How to Prepare and Make the Most of Your Summer Internship

Ahmad Elayat '15

Ahmad Elayat '15

By Ahmad Elayat ‘15

Spring Quarter is winding down and summer internships are about to begin. You may be pre-occupied with finding a place to live, a trustworthy subletter, finals, and attending all the cool Booth events going on. Many of us feel like the hard work is over once we land the coveted internship. To a certain extent that is true, at least from a stress and preparation standpoint. But to fully take advantage of the opportunity, I advise you to treat the internship as a 10-12 week job interview. While you don’t need to go overboard, thinking about the following themes can help you make the most out of the experience.

- Work hard: You will be evaluated throughout the internship. Showing a strong work ethic and enthusiasm for the job goes a long way. Most importantly, even if half-way through you realize the job/company/industry  isn’t right for you, still give it 110%. A full-time offer never hurts and keeps networking options open for the future.

- Evaluate the experience: While your company evaluates you, you should also evaluate your experience. You should ask yourself whether this is the right place for you and your career, if this position fits well with your short and long term goals, and whether you like the people and company culture. You are on the inside now – you get to experience first-hand all the informational questions you asked during recruiting – so take advantage of it!

- Be open and flexible: Some companies may not have a clearly defined role for you. It is important to have a “can-do” attitude, volunteer to help out, and show a team-player mentality. This can really endear you to your peers (other interns), colleagues, manager, and other stakeholders (engineers, customers, investors, etc.)

- Network: Relax! I’m not talking crop circles, but more along the lines of getting to know the people at the company. This is your time to calibrate your experience with other summer interns, get to know what the day-to-day is really like from full-time peers, and grill your manager about what it takes to succeed. More importantly, use your status as a summer intern to routinely schedule informational meetings with high-level personnel (executives, partners, principals, directors, etc.). Ask them about their current work interests, their career path, why they choose to stay, and so on.

- Enjoy! We all love Booth, but sadly there will come a day when our time here will end. Use the internship to make sure that your next stop will be somewhere just as exciting, challenging, and rewarding as Booth. And always remember, “Why are you here and not somewhere else?”

 

While Ahmad enjoys "pretending to know it all" as a 2Y and Career Advisor, he secretly wishes he was still a 1Y with more time left at Booth.