Created on Sunday, 14 July 2013 00:00
I just spent the last 6 weeks as an intern at Monsters Under the Bed
and I could easily say that it has been the best internship that I have done thus far. I know many of my peers would only take up an internship only if it’s with a prestigious Multi-national Corporation (MNC) or one that paid really well.
I decided to do mine in an SME and for once, do something I’m passionate about; writing and kids.
Other than the amazing environment and the people that I had the opportunity to work with, there were 5 key points that I took away from this internship.
1. Grades are not everything.
I asked my Director, Eugene, a few weeks into my internship on why he hired me without asking to see my CV or a transcript of my results for that matter. We actually had the “interview” done in Wendy’s. It boiled down to his own philosophy of hiring, which was based on common sense. He wasn’t interested in my grades but what I could offer to the company based on my experience.
The cliche holds true in this case that for some companies, it makes common sense to hire people with common sense. A lot of the things that I did required me to quickly beat the learning curve in order to get things done. There was nothing in school that had prepared me for this; it all boiled down to making informed decisions and doing things in a logical fashion.
2. Everyone is willing to give you a chance.
Being an intern in an SME, I had a lot of opportunities to try new things. I went from designing activities and writing articles for them to being involved in their weekly meetings to conceptualize the next workshop that we were going to conduct. I even wrote out a business plan for a department that the company was looking into expanding to.
Another thing I realized about SME’s is that the business really thrives based on the people you know. During the tenure of my internship, I met with an internet entrepreneur and a DJ from Lush 99.5FM. It was a really awesome networking experience.
I’m sure my peers at some MNCs were able to try their hand at different departments but over at Monsters, trying your hand at a new department literally meant that the whole department pretty much fell under your purview. The opportunities are there. You just have to grab it.
3. Mistakes are not the end of the world.
Even as the opportunities to try new things kept coming, I was still made accountable for the decisions that i made. Sometime during the internship, I had a colleague flip after I sent out an email to parents that wasn’t as nice as it should be.
As much I knew I was screwed, my colleagues made me feel that it was the lesson behind the mistake that was more important. They are definitely not zen masters but they are a really cool bunch. Being an intern gives you some form of immunity from innocent mistakes. Can i just emphasize once more that there have to be mistakes. No one is immune from doing stupid things.
4. Hard work always pays.
There really isn’t anything as rewarding as putting in a hard day’s work for something that you are passionate about. Trust me when I say that if you work hard and it’s sincere, you will be rewarded as such. Being in an SME allows your work to be seen very clearly by your supervisor and this allows the supervisor to assess you in a much more fairer way.
I did get tangible rewards out of this internship. I was given a bonus at the end of it and the company gave me a farewell dinner. I’m also on my way to becoming a full-fledge trainer with them. I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet here but know that any decent employer will reward you as an intern appropriately if you do well.
5. Everyone treats you like family.
This is pretty much the reason that a nocturnal worker like me was able to go through the daily battle of trying to get to work on the train. After the first week there, my colleagues treated me like I was one of them. Being an intern still ensured that i was the butt of intern jokes and jibes but it was all done in good fun.
My colleagues were always wiling to help me out whenever I was in a fix. We had awesome impromptu card game evenings (Game of Thrones, no less) and working for the place was really a blast. I even drop by the office whenever I’m in the area to say hi sometimes.