Ms. Minouti Naik, Assistant Professor, Communication and Soft Skills, Kohinoor Management School (KMS)

Link For Article Published in The Free Press Journal dated 3rd July, 2024:

Many students, especially those pursuing management courses, might be currently pursuing internships. An internship is a great opportunity to brush shoulders with the workforce one is poised to join soon, and hence a chance to observe many things that can’t be learnt in the classroom alone. Here are three ways in which students can make the most of their internships:

1. Observe how to communicate

    This is the time to shed your shyness and face your fears. You may not be great at communication, but if you hide behind your fear, the internship will only be a golden opportunity that is lost. Don’t hesitate to contribute your views, just because you are new to the game. Many a times a fresh perspective helps. Also remember that it is okay to commit mistakes. However, be mindful about not repeating the same errors and practice the etiquette that is required. Participate in small talk and be enthusiastic about interacting with others. Move away from your usual group of friends and talk to colleagues on topics of mutual interest. Speaking only about work, all the time, may not be a great idea. However, desist from participating in gossip and slander, as that will leave a bad impression about you. Follow etiquette while addressing your seniors and don’t act overtly friendly with those at the same level. You may have a close friend or acquaintance working with you, but don’t use expletives while you are in the office environment.

    2. Learn, Unlearn and Relearn

    The internship is a great time to understand the practical application of concepts that you have learnt in class. On occasions, you may find that there is a great mismatch between what you have learnt and the reality you encounter. However, the key to effectiveness is adapting. Ask probing questions to your seniors and colleagues, aimed at understanding a process or concept. No query or question is foolish, if it aims at seeking clarity. Since everything is new to you, you may go wrong while executing a task. Take accountability for your mistakes and don’t overtly justify them. Rather invest that time in learning what you did wrong and take feedback constructively. Listen to respond, not to react. This will help you to learn, unlearn and relearn, all at the same time.  

    3. Maintain a journal of your learning

    Most students are expected to prepare a project report at the end of their internship. Unless one records one’s learning, daily and systematically, one will not be able to recall one’s observations. In fact, one could divide the learnings into two parts – one may be relevant to the project report and the other may be general observations regarding communication, hierarchy, values etc. To enthuse yourself, you could use your creativity and decorate this journal or use different coloured pens to record your findings. This might help you to remain consistent. Daniel Chambliss once said about consistency that “Excellence is mundane. Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills or activities, each one learned or stumbled upon, which have been carefully drilled into a habit and then fitted together in a synthesized whole.” Hence, develop a routine, however, boring it may feel.

    One’s aim during internship should be to learn from every possible task. It’s common for students to experience mundane tasks allotted to them in a company. Don’t be choosy about what is given to you, by way of work. Develop a learning mindset. Students who do well during their internship many a times get offered a Pre Placement Offer (PPO) from the company, which should be one’s ultimate aim. Irrespective, groom yourself to develop and nurture a thirst for seeking diverse experiences during your internship.  Good luck to you and happy learning!