As we head into the new school year, there’s always the typical questions. How was your summer? Did you do anything cool? Did you travel anywhere? One question I noticed that I got asked this summer by my peers and individuals who knew I was a Commerce student was ‘’where did you work this summer?’’ Having a summer internship is highly common among Queen’s students. Not only is there benefit in gaining the experience in your field, but the leadership experience and diverse skill sets are extremely invaluable. From getting out of your comfort zone to making a meaningful contribution to your company’s goals, summer internships provide a learning environment that a classroom simply can’t replicate. Below, four of Smith’s very own students talk about their experience across a number of diverse industries.
Where Was Your Internship?
I was an intern on the consumer product account at Marlo Marketing, an integrated marketing agency based in Boston and New York City. No two days were the same, but my general responsibilities included social media management, content management and creation and creating budgets for client’s events. I also got to attend photo shoots and call reporters.
I worked in RBC Capital Markets with the Global Trading Client Management group on the regulated funds desk. My primary roles were to help onboard new funds and populate the ‘’Global IDs’’ with the information relevant to the client. This information included things like their assets under management, legal documents they are included on, and impose credit limits on them.
I worked in the Business Operations and Strategy team at Shopify Plus, a part of Shopify that focuses on High-growth, high-revenue merchants.
I completed a 10-week internship with Accenture as a Consulting Analyst Intern. During that time, I primarily worked on a project within the Communications, Media, and Technology industry group, as well as assisted in business development work in a variety of areas. As part of the internship program, I also conducted a research project within the retail industry over the course of the summer.
What Was Your Favourite Part of Your Internship?
It was so interesting to take tactics and topics that we’re taught at a very theoretical level in the classroom and apply them to the real world. In marketing, what we learn in class is important but certainly not totally realistic to implement, especially in an agency setting where everything you do depends on the client. I loved applying my knowledge to a real-life setting, even though it is more difficult, it’s so rewarding to see actual results from the work you are doing.
My favourite part of my summer with RBC was the day we went to a children’s hospital and helped a young girl start a Lemonade for Hope project, where people could buy a lemonade stand kit that they would run, and then the profits would go to a foundation the young girl herself had started. She was only 13, so it was really inspiring to see someone that young doing everything they could to give back to their community.
It’s very tough to narrow it down to one thing but at the end of the day, my favourite part was the atmosphere. There’s a feeling that we’re all contributing to something special. In my team, there’s a sense of responsibility to maintain and accelerate the momentum which leads to working on high impact projects. Doing work you like is great but contributing to something bigger than yourself is phenomenal.
My favourite part was definitely the people and the culture of the firm. I genuinely enjoyed my time spent not only with my project team, intern group, but also everyone else I had a chance to interact with over the course of the internship. The intern planning team certainly kept us busy with a variety of social events throughout the summer as well!
What Was the Most Important Lesson You Learned?
Always, always take the initiative to ask for new projects and offer your help with anything and everything. Establishing yourself as somebody with a ‘’will-do’’ attitude will open so many doors and you’ll be given more responsibility and exposure to different operations. By being a generally enthusiastic intern, I got to work an opening party for a hotel chain client, work with clients outside my own portfolio and (briefly) attend the Best of Boston Awards, all of which ended up being highlights of my summer and were opportunities that arose because I said yes.
Companies don’t expect you to do everything right on your first try. It is way more valuable to both you and the company if you are honest with your manager when you are struggling or don’t know how to do something. From my experience, all of the people around me were more than happy to take a few minutes to explain something that many seem really intimidating to you but to them, only takes a couple minutes to break down.
“Getting stuff done” is a skill. I used to be uncomfortable with the idea of taking action and implementation, believing it to be an innate quality that some people have and others lack.
In reality, it is a skill that one hones by challenging themselves and by being challenged. When you are held responsible for the completion of a project, you have no choice but to get things done.
I think the most important lesson I learned was the importance of networking and seeking out new opportunities. Beyond simply project work, there are so many other areas of work and activities to get involved in – it’s just a matter of identifying what your interests are, and discovering the opportunities that exist. Being sure to maintain a strong network can not only help shape the direction of your career interests moving forward, but also discover new exciting opportunities to get involved in.