Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) students who have crossed countries to intern at organizations like LVMH, J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse, share how they made their mark as excellent interns.
Whether or not you’re angling for a full-time role at the company you intern with, it won’t hurt to turn heads and get noticed—in a good way! Find out from Janice Liu, Radhika Tandon, Simran Hathiramani and Siyi Chen about the qualities that push an intern from ordinary to exceptional.
#1 Have the Courage to Speak Up
Speaking up, at the right time and place, can pay off. For example, when interning with Your-Comics, a visual communications company in France, Radhika saw an opportunity to add value to the organization’s global business expansion plans.
“My manager was quite impressed with my ideas and put me in charge of some international marketing and communication projects,” she recalls.
“People are looking for a fresh perspective, so I think if you feel there’s a process that doesn’t work, you should reach out”. Janice, who works in the human resources department at Unilever, concurs. She muses that interns may have difficulty doing this because they feel intimidated when they are in a new environment, or because they feel that they are too junior and should wait for a manager’s guidance before taking action.
“What makes an intern ‘good’ is when they are curious and take initiative,” she affirms. This brings us to the next point:
#2 Take Initiative to Ask
How do you know what to do to add value to the team’s work? Sometimes you just have to ask, Simran says. During her internship as a Sales & Trading Summer Analyst at J.P. Morgan, she took the initiative to find out from each head of department what asset classes they would be most interested in, so she could support them with research.
“That little bit of initiative made all the difference. I understood exactly what they wanted from me,” she shares, adding that this helped her exceed expectations and build a strong network for the future.
#3 Own the Tasks You Take On
Siyi, whose experience spans across multiple internships in product management, compliance and investment banking believes that interns stand out when they show that they are responsible. “This means showing that you care about the task and want to do it well—not just finish it,” she clarifies.
Instead of taking instructions at face value and rushing through the work, spend some time understanding the bigger picture of what and why something is needed.
“Do even the small things well and you’ll gain the company’s trust, then they’ll be more likely to give you more important work in future,” she says. Or like in her case, maybe even give you the referral you need to secure a position at the next company you apply to!
#4 Demonstrate the Humility to Learn
Negative feedback can be demoralizing and make you second guess yourself, but look at it this way: “You’re just starting out and nowhere near the peak of your career,” Simran says. Instead of beating yourself up about it, take it constructively so you know how to improve.
And for those who are eager to convert their internships into full-time job offers, remember not to be too hard on yourself, Janice reiterates. Be realistic about your expectations and what you can do, and be willing to reach out for help, she recommends. After all, while working hard is essential, what may be more important is to remember what internships are for: To learn.