Monday, February 25, 2013

Spring 2013 Seminar 2

As we do each semester, the second seminar is an our opportunity to explore workplace challenges and offer suggestions for solving these. This year, we also discussed the pre-internship survey of transferable skills.

One of the Student Learning Outcomes which our internship program seeks to help students with is developing an appreciation for cultures and values other than our own. In light of this, here is a case study for your consideration. Please add your comments suggesting possible course of action for those in the described situation:

Molly is excited to be settling into her first post-college job with the Aero-Dynamics Research Corporation. Her office is responsible for developing marketing plans for any products which have passed all the pre-release testing. One on-going challenge the company faces is corporate espionage, particularly with electronics and software, but she does not anticipate this being very relevant to her role in marketing.

One Friday morning, however, Molly arrives at work to find her boss and coworkers in a state of panic. A product description originating in their office has shown up on the packaging for a similar product produced by a competitor. They are now faced with the challenge of re-writing the marketing material while the production division develops some upgrades to the product to differentiate it from the inferior competitor's product. All their work must be re-done before the Monday release of the material to the packaging manufacturer.

Molly is conflicted - she knows getting this marketing material together is urgent, but it seems that sticking with the original Monday deadline is unrealistic - after all, the new version of the product will not be ready until mid-week at least. Not only will it mean their entire department must work all weekend, any revised product description will no longer be entirely accurate. Her boss turns to her and says, "So, new kid, ready to tow the party line?" She wants to express concern that they should wait until after the prototype changes are made, but she is afraid of standing out as a trouble-maker.

What are her options?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Workplace Challenges

Fall 2012 Internships:

Seminar 2 Make-up Assignment

During our second seminar, each student was asked to introduce himself/herself and tell us their internship employer location. Then, we explored unexpected challenges students have faced this semester and participated in case study discussions.

The first few comments answered situation 1, which I've left at the end of this post. For upcoming responses, let's explore another potential workplace issue.

Please introduce yourself and your employer location, then share your thoughts on ways you think an employee might handle the following challenging situation:

Marsha is excited about her first week in her new internship with Allen Inc., CPA firm. She is getting the opportunity to have hands-on work with preparation of client reports and learning a lot about client-firm privacy regulations. One challenge, though, has been that she has no idea when she is supposed to take a lunch break. She never sees a group going out to lunch or notices the office closing for lunch. She wonders if they all bring lunch or eat when out on calls to clients. A couple of the office staff do take a break, but not her direct supervisor or the other professional staff. She doesn't know whether to ask her supervisor, one of the clerical staff, or simply start taking a short break each day. For three straight days, she has skipped lunch entirely...after all, nobody else seems to take a set break, and they work from morning until evening. She thinks perhaps she isn't entitled to a break since her hours are only from 10:30-4:30 three days a week.

Is it realistic for Marsha to expect a break during her six-hour day as an intern? What can she do to resolve this question?  Whom should she ask?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer internships are beginning to wind down and I would like to give you the opportunity to comment on positive observations related to another intern's experience (or ask questions about another intern's experience).  I realize this may be the toughest topic we've addressed, so who is up to comment first?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You have had some great comments about problem-solving, and I hope those whose internships are continuing through Summer Session 2 will add to these!

For those who are finishing their internship experience, it is time to reflect on the experience as a whole and think about ways which you can present what you learned on a resume, job application, or graduate school application.

Most definitely, you will want to ask someone who knows you well to serve as a reference for the time you have spent in your internship. You will also want to include your internship as work experience (or shadowing experience) on your resume. These sections of a resume generally include organization name, your title or role, dates of the experience, and several bullet points describing your accomplishments.

In your comments below, share two or three accomplishments you believe would be useful to include on a resume. Then come back to see what others have shared to get ideas about other possible details to include.

Finally, I encourage you to email me photos of yourself at work (maintaining any confidentiality required in your workplace), and I will post these on the blog so that your peers and future interns can get a picture of what being an intern "looks like."

Monday, June 11, 2012

One of the skills each of you is evaluating during your experience this summer is that of problem-solving. Different organizations approach problem-solving using different methods. Some prefer a team approach, while others assign individuals to evaluate a problem. In fact, there are probably as many methods of solving problems as there are problems to solve.

In your comments, please share an example of one method of problem-solving you have seen used in your current internship. While maintaining confidentiality and a positive frame of mind, what have you learned about effective problem-solving through your work or observations?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Welcome to Summer Internship Conversation with the Office of Career Programs and Student Development at Presbyterian College! We're excited to begin another term of hands-on learning, with a diverse group of students completing internships in some exciting places. I invite each of you to introduce yourself and tell everyone where you'll be interning this summer. Let us know what your greatest hope for the summer experience is. Then, read the comments from other interns to see what else is out there. You will be invited to comment on a series of blogs this summer, but there are a few guidelines I'll try to remind you of each time:

1. This is a public forum. Faculty members, employers, and the general public will read what you say. This is not a place to air dirty laundry or to report problems. The proper way to communicate about such issues is directly with me in private conversation.

2. This is a public forum. The questions are asked so that you can share and compare a variety of settings - give informative details which will help other interns (current and future) learn about the variety of workplaces which are represented. Share, share, share relevant details which give insight into working in a particular type of setting.

3. This is a public forum. Privacy matters. Remember confidentiality issues related to your internship.

4. Most importantly, this is a public forum. You are representing yourself and Presbyterian College to future employers and the world. Do yourself proud.

Now - GO BLUE HOSE! Do your best and have a great summer!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring 2012 Seminar 3 - Finishing STRONG!

Each semester we use the final seminar to pull all the details together from the entire semester, particularly to share the most valuable lesson or skill you will take with you from this internship.

In the comments section below, please share some of the most important lessons you've learned - particularly about time management, work ethic, networking, and overcoming obstacles. Then, write a sentence or two about your plans and dreams following this semester and a shout-out to students you believe should explore a similar internship in the future. Finally, what is the most important thing you learned from your experience?