After deciding I wanted to drop my finance degree out of my double major, I found myself on the phone with others that are in the marketing industry trying to get a play-by-play on how to be the best of the best. At the end of all the conversations, it appeared the only thing valuable about graduates applying to businesses is lived-in experience–> internships. I was constantly asking questions: “Were you nervous when you interned,” “What do you normally do,” “Is it stressful,” and the list went on. I knew that internships were a thing you needed to do, but I was the master at pushing it off. Like I said in my last post, after applying for my first internship I sat on it for weeks and weeks not wanting to worry about figuring things out on my own.
The answer to every question I asked about being a marketing intern was exactly this; “they know you’re an intern, they know what you can and can’t handle.”
Regardless, I was nervous about applying, being interviewed, getting the job, and anything else leading up to it, AND I STILL get nervous. Once you have reached new heights, they push you beyond that, which I am so thankful for. That being said, my internship is a floater internship, which basically means that I hit every department regardless of my major. Every week there is a new set of challenges and fears that I have to overcome. Last week it was taking tests on products we distribute, speaking slightly in meetings, figuring out how to make proper documents in pdf form, hitting marketing guidelines and using the right vocab/business talk to get the point across in any and every discussion.
For only being here for three weeks, I have learned more than I have sitting at a desk in class for the past 3 years of college. Walking into this I had no idea how an actual corporate office worked. I didn’t know how to write a professional email to a co-worker, be prepared for or act at a work meeting, or even how to go about projects. After my first week, I was 10x more confident than I was starting out.
I’ve also broadened my horizon on material and applications, which I am permanently scarred from whether I like it or not. During one of the lunch meetings with the marketing director, we went out to Subway for sandwiches. It was my first day in that department and she described how her mind shifted post-MBA, she started looking at signs, layouts, and other sources of advertisements around the room and how they psychologically make sense. Needless to say, I analyze that everywhere I go now.
One of the key components I have noticed at the beginning of this internship is the atmosphere. Everybody genuinely wants to know how your day is going and what they can do to make everybody comfortable. This is extremely important in any business, actually wanting to grow with the business and as a team as well as walking in with a good attitude.
Since I have been here, I have gained motivation and drive to finish up my last year of school with a bang, leaving with the thought of going back to get my masters. I highly, highly recommend anybody and everybody to get out of their comfort zone to grow.
With that being said, I wanted to talk about some myths people spread about intern positions:
#1: You’re not going to be treated like a dog fetching random things.
You are human, and everybody else that is in higher positions than you, most the time, starting as an intern. I find so many of us standardizing interns as someone that does all the dirty work, but in reality, it is the opposite. Yah you do little tasks here and there that you may not like, but that is life, and that is a job regardless of the title.
#2: Internships are all unpaid.
This is entirely untrue. The internship that I ended up taking was more generous than any of the other jobs I have worked at. I must say they are hard to come by, but they are out there. Companies that have more financial freedom than others will do what they can to help a college student gain experience as well as making side money to get along. At least that’s what I like to think.
#3: Interns only deal with minimal tasks/shadow professionals.
Reasonably so, everybody needs to experience that at the start to get a feel for the environment. You do your rounds to meet everybody, view daily operations, and study how the business handles day-to-day tasks. So far I have had full rein, but of course, everything has to be pre-approved to make sure it was done correctly, as it should. I have operated software that I didn’t even know existed, talked in meetings, designed presentations, handled events, and a lot more than I thought they would let me do coming into this. Every job has small and large tasks, and you will participate in both of them, but you won’t be limited to small tasks.
#4: You should only intern in the department in which you are studying.
Just from my college experience, I can vouch for this. I started out in health and human performance, moved to accounting, then finance, onto finance and marketing, and now JUST marketing. Oddly enough, my finance and accounting background has taught me a lot about marketing and how it all goes hand in hand. I think it is important to touch your toes in water of all areas to know how departments are dependent on each other while keeping your eyes open to other interests and opportunities.
#5: You don’t learn anything more than you do sitting in class.
False, soooo false. School and jobs are entirely different in today’s day and age. Things are changing, and in my opinion, university’s don’t know how to handle it or adapt to it. After my first week at my internship, I had learned way more than I have sitting in class for the last three years of college. College gave me the vocabulary and some background knowledge of how everything works, but actually participating in daily operations is something ENTIRELY different.
** Disclaimer: this is my experience, and if you are being mistreated as an intern, maybe it’s not the right place to be working.
Until next times beauties,