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.

A word of advice for Freshman me

If I had the opportunity to go back in time and meet the freshman version of myself, I would undoubtedly be horrified. (I still have nightmares about the time I wore a polo shirt to our career fair). I dressed differently, I talked differently and I represented myself in social settings differently among other things. While I certainly have a long ways to go, three years in college and several internships have taught me so much about the intangible factors of kick starting a successful business career. During my time at my summer internship, which if you haven’t noticed, I’m forced to speak about in very vague terms due to several privacy regulations, I’ve practically doubled my knowledge of these factors. For this entry in my summer internship blog, I would like to share a few points that would have made an enormous difference in the beginning of my college career and saved me quite a bit of embarrassment as well.

Having a social life is actually very important

While the goal of hiring someone is to increase various measures of productivity such as profits, your boss and co-workers want to form a relationship in the work setting as well. When I first started working, I was under the impression that if I put my head down and worked hard every day, things would work out just fine. I soon found out that this wasn’t the way the world works. Business culture especially is based upon relationships. A simple happy hour or dinner party after work can be crucial for getting to truly know a group of people. It also helps develop trust and creates the perception of well-roundedness to others.

Learn to dress

There are so many rules that can be put here. Make sure your belt and shoes match, never button the bottom of your jacket, and for God’s sake, never wear a bowtie to work unless you’re positive you can pull it off (I see you Gordon Gee and Bill Nye). The list goes on and on. I’m not even going to attempt to address the feminine side of dressing professionally. The point is, keep it simple at first, and observe how people dress around you in various professional settings. There is something about dressing professionally that instills a sense of accountability and discipline at work.

Finally, no one likes a suck up, but find ways to stand out

Urban dictionary defines a suck up as “One who acts affectionately toward another so as to excel, usually because he cannot do so on his own merits.” There is a difference between doing this and impressing your superiors in a proper way. Learn the language of the industry, take initiative on a project, start work an hour early every once in a while. These prove that you have the ability to excel in a much more palatable fashion than an ill-placed compliment about your bosses “perfect family portraits.”

College is a great opportunity to learn about a particular industry and grades are given that accurately assess how well a person is doing. That being said, there is an entire ulterior set of skills necessary in the work world and I am far from fluent in it. At the very least, I don’t plan on wearing a polo shirt when I go looking for a full time job at our next career fair.

The First Week

I am so excited to say I have completed my first week as an L Brands DC Operations Intern!

LBrands

After one day of Orientation with the other interns in Columbus, I began work in the building where I will be spending the rest of the summer. I met my supervisor and my manager, got a tour of the building, and attempted to learn just a small bit about what I will spend the next 12 weeks doing.

Here are some tips I picked up to make the most of a first week at a new internship.

  • Dress the part. Overdress the part. You can always dress down later once you have seen what everyone else wears every day.
  • Get there early. I did this on my first day, got lost, and then managed to make it there semi-on time. Take it from me, and leave earlier than you think you need to. Once you get your routine down, you can start to leave a little later.
  • Take notes. Write down everything. You are going to be inundated with information during the first few weeks. You probably won’t even know what you’re writing down sometimes; just do it.
  • Ask “Why.” This applies to your entire internship. It will help you realize why the company does what it does and helps you think of ways to contribute it during your internship.