Swetha Pillai: Helping improve operations at Anheuser-Busch
Soon after celebrating her one-year anniversary at Anheuser-Busch, Swetha Pillai (’15 B E) says she is in a fortunate position. “I am still learning a lot, and the company is very focused on helping its employees advance in their careers.”
A native of Singapore, Swetha says she enrolled at Penn State because it had a top engineering program and was close to extended family members in the Northeast.
Swetha was particularly intrigued by the biological engineering major—specifically because it offered a food and biological process engineering option.
“I wanted to learn about products from start to finish, with the ultimate goal working in the food and beverage industry. Besides, who doesn’t like food?” she jokes.
Throughout her four years at the University Park campus, Swetha never met another Singaporean, but she quickly found other ways to make personal connections that would ease her transition to college life in the United States.
Her extracurricular activities included volunteering during THON, serving as captain of Penn State’s Homecoming Parade, and joining the Engineering Orientation Network, initially as a protégé during her first year, then as a mentor her sophomore year and first-year relations director her junior year.
“I came from a small school in Singapore, so being involved in these activities and seeing the school spirit made me fall in love with State College and Penn State,” says Swetha.
During her senior year, Swetha attended the fall 2015 Engineering Career Fair and met with representatives from Anheuser-Busch.
“I could tell by our conversations that the company has exceptional values,” explains Swetha. “They truly want to bring out the best in their employees, and that was a major factor when deciding to accept their offer.”
In January 2016, Swetha joined the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Newark, New Jersey, as a production supervisor/group manager.
After six months, she started her role as a warehouse/logistics group manager and, this past December, she transitioned into an industrial engineer position. In her new role, Swetha works with various departments to identify cost-saving measures and assess ways to improve operational processes at the brewery.
Swetha notes that her managers, along with other mentors at Anheuser-Busch, have helped her grow both personally and professionally. “I never imagined I’d be promoted within one year of joining the company.”
She adds that she received a similar level of support as a student at Penn State. “Biological engineering is a very small department, so we were a tight-knit group. Our advisers were always very forthcoming and wanted us to succeed. Different classes I took, along with my internship experience helped me learn a lot about the food and beverage industry so I wasn’t caught off guard when I went out in the real world. These experiences made me adapt and evolve, and helped me in my career.”
Swetha lives in Bayonne, New Jersey, and still keeps in touch with some of her Penn State roommates, who live in the Greater New York City area.