Each summer, Mind Over Machines offers paid internships to stand-out candidates from throughout the Mid-Atlantic. This year, our investment was richly rewarded. Three innovative young professionals brought us new perspectives, diligent work ethics, and a zest for learning. Each is a much-appreciated breath of fresh air in these insulated COVID times. We’ve so enjoyed getting to know them that we want to pass the pleasure on to you.
Meet Antoine Kadouno. He’s injecting automation into business administration.
Senior, Business Administration & Business Systems and Processes, Towson University
Mind Over Machines Automation Apprentice
Antoine was born in Ivory Coast and completed his primary education there. When he turned 12, his family moved to the U.S. in search of greater opportunities. He always preferred numbers to letters, so the original plan was to follow in his dad’s (and uncle’s) footsteps and become an accountant. But he quickly realized that path was a little too narrow for his interests. Antoine broadened his focus to business administration. As he studied people and project management, he saw how technology-dependent the knowledge economy had become. It was time to add a second major. The next and final goal of his undergrad career became learning all he can about enterprise systems and applications.
Meeting Our MINDs:
Last spring, Antoine was struggling to find the right internship until Mind Over Machines hit his inbox. It was our name that caught his attention. It conveyed a powerful idea: human intellect compels technology to serve people better. Our minds can find tech-based solutions to business problems.
Antoine had an “amazing” interview experience with Chief Delivery Officer Carrie Schuckle and VP of Innovation & Strategy Tim Kulp. Soon after landing the gig, he seized the opportunity to turn the tables with an interview rotation of his own. “It was inspiring and motivating to interview (CEO) Tom, (COO) Dmitry and several consultants. I loved hearing about the steps they took to get where they are. And everyone spoke about the Mind Over Machines culture the same way; taking care of each other so we can take care of our clients. People here are always so kind and helpful!”
Antoine’s recent coursework included a high-level overview of automation leader UiPath, but his internship has been a deep dive. He’s particularly appreciated observing client meetings and consultants’ thought processes as they build automations to help clients save time and money. Senior Consultant Justin Dubreuil is helping Antoine apply what he’s observed. 20 years ago, interns were tasked with mind-numbing jobs like updating contact lists. This summer, Antoine built a bot to automate that work. He programmed it to go online, log in to a social media site, scrape relevant data, push it to an Excel spreadsheet, and email the spreadsheet to his supervisor. He and Justin are also finishing up a bot that triages email. It uses natural language processing to determine what the email is about and who it should be directed to.
As we’ve written, some robotic process automation (RPA) tools are end-user-friendly; others require a developer mindset Antoine is still cultivating. Early on in his internship, he was getting frustrated because he couldn’t maneuver through the UiPath system as easily as he wanted. “I spent a whole day trying to figure something out, and when I finally asked for help, it only took 5 minutes!” Antoine laments. “I was so mad at myself for wasting all that time. I should’ve raised my hand a lot sooner.”
Knowing when to ‘raise your hand’ has been a big takeaway. Antoine is also beating back the compulsion to over-engineer. “I’m learning not to overdo it when something is ‘good enough,’” he explains. “But my most important lesson is how vital communication is in any business setting. Coming in, I wasn’t the best communicator, but Tim and Carrie have given me tips, and I’m getting better.”
“Antoine is eager to learn and has a positive energy that is contagious. He wants nothing more than to succeed in everything he does. That drive makes him wonderfully receptive to feedback, which he translates quickly into corrective action whenever necessary. I admire his entrepreneurial mindset. He gets out there, connects with people, and plans for success.”
— Carrie Schuckle, Chief Delivery Officer
After graduating from Towson this December, the immediate path forward is clear: “I just want to work in automation and get as much experience as possible because that’s what will make me a better consultant and business analyst.”
Antoine’s long-term plans include a master’s in information systems, working his way up to a program manager position, and eventually starting his own company.