6 Tips for a Successful Internship & Finding Housing in NYC

I realized in the last post I failed to mention anything about housing, which was arguably the most difficult part of the on-boarding process so I’ll explain the basics of that before I go into some takeaways from my first few weeks.

Housing: JPM gave all interns an initial housing stipend that was supposed to help with the first month’s rent, but after taxes it did not amount to much considering what the cost of living in NYC is. Other than this JPM provided us with an extensive list of housing websites, forums and subletting options, as well as guaranteeing University of NYC dorm housing for those who wanted it ( I opted out as this was very expensive). I ended up choosing to live in Brooklyn as I will save several hundred $ each month on rent & the 2/5 & Q subway lines run directly into Manhattan anyways. From a commuting aspect, living in Brooklyn does not make too much of a difference as all of the subway lines are packed tighter than sardines every weekday during the AM & after work. However, from a  social aspect I do wish I would of paid the extra $300-400 to live in Manhattan as that is where everyone goes to happy hour’s, goes out on the weekends, and overall where NYC is the most social. That’s not to say that Brooklyn is lacking at all as some of my favorite places to eat & hang out are in Brooklyn, its more of my affinity for being a social person and always wanting to be around my friends that are doing something. Overall though, my place is great….its cheap (relatively speaking), isn’t a bad commute, and is full of nice people. If I had to do it again though I would recommend seeing what people could find in East Village (Manhattan) as it is where many of the recently graduated college kids move to & is a very upbeat and social neighborhood thats conveniently located in betweeen Brooklyn and Soho.

Some Great NYC housing apps/websites:

Roomi (app), StreetEasy (app), Facebook pages (GypsyHousing, NYC sublets, NYsublets, LetsBorough), Craigslist (be careful but some people found great places on here).

 

It helps if you can have someone in the city check out the place for you in advance, but if not most of these require a background check to have an active profile so the people are legit.

 

As I am starting to get more into real work there are a few takeaways from my first few weeks that I would like to share:

  1. Always be on time – whatever time it is you are scheduled to arrive, plan on arriving 10-15 minutes earlier as you will never be belittled for being early, but nothing is worse than being the person everyone else is waiting on -especially when the majority of them will be your seniors.
  2. Pay attention and ask questions – no question is stupid. This is something I had to learn the hard way as I made a mistake on a small project because I just assumed you did something one way because I didn’t ask. We are interns and they can’t expect you to know what you are doing from the start…otherwise you’d be on salary. We are there to learn & the best way to learn is to ask questions.
  3. Take Notes – You will be in more meetings and have more info thrown at you in a short amount of time than at any point in college and you have to remember it because I can guarantee your boss isn’t going to repeat something that they already know. Get a good notebook & take it with you everywhere.
  4. Network, Network, Network – It doesn’t mater who it is with, just talk to people and get to know who they are, what they do, and how that impacts your line of work. If they are able to possible help you out in the future, thats great. But even if they can’t it will help you deepen your understanding for the business & help you grow on your own. Plus, its a great way to get to meet higher ups in the company & to decide if this is really a job that you could turn into a career. No matter how awkward it might seem to send an email to someone you don’t know or to even approach them when they have some free time, it is the best thing you can do as it shows you are taking the initiative and are genuinely interested in them and their work….plus people (especially successful people), love to talk about themselves.
  5. Do work that you are proud of – It doesn’t matter if its getting coffee for your team, sending out an email, creating a PivotTable in Excel or presenting a project to your CEO. Everything you do in the corporate world is a reflection of you & its impossible to tell who that spreadsheet or email will make its way up to, so it always has to be your best.
  6. Have FUN – We had the privilege of hearing Mary Erdoes (CEO of Asset & Wealth Mgmt.) speak to us & she mentioned the important of balancing work & fun: “Work hard 51% of the time so you can play hard the other 49%”

It’s an internship. You have 8, 10, or 12 weeks to meet some of the most amazing people & make some of the most amazing memories of your life. Odds are you’ll be friends with some of these other people forever so why not have fun with them while you are young, plus hopefully you have a little spending money for once.

An Overview of the Fisher Summer Global Internship Program

In this post I’m going to explain how the Fisher Global Internship process works, how I ended up at the company I am currently interning for, and how I know I made the best decision!

