One of the most effective ways to get knowledge and to develop professional skills is an internship at the relevant company.
What does the role of an intern entail? Prepare coffee or get a real hands-on experience? Is is a paid position?
Does it generally make sense to spend time?
My name is Vitana Tereschenko, and I have passed the internship in the SAP BI department at JET BI company.
What do interns do
I passed the internship in December 2017. I was 20 years old then, in my third university year at the Belarusian state university of informatics and radio electronics. The internship had standard ‘coach-intern’ format. Therefore, at the end of the internship we didn’t have to provide certainly set results (for example, a completed project). We should prove ourselves as responsible employees who are capable to share the company culture.
Our tasks consisted of studying lectures organized by coaches, of the training cases execution, and work with new software and its capabilities. Оur coaches trusted us the work on real projects starting from the second week of the internship. Besides this we were obliged to carry out subsidiary working duties (such as participation in meetings, time-sheets filling, etc.)
How I learned about internship and how I got the place
I got internship after courses organized by JET BI in our University. Generally, my internship path looked like this: "I saw the advertisement -> sent the application -> took part in the courses -> finished courses –> took part in the internship ".
The courses lasted 2 months. During this time we obtained a very important understanding, especially for students of IT specialties: the concept of what we will do if we continue studying in this sphere. The question ‘Who and why is ready to pay for our work’ was answered powered by real examples. At the end of courses we had to complete two final tasks: a practical and a theoretical one. Interns were selected based on the performance. Only 20% of the students from our group got a chance do pass the internship.
A piece of advice: take part in all courses. Even if you do not like it, you'll know exactly that you do not want to work in the IT sphere. And if you fail, then you will know what knowledge and skills are necessary to become an intern next time.
What are benefits of an internship
1. UNDERSTANDING "WHAT IS WHAT"
An internship is a great way to see insights of a company work before graduation. You can also decide what you want and choose your own professional way in the future. After this internship, I became a clear understanding of what a SAP BW consultant works with. What is more important, I took a decision to develop in this area. To a large extent it was the contribution of the team. While working among real gurus you strive to increase knowledge and to develop yourself not only professionally, but personally as well. I can sincerely add that I have not even thought that there can be a team with so many sympathetic and competent people that are ready to support you any time you need.
2. A RECORD IN CV
Even if you do not plan to remain or return to the company where you passed the internship‚ you will have a record in the CV. It will demonstrate your active attitude to life, aspiration to self-development and improvement.
3. REAL WORK EXPERIENCE
Very often you can hear from young specialist after graduation: "Every employer requires the work experience. How could I get it if I studied all the time?!". It is a chance to break the vicious circle "no experience – job search – rejection because of the lack of experience". Internship gives you a chance to gain experience even during study at the university. And to learn, how to work in a team, how to organize working time, etc.
4. SHOW UP AND GET THE FIRST JOB
This is probably the best advantage of internships. The company offers a working place to the students who performed well during the training. It happened to me and another three persons from my team: we got hired. The internship became the first significant step to the career of a SAP consultant for us.
Tips for interns
Internship may become a very important trigger for the successful career. That is why you should be ready to work hard right from the beginning. Remember, you have only one chance to make the first impression.
Your main aim for the whole internship should become things like building reputation of a responsible and valuable employee. Always keep it in mind, act and even dress accordingly. It is important to settle into a new job, to meet expectations of the employer, to gain new skills (you can be sure it will be necessary when dealing with professional tasks). Even if you are lucky and get a chance to become familiar with new work step by step, it is the wrong time to relax. You will get your job only if you get noticed.
Here are some advices from my experience:
1. LEARN THE STRUCTURE OF THE COMPANY
First of all, learn the structure of the company. If you cannot find information on opened sources, ask your tutor. It will be very useful while sharing knowledge or discussing project tasks with colleagues. Try to remember everyone in office. If you see an employee you did not met before, do not hesitate to get acquainted with him or her.
Try to learn as much as possible not only about your department or subdivision, but also about activity of whole company. Do not forget that your internship is a great opportunity to see how the team and the manager work. Remember, first you have to gain experience to reach a needed skill level. Keep in mind that not only relations within an organization, but also non-verbal interaction like eye contact, body language that are accepted in this group. When you understand, how exactly this team of professionals works, it will be much easier for you to fit yourself into it.
2. RESPECT THE CORPORATE ETHICS
Do not forget about the most basic rules of business ethics: be polite, tactful, do not distract other employees from work with idle talks, thank for the help or support. Be friendly and open. However, you do not need to "flirt" with colleagues or try to impose your friendship.
3. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Taking into account the fact that you are a student and, perhaps, generally came to an internship in order to understand whether this sphere is interesting to you, you are not obliged to know everything. There will be a lot of questions: how to install the software, how to perform a task, or how you can access the necessary resources. And this situation is absolutely normal. However, if you repeatedly ask the same questions or lots of questions regarding your professional duties, you may seem quite helpless not only as an employee, but also as a person generally. To avoid such a situation, carefully consider the questions before ask them, try not to ask directly: "How to solve this problem?". Instead, propose some ideas you have to deal with a certain task. Build a question in a way you just want to make sure what option would be the best one. Thus, you demonstrate your competence and at the same time your desire to make sure that everything is right and that you meet the expectations.
4. LAY OUT THE RIGHT APPROACH TO WORK
Be extremely attentive when you receive your task. Do not make your manager repeat twice. It will be appropriate to always have a notepad at hand. This way you can will demonstrate your organization and focus on work.
Try to do tasks and given promises to the full (for example, to update the status of the task at the appointed time).
Before handing over, check out your work (Is everything considered? Are all the points completed?). It is never superfluous to re-check a report or a letter for spelling mistakes.
Take on different jobs. It is a great opportunity to learn something new.
Start with self-motivation, if you feel lazy or desire to spend the working time on social networks.
Discipline is important. Despite the fact that you are an intern, not an in-house employee, you are not allowed to be late for work or to leave early. Do not complain that you should get up early, spend a lot of time to get to work or to come home late.
5. MAKE TIME FOR COMMUNICATION
Undoubtedly, during the internship you will communicate with tutors (transfer of knowledge and experience, getting tasks and discussing them, etc.). You also may attend various conferences or meetings. That is why you should be careful, remember the rules of ethics and the structure of the team. Do not try to make a significant contribution to the group discussions immediately. First, make sure that it is appropriate for this group and that you understand the essence of the problem. If you are sure, that you got everything right, then do your best to meet expectations, show initiative and try to demonstrate results of your work whenever possible. It will definitely contribute to the successful internship. I mean here the opportunity to get a job at this company.
Best moments of the internship
The internship was nothing if not a great experience. To get up-to-date knowledge immediately confirmed by real examples and cases ... Not a single university can boast of such system. Whereas you are not thrown in at the deep end like a kitten in a lake. Your mentors put you gradually, step by into way of things. They explain you how systems work, answer your (sometimes!) stupid questions and advise on sources where you can find the most accessible for your information. If it is added to a friendly team and good working conditions, with cookies in the kitchen, games at lunchtime and the collective celebrations, such internship turns into a real dream of a job.
I am still not sure how I have managed it. But I am hundred percent sure I am at the right place. If you are lucky as well as me, hold fast to your chair, make much of cool people around and of the gained knowledge that will stay with you for life.