Category Archives: Undergrad
By Ryan Lasker
Yes, fall semester classes are just about to begin. Yes, you should be focusing your time on getting adjusted to your new classes, decorating your new room and reconnecting with friends you haven’t seen since May. But you also should be thinking about summer 2017, even if it seems so far away.
Internship application deadlines for next summer vary from early September (like one great program at Wells Fargo), to as late as May. With some deadlines approaching in just a few weeks, now is the time to get your resume updated with what you did last summer, and to start figuring out what type of internship or job you are looking for after the spring semester.
Here’s a quick to-do list to get you started:
- Do your own research
There is a myriad of resources online, like Internships.com and GWorkSB.com, to help you find the ideal internship. Make a list of the internships to which you’re interested in applying, and paste the links into an Excel spreadsheet along with the deadlines. Many applications for competitive internships have fast-approaching deadlines, so it might even be helpful to plant those in your calendar so you don’t forget to send off that resume and cover letter.
- Visit the F. David Fowler Career Center
The staff at Fowler Career Center can help students refine their list of dream companies. They’ll also look over resumes and cover letters and make sure students know how to nail the interview and get the job.
- Don’t panic
The world does not revolve around fall, spring and summer internships. This is not the time to apply blindly to dozens of internships every day. Companies will post their internship openings will throughout the semester, so there is still time to hit on finding the perfect summer internship. Make sure to keep up with any internships to which you do apply by following up with employers, but bear in mind that there are still more opportunities to come.
Start your semester out right by finding out what you’re looking for in an internship and letting coaches at the career center help you narrow your focus — but don’t forget that this is still the beginning of the semester, and summer is nine months away.
Class to Research Business Side of the Games
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2016) — Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of sport management and director of the Tourism Administration Program, and 27 George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) students will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 5-15, as part of Dr. Delpy Neirotti’s “Behind the Scenes at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio” course.
While in Rio, the students — two undergraduates in the Bachelor of Business Administration program, the rest graduate students in the Master of Tourism Administration and Master of Business Administration programs — will conduct research on all aspects of the Games, visiting various event venues, and meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) members and staff, Rio Organizing Committee executives, U.S. Olympic Committee representatives, Olympic sponsors, such as Coca Cola and GE, volunteers and athletes. A major component of the students’ on-site experience will be working with the IOC on evaluating the usage of space at all 28 sports venues. They will also be conducting surveys of spectators and writing blog posts. Prior to departing for the Olympics, students attend on-campus lectures and are assigned a research paper on one of a variety of topics related to the event, including: financing the Games, security, licensing, sponsorship, media issues, ticketing, sustainability, and the Olympic legacy.
“Students will gain first-hand knowledge of how the Games are managed, how sponsors leverage mega-events and the Games’ impact on the host city,” Dr. Delpy Neirotti said. “They’ll also have a great opportunity to network with executives at all levels of the Olympic movement.”
This summer marks Dr. Delpy Neirotti’s 18 th time attending the Olympics, and her 14 th with a GWSB class. Follow the GWSB “Behind the Scenes at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio” blog at http://business.gwu.edu/blogs/. About the George Washington University School of Business
GW’s School of Business is an international leader in education and research, which prides itself on training future leaders to be global problem solvers and socially responsible managers. The school leverages its prime location—in the heart of Washington—by attracting visiting scholars and leaders in the business community to work, teach and engage with students on campus.
The depth and variety of its academic and professional programs, including five specialized master’s programs, provide rich opportunities for academic engagement and career development for students in the school’s core Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration and doctoral programs. Visit: business.gwu.edu
Dan Michaelis: email@example.com, 202-994- 4413
Jason Shevrin: firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-994- 5631
By: Seth Kwiecien
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the idea of passion recently. The idea that deep within ourselves as well as on the surface, there are small and large ideas, aspirations, and goals that result from the experiences we collect. As we collect this wealth of experiences, we’re supposed to find our passions; what drives us to get up each and every morning, to continuously work harder, do more, and hopefully someday change the world. While unfortunately no formula exists to make this an easy reality, finding passion begins and ends with the willingness to be fearless and explore the infinite number of opportunities that are available to us in and outside of the GWSB community.
