Summer Internship is often the gateway to the world of corporate for many MBA students, to associate with top brands of the world and to be a part of the legacy of some of the finest global organisations. While the focus of the summer internship narratives is on the project that was given to them, how the interns went about it, and how the mid and final reviews panned out, my takeaway from the summer internship was much more about the feeling of organisational unity and smooth interpersonal dynamics between my colleagues and me.
During my eight week stint as a Human Resources Summer Intern with Citi, there was one thing that I realised almost instantly: once you give your job your best, everybody around you (in office/in different locations/in different business subsidiaries) does everything they can to help you out. To subtly quote JK Rowling, “Help will always be given at Citi to those who ask for it.”
Usually, summer interns are a bunch of nerves before they join mammoth organisations such as mine, across sectors, and across geographies. The individual accountability during a summer internship is immense, and more often than not, if looked at from a bird’s eye view, this responsibility can be very overwhelming. At the same time, there is nothing that can make you learn more about your domain (and yourself) than having a practical work experience via the summer internship route. In hindsight, I see the ups and downs of my internship: and there is one factor that stands as a constant – the support that I received from all my senior colleagues during the entire two-month experience.
As the MBA batches of 2021 have come in across B-schools in the country, I am actively addressing their concerns and queries regarding preparation for the summer internships, and here are some things that a summer intern like you and me must keep in mind before entering into an organisation:
(Purely based out of personal experiences and learning.)
- Go with an open mind: The core idea of a summer internship is for you as well as the organisation to test the waters. In a matter of two months, you will be put through various challenging tasks and situations that might not have been a part of your idea of a summer internship experience. Keep in mind to take all of these tasks in your stride, and try and figure a way out in a way that facilitates maximum learning for you, and maximum value addition to your project.
- Be vocal about your ideas: Not all interns have a similar disposition of being able to confidently express themselves in an organisational setting, especially when you are interacting with leaders much senior to you. But it is crucial to remember that your organisation wants to hear your ideas and thought process as much as they want to see your final output. It is important to keep discussing your ideas actively and seeking feedback for the same.
- Connect and Interact: A major highlight of my summer internship was the amazing bonds that I was able to foster across the HR floor, as well as with interns and employees from other functions. The summer internship is a golden opportunity for interns to get to know people within the organisation, interact and understand from them more about the organisation. The interaction goes beyond work: over coffee, the watercooler, and the meals or in the company shuttle. My project in Citi allowed me to connect with senior colleagues across the length and breadth of India, different Branches and Corporate Offices. Needless to say, the experience of managing so many stakeholders
- Be ready to learn more about yourself: Summer internships are experiences with a steep learning curve, and everybody in your organisation will be ready to give it their best to support you in achieving your goal. During such a time, it is crucial that you as an intern are also willing to learn and more importantly, unlearn. What often tends to happen is that you become your own biggest obstacle, which is natural, given the schema that you come with. But recognising that and being more flexible to uncertainties can make the entire experience much smoother.
A summer internship is the right time to be open to experimentation and a willingness to learn: be vocal, ask for the organisation’s support, and give it your best! Unnecessary pressure can only harm your efficiency at work. Think about giving it your optimum, regardless of the result, and just hope for the best!