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Bilingual skills an advantage for Toyota marketing intern

Kent Burkman at his Toyota internship

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

One common thread of the diverse majors offered at Purdue, every Boilermaker leaving
academia hopes to achieve the same thing: a great career path! One of the best ways to
ensure you stand out to hiring companies is through degree-related internships in companies
here in the U.S. and international.


This summer, I had the opportunity to work with Southeast Toyota Distributors (SET),
the world's largest privately-held distributor of Toyota vehicles, as a Marketing Communications
intern. The parent company is JM Family Enterprises, a $16 billion company that is rated #17 on
FORTUNE’s Top 100 Best Places To Work list. SET distributes Toyotas to the five
southeastern states - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and
ultimately to 177 Toyota dealerships in those states.


During my 10-week work experience with SET, I gained incredible hands-on experience
as I learned from their automotive and marketing talents. I collaborated on the creation of TV
broadcast commercials for the 2020 Corolla, radio spots, digital advertising, and the filming
process. My summer helped me to gain insight into the full customer journey - learning from
consumer research and marketing vehicles, to understanding how the many segments of
consumers connect to ads. Seeing how this skill leads to an increase in sales was fascinating
every single day!

Kent Burkman at his Toyota internship


In addition to working on communications for the English-speaking general market, I was
also able to put my bilingual skills to work on Spanish advertising targeting the Hispanic
demographic. As a Krannert double-major with Spanish, I could see first-hand how important
my multi-language skills can be in a business setting. Being able to work with both the general
market and the Hispanic market allowed me to see how they differ from each other as well as
what specifically motivates consumers in these unique groups.


Throughout the 10-week summer program, I experienced milestone learning
opportunities that I truly appreciate. One of my favorite aspects of the internship was ‘living’ the
company’s culture. SET’s parent organization, JM Family Enterprises (JMFE), prides itself on 50
years of success in the automotive industry, and it places a strong emphasis on core values.
Consideration, cooperation, communication, innovation, and accountability are the ideals every
associate lives by at JMFE, and it was truly impressive to witness. Being part of a thriving
corporate culture helped me to realize sales make up only part of a successful business. The
company’s culture has a huge impact on the day-to-day work of each and every associate,
vendor, and customer who touches a JFME business.


My time at SET gave me an understanding of the auto industry and showed me I have a
deep passion for the impact, potential and intricacies of marketing. I am so thankful to the
incredible team of associates I was able to work with who made my experience a memorable
one. My summer experience has now come to a close, but I look forward to re-applying as an
SET intern in the near future.

 

Kent Burkman is a sophomore from Miami, Florida with a double major in Marketing and Spanish and a concentration in International Business. He is a Management Ambassador and also works as an intern in the College of Languages and Cultures.
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