• Making the Most of Your Internship Experience

    by Sydnie Ho

    The entrance to General Mills headquarters in Minnesota on a sunny day featuring a green lawn, trees and shrubs alongside the General Mills sign.

    So, you finally landed that internship you’ve been working so hard to get. You have done the hard part by getting the offer – now it’s time to actually start the job! Here are some tips I’ve learned on how to make the most of it.

    Ask questions and be curious

    Asking questions is crucial to optimize your learning during your internship. Employees understand you are an intern and are there to grow and learn. They except you to not know what you are doing at first, so don’t feel like you are being bothersome or asking to many questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question! Take advantage of your time and ask all the questions.

    Take initiative

    There will be moments during your internship where you don’t have much to do or are having to wait on people to complete something. Take this time to take initiative and show people how active and willing to learn you are. This skill is something employers look for and is a great time to put into practice.

    Communicate with your manager

    I’ve learned how important this is during my last internship. I found that the project I was working on was not what I wanted to do or what I wanted to learn. I learned that it never hurts to speak up and say something. I was able to communicate with my manager about what I wanted out of this experience, and she was happy to work with me on a new project.

    Connect with other employees

    Not only are you there to work, but you are there to learn about the company and see if it would be a good fit for your future. The best way to learn about the company is talking to its people! Set up coffee chats, talk with people in roles you want to learn about, and take advantage of being an intern. Learn about the pros and cons of the company, how people like living in that location, and what made them chose to work there.

    Learn what you want in a full-time role

    As a rising senior, it has been important for me to learn about what I want in a full-time role. What would be salary be? What are the benefits? Is there room for career growth? Promotions? Ask about entry level roles, company structure-- everything! This is a great way to learn about what you like and don’t like so you can take it into your full-time job search later.

    However you chose to spend your internship experience, make the most of this learning opportunity! Even if it doesn’t turn out how you hoped it would, it’s a great resume builder and opportunity to learn about what to look for next.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

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  • Hunting for internships in the time of COVID

    by Christy Zheng

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    We all know how difficult it is to get an internship. Most times, you need job experience before even getting your first job and this standard has only increased. To add on, COVID-19 has made internship hunting harder: no coffee chats, in-person recruiting events, and many companies can’t even afford to hire. However, COVID has also allowed us to work from anywhere. After going through the recruiting process myself, I’ve gained some experience that I feel can help you maximize your time and get an internship when you feel like it’s impossible. Keep reading to find out!

    My Background

    For reference (and ethos), I had a consulting and small banking internship two years ago and had the opportunity to attend some small conferences. Currently, I’m interning at an investment banking firm. I received neither of these opportunities through traditional resume dropping or online applications. With all this being said, I hope the advice I give in the rest of this blog holds some merit.

    Build a Network

    The single most important thing you can do to help you stand out from other candidates in lieu of in-person career fairs is building your network. Since you won’t be able to talk to recruiters in person and Zoom fatigue gets even the best of us, you have to take things into your own hands to, basically, create a career fair of your own.

    Firstly, NETWORK. NETWORK. NETWORK. And did I mention network? Utilize your connections and if you don’t have connections… find some! Simply searching “[school name] [company] LinkedIn” into google will give you at least 10 connections to reach out to. However, don’t just rely on LinkedIn (most professionals won’t check it often). Instead, try to find the email format of companies. The most common ones are firstname.lastname@company.com and firstinitiallastname@company.com which can usually be found in SEC filings. Next, draft up an interesting, but short, introduction email asking for a short phone or Zoom call. This builds a more personal connection and they now know what you sound like!

    Make an Impression

    Now, what do you say on the actual phone call? After briefly introducing yourself, give a quick elevator pitch (no more than 1-2 mins) as to why you’re interested in the field and why you want to talk to this person specifically. After that, try to let the conversation flow naturally and ask good questions. Besides the obvious, sometimes even “what’s your day-to-day like” or “why do you want to work at [company]” are a little generic. Instead, ask about specific projects that are happening within the company. Did your contact just publish something? Ask questions that prove you’re genuinely interested.

