How to be the best intern

Most of you are racing to find your first “Industry Experience”, but proving your worth as the best intern and bagging a “Pre-Placement Offer” (PPO) is a daunting task that requires mutually satisfying relationship between you and the company.


Photo Credit : Dr. Gaurav Sood,

It’s summer time and most of the B-School first year students are going to experience their first corporate management exposure through summer internship. A summer internship isn’t just about adding a project to your resume without putting an effort – it is no sinecure. Your first year of MBA has been a roller-coaster ride, making presentations, writing assignments and preparing for exams. You have learnt the theory, solved case studies and are now dying to see how it all works in the corporate world. Therefore, most of you are going to spend this summer to gain an advantage over your future competitors in the job market.

So here are some tips to shine as the best intern and make use of the opportunity. Most of you are racing to find your first “Industry Experience”, but proving your worth as the best intern and bagging a “Pre-Placement Offer” (PPO) is a daunting task that requires mutually satisfying relationship between you and the company.

At B-School, lots of students look at internship as a stepping-stone for getting a good job. However, not every intern lands up with a PPO and there is a reason for that. I’ve taken these reasons and turned them into Internship lessons that will help new interns to land up a good job:

1) Do your homework - If you are really going to be the best intern ever, you should start working before you actually commence the training. Research about the company, products, markets, consumers, culture, employees etc. This will make you reflect your knowledge and give you a head start. Also it gives an impression that you are serious about your Internship and really interested in learning and contributing towards your Internship goals. Be thorough.

2) Manage your timesheet – Make sure that you are in time for your intern job and leave only when the reporting boss leaves. Exception to the rule is that if you need to leave early, then ask for it with a valid reason. Make sure that the company should not feel that you are in a hurry to go home. Working desired hours shows that you are serious about your work. Manage your time, means work smarter and not harder. It does not mean doing more jobs but simplifying the way you work and doing it faster than others.

3) Look & work as an employee – Don’t think it is part-time or just an assignment. Most of the companies who hire interns, expect you to work and behave like their regular employees. So dress up like one and be equipped mentally, physically and technologically to carry out the job handed to you during this period. Casual clothing shows a casual attitude towards work (Friday an exception), so you should always be dressed for success. Many British run firms have turned away unshaved interns, or those with shoes not polished properly.

4) Work like an adult – Remember your company is not going to baby-sit you for the two-month period. So reach out for responsibilities and carry them out maturely like a professional. Ask relevant questions and take clarity of the assignment in hand. Don’t be too pushy or laid back. They should trust to give you important work…so earn the trust. 

5) Learn-Unlearn-Learn – Just remember that all you have learnt during your one year MBA will conflict with the corporate processes. So be prepared to Learn-Unlearn-Learn as the real world is not the same as in books or case studies. Put your learning into practice and deliver what is expected from you.

6) Be prepared for odd jobs – Everything in your internship is not about strategy. You being the lowest denominator in the scheme of things will be thrown with odd jobs like photocopying, delivering a consignment, getting coffee for your boss….so understand that they are testing you in all these activities too.

7) Never say NO – Does not mean that you can’t reason it out or come with better way to do things…but always remember that no one will take NO as an answer, particularly when it comes to work. Even if you don’t know how to do a particular job, take it and learn how to do it.

8) “I was stuck in traffic” - These excuses will not hold up in the real world. When you’re expected to be at a work meeting by 9 a.m., don’t expect this excuse to save you. So be honest and do not be a regular excuser. Truancy in name of family social functions etc is unpardonable.

9) Add Value – Since your employer understands your experience levels, therefore they do sometimes lower their expectations, but surprise them by adding superlative value to the assignment given to you. Remember they will not spend teaching you how to do things, so learn on the job. Have humility. 

10) Social Networking – Make sure that you network with the company’s employees in each department, particularly the decision makers. Chose a mentor within the company and also coordinate regularly with your faculty mentor. Try to make both the mentors meet at least thrice during your internship period. Remember most of the recruitment is based on referrals. Try to connect with seniors from other firms in that tower/ premises.

11) Perfect your business communication – Make sure you inform your progress, activities, engagements and movement through proper official channels of communication like phone, emails etc. 

Finally, remember that your internship is beneficial to you and is equally beneficial to your employer too. So make it a mutually rewarding experience. Best wishes! Write back to us your story of internship.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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