By Paige Twillman – Regional Activity Head
Having a summer internship is an incredible experience that many students take part in each summer. Experience gained at a summer internship is valuable to both yourself and your potential future employer. But are you making the most of your summer internship experience? This summer, I am working at Ogilvy & Mather in New York City, and what I have learned away from my desk is proving to be more valuable than the work I am assigned to do day-to-day. It has been hammered into our heads since the day we started at PennState … Network! Never before have I realized how critical and how true this point can be until this summer.
Professionals at your company want to help you. Why? Because we are the future of their companies. At Ogilvy, even the most senior management is willing to meet interns for a coffee or lunch, the key is to not be afraid to ask. Never underestimate the importance of a coffee date! Reach out to people in your company from various departments or divisions to gain a greater understanding of the culture there. Hearing their stories and insight can help guide how you handle your career and your remaining time at the internship. But don’t just stop there, connect with other interns. You would be surprised how many professionals stay in touch with peers from their internships in college, whether ultimately staying at the company where they met or not, the connection is always relevant.
The key to networking is asking yourself this paramount question: What do you want to be doing in 20 years? Is what you’re doing today moving you towards that goal? Reach out to the people who could make that goal a reality. The best part about networking is you don’t have to have an internship at that Fortune 500 company to make a connection. Penn State provides us with endless opportunities, even after graduation! Don’t have an internship this summer? Find the Penn State Alumni network in your area and attend an event. Having a commonality with professionals will make any connection you make with them blossom. Be persistent, and be professional. Best of luck to everyone at their internships and in their networking endeavors!