    Ask for Referrals

    Lastly (and this is the most important part), ask “is there anyone else at your company that you think I could benefit from talking to?” This way, your network doesn’t stop here, and you can use this person as a referral for the next. It’s like making your way up to the boss level in a video game. If they say yes, great, reach out to the person they recommend or wait to be referred. If they say no, then no worries, on to the next; there are 10,001 more people to reach out to.

    Now, you have a whole long list of people to refer to in your interview; people to vouch for you and flag your resume for interviews and mentors to help guide you through the rest of the recruiting process. COVID-19 era job hunting is going to be difficult but keep pushing and something will come from your efforts!

    Pearson Students: How did you land your first internship? Share in the comments below!

     

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  • Securing your dream internship

    by Jacquie Dunworth

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    When summer is coming to an end, you may not be thinking about what you’ll be doing a year from now. However, it is never too early to start preparing for the internship search and making a plan. Many companies are beginning to recruit earlier and earlier to secure the best talent. There are certain steps you can take to prepare yourself for securing an internship.

    Determine your interests

    The first step of your internship search is to determine what you are looking for. This entails figuring out which industries you are potentially interested in, like finance or health care or retailing. Reflect on your past schoolwork and major to help see where your skills lie and determine what kind position you are seeking. Determine what the size of company and culture you are looking for. Evaluate your past experiences, such as clubs, projects, or classes that you enjoyed and could translate into a career.

    Research

    Once you have an idea of which industry and role you want to get an internship in, start researching. As you discover specific companies you want to work for, create a list with the company name, then add internship opportunities and application deadlines as you find them. If you want to work somewhere with a very competitive internship program like Amazon, Google, or Facebook, ensure you have some companies that have less competitive programs. Research the type of interviews associated with the role you want. For example, some internships have multiple interview components. Finance interviews typically have a behavioral component and a technical finance component, whereas many engineering interviews contain a math test and consulting interviews have a case study.

    Prepare

    Once you know where you want to work and what to expect in the interview process, you need to prepare. Networking is very important and can help land you your first interview. Reach out to family and friends to see if they know anyone in the industry or company you are interested in. Check your school’s career events. While events this Fall may be virtual, many large companies will still have recruiting opportunities for students. Contact graduates from your college who work for companies you’re interested in on LinkedIn and have a coffee chat. Set up an appointment with a career coach at school and do a mock interview so you are ready when the time comes for you to interview for an internship.

    It’s never too early to start preparing, setting goals, and doing your research. Small things like these can help put you a step ahead of the other applicants. Hopefully starting early will help you land your dream internship. Good luck!

     

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  • A lady in Spain: How I got an international internship

    by Sanjana Saji

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    Everyone hears about study abroad options when in college, but did you know that you can intern abroad, too? As someone who loves to travel, I wanted to study abroad in my college career. However, I realized that I was too involved in my extracurricular activities to take a full semester off. Also, the thought of being gone for four months made me nervous. 

    Luckily, a friend told me about a summer internship abroad program through her school. I was intrigued and decided to look into some programs that were available at my school. Since my school didn’t offer a program in the city I wanted to be in, I applied to a program from a different school as an autonomous student. 

    After applying, I received an acceptance email along with the details of the program. I was excited for this opportunity; however, I knew this wouldn’t be the cheapest way to spend a summer. Most internships abroad are unpaid. Fortunately, my parents were excited and pushed me to take it for the professional and personal experience. I was officially participating in an eight-week program based in Barcelona working a global business internship for university credit. 

    Now, several months after I returned, I can say it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I was lucky to have parents who supported me, adventurous friends who inspire me to take risks, and the opportunity to do something like this for my career and personal growth. I recommend this type of program to any business student that wants to get work experience and see the world over a summer vacation. Check out the intern programs that your university offers and see if there is a fit. If there isn’t a perfect program, don’t get discouraged. Check out online programs and other universities to find your match!

     

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  • My internship story: The struggle and the success

    by Shumaila Lakhani

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    If you are a college student seeking an internship, you know how stressful it can be. Countless hours of searching, networking, and researching companies is what it takes to land an opportunity. All the time spent may lead to only a few interviews and many rejections. It can be very stressful.

