Monday, June 18, 2012

Building the Foundation – What Millennials Seek in an Internship

Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc., once said, “People are definitely a company's greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.”

If people are assets to a company, an intern is an investment and will ultimately serve as a reflection of your company’s strengths and expertise.

While having an internship program – from searching for an ideal candidate to organizing his/her work to providing meaningful feedback and coordinating with colleges for course credit – may seem like a daunting task for many companies, it provides valuable learnings for both the candidate and the organization.  And though there are many available options for students, the competition turns to the companies as many programs do not offer credit, pay, or the actual learning experience many talents seek and need.

When we asked our new summer interns, Adam Cocuzza and Andrew Pilecki, their thoughts about what they sought in the agencies they considered for internships, they named five important factors in making their decision:

  • The Interview:           The interviewing phase is double-sided – while the company has an opportunity to screen the candidate in a live, real-time setting, this is also an opportunity for the candidate to screen the company environment and culture.  “You can get a glimpse of the agency atmosphere from your interview…There are a ton of places out there that don’t have a positive atmosphere,” said Adam. 

  • The Team:                  Just as a company is only as good as its people, an intern will only learn as much as a mentor can teach.  Demonstrating your team’s expertise is essential in securing a talented intern.  “After learning about a few of their backgrounds, I knew that I can learn a lot from them,” said Adam of DBE’s team.

“They speak at conferences and are very established in their respective fields,” added Andrew.  “The connections that the team has are extremely influential. I feel very confident that I will find a job upon, if not before, graduation.”
  • The Work:                  A company’s biggest mistake is deeming an intern unable to execute tasks and projects due to their lack of experience.  “During the interview, it was mentioned that I would be able to get my hands dirty with ACTUAL client work, while many of my peers are running errands like getting coffee for their bosses,” remarked Andrew.

“Internships that don’t give you any decision-making power makes you feel more like an assistant than a member of the team,” says Adam of the importance of work quality in an internship experience.  “The DBE team has given me more responsibility and autonomy compared to what other internships have offered.”
  • The Clients:               According to Adam, you can tell a lot about an agency based on with whom they’ve done business:  “Because DBE has served many big name clients, I knew that the agency was reputable and knowledgeable.”

“The client list at DBE is pretty impressive, this drew me in even more while I was deciding on which internship offer to accept,” agreed Andrew.
  • The Location:            Although technology has allowed for the facilitation of communication on a global scale, location is still important to those looking to get experience in an established business environment.  Andrew says, “Especially when you’re trying to get into the industry, you have to seek a location that’ll expand your opportunities.”

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