I always love hearing about other people's intern experiences. It really brings to light all the different roles and companies there are. As a college student, we have ~1-3 summers to figure out where we want to end up full-time and internships are a great way to get our toes wet -- gain new experiences, learn new skills, and figure out the type of role and cultural environment we want in a full-time position.
That's why I asked 3 of my very close friends to share their experiences this past summer at Alaska Airlines, McKinsey & Company, and Viasat! This will give you an inside look of what working at these companies is really like and hopefully will help give you a little more direction on where you want to end up next summer!
Claremont McKenna College, Science Management
Company interned at & role: Alaska Airlines, Senior Scrum Master Intern
What you did this summer: This past summer, I worked for Alaska Airlines implementing Scrum and managing the product development process for the mobile app. Also, I assisted with the transition from Waterfall to Agile across three value streams in e-commerce. I had the opportunity to attend a week long conference, Agile 2017 in Orlando, where I participated in Agile workshops with other employees and companies from around the globe.
Favorite thing about your internship: Alaska Airlines is such a fun and loving community! The employees there truly care about their interns and get to know you on more than just at a work level. For instance, my team spent the day traveling to Alaska for a bonding day trip. I also enjoyed the flight benefits as an intern and travelled almost every weekend during my summer!
Lessons Learned: I learned that it is perfectly okay to not know everything. Prior to my internship, I did not have experience working in the tech world and I did not know much about Agile or Scrum. But from the first day, my coworkers and manager were all extremely helpful and taught me all that I needed to know to succeed in working as a Scrum Master Intern.
Advice for those recruiting: My advice would be to not limit yourself. A lot of students are too afraid to apply to positions that they know nothing about or have no experience with. But I would encourage them to apply to anything that interests you! After all, internships are all about gaining new experiences.
Yale University, Computer Science
Company interned at & role: McKinsey & Company, Summer Business Analyst
What you did this summer: I worked on commercial strategy for a pharmaceuticals company; helped a media company through a turnaround.
Favorite thing about your internship: Ability to take ownership of my own work stream, and drive impact on clients through that. Either that, or fun team events with really awesome co-workers
Lessons Learned: Build trust early, put the hours in the first couple days... the first few impressions definitely matter.
Advice for those recruiting: Evaluate the companies just as the companies are evaluating you. Desire to work somewhere is not black and white.
Cal Poly SLO, Industrial Technology Operations Emphasis
Company interned at & role: Viasat, Supply Chain Intern
What you did this summer: I was a buyer for the indirect procurement team, specifically buying for the Production Test Engineering group. On a daily basis I would complete purchase orders, however, my overall project was working with the production test engineers, supply chain, and business operations to streamline the procurement process for the PTE engineers.
Favorite thing about your internship: My favorite thing was the company culture. Everyone was so friendly, outgoing, and laid back. My coworkers were really supportive in making sure I had a fulfilled internship in making sure I had the necessary tools and skills to complete my project. Not only so, but my internship was really fun. The UR team did an excellent job at always keeping us busy with fun events, tech talks, and allowing us to get to know the other interns!
Advice for those recruiting: I really learned that it’s so important to be proactive. As an intern, it’s hard for other employees to keep tabs of your work. It’s really up to you to stay busy, ask questions, and get involved when you see opportunities. You have so much control on how much you want to get out of the summer, so take advantage of everything!