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Krannert Summer Intern – Meet Shantanu

Shantanu Agrawal
Financial Planning and Analysis Intern
SunCoke, Energy
Lisle, IllinoisMaster's Student with co-workers during internship

This summer I interned with SunCoke Energy at their Corporate Head Office in Lisle, Illinois. I was working in the role of Finance Intern working closely with the Financial Planning and Analysis Group. My internship revolved around two major projects which involved almost every aspect of business acumen I acquired during my first year of MBA at Krannert.  The first project involved real option analysis and capital investment evaluation.  For the second project I helped with change management in the accounting system used within the company. The ultimate goal for the second project is to have better cost management which can be achieved by modernizing and rationalizing the accounting system.

What are some outcomes the organization will have from the time you have spent at your internship?:

My first project dealt with coal mining and cleaning facility and it involved replacement analysis of a very old coal preparation plant. This plant is critical to SunCoke’s daily operations and it is in a very bad shape. It requires immediate replacement or capital intensive repairs to keep it running. But in the current turmoil in coal market it is very difficult to justify a huge investment to the investors. My project was to do an analysis of the current situation and come up multiple options in the current scenario. It also involved evaluation of the coal mining business as a whole in each scenario and its sensitivity to volatile coal prices. This evaluation model will help SunCoke to decide which path they want to go down in the future regarding the coal mining business

My second project involved a change management plan to be implemented for the accounting system. SunCoke has five coke making plants located in USA built in different eras. Each plant follows a similar system of accounts but its usage is not consistent across the plants. So my role in this project was to initiate and facilitate the change in accounts by involving all the plant controllers. My job was to make sure each plant were using the same account for same kind of costs. The goal of this project is to enable benchmarking across the plants ultimately leading to a much more efficient cost management system.

What has been your most meaningful internship experience?:

I got a chance to present my analysis for the first project to the Executive Committee. This was one of the highlights of my internship. Interacting with the C-level executives and answering their questions was an amazing experience. It also helped me understand how to be well prepared and what questions to expect when you are presenting in front of such an important audience.

How were you prepared for your internship experience?

I have had a decent experience in the world of finance having worked as a derivatives trader for four years before joining the MBA program. After coming to Krannert, I took various finance courses as electives in my first year in addition to the core finance course offered in fall. So, I was well prepared technically for the internship. But another important aspect of the internship experience and it was very critical in my second project as well, was to be able to communicate really well with my fellow employees and people I was working with on my projects. I had to contact people with varying skill set on a daily basis and with each set of people I had to device a different way of communicating my thoughts and requirements so that it is really clear to them. Communicating effectively and confidently is one of the most important skill set I acquired in my first year at Krannert which was really critical for me to do well during the internship.