What Makes a Great Internship?

6.1.2011 »
Strategy
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In this day and age, coursework alone will rarely land you a job after graduation. Bachelor degrees are common, and to differentiate yourself, you have to have experience. But how does a student gain experience prior to graduation? One word comes to mind for most recruiters and college students: internships.

Of course, not all interns can call their experiences beneficial. Horror stories do exist of interns honing their skills in coffee retrieval, making hundreds of copies and restocking the communal fridge on a daily basis. Luckily, as a marketing intern at Sanger & Eby, I’ve had all positive and useful experiences.

This made me think about what makes a great internship. The answer is complex but not complicated and consists of several factors.

First, an internship should expose an intern to real experiences. As a Sanger & Eby intern for the past year, I’ve sat in on important client meetings, written and edited articles for major clients, met strict deadlines, and conducted real research for projects. My list doesn’t end there, I’ve assisted in project management, scheduling, writing press releases, and researching and writing daily content for various social media campaigns.

Secondly, a great supervisor is imperative. I consider a superior supervisor as one that will assign real projects, have faith in your work, and be of guidance when asked. My supervisor Kat has done a phenomenal job at guiding me through projects, giving me real assignments and trusting my work. If I mess up on an assignment, she gives me positive critiques on how to improve.

Thirdly, company culture makes a world of difference. A negatively charged or unstable office environment can put a damper on moods and take the focus off of work. At Sanger & Eby, the office is full of characters that play off of each other’s energy. Also, the owners, Donna and Lisa, treat their employees like family. Each person is valued and the office is a tight-knit group.

When these factors come together, it makes a great internship that helps a student get ready for the “real world” we’ve heard about all our lives. I’ve been treated more like an employee than an intern. I can happily and sincerely say I’ve very much benefited from my internship, and know the next intern at Sanger & Eby will have a great experience as well!

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