Lessons Learned from My Summer Internship
When Julia Cione of Dallas, TX interned at AT&T as part of its FLITE intern program, one of the first things she recognized was that the people did not passively work at their jobs. “They actively immerse themselves in their roles — and so do the interns,” she said.
As part of her internship she worked with the Business Marketing Organization and was able to help develop and present a marketing strategy for millennials. The practice of presenting the strategy to tackle a problematic reality, “in a room filled with high-level individuals” turned out to be a valuable lesson that she’ll use repeatedly throughout her career.
The Intimidating Tasks
One key lesson Julia took away from her internship at AT&T was to be adaptable to change. “Things are going to be thrown at you that are initially intimidating, and maybe that’s because you’ve never done them before,” she said. “You should never let that stop you from taking on any challenging task.”
Developing the skills to execute these seemingly overwhelming tasks is one of your end goals in an internship, but Julia believes how you handle the task is what makes you stand out. Building a career, she continued, “is a marathon, not a sprint. The building blocks of performance, image and exposure – or PIE – are what will allow you to climb the ladder towards your career aspirations.”
Speak Up, Step Up and Shine
Not long ago, Belicia Cespedes was one of the youngest accounting interns for a Big 4 public accounting firm. She recalls fearless communication being a lesson she had to learn, and how long it took her!
“At the start of my accounting internship, I was hesitant to talk to anyone, because I wanted to be respectful of the little time they had to address the million other questions and issues that are part of every CPA’s daily life,” Belicia said.
“That was a mistake. Over the course of the next year (her accounting internship was a special case that was extended over the year that she worked on my master’s degree), I learned that it is helpful to both parties to discuss things consistently.”
Rebecca Sewkarran, a graduate assistant in Marketing at Pace University had more than one internship before graduating (Wine by Design, Amrita Health Foods and Mount Vernon City Hall). Rebecca says there is no such thing as too much internship experience – the experiences revealed her strengths and weaknesses and what she actually wanted to do in life after earning her degree.
From these varied experiences she learned two key lessons. Rebecca learned to speak up and ask for advice. “People love to give advice,” she said. “Whether it is advice about your field, feedback on performance, or even career moves, they are usually more than happy to assist.”
Rebecca also learned that it pays to go above and beyond in your work. “Don’t be a slacker,” she said. “Take initiative and responsibility and complete tasks accurately and in a timely manner. Make yourself memorable for the company – you never know when opportunities may rise for the future. Your work ethic is very important.”
Dealing with Criticism
One of the most important lessons Matthew Figus, Transportation Engineering Intern for Primera Engineering learned during his internship was to accept constructive criticism without feeling wounded or defeated.
“Being a new engineer can be tough because you do not know all the details,” he said. “It’s important to remember that we are young and still have plenty to learn. Accept the advice you receive as constructive criticism as it will help you grow in the long run.”
Overall, says engineering intern Figus, “The best part(s) about the entire experience is that I feel I have a better perspective about the industry, have developed my skills and have made lasting connections with my fellow colleagues. I look forward to continuing my engineering career with Primera, or a similar company, on a full-time basis after graduation.”
Where to Stay During Your Internship
Now that you’ve snagged a summer internship offer in New York City, take the stress out of where to stay by booking one of the amazing student intern apartments at three locations across the city.