Personal and professional exploration is difficult. From the moment we step foot in the halls of Duques Hall to pursue our dreams of becoming graduates of GWSB we are faced with a countless number of decisions that shape our futures. One of my clearest memories from freshman year in the business school came from the FYDP colloquium that was centered on the creation of resumes. The moderator called for example jobs that freshman students had worked in the past. Immediately, hands shot up all around me with people calling out that they had started their own businesses or had done a pre-college summer program on Wall Street. Up until this point, I had thought that I had a pretty busy and impressive life. I had spent nine years in competitive percussion, worked as a fish monger in a local seafood market, and volunteered extensively with my church and the American Cancer Society. But in that moment, my accomplishments didn’t seem as important as those around me and the activities I had thrown myself into didn’t seem to matter.
But every single one of my accomplishments and experiences does mean something, and so do yours. We are formed by our unique experiences and our passions grow out of them. What my personally labeled “unimpressive accomplishments” did for me was allow for the exploration of a variety of opportunities while keeping me engaged and excited about what I was doing and the people I was doing it with. Today, Brazilian and African hand drumming remains my greatest stress reliever, I love seafood with all my heart and have a deep appreciation for sustainable and ethical fishing, and my past volunteer work has set me up for a future working with non-profits helping them to grow their missions to a larger audience.
My challenge for all of you is to be fearless, take a risk, and explore the things that you truly care about in hopes that you find something new to fall in love with. From finance to volunteering to knitting, if you find something that drives you and makes you jump out of bed every morning, run as fast as you can with it and never stop. Take the time to step back from the monotony of the day to day and let yourself be vulnerable. Listen and learn to those around you and let those relationships grow.
We are the sum total of the people that come into our lives, and typically these people can help to nurture our passions better than we can alone. With the help of others, our passions are never as far away as we think they are. Don’t be afraid to accept a job because it outside of the norm. Don’t be afraid to stop doing something that is stunting your personal growth and passion development. And especially, don’t ever be afraid to explore the amazing world that we get to be a part of. I can tell you with confidence that while I have had many new experiences to add to my resume during my time in GWSB, the experiences and the people of my past continue to drive my passions and the experience and people of my present and future challenge my expected norms and help me think differently.
By: Yiqing Ye
As a freshman, I heard so many amazing stories from upperclassmen about their off-campus internships or their big-name summer internships. They all looked so experienced and ready for whatever real-life challenges were placed on them. I started to worry and became stressed out. At that point in time, I was a freshman who didn’t even know how to act at professional events or build connections with professionals. I would ask myself, “Will I ever get an internship? Will I need to worry about not having a job by graduation?”
However, as a person who is graduating in a month, I would suggest you relax and not be overwhelmed, but instead be proactive to look for different opportunities and gain different experiences. Keep exploring!
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Sometimes, you may feel that you know too little to talk to business professionals, so that you are not so motivated to attend professional events such as networking or info sessions. However, your freshman year is the “best” time for making mistakes and for getting “silly” questions answered, which is the best way to prepare you for the elevated path later on. Just follow what you learned in class, be prepared and participate!
Be a good listener. You don’t have to be a superstar in order to succeed in an event. It is great if you, as a freshman, can ask impressive questions and make good impressions on professionals. However, listening to how more experienced students ask questions and what answers professionals give are extremely helpful for learning about a particular industry and improving your own skills.
Talk to upperclassmen. There is always something you can learn from them – as simple as some mistakes they made or classes they have taken. Moreover, they can give you some idea on how to build your schedule at GWSB (recruiting season, what to do each semester, etc.).
Don’t focus only on “off-campus” “internships.” I understand that you all would like to have amazing working experiences on your resumes. As a freshman, I thought these terms were very fancy and seemed to be the only “correct” way to get prepared for the real world. However, I realized that it’s not about what you do, but it’s about what you learned. Interning at a company, although a great way, is not the only way to improve your communication, teamwork or problem-solving skills. Learning can happen anywhere at anytime. Stay involved on campus and get connected to faculty and staff at GWSB. Don’t miss out on a great number of readily available opportunities at GWSB (e.g. check out our Fowler Career Center!)
Should you intern in the summer before your sophomore year? People have different ideas on whether you should intern during that summer; many people might tell you not to worry if you don’t. I would suggest you be proactive and look for possible opportunities. After calling several firms for opportunities, I was able to intern at a small tax firm back in Beijing. I had a tremendous time there, was assigned various responsibilities and had a number of valuable hands-on experiences. Don’t think that since you are “only” a freshman that no one will hire you. Try your best and the outcome may surprise you!
