This blog has been written by Brooke Redmer, a student at Boston University completing an internship at Digibiz in London.
An internship is a wonderful opportunity for students to get a glimpse into their desired field and should be taken advantage of by anyone considering a profession within a specific realm. For me, that was marketing. I began taking advertising and marketing classes at university in my first year as a student, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided that’s what I wanted to do post-grad.
Since then I have spent my summers and portions of my time during my semesters taking on unpaid roles solely for the invaluable experience that they can provide. Summer internships, I believe, should be completed by every student at least once before graduation, as there is more time to dedicate to your desired field and that allows you to understand what it would actually be like to work in said field day-to-day.
There are vast amounts of benefits to completing an internship, one of them being the real-world experience that it can provide you with. There is only so much that can be taught in a classroom and an internship is a great opportunity to put your learned skills to use. For example, a class I took called “British and European Marketing Strategy” which provided insight into the fundamentals of marketing in Europe and how it compares to marketing in America. So while my class taught me about those topics in a theoretical sense, my internship in London gave me hands-on experience as well as a first-hand look at those marketing strategies and their applications in the real world. I was able to implement things like SWOT analysis, which is an advertising concept that we had learned in class, to an actual analysis of social media sites for my internship which allowed me to provide better feedback to the companies, and in turn, helped me to better understand the practical applications of the concept.
An internship is also a wonderful experience for students to build contacts in their desired field. Nowadays, the job market is more competitive than ever, and establishing contacts at a company or related company can act as a way to get your foot in the door. More often than not, your coworkers at an internship will know various people within the industry that they are likely to be more than happy to connect with you upon request. It’s possible that working at your dream company may only be one connection and a meeting away!
Use your internship as a home base, know that you can come back to it anytime, but think of it as a way to launch you further. You can always contact your employers for assistance in the future, whether that be for connections or career advice. The contacts that you make at an internship will often last you for your whole professional life.
Finally, internships are a fantastic opportunity to understand and further establish your own personal working style, which many students struggle to understand before working their first jobs out of uni. Working styles can vary so drastically and are incredibly specific to each person. For example, I had begun my summer internship thinking that I would want a job where I would have to be in an office every day of the week, collaborating with other people in-person. However, I now know after completing this internship that I prefer to do remote work that has an assigned deadline which allows me to split up and schedule the work during the day as I see fit. You also have the opportunity to decide what type of company you prefer to work at, whether that be big or small, corporate or creative, formal or informal, the possibilities are endless.
Internships are invaluable for students, even as unpaid opportunities. The real-world experience that they provide you with takes students so far beyond the classroom and helps you to better understand how to conduct yourself in the professional world, as well as make use of the skill you have already acquired. You are able to build contacts in your field that can help propel you forward either by offering you advice in your career or by connecting you with other professionals.
Finally, internships allow you to understand which type of working environment is right for you, or which is not, allowing that experimentation to be completed before you graduate so that you aren’t stuck in a position that you would rather not be in. I’ve greatly enjoyed my many internship experiences in the past couple of years and I could not recommend it more to students.