The secret to making your next internship count

In November 2014, top employers from around the world and more than 13,000 international students applied for a career adventure. The employers were offering secret internships all over the world. Students could apply for all of them with only their CV.

13 of the Blind Applying interns shared their own stories from their internships. What is surprising to read? No matter the company, industry, or location of an internship, the secret to making the best out of the experience applies everywhere. Immerse yourself!

Magic lies outside your comfort zone

A great internship is not always a walk in the park. Jennifer felt like taking on a challenge, when she joined the HR Brand Development team at Enterprise Rent-a-car. The new environment pushed her to grow, find herself and ultimately start a career in a field she had not even considered before. The team at Enterprise was happy to help when she needed it.

If you find yourself in a team that works for you, talk to as many people as possible and listen to what they have to say. Tessa at Deloitte was treated as a member of the team from day one and she took home a lot of interesting learnings from the people she worked with.

And sometimes trying out a different role can test your skills in new ways. Gianna spent the first two weeks of her internship at Peek & Cloppenburg in a fashion store, trying out both sales assistance and working at the register. She did not only manage to handle a lot of tasks under pressure, but also had direct contact to the customer, understanding their needs better.

What has helped Laura complete challenging projects at Coca-Cola?

Be proactive no matter what!
There is always an opportunity to grasp!

Be motivating!
A person gets a task done because he/she is either forced to or motivated to do so. Meaning, find a way to motivate others!

And finally:
Meet, Call, Write!
Everything gets done the fastest with a quick face-to-face talk. E-mailing should serve as a last option.

And if it all gets overwhelming, write it down, like Yoshiki did as an in-house consultant at Merck. Learn from the best and take notes while discovering new processes and meeting new people. It will be easier to connect the dots once you look back.

The more languages you learn...

It takes months to learn the basics of a new language and years to master it. Learning a new programming language? It also needs a lot of time investment, starting from Google searches about each problem you encounter.

Gonçalo, Philipp and Dan were working at ABB, Fresenius and Johnson & Johnson respectively. They all had to learn new languages like Objective-C and Swift and learn new tricks in C and C#.

The problem with searching online for coding answers? It takes luck to find the exact solution you were hoping for. Most of the times, you will have to research a similar issue and apply it to your situation. Not the quickest solution, but you can find yourself developing a better understanding for why the problem arose and how it can be solved.

Trying new methods, persistence after early failures and help from the team also helped Justin finish his LEAN Management project at Siemens successfully. According to Justin: "It doesn’t matter how difficult it seems in the first moment. You can handle every challenge, you simply have to work hard for it and believe in oneself."

A Career Adventure you will never forget!

Great internships though are not only about hard learnings and perseverance. You might find yourself facing breathtaking sights, like Isabel who did an internship at EY in Chile.

Make time for a weekend trip in the outskirts of the city, or urban exploration with friends. Expose yourself to a new culture. Your mind will open and you will be in a position to decide which values describe you and which don't. 

Anna's internship in Chicago with T-Systems gave her the opportunity to discover more american states. By meeting a lot of people you also see all the small things that make us different, but also similar. You will see that everyone makes different choices than you and that's totally fine.

Erran had been studying in Paris and her internship with Stora Enso was in Shanghai. Quite the contrast!

Speaking of contrasts, Bavaria can be surprising even to Julia who came from Hamburg. Her internship at Munich Re included great food, art and work on green tech projects.

How can you make your next internship really count then?

Get involved! In your new tasks, the team and your environment. Ask a lot of questions, hear everything, and seek new tasks and experiences. Absorb now, evaluate later!