    I began looking during my sophomore year at UT Austin. Between going to career expos, attending info sessions, and other networking events, I felt like I was doing all I could. Seeing all my friends who were juniors at the time get offers and interviews, whereas I was struggling to even land my first interview was hard. My heart became heavy as I began to feel demoralized that no company was going to give me a chance since I was a sophomore.

    Until one day, my friend who was also a sophomore came running to me and told me how he got an internship offer from Dell. It surprised me that he was able to get an offer being a sophomore and I realized it was OK seeing other students land internships before me. I could not be hung up on it, but instead had to change my approach.

    Companies look at who you are as a person and how passionate you are about the company and position. Applying to smaller companies and companies where my experience would be useful was where I began next in starting my journey. I ended up landing an interview with two companies. I knew I would have to be engaging and show my passion during the interviews. With a lot of advance research I was able to connect my interview responses to current news or my experiences, plus I was able to show a wide range of knowledge. I got offers from both companies and accepted an internship with Travelers insurance company.

    My internship was in the oil and gas department and the 10-week summer program was amazing. Learning so many new things and working with numerous different teams was the highlight. It was an experience where I faced a lot of challenges but I also got a fun learning experience out of it. Although I loved the company and the people, I realized this was not what I wanted to do after I graduated. I ended up receiving a return offer that I wanted to accept so badly to have a safety net, but I knew I had to say no and continue searching to find something that was more aligned with my career.

    Through this process I learned to put all that you have into pursuing your hopes and dreams and to not feel discouraged when you do not see results right away. I also learned to not just settle for anything that comes my way, but to see what the right fit for my future is. For students seeking internships, do not stress over the search; take a deep breath and take it one step at a time.

     

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  • Get ready for internship success

    by Johnny Condit

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    Do you think you are ready for an internship? Having real world experience in a specific career is the best way to find out what you love and what you want to do for the rest of your life. An internship can present endless opportunities that help you grow and prepare you for your future. You can learn a lot about yourself, like are you a “9-5-sit-at-a-desk” worker or an “on-the-move, meetings, on-your-feet” kind of person? Experiencing both kinds of jobs for four months will let you know what you desire to do. 

    Everyone wants to do well in their internship and make a good impression. If you’re lucky enough to still have an internship opportunity this summer, here are three great ways to help you succeed: be teachable, be willing to step out of your comfort zone, and have a great work ethic.

    Learn

    Over the past summer, I was lucky enough to have an internship the sales department of a health insurance brokerage. Being my first internship, I had no idea what to expect and was incredibly nervous to start. But once I started, all my nervousness and doubts left me as I started to become accommodated to a brand-new work environment. The most important thing I did this summer was to learn from other people and be vulnerable. I knew I was not the most informed with the industry I was working in, but being able to ask questions and learn from professionals around me was a privilege. I learned more about sales in the past four months from the people I worked with than I had in my entire life. The desire to learn and grow in the workplace is an important trait to have.

    Step Out of Your Box

    A popular line that I love is, “you can never grow being comfortable”. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a necessity when getting a new job. You shouldn’t avoid situations that will challenge you in prosperous businesses. There were many things that I had to do this summer that I was nervous to do, like cold call prospects for my company and present data in front of clients. But after completing these actions, I am so thankful I did them because I was able to grow and learn from the experience. Never feel intimidated of being uncomfortable.

    Work Hard

    Lastly, use your internship as an opportunity to grow and strengthen a great work ethic. Any job will teach you all the things you need to know to be successful in that job. But what they won’t teach you is how to work hard, be proactive and take initiative. These are the traits that people look for when hiring and should be incorporated into your daily work life. You will impress your boss exponentially more by being proactive than by just doing things that you are told.

    So whether you are getting ready for your third internship or your first, be coachable, be comfortable being uncomfortable, and take initiative during your job. These three things will help you grow to your full potential in any industry that you want to pursue. Make the best out of your internship and build connections with coworkers that can last forever!

     

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  • Securing a summer internship: 3 tips for student success

    by Alana Castle

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    “What are your plans for summer break?”

