A Daniels undergraduate student shares what he learned from his marketing internship

I was fortunate enough to land an internship at a marketing firm. Even though I did not have much marketing background, I was able to use the holistic approach the Daniels College of Business provided me, to help me succeed. Here are just a few tips I think an intern in any business field can use to make the most out of your internships.

(1) Ask Questions

  • If you are unsure, find out more.
  • You will not know everything about internal operations.
  • Don’t assume anything. Make sure.

This is by far the most important piece of advice I can give any prospective intern. No matter where you go to work, I can guarantee that you will not know nearly enough information about the internal operations of the company to not need to ask to follow up questions. 

(2) Prove Yourself

  • Even if you don’t like it, do it well.
  • Boring tasks can result in more interesting projects.
  • Sometimes it is a test for attention to detail.

Sometimes you may be assigned projects that seem daunting, or maybe just boring. I realized after finishing one task my supervisor assigned that it was just a way for him to assess my ability to pay attention to detail. By doing a great job at something I really didn’t like, I was able to prove myself which allowed me to work on more complex projects that were a lot more fun.  So, if you feel like a task is too easy, do a great job! Show your employer that you can do anything.

(3) Take Notes

  • If you need to remember something, write it down!
  • Names, titles and due dates are all good things to take notes on.

This may be obvious, but if not, learn from my mistake. There were times when I was asked to do something and because I forgot to take notes on those deliverables, I had to go back and forth a few times to make sure I did the right thing.

(4) Be Flexible, to a Point

  • More projects are great, but don’t overfill your plate.
  • Know it’s okay to say “no.”
  • Multitasking is key.

I learned that there is always someone at the company that can use your help. If you are busy working away on one project, understand that you may need to take on three more by the end of the day. This is great so long as you provide timely, and more importantly, accurate results. But if suddenly find yourself a little overwhelmed, know that it is okay to say “no.” If you can explain that you already have a workload and cannot meet the requirements in the allotted time, most of your colleagues will be understanding and simply ask someone else for help.

(5) Be Social

  • Time flies when you’re having fun.
  • Break rooms are great to make friends.
  • You can learn a lot about different roles.

Starting a new job is always an intimidating transition. You need to learn these new names, roles and follow through on your deliverables. To some, this might make you want to hide at your desk for the whole day and indeed, this is what I did for the first week. I later learned that taking breaks in the break room and walking around to talk to my colleagues was a rewarding experience which sometimes took the edge off during a slow day. I made friends and got to learn more about what everyone did which also helped me get more projects to work on because they could put a name to a face.

Sean Plunkett was part of the BUS3000 course where students are assigned to write a blog. Plunkett’s was selected as one of the best in the undergraduate class.