Hope you find these tips helpful. Be confident, be proactive and keep up the good work!
When I came into my junior year at GWSB, I would have laughed if you told me I’d be in Amsterdam 5 months later. I didn’t want to go abroad, I thought it would inhibit my possibilities for future success later in my college career. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I applied to the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Economics and Business back in October 2015 just to see if I could get in. Fast forward four months and I couldn’t have been happier with my decision!
The Netherlands is very different than the United States. First off, it’s an all-around very liberal culture. Coming from Washington DC, it wasn’t too much of a culture shock but the Dutch people live by the motto ‘I don’t care as long as it doesn’t bother me’. Very few people are uptight, everyone keeps to himself or herself, and I haven’t seen one person raise their voice. The laws in the Netherlands contrast with those in the United States. Instead of treating drug addiction as a crime, they treat is as a mental health issue. Hate speech is outlawed. Everyone in this country has health insurance, and if you want to undergo gender reassignment surgery the government will pay for it. As outrageous as it seems, the Netherlands actually has a much lower violent crime rate than the United States.
I had my reservations about studying capitalism in a socialist country. Most Dutch students that I come across do a double take when I tell them I’m from the US, and nine times out of ten, they’ll ask me something about Donald Trump. The marketing class that I’m taking right now is phenomenal. We have a large group project that we’re working on for the athletic brand, Asics. The top four groups in the class are going to be heading to Asics’ headquarters to present the marketing strategies we’ve created for their new MetaRun shoe collection, and I’m hoping to be among those top groups! I’m also interested in real estate, so I was able to take an ‘ecological and sustainable development’ course which focuses on urban planning. This past week, Nobel Laureate Dr. Joyeeta Gupta came to guest lecture our class. She taught us about the different environmental initiatives that have been passed since the Kyoto Protocol and the way that they affect businesses all over the world. Since the University of Amsterdam is on a block system, I’m only taking three classes at a time. Later on in the semester, I’ll be taking an E-business class and a ‘Development Economics’ class.
My program also takes day trips and company visits. A few weeks ago, we took a trip to the city of Utrecht, which is south of Amsterdam. We also took a trip to a start-up firm called Konnektid which helps connect teachers (or really anything) with students ready to learn. This can manifest itself in a tutor for class but also for finding a piano teacher or finding a cooking class. It was definitely a cool experience.
All in all it’s been a really fantastic experience thus far. Since I’ve gotten here I’ve made friends from all over the world, I’ve managed to stay out of the consistent rain, and I’m really starting to gain a global perspective.
Walker Smith is a junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a concentration in Information Systems and Technology Management. He is currently studying Business and Culture in Amsterdam through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). Follow him on social media at @walkersmith2 and read more about the program here.
Finishing up my third week in Vienna and can’t believe I’ve been here this long already! I’ve been participating in an orientation program the past three weeks including an intensive German course for three hours a day, four days a week in the morning and tours of Vienna and surrounding cities such as Linz and Graz in the afternoons and Fridays.
Coming to Austria, my main impressions were that I was going to study business and German and enjoy the high culture that comes with the Viennese lifestyle. Other than that, I had slim expectations for my journey, planning to travel to other countries across Europe and leaving Vienna often. Little did I know, Austria has a huge cultural and historical significance in the shaping of our modern world. During the orientation program I was able to visit Belvedere Palace (home of the most powerful Austrian general), the National Library (the world’s first public library), Austrian Parliament, the Musikverein concert hall, Schloß Schönbrunn (palace of the Austrian court) and also take tours of Vienna, Graz, and Linz. And on my own, I’ve visited Salzburg and the home of Sigmund Freud in Vienna.
Before I left for Austria, when telling some people I was going there, people mostly thought of the Sound of Music, some people knew about the culture, and others just knew Arnold Schwarzenegger. Learning so much about Austria over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gained tremendous insight into its very important part in world history. The Hapsburgs, Austria’s ruling family for 700 years, married all of their children off to world leaders to acquire land. Most famously, Marie Antoinette to King Louis XVI and Marie Louise to Napoleon. The Hapsburgs eventually fell when Archduke Franz Ferdinand (heir to the Austrian throne) was assassinated in Sarajevo and Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, starting World War I. Besides the country’s political/historical significance, the cultural significance is beyond important. Vienna is home of the world’s greatest composers including Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Brahms, Strauss and more, the Vienna State Opera House, Painters such as Klimt and Schiele, and the father of modern psychology, Sigmund Freud.
