“How was your internship?”

The first question you’re asked upon returning to school for your second year as a full time MBA student is: “How was your internship?”  Whether it is driven by social convention (ask about something you know), or pure curiosity (what else could I have been doing with my summer), I have noticed it is more often than not the best way to kick off a conversation after not seeing your classmates for 10 weeks.  And, interestingly, I have noticed that the answers vary dramatically from person to person.

The internship experience means something different to everyone.  It can be viewed as an opportunity to push the boundaries because you’re only there for 10 weeks.  Or it can be viewed as a test run for a full time job.  It can help you decide what you would love to do after graduation.  Or it can help you decide what you absolutely would hate to do after graduation.  You can meet people that inspire you.  You can meet people that demonstrate exactly the kind of manager/worker that you do not want to be.  You will most likely find that everything you learned in your first year of school is useful and helps you with your work and decision making!  How fantastic!

The internship experience is ultimately a learning experience.  As incoming students you will start to identify your potential internship opportunities before you’ve even started classes!  And I remember how overwhelming that felt.  An important thing to remember is that YOU have the power to make your internship great.  Because what makes an internship truly useful is what you learn from it.  So do everything in your power to find the right internship for you.  Then do everything in your power to learn everything you can from it.

I was very fortunate to have a truly incredible internship experience.  As the sole intern at a garment factory in Bali, I had the power to experiment with ways of improving operations and motivation in a new (to me) culture.  I met incredible people and we were able to achieve truly great things in my short time there.  That short experience has helped to shape me for my second year of the MBA program.  And I hope you have that same sentiment upon completing your internship as well.

My team at Wooden Ships

In Between Days

If I hadn’t mentioned it by now, I have a tendency to quote song titles.  Today is no exception: this one by The Cure sums up my life and the life of most b-school students.  As you may have figured out from the other blog posts, we (Fisher graduate students) just finished the school year.  Spring quarter ended differently for me than winter and fall: somehow, I managed to only have one final which was scheduled for Monday morning.  How Lucky Can You Get? (See? What did I tell you?  Streisand song from Funny Lady.)  Anyhow . . . I’ve been on summer break for a week and I can hardly wait to start my internship on Monday.  Having all this spare time seems strange (and rather boring).  Once again, I find myself in transition.  In my Fisher grad life, transitions are not easy but they certainly are plentiful . . . so I might as well dedicate a blog post to them!

Anxiety is normal for anyone facing transition.  We’d all like to expect the unexpected but that’s easier said than done.  Unsure of what the future will hold, we push forward with trepidation.  If you’re preparing to enter b-school, get used to the feeling.  Life becomes a series of transitions starting with the summer preceding school and lasting all the way through (and sometimes post) graduation.  As new “first years”, most of you will be switching gears from working all week to studying all week.  For those of us completing our first year, we’re adjusting to all sorts of things: assuming leadership roles in student activity groups, working with new team members, planning for fall quarter, figuring out where to live this summer, beginning new jobs, scheduling classes, ordering football tickets, and finding things to occupy the seemingly endless hours of time we suddenly have available.

This summer I’m fortunate enough to be staying in Columbus (making it much easier to move to a new apartment).  Internship-wise: I’ll be working three different assignments this summer; one is a Wheeler Internship sponsored by Fisher’s Center for Entrepreneurship.  I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a local business!  I’ll be spending 20 hours each week learning about online marketing and handling some of their web 2.0 communications.  As I learn more about web analytics, I’ll leverage my experience and Microsoft Office prowess to help tackle a few projects that have been on the company’s “to do” list.  During the other 20 hours each week, I’ll be working with a professor on a local consulting project, on campus, and at the Columbus Zoo.  If time allows near the end of the summer, I’ll begin my Fisher Board Fellows project with COSI.  Regardless, I’ll stay busy.  Since I’ll have my evenings free and my roommate will be in France, my inner bookworm can celebrate by reading a few books that aren’t mandatory.  Hooray!

I think I try to stay so busy because for me personally, change is hard and I don’t enjoy being in transition.  Although I’ve had my fair share for the past couple of years now, I don’t ever get totally used to it.  Staying busy = a coping mechanism (I keep my mind occupied).  By nature, I’m a planner and like to know what the future holds.  Since that’s impossible at this juncture, I intentionally choose to look at life as an adventure, knowing my journey will lead me somewhere new.  My advice to you: embrace change.  It’s one of the only certainties in life.

Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become. – Reinhold Niebuhr

One thing I assure you: time flies.  Assuming the cliche is valid, I must be having fun.  Today was graduation day at the Fisher College of Business.  Congratulations to Fisher’s graduating Class of 2011 MBAs!  Godspeed as you journey forth.  I expect great things to come . . . for each and every one of us.

My Fisher Internship

I’m hooked on blogging, what can I say?

This summer, after the My Fisher Grad Life blog wraps up for the year, I’ll be continuing to write for the My Fisher Internship blog.  This blog will allow a few of us Fisher students, both undergraduate and graduate, share details about our summer internships, our exploits and travels as we head out into the big bad world for a summer.  Check us out here!

Now on to my actual internship.  Starting June 20th, I will be at OCLC here in Dublin, OH.  OCLC is a global non-profit that specializes in the creation and linkage of digital libraries across the world as well as ensuring their information security.  Although not many people have heard of them, we have a headcount of approximately 800 people in Dublin alone and draw Library Science and Information Securities students and professionals from all over the country.

While I will be in a more generalist role 50% of the time, I will be working as their Diversity/Inclusion intern the other 50%.  This is something that I am very passionate about and I’m hoping that my experiences this summer will allow me to determine whether or not D/I is a specialty I may want to pursue down the road.

Diversity/Inclusion encompasses a few things.  First off, the most visible and prevalent aspect of the field is the creation or Employee Resource Groups, groups within the organization that serve to promote awareness of a certain group (such as women, veterans, LGBTQ, Asian, Black, etc.) as well as serve a business function like increasing diversity in recruitment and developing employees in this group to move upward within the organization.  To prevent these ERG’s from becoming just a social group, they are required to submit a business case detailing how the group will benefit the organization.

The Inclusion piece of D/I deals with getting the organization’s culture as a whole and making sure that the needs of all employees are met, making sure they are satisfied with the organizational culture and so forth.

One of the most exciting parts about my internship is that the D/I officer is relatively new to the organization.  Joining us from sunny California, Patrice Jimerson has extensive experience in this field, but has a lot of work to do at OCLC.  This is exciting for me because I will be working with her to develop the program within the organization with essentially a blank slate.  This kind of experience will be invaluable to me if I do pursue D/I as a specialty.

Although I’m not looking forward to commuting to Dublin every day for the summer, I am excited about the opportunity, the people I will be working with and the chance to use our world class gym after work.  (I’ll be able to get a work out in, relieve some stress and wait for the traffic to die down on 270/315.)  I’ll need those work outs especially since I plan on eating here (unlimited California Rolls!  Vietnamese Summer Rolls!  Tempura!) just about every day, hopefully with some of the Cohort that will be at Cardinal Health across the street.

So be sure to check out my new blog!  I promise a couple more posts on this one too.  Don’t worry.  🙂

The courtyard at the main OCLC building