When applying for the Fisher Global Internship program, you’ll first start at the main website.  There you can learn more about the Summer Global Internship program as a whole, such as the application process, the eligibility guidelines, cancellation policy, etc. You can also look into Location Specific Information. This is perfect to learn more about the dates of the program, the program cost, and extra information. I knew from the start that I wanted to go to Madrid because I wanted to learn more about Spanish language and culture. However, there are many exciting opportunities out there around the world through Fisher! If going to a location that doesn’t speak English makes you really uncomfortable, you can apply for the London, Sydney, and Dublin programs. If you are up to the challenge of going somewhere non-English speaking, there are programs in Lisbon, Singapore, Hong Kong, and (obviously) Madrid! If you are an international student, you are also eligible to go to Chicago or NYC to delve even deeper into American culture.

You don’t necessarily have to speak Spanish to work in Spain! From left to right: Caroline understands most Spanish and can speak some, Emily speaks no Spanish (she took French in high school), I am majoring in Spanish so understand and speak it pretty well, Madison also took french in high school so didn’t know any Spanish coming in, and Fernanda is from Mexico so she obviously is fluent. The most important thing is a willingness to learn the language and culture, and you’ll have a great summer!

Once you know that you meet the eligibility requirements and know which country you want to venture to for the summer you can apply. The application has several parts, but none of the parts are incredibly difficult if you put in effort. You have to submit your resume, of course, and a resume review agreement which demonstrates that you took the effort to get your resume checked by someone who is qualified to do so. Yes, it is required, but it is also incredibly beneficial to your chances of getting into the program and for applying to internships in general. I’m not going to lie, when I went to the Peer Career Coaches walk-in hours, my coach literally crossed out ¾ of the page. Yet, my resume knowledge improved so much after a short 20 minute meeting and I have since gotten another job (other than this internship) with my impeccable resume. The final part of the application is a personal statement about why you want to participate in the program and what kind of internship you are looking for/expecting. Before you get nervous at this daunting task- know that it is only a page long and is basically just talking about what you want. It is more helpful for them to find you a proper internship than to assess you. Your academic record and resume already give them enough to go on when deciding whether you are a suitable candidate, so the personal statement won’t make or break your admission into the program.

The applications have different waves of deadlines. If you apply before a certain deadline, then you will hear halfway through the month following the deadline whether or not you got in. You can apply as early as I did (before the first deadline on September 28) or as late as January 15. Once you find out you are admitted into the program, you will create a profile for your country-specific program and meet for a Placement “Interview” with your program’s Resident Director. I put “Interview” in quotes because this meeting is not an interview for your actual internship. Instead it is a chance to ask questions about the program, for your Resident Director to find out more information as to what type of company and internship you want to work for, and to give you all you need to know on next steps. Also, it gives you a chance to practice interviewing in a professional manner before you actually interview for a potential company in your program country. For some, this might be the first professional interview they have ever done.

The next step is waiting. The program will be submitting your resume to different companies, trying to match you with the best fit for your preferences and skill-set. I specifically asked to work for a start-up because I am especially interested in entrepreneurship and running my own business one day. When working for a smaller company, you are more likely to have a bigger role in their business, have the chance to interact with more people on a more personal level, and you can see how a business is run on all different aspects.

So what happens when you have a company interested in interviewing you? The answer is you either confirm or deny their interview offer. Believe it or not, I actually turned down my first internship offer. It was for a large corporation, a very reputable company in fact, but like I said before, I wanted to work for a start-up. That’s the beauty of this program, you can have a say in what type of company you work for. In fact, my roommate now in Madrid is interning with that first company I turned down because the big-corporate culture was what she was interested in!

I would like to add that the later you apply, the more narrow your skill-set, and the pickier you are, the less likely you are to find a company that suits your desires. When pairing one of the interns in Madrid this summer, the company actually went through 27 different companies because his interest was so specific and specialized. He ended up having to settle for a broader category because he wanted something too specific. However, the program dedicates all their time and effort into matching you somewhere you would be happy, and he loves his internship placement either way!