Besides enjoying and exploring Austria, I am very excited to begin classes next week. Part of the reason why I haven’t started yet is because at my university, WU Wien, the professors can choose when they want to teach their classes and can teach them anytime between the official start and end of the semester. In this system, some classes meet 5 hours each session, 2 or 3 times a week for a month and a half long period and others meet 3 hours each session, twice a week, for 2 months and there are many other variations. This upcoming week, I attending my first Viennese Opera, Il barbiere di Siviglia by Rossini and traveling to Budapest for the weekend with the exchange students club on campus.
Peter Reiss is a sophomore in GWSB pursuing a BBA with concentrations in International Business and Finance, with a minor in music. He is currently participating in a GW Exchange program with the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Follow him on Instagram at @thepeterreiss and read more about the program here.
By: Grace McGuire
As a freshman, I would have told you that I had no idea what I wanted to do. To some extent, I still feel this way. But through internships and coursework, I now feel I can answer – with relative confidence – the unending question, “What do you want to do in the future?” For me, it’s not about the job that I’ll have post-graduation; it’s about the industry I’ll be entering.
I’ve been interning with a technology company for about a year and have not only learned what it really means to work in the “tech field,” but that tech is where I see myself post-graduation. If you’re thinking to yourself – what is the “tech field” – that’s normal. I still don’t quite know even though it’s where I’ll be working post-graduation. The one thing I can tell you is that all tech firms aren’t solely based on a technological operation. Some are focused on education or innovation and new ideas. Although tech firms may differ in terms of their structure and overall mission, the drive within the overall industry is inspiring. From my experience, most people don’t go to work just to get paid – people go to work to brainstorm new ideas and continue to learn through their work. This innovative drive is the core reason I want to work in tech.
This mindset creates an environment that is far unlike anything on Capitol Hill, Wall Street, or K Street. Many tech firms stand out not because of their products, but because of the company culture and how their team is rewarded. Examples of some of the perks include:
- Snacks throughout the office.
- Employee bonuses given to everyone in the office or nobody in the office – the C-Suite doesn’t necessarily get preferential treatment.
- Firm-wide meetings that turn into cruises, happy hours, and private parties.
- Open-floor plans that eliminate cubicles and promote face-to-face conversation
- Random dance parties that not only motivate employees to work harder, but are an opportunity for upper-management to give back to their employees.
- Casual dress codes that not only save you money on business formal attire, but are also comfortable to work in.
The tech industry isn’t for everyone, but it is for me. The people and culture are motivators to achieve something tangible instead of watching the clock tick by for eight hours a day. I want to be immersed in the fast-paced, innovative, tech world and be a part of a company that not only allows me to learn everyday, but also gets me excited to wake up and do something that I love.
Now, when people ask me about what I’m doing post-graduation, I highlight the industry I’m entering, rather than the job I’ll be doing. I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be about the job you want in the future. If something else piques your interest, such as an industry or even a company culture, follow those instincts because that’ll most likely keep you passionate about what you’re doing.
By: Palak Merchant
When you think sales, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many it’s the greasy man trying to sell you something you don’t want or perhaps the many cold calls we have all received with the rehearsed sales pitch in that stereotypical “salesman” voice. For most of us, seeing a job with the title “sales” probably brings mostly negative memories and associations and I’d imagine most of us move away from those positions. However, I am here to tell you why you shouldn’t necessarily shy away from a position that involves sales and how it can take your internships and overall career to the next level.
To give you some background, I am a senior majoring in Finance and Economics. I have interned in political consulting, accounting, operations, and yes…sales. When I was first approached with the idea of doing a sales marketing internship the summer after my sophomore year, I was hesitant and honestly not very excited. It wasn’t the fancy office job in the big name company that I wanted, but for me it was just something to do for the summer and to put on my resume. However, reflecting on my college career, taking a sales internship that summer was probably one of the best decisions I have made for my college career, and I encourage other students to embrace such an opportunity if it comes by.
