“I cannot imagine that there is a Fortune 500 company that employs from one school even half of what Beacon is doing with American University,” says Kogod professor and Beacon’s special advisor for business strategy, Ross Cooper. “What better source of talent could there be than a local business school that gives its students a great academic background?”
Beacon Building Products is North America’s largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing and related products. Beacon has over 400 stores in all 50 states and Canada and approximately $7 billion in revenue. Cooper, who has been an adjunct instructor of business law at Kogod since 2018, founded and now leads an internship program that brings AU students to Beacon and fosters future talent.
“We are looking for our next generation of Beacon leaders,” says Cooper. “We want students who want to come and experience the company and hopefully love what they see. We want our interns to become eager to come back after their internships and remain a part of our company.”
Interns work directly with Beacon’s executives across the entire c-suite in finance, supply chain, communications, human resources, credit, and marketing.
Opportunities for interns span a broad spectrum based on department. Interns in the marketing department might work with the vice president of marketing on campaigns for new product launches or collateral services like financing that Beacon offers to customers. The internships allow students to gain real-world experience that prepares them for their careers.
Kogod student Josh Wilens began his internship with Beacon’s marketing department last summer. “My experience with Beacon has been amazing since it began last June. I’ve been able to expand my knowledge for Kogod courses immensely, and I get to work with a keenly focused, high-performing team,” says Wilens. “It doesn’t feel like a typical internship because I’m often leading multiple projects from various disciplines, including national campaigns and high-level data analysis.”
“Josh worked with the vice president of marketing last summer and got rave reviews,” adds Cooper. “He had the opportunity to present on behalf of the marketing department to our COO, and after, the COO called and told me Josh knocked it out of the park.”
Natalia Seaman, another intern from summer 2020, worked in human resources but will be returning this year to work directly with Cooper after developing a strong interest in business law.
“Natalia will help me organize and prioritize mergers and acquisitions candidates,” says Cooper. “We’ll be developing a ranking system for acquisition prospects and working on important confidential work to help me better structure our mergers and acquisitions activity.”
“The business law course at Kogod laid the groundwork for my internship at Beacon, where I was exposed to many practical aspects of running a successful business,” says Seaman. “I found Beacon’s feedback regarding our job duties and performance to be most valuable. Beacon’s management took a sincere interest in the welfare of us interns, and this has continued following the conclusion of my internship as I continue to work with Professor Cooper.”
Interns meet as a team with Cooper each week so that Beacon can assure that students are having a rewarding summer.
“My colleagues are unbelievably excited to have these students come in and work for the summer because they all did so well in the interview process, which was quite rigorous,” says Cooper. “We can’t wait to bring together the largest and most diverse summer intern class in our company history. These talented students will supplement their classroom experience at Kogod with practical insight into the management and operations of a Fortune 500 company while providing project-based assistance to my colleagues. This is a win-win for Kogod and Beacon.”
Internships through the Kogod-to-Beacon program are available to undergraduate and graduate students within any college at American University. Students interested in working with Beacon Building Products for summer 2022 should stay tuned for more information next spring.
In the meantime, enroll in Cooper’s business law course through Kogod to become better acquainted with the program and program leader!