It takes a village of mentors to raise an intern

As I’m wrapping up my internship this summer
I thank the following people for teaching me along the way:
My parents, Hider Mock, Francis Adanza, John Zepeda, Ian Price, Jeremy Pruitt, Ben Simon-Thomas, and the numerous teachers at King’s Academy.

These are 10 of the many important things I have learned

1 Never eat lunch alone, as the most important value to obtain from an internship is developing relationship with people who work in the field you hope to jump into. I would say getting to know the people is more important than getting the right work experience.

2 Build the relationship before you need it. Easier said than done. Few realize that compromise is when both parties give more than 50%.

3 Whenever there is a process involving multiple people it is very important to see what their personal checklist or the things they look for at their step of the process. For example one person considered he or she is done when X & Y is done, but the next person will consider starting when X, Y, and Z are done; there might be a company policy or a way of doing things, but there can be an preferred, hearsay procedure that people might have.

4 I have found that when I send a brief summary of the topics or questions I would like to go over people are better prepared for the meeting and in effect reduces the meeting time. This is especially more valuable for introverts who typically don’t like thinking on their feet and rather prefer the extra time to prepared.

5 The best way to get another company to either send you information or send you a sample of material is to say that you are the head or VP of a department in the company. However, it’s best that your choice doesn’t exist in the company, but still sounds like a legit, real position. At one of my companies I said I was the Head of Materials or the VP of New Initiatives. Frankly, no one has time to help an intern.

6 At the end of every project or major task take some time to write up a brief summary of what you did, instructions, and three things you would have done if you had more time, resource, etc.

7 A three minute phone number will save you a three hour Google search. The trade off between calling someone or emailing someone is that phone calls are great for getting information quickly, but email conversions are for great for traceability and forwarding that information quickly to a group of individuals.

8 It goes a long way to write the summary after a phone call or conversion with someone and write something like “Here are my notes from our conversion please correct or add else I missed…” As well as, to know if people have read an email put something like “If you have read this far, come see for a cup of coffee”.

9 For an intern the how you do something can be more important obtaining the right answer. If you can show that you walked around and explored different approaches at solving a problem, because some problem’s solutions are really recommendations or options not so much truths.

10 I have come to realize that I don’t have it all together, but together (as a team) we have it all; the goal of the mentor is provide the right skills to do your job to prevent learned helplessness. Another marker for a great mentor is one that teaches the skills necessary to perform his or her duties to prepare you for the next step.

Thank you all again

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One thought on “It takes a village of mentors to raise an intern

  1. Conor Neill says:

    A wonderful summary of important lessons. I did my first professional internship with a team at Andersen Consulting, and was basically asked to write the minutes for all meetings. Initially I thought it was a boring role, but I discovered that it gave me great power to go and talk to people… and control the process of decisions in meetings 😉 Keep on blogging your wise reflections!


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