The first key reason I suggest students explore the option of a sales gig is that it will help create a strong foundation of skills that will help you succeed in many other positions. These skills for me were mostly soft skills such as communication, organization, and time management. Communication is key for me as I am generally an introverted person and communication wasn’t always my strong suit. Being put in a sales position pushed me to become a better conversationalist and also enabled me to connect with a wider range of people on both a professional and personal level. People often underestimate the organization and time management it takes to be successful in sales, especially since it can be a relatively hands off field where you are expected to be a self-starter and decide your own approach to reaching your personal goals. Establishing new relationships can be very time consuming and it’s important to use your time effectively and to be extremely organized when tracking progress with each potential client.
While some of these skills can definitely be sought out in other positions, the sales field is unique in that it not only involves a great deal of resilience, but also will ultimately affect the revenues of the company. Over my summer in sales, I probably heard “no” at least 100 times, and yet had to keep striving towards my end goal. The experiences of facing rejection and overcoming it time and time again is one that will make you more resilient in your future endeavors, and not to mention makes a great story for interviews. Unlike some internships and jobs, being successful in a sales position affects the bottom line of the business, helps to quantify your achievements, and makes for a much more impressive resume. My quantifiable results as well as persistence that were demonstrated in my sales internship helped me to get my future internships at places like UBS and Citigroup. Employers recognize the challenge of a sales position and know that someone that can be even somewhat successful in sales will often have the drive to succeed in the face of a number of other challenges.
While sales positions frequently have a bad reputation, a number of people really enjoy and excel in the field. Oftentimes, sales enables you to make more money than in the average job if you are successful. This can be a big plus because your hard work is rewarded with additional financial or alternative incentives. I can honestly say, while I thought I wouldn’t enjoy my sales experience, it was one of the more rewarding and enjoyable work experiences I have had in college. The skills and experiences are truly transferable to nearly any field of business and it will give you an edge over some applicants who don’t have the essential soft skills that sales can provide. Overall, don’t be afraid to take on that sales position this upcoming summer, especially if it’s earlier on in your college career! It can be a great foothold to help you climb to greater success.
By: Minh Vu
There is an email address of someone who could completely change the course of your career. The question is whether you are able to grab that person’s attention and make your best pitch. All the years spent in uncertainty, hard work, frustrations can be overcome with one single message.
– Do you know how to write that email?
I might be overdramatizing the experience, but there is no doubt that our careers largely depend on writing good emails. Not only just our careers, but social lives as well – whether that is emailing a group of friends to RSVP to an event, inviting co-workers for post-work activities, or delicately declining a request for a favor. Bottom line: the entire world runs on emails. Over 100 billion emails are sent every day, many are poorly written.
Over the course of my internships and extracurricular activities, I have concluded that in order to be effective at writing emails I have to assume that my recipient is always a busy person, who is having a lot of information and actions thrown at them. CEOs would be a good example of busy people. They receive up to 700-800 emails a day, and even with a personal assistant, not all of them are processed the same day. Moreover, the busy and influential people, who you are contacting to ask for a favor, can get along just fine if they ignore some of their emails.
In order to get emails read and most importantly responded to, there are two key components – email structure and emailing strategy. In this blog post, I will cover only how to write the actual email, i.e. its structure. Strategy is a whole other art that I will touch upon in the next blog post.
- Compelling subject line
Subject line is a lot of times the only part of the email people read. This is the best shot to stand out from the crowd and not get your email left read without a response or worse – moved to trash.
Excellent subject lines are clear and direct, or perhaps even ask a question. Don’t be afraid to take up the whole subject line. For example:
- Informational Interview Request from GW Finance Student
- Hello from SF-based Aspiring E-commerce Entrepreneur
- In Town Next Friday – Are You Available?
Best source of learning are marketing emails.
- Tone of writing
A common mistake is to apply formal tone to all emails. The tone should be tailored to the type of business culture of the person on the receiving end. In general, banking is more formal, while start-ups are more casual. Nevertheless, regardless of the tone the email should have a confident tone.