    If you are a college student, this question is likely one that you encounter quite often. With the spring semester well underway, having a plan for your summer break is especially pertinent. Although taking a break from your studies, visiting friends, and vacationing are important aspects of summer break, the summer break plan that I am referring to is that of an opportunity for valuable undergraduate experience through an internship. 

    The months of summer break provide a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to gain valuable experience in their chosen field of study. However, knowing exactly how to locate and secure such experience can be a challenging task. As a student who recently secured an internship with the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, I wanted to take this opportunity to share what I learned throughout the process of finding summer undergraduate experience with other students. 

    Reach out to your university’s Career Services!

    One of the first things that I would recommend to any student who is looking for a summer internship is to visit their school’s career center. Career services on college campuses are specialized in connecting students with opportunities specifically intended for undergraduate students. Check out your university’s career service website, subscribe to their email list, or schedule an appointment with a career center advisor to explore what options are available to you. 

    Create a LinkedIn profile

    Alongside exploring your university’s career services, creating a LinkedIn profile is a great way for students to connect with organizations and companies that are searching for interns. Ensure that you have a professional headshot and bio, upload an updated resume, and link related projects that highlight your skills to your profile. In addition, be sure to connect with past employers, coworkers, and other respected professionals that you know and that are in your field of study. You can even specify in your LinkedIn settings that you are currently looking for an internship opportunity in order to increase the chances of your profile being located by potential employers. 

    Don’t limit your options 

    Perhaps the most valuable piece of advice that I have for students who are searching for a summer internship is to not limit what options are available to you. What I mean by this is to be open to new places, new people, and new experiences throughout your search, application, and interview processes. There are countless opportunities available for undergraduate students during the summer months. Whether that be in the form of a paid or unpaid internship, research experience, shadowing, or working in a particular field of interest-you just have to be open to the opportunities that come your way. Being able to gain any form of experience is better than no experience at all, and exploring new aspects of your chosen field of study could help you find new passions and forge new connections with employers and professionals. 

    Whether you are a first-year or a third-year student, no time is better than now for you to look into what opportunities are available to you for gaining experience in your field of study. Start your search as early as possible by going to your school’s career center, creating a professional LinkedIn profile, and keeping your options open. This will set you on the path to securing a summer internship and to gaining valuable hands-on experience! 

     

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  • School, Job, Internship: Finding time for it all

    by Elise Aguerrevere

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    Finding time for an internship or job can seem impossible while trying to get used to a new course load of challenging classes. Whether you need a somewhat steady income to pay your bills or just some extra cash for going out on the weekends, most college students find themselves searching for a job at some point throughout their four years at school. Plus, fall and spring term internships are just as plentiful as summer internships now. Although it may seem like you could never find the time to balance these opportunities with your class schedule, employers can be understanding and will often put your academics first. It’s all about finding the right fit for you. 

    Just the thought of having to find a job is daunting to many students. Thankfully, most universities have a career center that is there to help you find job and internship listings. They can direct you to on-campus positions that fit with your class schedule. Some on-campus jobs even pay for your meal plan or housing on top of your salary. On-campus jobs are a great way to make some money and build your resume while still staying in touch with your academics as they are not allowed to schedule you to work during your classes. 

    Internships can be more tricky to balance with classes as they can often take up more time than an average part-time job. Getting creative with your schedule can help. You could try to schedule all of your classes in the mornings or only on certain days of the week so that you can better fit those internship hours into your schedule. Another option is to consider taking a class or two online. Often times online classes are not as intense as in person ones and allow you some flexibility on when you complete assignments. Now that you have a few extra hours where you do not have to be on campus for class, you can put those hours into your internship.

    It is all about finding what works best for you. Being honest and upfront with your employer about how you are doing in school is also important. They will most often prefer that you do well in your classes than overwhelm yourself at work. If you find yourself falling behind in school, speak with your boss and maybe ask if you can take an afternoon off to study for that exam you have coming up. They can be more understanding than you think. 

    At the end of the day, balancing your academics with work or an internship is all about time management. You have to find what works best for your schedule and never forget that your studies should always come first. 

