Tips and Steps for a Successful Summer Internship

Summer placements are available in a variety of functional areas in various sectors. Sales and marketing, investment banking, financial services, general management, information technology, retail management, supply chain management, etc. are just an indicative list. The sectors which are buzzing are retail, banking, pharma, telecom, infrastructure, media, healthcare, FMCG, manufacturing, etc. For those who are ready to take on challenges, the opportunities are endless.

1. Set Personal Goals: Start with the end in mind. Identify your interests. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Write down the areas where you want to improve. Set goals in each of those areas and break them down into weekly targets. This would enable review of achievements on a weekly basis. The goals set should fit into the company and your institute’s framework. The focus of your internship is to accomplish your goals. Goals should be set in advance; with clear thought; realistic and attainable.

2. Prepare your professional resume: Internship is your first placement. Prepare a resume with a professional touch. It must impress prospective employer. When faced with an interview, convince your employer that you would be a good intern. This is the first time you will market yourself and do it aggressively.

3. Win your parent’s confidence: Patents, at times, stand between you and a good internship opportunity for reasons such as being away from home, cost of living in a new location, safety, food habits, health, etc. You must give confidence to your parents that you are capable of handling the apprehensions they have either on your own or through your employer or your institute.

4. Learn about the industry and the company: Learn about the company and the industry in which it operates. Company website, published documents such as annual reports, online corporate directories, etc. would come in handy. Company’s size, history, main products and services, the names of top executives and current news are useful information. Previous interns of the company from your institute are also a good source of information.

5. Have a job description: Learn about your position and understand the job description for your internship. It is important to focus on what is expected of you by your employer. It will also help other departments in the organization to support, guide and appreciate what you are doing.

6. Find a Mentor: A mentor helps to be focused on learning, accomplishments, guide in tricky situations and help discuss ideas, ask questions, etc.

7. Learn all legal concerns regarding the internship program: Learn about the legal concerns and the risks involve that internship work may involve. Lack of knowledge on legal concerns leads to stress and affect your confidence and attitude towards working in corporate world.

8. Reinforce relevant concepts: Reflect on the concepts learnt in the classroom and relate it to your experiences. This would help in reinforcement of knowledge and better understanding of corporate practices in a scientific manner.

9. Relationship management: Develop constructive working relationship with company executives that will allow you to excel in your internship. Practice to communicate to key people the right information at right time. Take guidance from faculty supervisor, when in doubt.

10. Have periodic meetings with your Supervisor(s): Take initiative to have regular meetings with your faculty and company supervisors. Make your meetings interesting by providing valuable information, innovative ideas, bringing freshness to approach, sharing your experiences and lessons you have learned. Submit periodic progress reports. Remember to be a good listener during these interactions and learn as much as you can during these meetings.

11. Go the Extra Miles: Exceed the employer’s expectations. This will ensure favorable appraisals and a possible full-time position. The opportunities are endless – giving additional assistance, taking on extra responsibilities, working a little harder or longer, etc.

12. Leave with tangible accomplishments: Accomplishment of tangible results adds to your resume and your career portfolio. Sales targets achieved, distributors identified, computerized systems developed, training programs organized, industry trends tracked, etc. will add much needed value to your profile.

13. Respect the company rules and culture: Learn to respect the rules, regulations, traditions and culture of the organization where you are deployed for internship. Do not criticize the organization or the people, even when you are not in agreement with something that is happening around.

14. Aim for pre-placement offer: Your strategic goal is to complete internship successfully and earn a pre-placement offer (PPO).

Let the coming summer be a valuable learning experience for young managers in the making.

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