CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 8, 2015 – Southeast Missouri State University senior Austin Cordell of Chesterfield, Missouri, landed an internship in Memphis, Tennessee, this summer at AutoZone’s headquarters, one of the nation’s leading auto parts retailers.
His responsibilities are focused mainly in the treasury and risk management departments supervised by Southeast alumnus Steve Beussink, who serves as assistant treasurer of AutoZone.
“In the morning, I get with our cash management specialist to figure out the company’s daily cash position. I then send out a couple of reports to different departments, and track some of our financial indicators,” Cordell said. “I also help out the risk management team when it comes to analyzing incidents that occur in our stores, which is probably the most interesting thing I get to do on a daily basis.”
Cordell says his business classes have given him a good foundation in understanding large corporations, and the internship allows him to apply that knowledge to what he is doing at AutoZone. He says he appreciates working with people who are willing to take the time to teach him different aspects of the business.
“Having access to co-workers that are experts in the fields of treasury, banking, risk management, accounting, finance, et cetera has allowed me to gain specialized knowledge that I know will really give me a head start in the workforce when I complete my studies,” Cordell said.
Cordell, an accounting and criminal justice student, learned about the internship opportunity from Bill Holland, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the University Foundation, who put him in contact with Beussink.
“I found out that my friend Caleb Cockrill went through the same internship program last summer, so I talked about it with him. After being assured that it was definitely something to consider, Bill connected me with Steve to talk about it a little bit more,” Cordell said. “After hearing nothing but good things about AutoZone and the internship program here, I decided to go for it.”
An accounting and criminal justice double major, Cordell says he would love to work in a federal law enforcement capacity down the road. Between interning with AutoZone this summer and the United States Marshals Service last summer, he has gotten to experience working in different environments. He says he has found a lot of satisfaction through both internships.
“It will be interesting to see what life has in store for me in the coming year, but I am confident that having these great opportunities will guide me to where I belong,” Cordell said.
In addition to learning about the business, Cordell says he is also getting a “taste of adult-life.” He appreciates living in a new city, working in a new place and getting to explore. He says these things have helped him learn more about himself than he could have imagined. Memphis is different than what he is used to, but he says he is enjoying his stay there and getting to discover everything the city offers.
While interning with AutoZone, he also is able to learn about the community and give back. The company participates in several activities outside of their normal scope of work to assist the city. Cordell and other AutoZone interns are planning to help paint a local elementary school that is re-opening for the upcoming school year.
“I see [Memphis] as a mix of the city life in St. Louis with the strong sense of community in Cape,” Cordell said. “The people here are very outgoing, and provide a warmth that reminds me of Cape Girardeau.”
Cordell is the student representative on the Southeast Board of Regents and a member of the University’s Honors College, where he has been named to the Dean’s List every semester since he enrolled at Southeast in 2012.
Cordell has received several awards as a Southeast student, including the Greek Life New Member of the Year, Greek Life Sophomore of the Year, and the Residence Hall Association First-Year Student of the Year. He is a member of Presidential Ambassadors and the Delta Chi fraternity and has served as co-associate member counselor and Recruitment Committee chairman.
He has served on several University committees, including Funding for Results, Food Service Review, Employee Recognition Awards Selection, Academic Advising, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, and Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). He has served as vice president of internal affairs and chief justice of the Judicial Board within the Interfraternity Council, an Opening Week leader, and a student in the President’s Leadership Academy.
Cordell is a graduate of the North-American Interfraternity Conference Futures Quest Leadership Summit, the Governor’s Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values, and was named the Most Outstanding Explorer at the Greater St. Louis Area Law Enforcement Exploring Academy.