Q&A with Intern Brexten Bland

Jun 17, 2021
Name: Brexten Bland
Title: TMA Accounting Intern
MKC Location: Moundridge, KS
Hometown: Enid, OK
Education: Will be a junior at Kansas State University, majoring in accounting and planning to pursue a Master of Accountancy
Why did you choose to pursue an internship with MKC/TMA?
I decided to pursue an internship with TMA for experience in the private accounting sector and gain more insight in the agriculture industry. My parents were involved in Kansas agriculture before I was born and growing up I had exposure to Oklahoma agriculture. Interning with TMA is providing me brand new, in-depth and hands-on experiences within the industry.
What does a day in your life look like this summer?
A day in my life in accounting is the typical 8-5 office job and, yes, I do sit at a desk the majority of my day. I have the opportunity to take producer calls from our farmer clients and help price or sell their grain at the current market price of the commodity. I also run proof of yield reports for client operations or tax purposes. I additionally settle contracts and issue payments after a producer has sold their grain, post weights and grades from our vendors, and settle those final tickets from the invoice given to us by the vendor. I am currently working on a project to aid merchandisers in storing sale contracts electronically instead of storing paper copies.
What has been the most exciting part of your internship?
One of the most exciting moments during my internship was hedging my first account. This means a producer called in, wanting to sell his grain, and I placed his order to sell it at current market price. I then settled his contract for the grain sold and issued payment to them for what he sold that day. I have also enjoyed the people I have met so far, whether in the office or interns, since joining MKC and TMA. The intern hangouts that we have had make for a fun summer as I enjoy being around people who have similar interests in the agricultural industry. Through our time together, I hear about different aspects of the industry as other interns are involved in other areas of MKC like operations, sales and communications.
What motivates you most about getting up to start a new day as an intern?
Knowing that I am investing in myself and in my future motivates me to get up each morning as an intern. I love the opportunity to improve myself in small ways like working on technical skills as I learn a new software or improving phone skills. Even in my short time at TMA, I have built up confidence in my position. My knowledge of navigating our system AgTrax has grown, as I can now price and sell grain for our producers and do various tasks with our vendor. I know that by the end of the summer I will have experienced what it will be like for me to work in an office post-college. This internship is setting a firm foundation of skills and experiences to use for any career path I choose or the chance to return to TMA again. My two biggest goals this summer are to gain experience for my future career and utilize my opportunity to network with people in the industry field and my fellow interns. I feel like MKC and TMA have provided me those opportunities since day one and it proves the company has created an internship that truly benefits both company and interns.
What about your internship has been the most surprising to you?
The most surprising part of my internship was finding out that I would actively be answering the phones and selling grain for producers. I had always viewed accounting as primarily crunching numbers at a computer. I had not previously thought about how important the customer relations is in private accounting, and a large part of that is communicating via phone or with walk-in customers. I was surprised at the level of trust my mentor had in me as I learned how to issue direct deposit and cut producer checks my first week. After issuing my first ACH and checks, I felt valued as I was assigned higher level tasks instead of busy work that other companies may give interns to keep them occupied.
Someone you admire/look up to and why?
The people I most admire are my parents as they set an example for me in everything they do. They have the partnership I desire in a marriage one day, taught me how to present myself to employers, and the instilled values that I want to display daily. In a one-on-one meeting with my mentor, she commented on my ability to be punctual and taking initiative to seek out work to do even if I haven’t been asked. This reminded me that my parents have instilled the importance of those qualities in me, and they should be the ones receiving credit. I admire the individuals they are and the partnership they have created as it has helps me to set the values of work ethic, family, discipline and persistence in my own life. In certain situations, I love to use the example of packing your toolbox and question – “Who or what has helped you pack your toolbox and given you the necessary tools you need to succeed?”. For me, my parents are at the top of that list as I feel they have given me the tools to be successful in my life and career.