     

     
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  • The best of both worlds: Start planning now for an amazing learning experience next summer

    by Abby Adams

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    Taking classes and working an internship all while being abroad with friends? Yes, please!

    Summer break offers many different opportunities for students. They can take classes, work an internship, travel, all while still wanting to have time to socialize with friends. I struggled trying to decide which option was right for me. However, after doing research about different programs offered at my school, I found an option that allowed me to experience all four at once. 

    This past summer, I participated in Georgia Tech’s Leadership for Social Good study abroad. Through this program, I took 9 credit hours that apply to my minor and got a deeper insight to the nonprofit world. I worked an internship with a Hungarian social enterprise, AndiJoga, where I was able to apply the lessons I learned in class directly to an organization. Over the six weeks I was abroad, I was also able to visit six different countries, make 19 new friends, and create countless memories. 

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  • A Leap of Faith: Unexpected lessons from my summer internship

    by Madison Kriege

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    I’ve always been one to walk before I ran and put myself into a box before the rest of the world could do it for me, so when I decided to take a summer internship four hours from my friends and family – in a city I barely knew – it came as a shock.  The 12-week program was with a company that I had never heard of until the career fair and wasn’t exactly what I had considered doing long-term, however, this summer has been one incredible journey and I am so thankful for it.

    I work for a comfy-chic software company that believes in open collaboration and equal parts work and play.  There are no cubicles or closed doors, and everyone has a chance to join in the Smash Brothers tournament at the end of the day.  I learned how to win at ping pong and finally got good enough at cornhole to call myself a Midwesterner, but I also found a space where I could freely ask questions and never had to doubt my ability. 

    I was just an intern, but I had the same desk as a full-time engineer and sat in on the same meetings they were attending.  This summer helped me regain confidence in myself that I had lost through the semesters of feeling excluded in the classroom or feeling afraid to ask questions because I was already fighting an uphill battle to fit in.  A fun company is excellent, but a supportive one makes all the difference.

    My decision to pursue a job outside of my predetermined search radius was a bold one that hit me before I had an opportunity to consider the risk.  It meant leaving my friends for the first time and learning how to make new ones. Throughout my three months, I discovered that I love to paint my nails and that metal may have a place in my music library.  I learned that regardless of how similar our lives are now, people have amazing experiences to share and different stories to tell.  My coworkers came from different states, ages, and races, but at the end of the day, we were all college kids taking a chance on our future together.  

    I learned how to stop caring long enough to enjoy a night out or sleep in on a Saturday.  I put away my to-do lists and binge-watched a TV series for the first time in years. I’ve spent so much time trying to juggle the things I love and the things I do and the people I surround myself with that I forgot to include myself.  By finally stepping out of my self-created box, I discovered a balance between the life I normally led and the new things I had found.  The world suddenly wasn’t as black and white as I had led myself to believe and those boxes we put ourselves in are not always accurate.

    This summer, I decided to challenge myself and step entirely out of my comfort zone for 12 weeks.  There were days that I felt on top of the world and days that I cried watching my boyfriend’s car leave after a weekend visit.  I pushed myself and found a happiness that I have never felt before with a group of people I would never have had the pleasure to meet.  So the next time an opportunity comes at you, take it and run.  There are days to calculate your moves, and there are days to celebrate your ability to move.  This leap of faith was one worth taking.

     

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  • Navigating an Internship from Start to Finish

    by Sydney Fredette

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    Interning has been one of the most valuable experiences I have gained during college. I was even fortunate enough to get an internship abroad. No matter what your ideal internship setting is, the most essential steps in seeking an internship include: searching, preparing, performing, and following-up. Navigate your internship from start to finish by adhering to these steps.

    Searching for internship opportunities

    You may feel a bit overwhelmed when you first begin the search for an internship and that is totally normal! I remember calling my mom in a frenzy, completely convinced that I was behind everyone else in my internship experience. She reminded me that everyone is on their own path, and the search for a job is not as important as the search for experience. 

    Before beginning your search for the “perfect” internship, it is important to define what “perfect” is to you. Brainstorm what you would like to gain from this experience, and what skills you will bring to the table. 

