25 Short, Sweet Tips for Success as a Summer Intern

by Sarah Steenrod

While it seems like just yesterday (okay, so more like 13 years ago) I was an intern at Neiman Marcus in Las Vegas, the lessons I learned and experiences I had a during that pivotal time in my college and professional career are crystal clear. Here are some tips that will help make your internship a success:

  1. Set goals. Having personal and professional goals can help you make the most of your summer, stay on track, and know if you have achieved what you set out to do.
  2. Ask questions. An internship is a learning process and you may need to seek clarification along the way.
  3. Participate in all intern and company activities that you are invited to. It’s a great way to meet fellow interns and people at the company who are investing their time in your experience.
  4. Share your ideas. People want to know what you think, so speak up!
  5. If you finish your work, ask for more. By taking initiative, you may end up with an awesome project or learning experience.
  6. Pack your lunch. You’ll save money and calories. It’s absolutely fine to join your colleagues and treat yourself to lunch every once in a while, but you will thank yourself at the end of the summer if you don’t blow your paychecks on takeout sushi.
  7. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Always be sure to follow the dress code. Make sure your clothes are clean, neat, and pressed
  8. Get a good night’s rest. If you’re used to going to bed at 2 a.m., the sound of the alarm at 6 a.m. is going to be a rude awakening (literally and figuratively). No one at your workplace will care if you’re tired, so don’t look or act tired.
  9. Consider your internship a three-month interview. This is your opportunity to make the most of each day with the potential of getting a job offer at the end.
  10. Ask people if you can be of help to them. You might think you don’t have a lot to offer, but perhaps one of your colleagues has a child that is considering your university and would love to hear your perspective.
  11. Explore the city…and the food. If you’re in Cleveland, don’t miss the West Side Market and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. St. Louis is famous for fried ravioli. In Houston, be sure to try the BBQ.
  12. Exercise. Take a brisk walk, ride a bike, run, do yoga! Do whatever you like, just get moving!
  13. Drink water. That’s what the water coolers are for! Eight 8-ounce glasses day is what’s recommended, but if that sounds like a lot, just start with a couple glasses a day. It also helps to get a water bottle that you really like.
  14. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, find a way to fix it, and move on. Don’t make excuses.
  15. Connect with alumni from your school. Use your university’s alumni club. Tap into the LinkedIn Find Alumni tool.
  16. Check in regularly with your parents, family members, and friends and let them know how your internship is going….they will appreciate it.
  17. Say please. It’s amazing how many people will be willing to help you if you ask nicely.
  18. Follow all computer rules and lock your computer when you step away from your desk. Also, if your company has a social media policy, refrain from posting on Facebook during work hours.
  19. Ask for feedback. Some supervisors will be good at giving you positive and constructive feedback, while others may be less forthcoming. If they know it’s important to you, they may be more likely to give it.
  20. Avoid office gossip. If someone talks about others to you, they are probably talking about you to others.
  21. Pay attention to your experiences, reflect on them, and jot down a few notes. Your worst on-the-job experience may someday be your best interview story. The trick is remembering all the details.
  22. Wear sunscreen. Seriously
  23. Be present and enjoy the experience!
  24. Keep in touch. Don’t wait until you need something to e-mail your former supervisor. Send an e-mail every once in a while to check in and let them know how you’re doing.
  25. Thank people and let them know how they impacted your life and career. A handwritten note is a very nice touch.

Sarah Steenrod is Director of Undergraduate Career Consultation and Programs in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

2015 Leadership Summit


Want to stand out for job opportunities? The 2015 Leadership Summit is an annual, all-day experience that seeks to bring together aspiring student leaders from across Ohio State’s campus. This event will allow you the opportunity to uncover your leadership strengths and network.  The itinerary includes a VP of UPS opening speaker, break-out development sessions held by industry professionals and dinner with company recruiters.

The 2015 Leadership Summit will be held at the Ohio Union on January 31st from 1-7 PM.

Deadline to register is December 15th.

Find out more information and register online http://www.osuleadershipsummit.com/student-registration.html!

Of Speed-Meeting and ICAB-Leading

One of my favorite things about interning at Marathon this summer is the opportunity to lead my intern class by serving on the Intern/Co-op Advisory Board (otherwise known as ICAB) as the Chair. I know I’ve talked a little bit about this in my previous posts, but we finally had our first official ICAB social event last week!

After a week and a half of hard planning, we were finally ready! Last Friday, we had about 70 interns gather in the auditorium for “Intern Speed-Meeting.” We sat the interns down at tables of six and gave them five minutes to introduce themselves, state what department they were working in, and answer two questions on the screen before rotating a few of them. The questions weren’t the typical “What’s your favorite movie?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” questions, but rather thoughtful invocations such as “If all 50 states went to war with each other, which state would win and why?” and “What is the most useless superpower?” to make everyone step out of their comfort zone and think outside the box.

