I started my summer internship in the sunny month of April. Through the scorching heat, storms, thunders and potholes of Bangalore, I managed to finish it recently. The journey was filled with ups and downs, and I am penning down the lessons in black and white.
Lesson 1: Understand the Business
The most important part of the internship is to grasp an understanding of the business as soon as possible. The better the understanding, more the benefits derived from it. The first week of induction helps one to understand the basic functioning of the company.
Lesson 2: Understand the problem statement
Each one receives a project with a title. In my case, the scope and reach of the actual work to be done was much more than what the title showcased. This understanding develops only as one spends time diagnosing and digging deep into the problem statement. The problem statement is like the tip of the iceberg. With time, one unfolds the actual challenge put in front of him/her.
Lesson 3: Survey
Surveying from the ground level to the higher management helps one to understand the problem from every possible dimension. One should have an elaborate questionnaire and a relevant sample that can help identify the root cause of the problem. It is always a good idea to take as many responses as possible. One must also benchmark the practices in one’s company with those in the external industry. It is during these interactions that maximum learning takes place. While interacting with different stakeholders and people in the industry, many new ideas and approaches can be learnt, which can be used easily in one’s project. Sometimes, even the solution may lie somewhere in this stage.
Lesson 4: Handling the deliverables
It is at this stage that the actual challenges of the project come forward. On paper a plan looks quite achievable, however, when it is to be implemented, a lot of barriers eat into your time. One may have to run around for permissions, approvals, inputs from different teams etc. Some of your deliverables may also depend on what another team in the company is also doing, hence you have to work in tandem with them.
It is very important at this stage to keep a check on the timelines that you made at the start of the project.
Lesson 5: Keep your guides on-boarded
This is the most important step in the entire process. The guide under whom an intern pursues a project has responsibilities towards the project and its deliverables as well. Also, the guide in some cases may have evaluation powers over the work that the intern does. At every stage, keep informing your guide about the progress you have made. If there are barriers/ challenges that you are facing, you should tell your guide about them. Taking help from your guide is a part of the game, and is not counted against you.
Lesson 6: Make an exceptional Presentation
An evaluation panel pays heavy attention to the final presentation that an intern makes. Therefore, it should be descriptive about all the work that one has done during the internship and should also have the appeal that gives one an upper hand over the other interns. Making a presentation, in this case, takes a lot of hard work and may take anything between three to seven days to prepare.
Needless to say, adherence to time limits, presentation skills and the ability to tackle questions are also tested in the evaluation rounds.
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