Internship Week 2010: Day 2

Tuesday was yet another great day discussing internships around UW-W. Ellen and I had a good time in Hyland Hall talking with students about their internship searches. In the evening, I spoke with the Society for the Advancement of Management (SAM), and one of the topics we discussed was internships. Again, great questions and good conversation.

When discussing internships with students, I’m beginning to touch more on what makes a quality internship or how to make the most of an internship. I emphasize the importance to setting up a learning plan with an internship site supervisor and taking initiative in the workplace.

This brought up a good question: How do you appropriately discuss all of the things you’d like to accomplish during your internship without sounding too demanding?

Start off by focusing on the duties covered by the internship’s position description. You should have sought out a particular internship for a reason, so make it clear that the responsibilities originally outlined are things you do want to take on. As you progress in the internship and discover ways that you can achieve additional goals you might have, then approach your supervisor with your desire to learn more. If you’ve proved to be a solid intern, your supervisor will be more willing to allow you to branch out. If it’s not possible to take on a project you’ve identified, your supervisor might suggest something else you can do that will help you achieve the same goal.

The first few weeks of your internship are crucial to your success for the duration of the experience. Approach ALL of the work with a positive attitude, show a genuine interest in the organization, and keep the lines of communication open between you and your supervisor. Being a good intern right off the bat could open doors to additional opportunities down the road.

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