- I look forward to hearing form you soon (vs. I hope to hear from you soon)
- I am writing to ask for a favor (vs. I was wondering if there is chance you can help me with a favor)
- I would like to hear your feedback (vs. Your feedback would be appreciated)
Nothing can ruin an email as badly as formatting, regardless of the usefulness and interest of the email content. Solutions to some common formatting mistakes I have come across are:
- Using paragraph breaks (create either an empty line or visibly wider line spacing between paragraphs)
- Send email in plain text rather than HTML (this avoids some common issues of reading on mobile devices)
- If some content is copied from another email, make sure to clear the formatting of that text (otherwise it is visually purple when sent in Gmail)
- A good rule of thumb is to stick to about 5 sentences per each email, when the purpose is to exchange information in a conversational manner
Most of these guidelines seem like common sense, but I have definitely seen and experienced a lot of emails where they were ignored. Other common mistakes are lazy grammatical/spelling errors, passive voice and absence of opening/closing.
With well-constructed emails written out, the next step would be to strategize how to deliver a message in order to get a response. Some of the strategies that I will include in the next blog post include:
- Timing and communication platforms
- Breaking into the receiver’s mind
- Short – long emails
- Leveraging a mutual connection
By Isaac Gritz
So, you finally landed that summer internship! It’s been months of networking, cover letter writing, interview prep, interviews, rejection, more interviews, and then, finally, that offer. You’ve made it, right? At first, everything finally worked out and everything is going perfectly. And then – what if I’m not prepared? What if it’s really competitive to get a full-time position? What if my boss doesn’t like me? I’ve never done this before, what if I mess up?
These are just some of the thoughts that might be going through your mind as you prepare for your first major internship. Take a deep breath, and calm down. This 6-Step Guide will walk you through how to make the most out of your internship, impress any boss you might have, and walk out with that full-time offer.
- The Pre-Internship Prep
In most internships, they know you won’t be coming in with much experience and there will always be a training program in place for you to learn. So no need to stress. But if you really want to stand out there is some basic industry and skill prep you can do.
First – do your research. See what’s out there on the company, the industry, and your specific role. Industry guides, Glassdoor.com reviews, and re-reading the job description are a great start.
Second – talk to people. The most valuable insight you can get about a certain role is from the people that do it every day. If you can’t get someone on the phone from that role, reach out to an alumni or family friend in the industry or with the same, or similar job title. Ask for their advice on how you can best prepare. The recruiter can also serve as a great resource or liaison between you and the team with whom you’ll be working.
Third – brush up on the basics. Once you found insight from research and advice from talking to people on how to prepare, review the basic background for the job. If it’s an accounting internship, look back through your course notes and make sure you have a firm understanding of financial statement analysis. If it’s marketing, make sure you know the 4 P’s. Finance – understand time value of money and Excel functionality. Consulting- learn about the client industry and brush up on your PowerPoint skills. Check the job description for the minimum requirements and make sure you feel comfortable. There is no need, for example, to know the multi-variable calculus derivation of the Black Sholes model used to estimate the price of European options for a corporate finance role.
Fourth – relax. Take a breather, focus on your classes, and if you have plans before your internship starts, enjoy them. Figure out what other logistics you need like housing so when it comes to day one you can start with a fresh mind, ready to work.
- Take Notes Like a Boss
This is the single biggest piece of advice that separates a good intern from a great intern. Every place I worked I heard it from my boss – “take notes”, “take notes”, “take notes”. While I was interning at Capco, I met with the partner at my client site and he told me about three interns they had in the past. One of them did not do a good job, did not take notes, did not fulfill the basic ask from the client, and did not get an offer. The next intern did a good job, took some notes, listened to that intern’s boss and received on offer. The third intern truly stood out to the partner. She took attentive notes, recording things in client meetings that even the partner did not catch, wrote up extensive minutes and summaries without being asked and reported to her boss and higher-up, which saved her boss a lot of time and helped them to better meet the client’s needs. While the second intern did get an offer, that very well could have gone otherwise depending on the intern class and the demand for work. Moreover, that third intern that really stood out gained the recognition of a partner, which goes a long way at building trust and reputation within a company and can ultimately lead to better advancement opportunities.
So the point here is – take notes, and a lot of them. Keep a notebook where you keep notes in trainings, in meetings, and use it to write your personal thoughts and reactions. Review your notes throughout your internship. This is useful for a few reasons: it allows you to keep track of the work you’ve done to report to your boss, it lets you keep track of your personal and professional goals, allows you to reflect on whether this is ultimately the job you want to have, and later you can use this to build strong content for your resume and any future interviews should you decide on another career path.
