Francescsa Zanetti, Business Management with Finance student, talks about her various internship programmes as part of her degree at Pearson Business School.
What is an internship?
For many university students, the buzzword of summertime is internship!
Generally speaking, an internship is the period of time during which students and graduates work for an employer in order to gain hands-on experience within the specific industry of study. It can be as short as week or long as 12 months, paid or unpaid, and are typically taken at the second or third year of undergraduate degrees in the UK. Overall, it is as valuable as the knowledge pupils acquire at university for the reasons explained below.
Main benefits of an internship
As a first-year undergraduate student of Business Management with Finance at Pearson College London (PCL), I strongly believe internships are remarkable opportunities that enhance practical skills which build a strong CV, but most importantly, help to understand if the role and the company aligns with an individual.
It is a way to comprehend if our values, beliefs and assumptions match the business culture for a potential long-term collaboration with the company. Indeed, according to NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers), 60% of paid interns will turn the temporary working experience into a permanent job after graduation (Adams, 2012).
Moreover, it is the chance for students to network with professionals in the industry and eventually find their mentor.
Two internships in my first year of university
Thanks to PCL internships’ schemes, I worked as a marketing intern at 5app Hub, a start-up which delivers e-learning content for business professionals, HR, and independent learners in partnership with Hemsley Fraser. By managing its social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and creating my first marketing campaign for the ‘E-learning Technologies’ exhibition at Excel London within a team of 4, I gained valuable employability skills such as open communication, commercial awareness, leadership, and teamwork among others. For the high-quality work, my team and I were offered a summer internship as a sales/marketing interns. However, I sought out roles which would further develop my analytical, mathematical, and IT skills for my potential career in finance.
Honestly, the process of finding an internship has been challenging and time consuming, but highly-rewarding. In my case, the opportunity arrived very serendipitously, while attending the industry day at Savills promoted by Pearson College London. On this occasion, I approached one of the representatives of Pearson Education and clearly explained my summer goals and aspirations – to have a position as a Data Analyst in an established company. In one week, I had an interview with the Operation and Delivery Department at Pearson Education for this precise role.
After merely three weeks, I started contributing to the project by working full-time, with a team of roughly 10 people and being shadowed by a professional in the field. So far, it has been a fulfilling experience for the professional and personal lessons I have learnt and for the people I have met.
How to find an internship – the importance of networking
The first step in finding an internship is to clarify the role and skills, which align with the potential career path as well as the ones the student hopes to gain from the experience. With clear ideas in mind, it is easier to start the research online and offline as soon as the applications open. Generally, the traditional application process which requires filling out an online form with a CV and Cover Letter (CL) followed by an attitudinal test or online video interview and interview in loco, can open one year before the internship takes place. For example, if you are looking for an internship for summer 2020 in established companies such as the Big 4, you should begin your application in July – August 2019.
The second stage is to thoroughly research the company you would like to work for, their requirements, and benefits they provide. If you don’t have a particular company in mind, start by considering the differences between a dynamic start-up environment and an established company.
Finally, attend events, workshops, exhibitions, graduate fairs. A strategy I found helpful for me to seek new opportunities is to create a weekly plan to include the networking events which I am interested. These can be found on platforms such as Eventbrite, Geek, companies’ website and university career page. Throughout the event, make yourself stand out and show interest in the company by asking questions about the business culture, the opportunities available and the applications’ process among others. Networking is about forming trust and helping one another towards career goals. It is a source of new ideas and perspectives to help individuals in their professional role. With my network I usually exchange information on challenges, experiences, goals, and I ask them feedback, opinions and guidance, which may ultimately turn into a mentorship.
Networking is not about taking; it is about caring and sharing.
Best of luck and enjoy your internship!
Adams, S., 2012. Odds Are Your Internship Will Get You A Job. [Online]
Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/07/25/odds-are-your-internship-will-get-you-a-job/#44e3549762e5
[Accessed 12 06 2019].