The company I work for now checks all my boxes. Clever Ecommerce is a smaller company that is expanding as we speak. As I’m working here, I have the opportunity to have a bigger role than I might’ve as an intern in a huge corporation- I’m actually working on the marketing plan and strategy for a new brand they are building. They haven’t even launched the website fully yet, that is something I get to work on and I’m extremely excited about. They also see me as a valuable asset to their team and are letting me expand on one of my ideas to develop them a new social media channel! Again, I was excited to get to work for a start-up to see better how all aspects of a business are run and expanded. I can easily pop over to the room to talk to any of the tech guys or the account managers. I have even gotten to talk to the CEO in the coffee room or at after-work drinks/dinner.

Here’s a picture of me in the office! They took pictures of all the new interns and introduced us on their social media profiles.

In summary, the Global Internship is pretty sweet, and internship opportunities are tailored to your interests. I’m finishing up my fourth week working here, which marks the halfway point and I can honestly say I’ve loved it here in Spain and at Clever Ecommerce. If you have any questions about the Global Internship Program, my job at Clever Ecommerce, or anything else feel free to reach out to me at ward.1277@osu.edu!

Here’s a pretty picture of Madrid, just because.

Project Overview

Now that I’ve worked at Meijer for a few weeks, I’m starting to get used to my day to day agenda and have been working on what I will need to accomplish for this summer.  When I first started, I was given a tour of the store and met many people who manage each department to learn more about their specific jobs.  I was also shown many statistics and the P & L report that Meijer uses to determine what the sales should be for each day.  These will be useful in finishing my project for the summer, which is to improve in stock conditions in the pet and HBC departments.  Every intern has a project specific to their major or interests, and they are to come up with a way to improve the current system in place or come up with a new idea that might work better.  For me, this means trying to eliminate stock-outs by making the process of receiving products to getting them on the shelf more efficient and running smoothly.  The store I am working at does not have the most effective process in place specifically in their pet department, and so I often find many stock-outs of popular dog and cat food brands and treats.  Part of the problem with this process is organizational, and the other part is getting numbers correct in the system.  In order for product to be reordered, it has to reach a minimum quantity in the system, and if these numbers are off, then sometimes product is ordered wrong.  This could mean that there may be excess inventory on hand, or not enough, which would result in a stock-out.  My job for the summer is trying to eliminate these stock-outs by improving this process.  If product moves through the backroom to the floor efficiently, then it will sell more, and customers will be more satisfied.  To start to solve this issue, I have been going through sections of product and ensuring that their counts are accurate.  If they are not, I have to go in the system and change the counts to make them accurate in order for the reorder process to be completed correctly.  I have been working closely with two other team members in the pet department in order to bounce ideas off of each other and to learn more about the stocking process in general, since every retailer has a different process when it comes to stocking and inventory.  I will also later be using the OSA (on shelf availability) reports in order to determine some statistics that I can use in my final presentation.  My goal is to increase sales and direct margin on the P & L by making this process more efficient.  I hope to get the pet department done first, and then if I have time I can implement the same system I use into HBC.  This is just the start of my project, but as I get more in depth I will go into further detail on it.  This week I am back to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for an intern road show, where I am visiting the distribution center in Lansing and the store in Hudsonville. I also have the opportunity to volunteer at the LPGA tournament that Meijer sponsors in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well.  I will update you more on these exciting events in my next post!

Weekend in Columbus

Summers in Columbus? In my opinion they’re the best part of the year in the city. Campus is nearly empty and there’s plenty of free off-street parking, along with all kinds of events going on in town. This is my second time living in Columbus outside of the normal academic year and I’m getting the most out of it.

At Highlights we have a flexible summer Friday schedule, meaning that as long as I get my 40 hours in before noon on Friday I can head out early. This isn’t my first internship that has this policy and I definitely appreciate it. This past week, I decided to join my boyfriend for an afternoon in Goodale Park, which is right downtown. He’s a musician so he hauled his gear out to play in the nice weather and I read my book underneath a nearby tree. After a couple hours we walked two short blocks over to North Market and picked out some lunch, Thai red curry for me and tikka masala for him. No trip to North Market is complete without an ice cream cone from Jeni’s, too. After that, we walked back and visited the Pizzuti Collection that sits right next to the park. The Pizzuti Collection is a small section of the Columbus Museum of Art that displays pieces donated by the Pizzuti family. It’s a quick visit, free for students, and great for local, modern artists so I would definitely recommend it.

