My Fisher Internship Fisher College of Business Office of Career Management

My Fisher Internship
What You Don’t Learn In Class

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Yesterday, I had my mid-internship assessment with my supervisor and formal mentor. This is something that is a requirement of Shell’s intern program and is to be done as close to halfway through the internship as possible. I can’t believe it’s almost halfway over already.

My mentor asked me what has been the most challenging part of the summer so far? While there were many things that have been challenging my answer was this, “Adjusting to a new environment, learning the ‘Shell Etiquette’ of working in an office.” This is the fifth office I have worked in and every one has been so different. There is always something new to learn from each place.

In class you learn so much about human resources, or finance, or marketing, etc. but you can’t learn the certain things that will help you when you’re actually in a job. In these 5 weeks, I’ve had to learn little things like how to set up a head set to make calls, always remember to lock your computer, where to find and use the fax machine, and many more. But I’ve also had to adjust to a new office culture and learn how to do things “The Shell Way.”

One of my big assignments ended with a formal presentation to global HR Managers – kind of a big deal. I was very nervous and preparing a lot for an in person presentation… only to realize it would be a virtual call and I wouldn’t actually even get to meet these people face to face. When talking to my supervisor about this, she said that is very common in Shell because it is such a large, global company, it is hard to get everyone together. I have learned about this type of thing in class, but never experienced it before. I had to re-adjust my way of thinking and prepare differently. Now I know for the rest of my internship that much of “The Shell Way” will be virtual or not face to face. This experience is something I would never really get in the classroom and will be very useful in my future.

Things I learned in the classroom helped me complete my project, but I could have never gained a skill of virtual presenting without actually having to do it. In an internship, you may find the company isn’t the right place for you… or that you’ve been given “typical intern tasks” and would like more. But even in those situations, there is so much to learn just from being in an office and that experience is invaluable. I don’t know the next time I will have to make a presentation to others that aren’t directly in the room with me, but I do know that I will definitely be more prepared thanks to this experience!

2 Responses to What You Don’t Learn In Class

  1. Margie B. says:

    So interesting – office culture is one of the hardest things to really learn about when you’re interviewing. As you have shown, you really need to work at a place for awhile to learn all the things that make their culture unique.

  2. Amanda Rose says:

    I’m definitely learning that this summer. It took me awhile to adjust from the OCM’s culture to Shell! But everyone has been so friendly and helpful, it’s been a smooth transition.

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