I think the event was a success! We had a few logistical errors that popped up when we got there such as deciding where to seat everyone and figuring how to rotate the interns, but it all worked out in the end! I’ve heard some great feedback about the event and I feel like everyone had a good time getting to socialize with their fellow interns. After all, we are all future potential employees of Marathon and happy company makes a happy company!

Our next ICAB event is a “Lunch and Learn” with one of the refining experts in the company to learn more about the refining process and the backbone of Marathon. I am so proud of my board and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with them this summer! Serving as ICAB Chair is one of the highlights of my internship thus far and it really has taught me much about leading a team and the importance of staying organized and making yourself available to others. For all future interns/co-ops at Marathon, I definitely recommend applying for one of the board positions. Not only is it a great way to meet people and a nice resume-booster, it is also fun and extremely rewarding.

As a side note: I had breakfast with Donald Templin (the CFO of Marathon!), a senior VP of Corporate Planning, a VP of Finance, and the finance interns last week! Starting the day off with a talk about leadership, the importance of fully grasping every opportunity, and a delicious breakfast casserole was definitely an experience to remember. I am so thankful to have had that opportunity.

I can’t believe I’m on my fourth week of my internship. Time certainly has flown by!

Until next time, everyone!


Third Time Around

It’s hard to believe that I just finished up my second week with Marathon Petroleum! I’ve been learning so much, meeting so many people, and having just an all-around fantastic summer. I am so blessed and thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given this summer from the projects that I have been working on to the chance to be the Chair of the Intern/Co-op Advisory Board and so much more!

Due to confidentiality matters, I can’t go into too much detail about my projects here at Marathon, but you can rest assured that I am loving going to work everyday and learning more about the importance of competitive intelligence in the field of business development. My supervisor, my mentor, and my co-workers are all incredibly helpful and always willing to answer any questions that might come up. It’s pretty cool how they instill so much trust in their two interns to work according to our own pace and produce high-quality results.

A project that I have been working on that I can actually talk about is a case study with the finance interns regarding the ROI of a $40 million acquisition simulation. This is based on a past business deal in Marathon’s history. Being a marketing major who might not have done too well in Jay Wellman’s 3220 finance class, I was and still am a little worried about this project since finance isn’t the area of my expertise. My team and my supervisor know that I am ready to learn and willing to help out where I can, but recognize that this isn’t where I feel the most comfortable so I am thankful for their understanding.

I’m a little shy around new people, so I’ve really been trying to push myself to get out of my comfort zone and make friends since I knew almost no one coming to Findlay. Thankfully, my roommates are fun to be around and like to hang out. We always have interns sending out emails for “Wing Night Wednesdays” and get-togethers at various houses so I try to go to what I can to meet as many people as possible. Everyone has been so friendly. After all, we’re only here for three months so why not try to make the most of it?

Finally, being the Chair of the Intern/Co-op Advisory Board has been an amazing experience. I organized and ran my first board meeting earlier this week and I’d like to say that it was a success! I even got a reservation for the fancy director’s room with the big plasma TV so that was kind of cool. We conducted a productive brainstorming session to come up with ideas for social, business, and community service related events for the summer 2014 intern class. Getting to develop my leadership skills while getting involved at Marathon Petroleum is a fabulous experience and I am so glad to have that opportunity here!

Ten more weeks! I feel like it’s going to fly by before I even realize it, but I’m ready for the ride of a summer.

Until next time!

Student Organizations: More than just going to meetings

By Mark Wilson, Director of Employer Relations & Technology

Recently, I had a great meeting with a second semester freshman about transitioning from engineering to business. This student was seeking information on what he could be doing right now to make himself more attractive to employers and get ready for the job search.  He was asking all the right questions and I wish we all had the self-awareness he has to seek information early whenever take on a new challenge in life.

One of his questions was what are employers looking for in college students.  There is a list of things every employer wants, and at or near the top, leadership always makes the list.  For many of us, looking for leadership is interpreted as I need to be president of a student organization.  However this in not the case, leadership should be interpreted as meaning involved and making a difference.  That is the key to joining a student organization to help build your resume.  When you join, get involved and do something.  Sadly, many students join organizations and barely attend the meetings while thinking this is what being involved means.  Any recruiter can read between lines of your resume and see the difference between true participation and simply showing up.

If you are going to join a student organization to build your resume, get involved and gain some leadership experience.  For example, a student described to me how as freshman she took on the role of concessions chair for a fund-raising event.  As chair, she organized volunteers to work the concession stand, planned a menu and shopped for food, and managed a million other details for the concession stand team.  In the end, her work raised almost $2,000 for her student organization.  This is a great example of leadership through involvement and will be very appealing to employers when they see it on her resume or when they hear her talk about it in her interviews.  Remember, you do not have to be the president of a student organization to gain the all important leadership experience employers are seeking.  Simply get involved and find a way to contribute.