On Saturday I woke up early and went straight to the Clintonville Farmer’s Market. Clintonville is the neighborhood just north of the University District and they hold a farmer’s market on one of their blocks from April – November. I participate in a compost exchange, so I was there just to drop off my weekly food scraps and get a new collection bag. After that, I hopped on a bus to the Short North and got my hair done at Penzone. The salon is on the pricier side but has a great vibe and excellent stylists. When I was done I decided to walk the ten blocks back to apartment since it was another nice day. Not long after I got back, my mother arrived after driving up from Dayton and we went out to the local vintage shops to look around. There’s a collection of three vintage/antique stores all on one corner on North High (the Boomerang room is my favorite) that we go to a lot, along with Grandview Mercantile over in…you guessed it, Grandview. We ended the day with dinner at Aab India which is undoubtedly my favorite place for Indian food in the city.

Sunday was spent getting groceries and relaxing before the start of another busy week. I’m looking forward to all the other Columbus fun I’ll have this summer, including ComFest in just three short weeks. If you ever need suggestions on something fun to do in the city, I’m happy to give suggestions

Introduction: A girl from China interning in the US

I’m Siwei Xu, an incoming senior, studying finance with a double-minor in business analytics and economics. I’m a corporate finance intern at Dana Incorporated this summer, and this is the fourth week of my internship. (I know… I’ll post a detailed update of my first month next weekend) For my first journal, I’d like to talk about myself, as an international student from China and how/why I found this internship.

Why do I need this summer internship?

This might be a weird question for the American students since most of them have their full-time job after a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, a good summer internship plays a significant role in helping students’ network, build their resume, and solidify their career. However, most of the international students from China will continue with post-graduate education like a master’s degree, which is preferred or required by more and more entry-level positions in China. Therefore, many Chinese students will spend this summer on GRE or GMAT exam preparation. GRE and GMAT are the two most common exams for the application of American post-graduation programs. If they have free time, aside from preparing for the exam, they will find a summer internship as well.

Does that mean I give up post-graduate education? Nope! Multiple internship experiences help me to shape my career path better. I’m able to evaluate different roles and industries through the real work environment and daily work routine. After more self-exploration, I can choose the best post-graduate program fitting my career goal. A finance student has thousands of career options, but some roles are more popular. For example, investment-related roles, consultants, and corporate financial analysts. I’ve had internship experiences in asset management and corporate strategy after freshman and sophomore year. So, this time I wanted to try something different, and that’s why I’m here, as a corporate finance intern.

How I found this job.

International students face more challenges while hunting for jobs in the US. An external reason that prevents international students from finding an internship is that an increasing number of corporations will no longer sponsor work visas for them due to government policy. Even though internships do not require the work visa, most companies look for full-time candidates from internships and don’t expect to waste their time and money on training someone who has a lower chance to come back. As a result, there are only limited options left for international students. For example, I’m really interested in working for a technology startup, but I can’t because these kinds of companies usually don’t have the capability to sponsor international students.

Fortunately, there is always a way. As Louis Pasteur’s famous quote says, “chance favors only the prepared mind.” I summarized two critical tips for international students to succeed in job hunting.

  1.  Join at least one group where people share similar career goals

After going through the application process by myself, I realized that the application timeline and required materials are very different between the US and China. As it is my first time looking for jobs in an unfamiliar country, I learned most application processes from my friends who have greater experience than me. I joined a consulting club where people frequently exchange information of company recruitment processes and case interview skills. While surrounded by people who grow themselves incredibly, I was forced to learn, like a sponge, absorbing all the knowledge at a fast pace.

 

  1. Set short-term and long-term goals for your career path

Rome was not built in one day, which is the same for finding an internship. I have a friend who graduated this May and will work as a full-time investment analyst for a world-famous bank. He started as an engineering student but found a better fit in finance through a scholar program. After his first internship, he found an affinity for a fast-paced work environment, such as investment banking, in a big city. He set it as a long-term goal. But to reach the goal, he needed to pay off step-by-step efforts. His short-term goals include joining the investment banking preparation program, networking with alumni in the industry, having a summer internship in an investment bank, etc. Hunting for a job is like sailing over the ocean. You need to follow the Polaris in the dark and reach every target coordinate, where the Polaris sets the direction as a long-term goal, and each coordinate track your progress as short-term goals.

I really didn’t expect my first journal to be this long. So if you followed me till here, I sincerely appreciate your interest. 🙂 Comment below to let me know what you want to learn more about me, and I’ll start recording my internship experience next week.