Like most people his age, Peter Flockencier grew up craving the occasional Happy Meal from McDonald’s.
But it wasn’t until the Elmhurst senior spent last summer as an intern at McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook that he really felt like part of what the company calls “the McFamily.”
Flockencier, an interdisciplinary communication major who plans to pursue a career in advertising, said the position gave him insight into the operations and culture of one of the world’s most iconic companies.
“Everyone knows McDonald’s, and you might think of it as this huge monolithic corporation. But at McDonald’s they say that they’re the world’s largest family-run company,” Flockencier said. “I found everyone so willing to help you. Everyone is a member of the McFamily, as they like to say.”
Flockencier worked in the worldwide operations department of the company’s Restaurant Solutions Group. He contributed to an update and overhaul of the company’s internal website, and was a team leader for the annual summer intern charity project. He oversaw a group of 12 interns collaborating with City Year, a national AmeriCorps service program, on projects to benefit Chalmers School of Excellence, a public elementary school in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. The interns painted and did maintenance and renovation work at the school.
Flockencier also created promotional materials to support a school-supplies drive for Chalmers, including print ads designed to fit on the trays used at The Arch, the restaurant on McDonald’s sprawling corporate campus, and tabloid-sized posters displayed around the campus. To make donating as easy as possible, Flockencier’s materials included a QR code that, when scanned by a smartphone, linked employees to a wish list of desired supplies on Amazon.com. Flockencier said the materials were so successful they earned praise from McDonald’s chief executive Don Thompson.
He also spent a day working at a McDonald’s restaurant, staffing the breakfast bar during the morning rush and taking orders behind the counter.
“That gave me an immense respect for the people who work there. They really have to function under pressure,” he said. “So many of the people I met at McDonald’s came up from working in the restaurants. They really believe that you need that experience from the bottom up.”
Flockencier said his internship at McDonald’s complemented one he did during sophomore year with the Marketing Store, a Chicago-based agency whose clients include McDonald’s. “I really came to admire McDonald’s operations there, and I wanted to see things from the client side,” he said. “So my position at McDonald’s was a great opportunity.”
Flockencier’s post-Elmhurst plans include finding a position in marketing and advertising, perhaps as an account executive. And his experience last summer has him thinking that, after gaining some experience at an agency, he might like to rejoin the McFamily at some point.
“My experience this summer only increases my respect for the company,” he said. “I would love to work there someday.” That sounds like a recipe for success.