- Take Initiative!
Good interns follow directions, complete the tasks given on time and show up with a positive attitude. If you truly want to stand out, though, you have to be able to take initiative. Taking initiative means finding work even when you aren’t told to, making contributions to the company without being asked, and getting involved in activities outside your normal work hours that benefit the company and its employees.
Never, ever, ever sit at your desk idle. And never complain about it. This is one of the most apparent and frequently cited complaints from employers about interns. Interns that spend time where they’re not given tasks watching YouTube, texting, or taking extensive breaks are showing signs that they are either not interested or just unable to take initiative. Every minute not spent on a specific task should be viewed as an opportunity. An opportunity to get involved in an initiative of a peer or your boss, an opportunity to learn, or an even an opportunity to network. Maybe your boss is working on a newsletter and can use some help, maybe there is a CSR event that you can volunteer to help out with.
For me it was all of these. When I was not spending my time doing project management, I was taking advantage of online and in person classes on data science, I was getting involved in an internal initiative on integrating startups with clients, I was volunteering to help with a Green Carnival that the CSR team put on, and I was working with a team of interns in an internal strategy case competition. I frequently asked my boss and his peers about initiatives they were involved in to learn about opportunities that I can help. It’s one thing to go make copies for your boss, yet another to walk your boss through a way he can optimize his Microsoft SharePoint workflow through automation and redesign the project status report using design thinking and some basic Photoshop skills to save time and impress the client. Take advantage of any strengths you have and always think about how you can help your boss, your company, and your client. Companies often hire interns to reduce their costs and maximize their productivity. If you can prove to your boss that he or she is not just wasting time training you and coming up with work, but that you can genuinely add value and be a pleasure to work with, they will do everything in their power to get you an offer. And if you take initiative, you can end up having an impact much larger and more visible than with just your boss.
- Feedback is a Two-Way Street
One of the often overlooked pieces of advice is feedback. Never be afraid to ask your boss or your peers for feedback. Nothing is worse than spending countless hours on a project, only to realize it is not at all what your boss wanted. Having good communication channels with your boss and peers allows you get constructive feedback that will allow you to stay on track and constantly learn how to improve the work you do. Feedback is also two-way street. If you feel that the timeline you were given is unreasonable, the solution is not optimal, or you would be better to take on a different role in a project, make that clear from the start. This is not an avenue to complain, but rather you should be transparent and make sure that for any issue you bring forth, you also come with a solution and rationale to back your decision. If your boss sees that you are comfortable receiving and giving feedback, it will go a long way in gaining his or her trust and showing that you care about the work you do.
- Grabbing Coffee, Not Fetching It
Networking is never done once you leave the university, in fact, it’s just starting. If there is a particular role, or a particular project you are interested within the company, never be afraid to reach out and ask to meet for coffee. This is very common in the workplace and not something you should stray from as an intern. Most companies will have a directory where you can reach out to other employees, and most likely co-workers will be happy to grab coffee and talk about what they do. When you can be seen more as the intern that is grabbing coffee and learning, rather than the intern that fetches the morning coffee, the more you will stand out in a good way.
- Being Goal-Oriented
Lastly, keeping track of your short and long-term goals is important no matter what role you are doing. This is especially the case in an internship, where you are essentially part of an 8 – 10 week interview process. Keeping track of your goals shows your boss that you are organized and goal-oriented, as well as able to produce results that have an impact on the company. By reporting your progress to your boss, you make their job of managing easier and make it easier for them to report back to hiring managers on the work you have done.
Ultimately, the internship is meant not just to allow you to learn and see if you fit in a particular role or industry, but also for the employer to gage whether you are a good fit for the role and can add value to the company. Converting an internship into a full-time offer involves going above and beyond what it takes to prove that you can go beyond the task at hand. Standing out is about more than just coming in early and leaving late. Standing out in a crowd of equally qualified candidates involves proving you are someone co-workers enjoy working with and someone they recognize as ambitious and genuinely interested as shown by being prepared, taking extensive notes, taking initiative, seeking out feedback, learning from others, and being goal oriented. Following these six steps will set you on a path to internship success.