    Next, examine your personal network. Think of anyone in your life who could give insight into the field you’re interested in or could point you in the right direction for a valuable experience. As they say, “It’s about who you know.” If you do not have connections with anyone in the field you’re interested in, don’t freak out. Websites such as WayUp, Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn are valuable resources to utilize in your search for an internship – just make sure you’re continuously checking and updating your accounts! 

    When you get an interview, think back to what you’d like to gain and what skills you could bring to the internship. Understanding your own motivations will help you articulate your goals to a potential employer. For more information about interviewing skills, check out this link.

    Preparing for your internship role

    Once you’ve secured a position with a company, revisit your thoughts on what you wanted to gain from an internship experience. Sharpening your focus before you arrive on your first day will prepare you to answer the common questions of “Why are you here?” and “What do you want to gain out of this?” that many of your curious co-workers and superiors may ask. I was very surprised that people were so interested in why I wanted to be there and was relieved that I had reflected deeply on this question before showing up on the first day!

    Following the news and tracking the stock of the company that you will be working for is an effective way to learn the current trends and developments of the company. The more you know, the better you will be able to articulate your questions and ideas. The News App, Google Alerts, and Yahoo! Finance are among reliable and useful sources to gather information beforehand. 

    Performing on the job

    Whew! You made it. You’re finally starting the first day of your internship after searching, waiting, interviewing, waiting some more, and preparing. But wait – you still have to actually work. Searching for and preparing for this day was only half the battle. Now it’s time to show what you’re made of!

    Every task in a company is important. No matter what position you have or tasks you are asked to do, it is important to utilize the word “yes.” Take every opportunity you can to complete every task, even if it doesn’t fall within your job description. Who knows? You may find joy in something you would have never thought that you’d like. Any opportunity is a good opportunity to learn and grow as a person, and making yourself available to different teams shows your enthusiasm and openness to work.

    Weekly or bi-weekly meetings with your immediate supervisor are an important way to receive feedback, clarify and adapt your goals, and voice your thoughts.

    Following up after your internship

    As your internship comes to an end, it is important to show your gratitude and express what you learned while working at the company during an exit meeting. If no meeting is scheduled, ask your supervisor to meet with you to give you constructive criticism and feedback, and recap your experience working for them.

    If you haven’t already, request to connect on LinkedIn with those co-workers you think would be valuable to have in your network. Include a short message telling them what you enjoyed about working with them, and let them know that you’re excited to connect with them.

    Lastly, handwritten thank-you notes are a personal and thoughtful gesture to further express your appreciation for those you’ve worked closely with. In these notes, you should include what you took away from the experience, bringing up specific and personal examples from your time with the recipient. Close with a statement of salutations and action such as “Thank you for your time and effort to mentor me, and I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.”

    During my own internship experience abroad I learned about not only a business, but also about the role that their culture had on their work. Whether you have an internship in America or internationally, I challenge you jump in wholeheartedly and have the best time doing so! 

     

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  • My Internship Experience - Abroad!

    by Sydney Fredette

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    This past summer, I had the opportunity to intern abroad in Krakow, Poland. Now, I know what you’re thinking- why in the world would I travel thousands of miles for a summer internship? I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone by challenging myself to gain a more global view of business. My corporate experience had strictly been based in America before I had the opportunity to go abroad. Working with skilled professionals at the IBM Client Innovation Center in Poland gave me a chance to appreciate the importance of cultural understanding and diversity.

    My Experience

    As a leadership development intern at IBM, I was quickly immersed in the culture of the company. I participated in client visits, boot camps, seminars, and discussions of a variety of topics with IBM’s specialists. One of the most enlightening aspects of working for IBM was meeting for lunch with “IBMers” from functional divisions of the company. Not only did I hear firsthand about the role that their culture and background had on their work, but also how they each managed their work-life balance. 

    In Poland, I noticed that people are much more practical and straightforward than those I have worked for in the United States, where we often have bells and whistles that are not necessary to complete tasks. I noticed these cultural differences in the workplace and also in my homestay.

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