached out to her at the end of March to set up a phone call. It took another month before the conversation took place, she said.

In the intervening time, she had attracted the interest of several tech companies for summer internship opportunities in product management due to her strong technology background. “But I wanted to move more toward operations, and so I kept pursuing what I wanted,” she said.

Atluri’s persistence was rewarded. Her Tesla contact called her in late April to discuss her experience and career goals. Following that conversation, he called her a week later to say he had created an internship for her on his team.

Technology and operations intersect

Atluri started her internship on May 21. “I really love it here,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like it’s just been three weeks since I’ve been here. I have already accomplished so much.”

As a program manager intern, Atluri spends a lot of her time on the manufacturing line, observing processes and ensuring controls are working properly. Her primary responsibilities involve designing workflows and helping engineers manage production equipment to improve the manufacturing process for the Model 3. She works across several departments reviewing and organizing issues that controls engineers handle.

“It’s exactly the role I envisioned myself in,” she said. “It puts all the pieces together for me. I work on the operations side of things. I leverage my tech background to work with engineers and craft solutions. Most importantly, I contribute to making our world a better place to live in.”

After the internship

When Atluri returns to the Tepper School in the fall for her second year, she will continue coursework with concentrations in operations management and business management communications. “I’m going to be in a cross-functional and collaborative role,” she said. “I realize that communication is an important aspect of problem-solving, and I want to further polish my skills in that area.”

She intends to focus her career search on a job description, rather than a particular title or industry. “I want to make a difference wherever I go,” she said. “I have an execution mindset. I envision a career where I’ll be doing more of what I am doing now — solving problems and getting things done as efficiently as possible.”