About Christopher Westerlund
The story begins with Christopher Westerlund, a native Swede that works as a Finance Director in the oil field completions industry. Chris has been a member of SACC TX since he moved to the U.S. in 2008.
Chris has been involved with both SACC TX as an active member and SACC USA as a Special Director for over 10 years. Chris has presented at the SACC TX monthly meeting as well as led a panel during the yearly annual executive forum.
In the spring of 2019 Chris reached out to SACC TX with the need of a finance intern. SACC TX then reached out to its members and provided Chris with a few candidates, from which Adam Dahlstrom was selected for interview.
Adam was brought in to meet the team and during a grueling day consisting of over 10 interviews with HR, the finance team and Chris, after which he was selected for the internship position.
Why did Adam look for an internship?
Adam is currently finishing up his last year of university where he is studying both Business Accounting and Business Management. Considering that he is on pace to graduate in May of 2020, Adam was eager to get some real world experience this past summer as it would be his last as a student.
Why did Adam reach out to SACC TX for an internship?
With little experience outside of the service sector I did not have many leads for interesting internships within corporate finance. Therefore, I decided to reach out to SACC Tx for help. Through its vast network of accomplished business professionals, they were able to connect me with some of the best opportunities in Houston. It was through SACC that I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Westerlund. After a few days and a thorough interview process, Chris offered me a position as Finance Intern for the summer at the company where he is the finance director. This was a huge opportunity for me as he is working for one of the biggest oil field completion companies in the world. It turned out to be an unforgettable experience that taught me numerous lessons that will help me for the rest of my professional career and life.
What was the internship like?
The internship was an incredible experience for me as Chris gave me much more responsibility than interns usually are trusted with. He assigned me to assist his finance team with tracking and managing hours that field workers were logging to keep track of how money was being allocated in the field in terms of salaries. Chris also gave me the opportunity to have open communication with field operators and operations managers, and even sent me on a trip to Midland in west Texas to get a better understanding of how the company and business was structured and how it operated.
On top of these daily activities he assigned me a project to work on for the entirety of my internship. He asked me to asses and analyze the overtime that was being logged by hundreds of field employees to see if there was any way to reduce overtime without reducing overall productivity.
What did Adam learn from the internship?
I met up with Christopher for dinner and he mentioned something to me that he had learned early on in his career, which was “that you have to let people make their own mistakes” for two reasons, one was that this allows them to learn from their mistakes and the second being that they won’t make the same mistake twice. As soon as he said this, I realized that that is exactly what he had done to me. He did not micromanage me, but rather gave me time and space to figure things out on my own. For my project I spent the first two weeks looking up statistics based on payroll files that I thought would be helpful only to realize that they were useless. However, this is a perfect example of Chris allowing me to make my own mistakes as this not only helped me get a much better understanding of the company and business, but it also helped direct me on how to tackle my project. Sometimes he would come and check my progress where I would explain what I was working on. After these little checkups we would brainstorm together. Rather than giving me specific assignments such as finding certain averages, Chris gave me the big picture and gave me the reigns on how to get there. This allowed me to not only understand what I was doing much better, it also allowed me to think of unorthodox ways to find things. Some genius and some not so much.
All in all, I learned things from Chris, his finance team, and my work for them, that cannot be taught in business school but rather must be taught through experience.
Would you recommend other students to use SACC Tx for an internship?
I would absolutely recommend other students to use SACC Texas in their search for an internship. SACC Texas has vast resources and connections to some of the best businesses across Texas. Students can utilize this to get in contact with potential employers that otherwise would be incredibly hard to reach.
Would you recommend other companies to use SACC TX for interns?
Yes definitely, the quality of the candidates has been great, and Adam did a fantastic job during the summer. His project led to overtime reductions that are currently saving the company over $300K per month.