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Drayton Matus
November 8, 2023

Formula for Internship Success: Business + Student Work + Caring Community

Senior Drayton Matus is poised for a seamless transition to life after Berry thanks to a product development internship at Mohawk Industries, a Fortune 500 flooring company in Calhoun, Georgia. It caps four years of personal and professional development lessons learned as a scholar-athlete and business management major curious to explore possibilities.

Joining the tennis team and connecting with Head Tennis Coach Emeritus Clay Hightower drew Drayton to Berry. “I fell in love with the campus, and it felt like a second home to me,” he remembers. “With the combination of strong academics, a beautiful campus and the opportunity to continue playing tennis, this decision was a no-brainer.”


The college choice looked like the perfect match until financial challenges forced a decision to transfer to the University of Georgia during his sophomore year — a short-lived choice. “Once I got to UGA, I realized my perception of that school was completely different from what I imagined it to be,” he reflects. “I assumed there were going to be countless opportunities and thought I would be able to make plenty of friends and business-world connections.”

As it turns out, everything Drayton desired in a college education took him back to Rome, with a Gate of Opportunity Scholarship in hand to ease the financial strain. “If it wasn’t for this scholarship, I would not be at Berry right now,” he says. “It’s amazing for people who want to go to Berry but are worried about the price and are also looking for opportunities to get lots of work experience.”

Relieved of pressure, he poured into relationships and ways to grow. Under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Management Eric Kushins, he reexamined his entrepreneurial dreams of running a tennis academy. “One of the things I enjoyed most was the opportunity to dive into real-world case studies,” Drayton notes. “We got to talk about multiple business owners and evaluate different strategies they implemented.”

Rethinking his career path, Drayton decided to minor in data analytics, a field of study recently added to Berry’s curriculum. “Data analytics involves the process of examining, cleaning, transforming and interpreting data to extract meaningful insights, inform decision-making and drive business strategies,” he says. "Holding this information has the potential to give you competitive advantages against other companies."

He got a crack at applying this knowledge while working in Berry’s Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) where he analyzed students’ majors, careers and internships with the goal of improving graduate-outcome reports. Encouraged by a CPPD supervisor, Drayton secured a product development internship at Mohawk. His effort focused on three projects: implementing barcode scanners into inventory management, working to cut waste by finding solutions for secondary backing on carpet products and improving the company's analytics for better decision-making.

These efforts contributed to sustainability encouraged by Mohawk. “The secondary backing was removed from the carpet samples, as they’re used only for visual presentation. With the removal of this backing, we’ll save 132,000 square feet of backing waste,” Drayton explains. “Real-world exposure was something I got a taste of through this internship. It’s great to see the work you’re doing being applied in a company.”

Eager for what the future brings, Drayton will always see Berry as a second home and its network as a family: “I would like to stress that after spending some time at UGA and coming back to Berry, my life has completely changed for the better. The relationships you build with the faculty and staff are unlike any other colleges can offer. I am so happy to be at Berry, and I believe students should take advantage of any scholarships or financial aid Berry can offer.”

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