Week 10: Lessons from my Internship

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Internship / Saturday

This summer, I’ve had an amazing experience as an intern at Oars + Alps, a Men’s skincare company, in Chicago. I worked on problems and analyses related to Operations, Product Development, and funding.

For the last post on my internship, and as the last post on this blog (at least for a while), I thought I’d write down some lessons for myself and others who will be interns next year.

Don’t be a nuisance

I think your number one responsibility as an intern is to not be a nuisance. It’s a basic point but I heard from friends whose offices had problems with interns being disruptive.

Mistakes will inadvertently happen when you push your boundaries. But make sure you recognize when you are totally out of your depth. Ask for help from an expert. This drawing helps:

Beachhead-vs-Problem

You might be able to attack the beachhead, but you need others to solve the main problem.

Impact is good, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of the daily operations of the company or team you’re at.

Do what only you can

It’s easy to sell yourself short when you’re a first or second year undergrad. But realize that you can offer something unique – an outside perspective.

Often, teams need an outside perspective to shake the molds of everyday routine. You can provide this.

If you can couple this with a relatively rare skill, something like the ability to create interactive models in Tableau or use 3rd-party packages on R, you become pretty valuable. This coupling of skills is usually pretty attractive for a team.

It’s all about the people

This is a fitting last lesson for the blog because it is by far the most applicable. Despite everything I learned about how a business runs, my most lasting memory will be about the people I worked with. They helped me at every turn, guided me to others when they knew they didn’t know the answer, and provided me with some great life advice. I’m immensely grateful to them for an amazing experience.


And with that, it’s a wrap! I want to thank everyone who was on this journey with me. I hope you learned something by following the blog for the summer. You can check out my reflection on the whole process here and the best of the blog here. 

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